Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Top Ten

10. A wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.

9. Loving the homework for Kaitlyn!

8. Continued progress with handwriting for Kaitlyn.

7. Continued progress for both kids on the speech and language front.

6. Counting down the days until Christmas.......oh dear.....

5. The spirit of Christmas through a child's eyes.

4. A nonfunctional left ear tube for Andrew. Why do I have this feeling of impending doom?

3. Emerging manners from the little boy. WHOA! Where did that come from?

2. Less attitude from the little girl. FINALLY!

1. I love my kids!

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

How To Get Funding for Advocates/Attorneys

I'm sure the title of this post caught your attention, didn't it?
Funny how money makes people's ears perk up like a kitty stalking a bird in the yard.
The fact of the matter is that special needs attorneys and advocates are not cheap.
Then again, you wouldn't want a cheap one, would you?
You'd want someone to go to bat for your child like it was their own.
You'd want them to expect work from you as well.
It's called a team approach.
And when that attorney does his/her job, you realize that each and every hard earned penny that went towards that retainer fee, traveling fee, or copy fee was worth it and well spent, right?

That's what Jessica and Brett wanted for Emma.
And that's what Jessica and Brett got for Emma.

This is Jessica, and she has quite the story to tell you.
She has a cute-as-a-button daughter named Emma.
And yes, Emma has special needs.
And when I read Jessica's blog, I have to ask myself "Don't I know this girl?"
She sounds so much like me and what I would do.
Funny thing, that special needs community out there, isn't it?
I'm not sure exactly when I met Jessica, if it was through Blog Frog or on a random Internet search of special needs blogs, but I am grateful that I did meet her.

She is one tough cookie!
She would fit in well with me on the south side of Chicago, I tell ya.
A feisty little spit-fire with a passion for her child and her needs like no one else I have met in a long time.
And because Ms. Jessica has a soft, compassionate side, too...she wants to help other parents just like her.
You see, Jessica and Brett and Emma went on this Attorney Journey, and it wasn't some all-expense-paid-kind-of-trip-that-one-wins-on-The-Price-Is-Right.
No balloons falling and confetti caught in your hair or bells and whistles.
It was hard work.
The kind of work that paid off...BIG TIME!

It is this kind of Attorney Journey.

Once you read the ending story of the journey, go back to the beginning.
See where it all started.
See how low they pounded into the ground.
Then see how they rose victorious like a phoenix from the flames.

She's from Arizona, too!
I am too freaking creative tonight with the whole "phoenix" comment!
(*Apraxia Mom pats self on the back!*)

Alright, back to my whole point of this blog post....and I do have a point here.
Go to Jessica's Etsy page and help her help other parents fund an attorney or advocate for their special needs child.
100% of purchases on cards and jewelry will go directly towards helping another child.

You can join me on the Jumping Waves Facebook page to continue following Jessica, Brett and Emma on this journey.
I'm sure there will be more great news to share!

Thanks, Jessica, for being such a warrior Mom!
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Monday, November 28, 2011

Unique Child Study

Columbia University in New York needs your help.
They are doing a study on children with special needs.
Unique children, like ours.
Researchers at Columbia University’s Paul F. Lazarsfeld Center for the Social Sciences studying how children who are unique in some way are identified and developed.
They are currently collecting stories from parents with children who have been identified as gifted, children who have unique artistic, scientific, or physical abilities, children on the autism spectrum, and children who have been identified as having attention disorders.
While all children are unique, the goal of this study is to identify how children with unique developmental abilities or trajectories develop over early childhood.

Simply click on the link here to participate.
There is no catch.
It's a simple survey, and you can abandon the survey at any point if some of the questions make you uncomfortable.

"Parents have different experiences and observations of their child’s development and they have different personal resources with which they access services or programs. Parents also differ in the type and extent of their support networks and social relations. And finally, parents make different decisions when finding the right academic, extra-curricular, or other placements for their children. We would like to give parents the chance to tell their stories. Survey responses will help us understand the experiences of unique children as well as their development over time."

Thanks for your help!

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Toilet Paper Roll Turkey

This toilet paper roll turkey is a simple, but really cute Thanksgiving Day craft. Kids will enjoy cutting out the different color feathers of construction paper and putting the turkey together.

What you'll need:
•Toilet paper roll
•Red, Yellow, and Orange Construction Paper
•2 Googly Eyes

How to make your Toilet Paper Roll Turkey:
•Cut feather shapes out of the construction paper. You'll need 2-3 feathers of each color.
•Cut a small triangle out of orange construction paper for a beak.
•Cut a small peanut shape out of red construction paper for a waddle.
•Cut two feet out of orange construction paper.
•Tape the feathers onto the back of the toilet paper roll.
•Glue the eyes, beak, waddle, and feet to the front of the toilet paper roll.

Have fun!

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tuesday Top Ten

10. A short week due to the Thanksgiving Holiday!

9. One week off from work! YIPPEE!

8. Speech and Occupational therapy that is really bringing out the best in my kids!

7. Refusing to put up any Christmas decorations in or around my house until AFTER Thanksgiving! That's the rule!

6. Making an appointment to visit with Santa soon!

5. I am so thankful for my husband and his support and love!

4. I am so thankful for my children and the joy that they bring to my life!

3. I am so thankful for my family and friends!

2. I am so thankful to all of you who read this little blog of mine!

1. I love my kids!

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Monday, November 21, 2011

ThanksGiving Crafts!

Since this is a short week and we will all be gathering soon to celebrate with our families and friends to give thanks for all that we have and for the progress that we have made, this week will be devoted to crafty ideas for the Thanksgiving Holiday.
And yes, sometimes a little messy.
But what better sensory play than messy sensory play, right!!

Below is a simple craft that your child can do with very little guidance...ENJOY!

What you'll need:
•Yellow and green construction paper
•Printable corn template
•White glue
•Red, orange, yellow, and white washable paint.

How to make your Fingerprint Indian Corn:
1. Print our a corn template or draw your own.
2. Cut the pieces out.
3. Trace the corn piece onto yellow construction paper, and the husk piece onto green construction paper, then cut both pieces out.
4. Glue the corn piece onto the husk piece.
5. Have your child dip their fingers into the paint and dot the different colors onto the corn.

*This works best if you can convince them to use one color at a time, but looks just as cute if they all get smeared together, too!

Happy Crafting!

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Friday, November 18, 2011

Santa and the Girl Scouts

When I was growing up, we always traveled to both Grandparent's houses to celebrate Christmas Eve.
Those are the memories that I will never forget.
And at the end of the day, I remember driving home, anxiously waiting to see if Santa paid our house a visit.

And he did!

But before me, my sister or my brother could open any gifts, my parents would read us a letter that Santa had left for us.
I was always amazed at what the jolly ole elf knew about us!
Um, good and bad.

So how would you like to give your child a personalized letter from Santa Claus this year AND help a well known organization at the same time?

Except this group of Girl Scouts is comprised of little ladies with special needs!

This Christmas, surprise your child with a letter from Santa!
Take advantage of this unique opportunity to send your child a personalized letter from Santa Claus!
For only $5.00, your child will receive a letter from Santa through the mail that is personalized with his/her name.
Each letter will be printed on holiday stationery, and will contain a thoughtful message from Santa.
Delivery is guaranteed before Christmas Eve!

Proceeds will be donated to help support Girl Scouts Troop #200, a troop giving girls with special needs the opportunity to build courage, confidence and leadership and to make this world a better place.

Girl Scouts turns 100 years old in 2012 (1912- 2012) and in August 2012 Girl Scout Troop #200 will be making the road trip down to Savannah GA, the founder of Girl Scouts.

Please fill out the info below on a separate piece of paper and mail it along with your payment (checks made payable to NCHS DECA) by December 7, 2011, to:

Katie Barry, DECA Advisor
Naperville Central High School
440 West Aurora
Naperville IL 60540

Katie Barry at or
Christine Bell at

Parent/Guardian Name: ________________________________________________
Purchaser's Name (if different from parent):________________________________
Phone (only used if there is a question regarding the order): ___________________
# of Letters: __________ @ $5.00 each = $____________ total payment enclosed

Only ONE Child per letter. (Please make checks payable to NCHS.)
Personalization - PLEASE PRINT NEATLY
***Child's First and Last Name
***Male or Female
***Address (Street, City, State, Zip)
Note: Each Child in Your Order Will Receive a Different Letter

Thanks for your support!

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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Did You Ever Wonder HOW They Learn?

Did you ever wonder HOW your special needs child learns?
Why it takes longer for some simple tasks and quicker for more complex tasks?
I have.
And I have found a wonderful book for you all to read.
I bought mine on and read it in one night.
And I must say that it has opened my eyes to what my own child with special needs is going through.

Thank you, David Sousa!

"Since the first edition of David A. Sousa's bestseller on a brain-based approach for special education, scientists have made remarkable progress in understanding how the human brain functions. Now, How the Special Needs Brain Learns, Second Edition, helps you turn the latest developments in neuroscience into practical classroom activities for students with common learning challenges.

In this completely revised second edition, Sousa builds on the latest data by examining both simple and complex learning strategies that can be adapted for students with learning disabilities such as ADHD/ADD; speech, reading, writing, and math disabilities; emotional and behavioral disorders; autism; and Asperger's syndrome.

Emphasizing lifelong independent learning, increased retention, and cognitive flexibility, this revision offers educators targeted assistance with:

•Responsiveness to Intervention (RTI) for evaluating students at risk
•Expanded chapters on attention and autism spectrum disorders
•Revised material on reading, emotional, and behavioral disorders
•A new final chapter featuring a practical framework for identifying, accommodating, and motivating special needs students
•References to more than 230 new scientific studies

Offering real strategies for real classrooms, Sousa's latest work is an indispensable tool for all educators, school administrators and teachers, staff developers, preservice educators, and even parents who want to better understand the way their children process and retain information."

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

"Mom, I Can't Hear"

That was the message that Kaitlyn gave me on Tuesday morning when she woke up.
She's been battling a cold for about a week now, but those words made me believe that something else was up.
Aside from my fear of an ear infection, I was pretty impressed with what she had to tell me.
And the fact that she did tell me.
In her own words.
And that I didn't have to try and figure it out or play charades to figure it out.
Because for so long, that is what I had to do to figure out the few words she had.

So, being the bad Mom that I was being Tuesday morning, I sent her to school.
Why shouldn't I have sent her?!
She didn't have a fever.
She did have a snotty nose, but no fever.
So off to school she went.
But that little Mama voice in my head told me to call the pediatrician's office and get her in to be checked out ASAP.

We had an appointment at 3:45pm.
She looked a tad worse than when I sent her to school.
Something was really kicking her butt.
And the doc's trusty otoscope told me the inevitable: she has an ear infection.

Well, she did tell me that she couldn't hear that morning.
But she didn't have a fever, so I didn't think "infection".
Yep, bad Mom and bad Nurse...all in one day.

So now she is on the pink stuff.
And now I have to hope that sounds and words don't start to suffer because of it.
It's happened before, and I've been there.
Until her next speech session, I've got to bump up her speech therapy at home.
Need to work on those lower decibel sounds.
Focus on the /s/ and /th/ and /f/ sounds for a few days.

The lesson learned here?
Listen to my kids.
Lesson learned.
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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Tuesday Top Ten

10. Mainstreaming.

9. Successful Parent-Teacher Conferences!

8. Watching my son make stick figures and faces with HUGE ears! LOVE!

7. Kaitlyn's successful OT consult!

6. A date night and a babysitter.

5. Reflection and anticipation.

4. Two stuffy-nosed kiddos in my house.

3. To-Do Lists that actually get done!

2. Dancing to Lady Gaga!

1. I LOVE my kids!

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Monday, November 14, 2011

How To Include Special Ed With General Ed

Please don't ask me to answer this question.
Because I don't know the answer.

All I do know is that my husband and I have prayed and talked and prayed some more about this topic for several weeks now.
We have known for some time that this day would come.
And while we are both excited and anxious, scared and nervous, confident and determined to make it work....the day has come.

The day?
Kaitlyn will be mainstreaming to our home school.
Saying good-bye to the security blanket of what we have come to know in the self-contained setting which she has been in for almost three years.
While I will miss the warmth and comfort of that security blanket, I know in my heart of hearts that it has become too restrictive for her.
And while she is not completely ready to have her wings clipped to fly away on her own, her current setting is holding her back from the potential that she has inside.

There will still be a lot of hand-holding and guidance required (of both her and myself!), we are ready to embark on the new adventure.
It won't happen until the summer of the 2012-2013 school year, but there is a lot that has to be done prior to the "big move".

How do I teach the new staff about my child?
About her abilities?
About her disabilities?
About what motivates her and what scares her?
Will I ever be able to relax and just let her go?

Of course I will!
Because this girl and I can swim with the sharks!
Better yet, we swim BETTER than most sharks out there.
And together, we will do this!
We will be successful!

Click here for some great tips to help you include your special ed child in the general education setting.

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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Tips for Handwriting

The following blog has been copied/pasted from the Handwriting Without Tears email that I receive monthly.
I want to give them props because this article below is all theirs.
Not mine.
I'm too tired today to even think of putting a coherent sentence together.
Worked yesterday.
Very busy.
See? I'd rather write in single words than long elaborate sentences!
Just read below, OK.............

4 Steps to Teach Correct Grip
Good habits that begin in early years will last a lifetime—and holding a crayon or pencil correctly is a very important habit.
Awkward grips can cause fatigue, cramping, and even pain—making writing difficult. This problem can be prevented.
The foundation starts with general upper body strength and fine motor skill activities.
Follow these four steps to teach proper grip.

What you see here are the two efficient grips that are universally recommended for children to achieve: the tripod grip and the quadropod grip.

For the tripod grip, the thumb, pointer, and middle finger work together to hold a writing tool.

For the quadropod grip, four fingers work together to stabilize the writing tool. Notice how the pencil rests on the ring finger and this provides additional support.

You might observe children holding their crayon or pencil with too many fingers or placing their thumbs on top of their fingers, or their fingers on top of their thumbs.
If you notice this, you will need to help children form the proper grip to help them with the mechanics of writing and ultimately, to become better writers.

Follow these four steps!

1.Determine Handedness.
Determine the skilled or preferred hand to teach grip.
Notice which hand the child uses more often during activities requiring hand use, for example, eating and stringing beads.
You may want to collaborate with teachers, parents, and therapists, so they too are watching too and can help you decide.

2.Teach correct finger placement.
Show children how to position their fingers on the writing tool, using one of the grips above.

3.Use small tools.
It is important for children to use writing tools that promote the correct use of the thumb, pointer, and middle fingers.
Often, when children are given primary size pencils and crayons, their grip becomes awkward because these tools are too heavy and long for their little hands.

4.Play! Provide creative opportunities for children to develop fine motor skills that are necessary for correct grip, such as scissor activities, manipulating play dough, stringing beads, etc.

I love Handwriting Without Tears!

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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Top Ten

10. Back to blog giveaways! Woo-Hoo!

9. A fiesty IEP meeting for Andrew.

8. Adding 30 minutes of OT to Andrew's IEP for school!

7. Deciding to look into private OT for Kaitlyn.

6. Contemplating swim lessons for Andrew.

5. Upcoming Parent Teacher Conferences for both kids.

4. Mainstreaming.

3. Decisions.

2. A fun Halloween for both of the kids.

1. I love my kiddos!

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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

And the SPIO Winner is.....

Sarah Beth Daigneault Moore!

Congrats, Sarah!

Sarah, you have 48 hours to contact me via email at with your mailing information.

If Sarah does not contact me by 1:00pm (CST) on Thursday, November 10, 2011 a new winner will be randomly chosen.

Thanks to all who participated, and thanks again to SPIO for allowing me to review such a great product!

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Monday, November 7, 2011

A SPIO Giveaway!

I am always on the search for new products that could potentially help my children during school or one of their many therapy sessions.
I always hope that they could maintain their attention long enough to participate and gain something from a session.
Both of my children have sensory issues and are constantly "seeking" in one form or another.
While one fidgets in their seat, the other loves the close contact of the therapist.
And they both love hugs!
Fortunately, thanks to SPIO, I have found a product that provides what both of them need.

SPIO, which stands for Stabilizing Pressure Input Orthosis, is a compression garment useful for providing sensory input to help children with a variety of conditions to improve their trunk tone, function, and posture.

SPIO™ systems were designed by Cheryl Allen, a mother of two children with tone, movement, and severe sensory processing disorders, and Nancy Hylton who is a Physical Therapist, Licensed Orthotist, and the mother of a son with cerebral palsy.

Unlike other products, the principle of SPIO is compression, deep pressure and sensory input: everything a sensory-seeking child may crave.
It does not provide physical or rigid support, so this vest may not be helpful to children with extremely low tone or spinal deformities.
Below are a variety of products that SPIO offers:

Since they are made of a patented Lycra fabric with a unique multi-directional stretch, they allow for ease of movement, all while providing the compression and sensory input that you are looking for.

And, if cared for properly, all SPIO systems allow for a 25% growth.

I have used the SPIO shirt and pants for my daughter for several weeks now during her speech therapy sessions.
It is not uncommon for her to touch her therapist or look for a hug when she does something good or pronounces a sound correctly.
She thrives on praise!
I had been told by our SLP on a few occasions that she would have my daughter sit on her lap while she hugs her to give her that sensory input she was craving.
And I was also told that during these "hug" portions of her therapy, her concentration improved greatly as did her progress.
Now that we have a SPIO product on during the session, she is able to sit and attend during the session with the same outcomes!

And yes, I am a believer!

And the great folks over at SPIO would like to give ONE WINNER your own SPIO product of your choice!
But as always, please check with your personal physician if this or any product would be appropriate for your child.

So here is what you need to do to enter this giveaway:
1.) Leave a comment about this giveaway on my Facebook page.

2.) Go to the SPIO Facebook Page and "LIKE" them and leave a comment.

***To be considered a valid entry, you MUST comment on SPIO's Facebook page that you heard about their product from my blog giveaway and product review today!

3.) Follow SPIO on Twitter and "retweet" my post about this giveaway.


This giveaway begins on Monday, November 7, 2011 and ends on Tuesday, November 8,2011at 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.

For more information on SPIO, their products, and sizing information, please check out their website at

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Tuesday, November 1, 2011


What have your children taught you?
What have you learned?
It's amazing what our children can make us see, isn't it?
*Thanks to Teri Mauro for allowing me to share this calendar!

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