Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Tonight a lot of creatures will visit your door.
Be open minded.
The child who is grabbing more than one piece of candy might have poor fine motor skills.
The child who takes forever to pick out one piece of candy might have motor planning issues.
The child who does not say trick or treat or thank you might be shy or non-verbal. The child who looks disappointed when he sees your bowl might have an allergy.
The child who isn't wearing a costume at all might have SPD or autism.
Be nice.
Be patient.
Its everyone's Halloween...

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Friday, October 28, 2011

It's Right There....Black and White!

IEP Meetings can be a battle.
Sometimes you can be yourself and ask nicely and get new things added that would benefit your child.
Other times, you have to get a little more feisty and show the school a different side of you and ask in a way that means business.

Today was one of those days.
Today, I had to get a little feisty.

We met this morning to meet and discuss Andrew's IEP.
We had an OT eval done and it was decided that it would be beneficial for him to add OT to his IEP and modify his classroom plan to facilitate meeting those OT goals.
But yesterday, the school also sent home his updated goals with a little "X" in the column if he has met the goal, is meeting the goal, or is not meeting the goal.

Thanks for this update!


No, really!

These two "X's" were never emailed to me prior to yesterday.
These two "X's" were never sent home after school at any point.
So to see that really got my undies in a bunch, so to speak.
And this scheduled IEP Meeting allowed me to address the two "not meeting at this time" indicators.
One was for the classroom routine, the other for speech.
So when the team leader asked if I had any questions or comments prior to the meeting starting, I jumped at the opportunity to address those two "X's".

The first one, the classroom routine, was easily addressed.
A new task strip was going to be made.
Great! Let's move on, now.
And we did move the meeting.
But never fear, I did not forget "X" number 2.
Once the meeting was completed and it was time to determine service minutes, I waited for the right opportunity to address that second "X".

"I will propose to keep the minutes at what they currently are for speech."

(Insert 1970's vinyl record screeching here.)

Lemme get this straight.
You state that he is struggling with one of the speech goals that has been in place for almost 10 months now.
He is getting there, but not good enough yet.
You black and white...that he is still struggling with one of the speech goals that has been in place for almost 10 months now.
And you think I was going to agree that keeping the same amount of minutes is justified?

Ain't gonna happen.
Not today.

So after I had to state my case, repeat, repeat, and repeat again for a total of 6 times why I believe that an increase in pull-out service minutes is justified, she had to have realized that I wasn't going to back down.
And she is lucky that I only asked for an additional 15 minutes of private/small group minutes rather than 30!

So the moral of the story?
If it is spoken to you that goals and benchmarks aren't being met in a timely fashion.
If it is written to you that goals and benchmarks aren't being met in a timely fashion. us all special needs parents a favor, and throw us a bone in the form of additional minutes, OK?
In a good way (and not so good way), I've been around this block a few times now.
I know how the game is played.
And I bring my A-game each and every time.
And when it is right there in black and white, I know what I can ask for.
Because in the's all about the child and what is most appropriate for that child.
Not the best.
Just the most appropriate.
Parents...don't ever be afraid to advocate for your child.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Special Ed...State By State

Did you ever wonder how your State stacked up to the state next door in terms of providing for special needs and special education?
Interested in eligibility categories?
Ever wondered where your state ranks?
Looking for a specific disability and how it measures up?

Click here for some great insite!

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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tuesday Top Ten

10. An upcoming meeting for Andrew at school. (Hint: we are adding OT!)

9. An impromptu phone call from Kate's teacher with the theme of "transition". Eek!

8. Warm, Chicago weather for October!

7. Celebrating Kate's 8th birthday bowling! It was great!

6. Networking and new friends.

5. More and more progress on the speech front.

4. iPad!

3. Upcoming Parent-Teacher Conferences

2. How many days until Halloween?

1. I love my kids!

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Monday, October 24, 2011

Apraxia, Meet Your Match!

This girl of mine.......

...Just turned 8 on Friday.

...Got sassy with her teacher this morning.

...Got sassy with her private SLP this afternoon.

...Has lost privileges twice today.

Am I mad?
No, not really.
Because while I am disappointed at the sassy behavior, the mouthiness, and the back-talk, I'm actually eased as punch.

Why, you ask?

Because apraxia has stolen my daughter's voice for far too long.
And now she is finding her voice.
And it makes me so happy that she is asserting herself.
And yes, I am working on those negative behaviors.
But a wise Latin once said "to the victors go the spoils".

Right now, I am savoring these sweet victory!

Friday, October 21, 2011


Tuesday, October 21, 2003.
6 pounds 8 ounces 19 1/2 inches.
My heart now walks outside of my body.
I am in love.

One Year Old.
I love you more and more each day.

Two Years Old.
You are quite the character.
You are strong.

Three Years Old.
You are my special girl.
You teach me new things each and every day.
I am in awe of your strength.

Four Years Old.
Your eyes smile when you smile.
You make me learn that love is more than words.

Five Years Old.
You are my hero.
I am blessed and honored to be your Mom.

Six Years Old.
You are a warm, loving little girl.
Any you learn to jump hurdles like no other.

Seven Years Old.
You found your voice.
You continue to inspire me.
You are my reason for waking every morning.

On this day, your 8th birthday, I have so many wishes for you.
But the biggest of these is LOVE.
I love you, my dear daughter.

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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Peek-a-Boo Ghost Craft!

This peek-a-BOO ghost craft is a fantastic Halloween craft for kids!
The happy ghost (on a popsicle stick) pops up out of his decorated cup to say "boo!".
This is a great Halloween craft for preschoolers as the materials are fun and engaging and the end product is a toy.
With a little prep-work, this craft can be adapted for even very young children to do.

Here is what you will need:
•Paper or styrofoam cup
•Ghost template
•Black tissue paper
•Glue stick
•White construction paper
•Halloween stickers
•Popsicle stick

Here is how to make your Peek-a-BOO Ghost Craft:
*Use the scissors to cut a slit big enough for the popsicle stick in the center of the bottom of the cup (Moms and Dads should only do this!)
*Cut the black tissue paper into strips that are manageable for your child.
*Glue the tissue paper onto the cup.

*It works best to have your child coat one section of the cup at a time with the glue and then to go back and glue the loose ends down later.
*Print out your ghost template and cut the ghost out.

*Use crayons to draw a face on the ghost and to decorate if your child wants.
*Glue the ghost to one end of the popsicle stick.
*Decorate your cup with Halloween stickers.
*Insert the popsicle stick into the slit cut in the cup (the ghost goes into the cup) and then show your child how he pops out and says "BOO"!

Great way to work on that /b/ sound, too!

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

An OT Halloween Craft!

How about a Halloween craft that combines both fun and some OT work?
That's what you will get when you do this Lacing Spider Web craft!
Kiddies will be so busy lacing that they won't realize they are actually working those little fine motor skills!

Here is what you'll need for this craft:
*Small paper plate
*Orange paint
*Single hole punch (any size)
*Black felt or construction paper
*Spider template
*White string, yarn or ribbon (Note: shoelaces work the best!)
*Scissors (safety ones for smaller children)
*Scotch tape

And here is how to make this craft with your child:
*Paint the paper plate orange.
*Trace a spider onto black felt or construction paper and cut the spider shape out. *Cut three small slits into each side of the spider shape to make legs.
*If working with a preschooler, let your child try to make the smaller cuts to make the legs.
*When the plate is dry, punch holes around the rim.
*Lace the string through one of the holes and either make a knot or tape the end down to the back of the plate.
*Encourage your child as they lace the string back and forth across the plate.
*When they get to the end, tie off the last piece (or tape it to the back of the plate).
*Glue the spider onto the plate.

That's it!
Now you have a spider in a web!

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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Spider Craft

Let's get one thing straight: I HATE SPIDERS!


The moment I see one, I flip out and scream!
I won't kill it, for fear that it will come after me.
So I do what any other spider-fearing woman would do: I make my husband kill it.
But this little guy is cute, so I am OK with it.

Here is what you will need for today's craft: •Small paper plate
•Black paint
•Paint brush
•Scotch tape
•Black construction paper
•White pipe cleaner or yarn
•2 large googly eyes

And this is how to make your Paper Plate Spider:
•Paint the paper plate black on both sides and let it dry.
•Cut 4 strips of construction paper out.
Each strip should be the length of the paper.
Then cut each strip in half so you have 8 legs.
•Tape the legs to the bottom of the plate, 4 on each side.

•Glue the eyes onto your spider.
•Have an adult help poke a hole in the center of the plate and attach either a string or a pipe cleaner through the hole so that you have a way to hang your spider craft.
If you use the pipe cleaner, bend it once it's through the hole and then tape it to the bottom of the plate to secure it.

You can even substitute pipe cleaners for the spider's legs and bend them this wasy that that way to make it look like he is walking.
What is so great about this craft is that a preschooler could do it!
And even if the legs are lop-sided or not placed in the right place, it's OK.
The look of accomplishment on their faces is priceless!

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Monday, October 17, 2011

BOO! A Great Halloween Craft Idea!

In the spirit (um, no pun intended there! Hee-Hee!) of Halloween, I will be focusing this week on crafty fun ideas that you can do with your children.
They are simple crafts and will hold their attention, too!

Today's craft will be a ghost...made from your child's foot!
Cute, isn't it?

Here is what you'll need:
•Construction paper or that thick, foamy craft paper
•Glue stick
•Googly eyes

Here is how to make your Footprint Ghost:
Carefully trace your child's foot and cut out their footprint.
•Glue the footprint onto a piece of construction paper.
•Cut two arms out of construction paper (the same color as the ghost) and glue them onto your ghost.
•Have your child draw a face onto your ghost

Try and allow your child to do most of the work, if possible.
Allow them to watch you and model your steps as you make your ghost.
Cute and simple!
Have a "boo-tiful" afternoon!

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Friday, October 14, 2011

"POP!" for Sight Words Game

Ah, yes!
Yet another way to teach children sight words.
Oh, how we just love our sight words in this house!
Can you sense my sarcasm?
The problem with sight words is that flash cards are boring and the mere fact of bringing the Ziploc baggie out with those flash cards make my kids run in different directions!

Well, let's just see what happens when this game comes in the mail!
I couldn't order it fast enough!

Pop for Sight Words Game by Learning Resources!
Students will gobble up handfuls of fun as they recognize and read aloud sight words.
Fast-paced game play is great for improving fluency.
Even use the abundant word cards for your own early literacy activities.
Includes 100 die-cut popcorn cards (92 sight words and 8 POP cards) in box with engaging graphics.
Measures 3"L x 3"W x 6 1/4"H. For 2–4 players. Grades 1+.
Fast-paced game play is great for improving fluency.

Pick a popcorn card, read the word correctly, and build your popcorn pile
Don't pull the POP card or all your pieces go back in the box
Player with the most pieces wins!
If I can get my hands on another one of these, you can be sure a giveaway will be involved!

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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Thank You, Loud Mommy!

Words can't express my deepest thanks and most sincere appreciation for a gift from Loud Mommy for my son, Andrew.
Having one child with apraxia is rough.
Having two children with it is even harder.
Basically, some days are really a struggle to muddle through.
But after the rain and storms, there is always a rainbow.
And trust me, we have had our share of stormy days.
And in our world right this very minute, our "rainbow" is Loud Mommy!

What do you say to the person who has given you yet another avenue to help your child (or in my case, children) with their speech and language therapy?

How can you even begin to explain the sparkle in your child's eye or the smile on their face?

How do you explain the look that your child has on their face when they are trying to figure something out?
Or the look that they have when they realize they just "got it"?
How do you explain that desire and drive that they have to prove to everyone that they could do it....if you only slow down and give them a chance?
How do you capture the sheer joy of their successes?
Or their anticipation of a job well done?
How do you bottle the feelings that pour out of the heart of a parent with a child with special needs?
...when at this very moment....your child looks no different than any other child?
Amongst the clouds and storms of life, we are surrounded by little rainbows.

They aren't always there right in front of you, though.

Hidden, magical rainbows.

The type you see in movies and dreams.

Although life's rainbows are even better!
And if you can't see yours, then you just need to stop looking so hard and simply pay attention.
How would you say "thank you" for such an amazing gift?

What words would you choose to convey the emotional feelings that you have at this point?
Where would you start?

Maybe I should just let Andrew say a few words about what he thinks:

I couldn't have said it better myself.

Yes, thank you, Loud Mommy!

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Oral-Motor Blog Giveaway Winner!

And our winner is.....


Kim, you didn't leave your last name on your email, but this is what you wrote to me:

"Great give-away! My son Matt is 26 months old and hyposensitive. He constantly
sucks his thumb and recently has found his sisters toy that spins and vibrates
that he has started to suck on(even though he knows not to!)He shoves his mouth
full of food and takes huge drinks, which most of ends up running out of his
mouth and down his clothing. He also has speech apraxia and receives 2 1-hour
sessions each week. These would be great tools for him!!

If you could resend that original email to me, then you are our winner!
If Kim (minus-the-last-name) does not respond to this post within 48 hours, a new winner will be chosen!
Thank you to all of you who participated! I really wish I had a case of these kits to give to all of you!
And finally, a big THANK YOU to The Therapy Shoppe for this great opportunity!
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Monday, October 10, 2011

An Oral-Motor Giveaway!

In keeping with the theme of Sensory Processing Awareness Month, I have a great giveaway which is specific to those children who seek sensory input via their mouths.
Whether it is thumb sucking, mouthing objects, or pocketing food for long periods of time, many children with special needs seek oral input at some point.
That is why this kit is perfect for you!

The Therapy Shoppe is giving ONE of you...


Each kit features a 3-piece assortment of popular chewy tools that were hand-selected by their seasoned therapists:
*** a (Blue) Unscented Textured Chew Stixx,
*** a Knobby (Red) “Super Chew”
*** a (Purple) ARK Textured Chewy!

They feature three enticing bumpy, textured surfaces that provide sensational oral-tactile stimulation.
Basically, it is the ultimate multisensory product!

The Chewy Tubes feature a stem-handle with tons of bumpy nubs and are designed to provide the extra tactile and oral stimulation your child craves.
Chewy Tubes are a safe and effective tool for practising biting and chewing skills.
Non-flavored and latex-free, they do not contain PVC or phthalates; this makes them super safe, too!
(Parents, please supervise your child while they are using any sort of oral-motor tool, OK?)

Chewy Tubes, or “chewies,” are plastic tubes that are often used with kids with various special needs.
They may be used with children who are always mouthing objects, and need extra sensory input, or with children who require a bit of extra proprioceptive input

Maybe your own therapist has suggested the use of Chewy Tubes in the treatment of children who are developing initial oral motor skills.
Many young children with special needs desperately seek the additional proprioceptive input into the jaw and oral surfaces.
So these Chewy Tubes are an innovative oral motor devices designed to provide a resilient, non-food, chewable surface for practicing biting and chewing skills, increase jaw strength, and satisfy the oral-input seeking urge.

Observations have shown that children who having access to a chewy, and learning how to bring it to their mouth and chew on it, can help them to develop their proprioception abilities and have a calming effect on the child.

So who is interested?
Who wants one of these kits to try with their own child?
Here's what you have to do to enter:

1. Leave a comment on this blog post about how you would use this with your child.


2. Leave a comment on my Facebook Page about how this product could work for you.

Simple as that!

This giveaway begins on Monday, October 10, 2011 and ends on Tuesday, October 11,2011 at 12:00noon (CST).
Winner will be chosen at random and contacted via email and announced on my Facebook page.
Contest valid in the United States only.
Sorry, but no PO Box entries will be allowed.
No anonymous entries.
You must have a valid email address.
If the first winner does not contact me within 48 hours, another winner will be chosen at random.


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