Sunday, August 28, 2011

Potty Weekend (Day Two)

And finally... the end of Potty Weekend...

Maybe not an Epic Fail, but certainly not the Potty Miracle that I was hoping for.  Of course, given how we do things around here, I should have known it would be the Hard Way.

So what went well?  I can honestly say that... by the end of the weekend... we have accomplished the following:
       J-man willingly sits on the potty for extended periods of time.  Think 30 minutes or longer. 
       J-man will go sit when prompted.
       J-man has learned how to recognize when he is wet, and has on two occasions shown me and then went to sit on the potty afterwards.
       J-man has learned to like big boy underwear.

And what didn't?
       J-man never actually peed on the potty.  Indeed, he seemed to deliberately hold off until about 5-10 minutes after he was off the pot to then relieve himself.  At one time I noticed J-man doing the potty dance and I tried to get him to go sit on the potty.  He yelled no no no and then ran away.  Five minutes later, he'd had an accident... and proceeded (on his own) to go sit on the potty after the fact.  Clearly he is missing the point.

So what now?  Not exactly sure.  Do I keep up the same intensity or ease up and decide he is not ready?  He isn't fighting it, but.... I am exhausted.  

So, mommas and papas.... thoughts?????

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Our Big Fat Potty Weekend

Day One of our Big Fat Potty Weekend

Mommy : 0
J-man : #1 and #2
Winner:  Stanley Steamer Carpet Cleaner

For the longest time, J-man refused... I mean had ZERO willingness... to even sit on the potty.  And so we haven't pushed it.  And then, about a month ago, he started to show a little interest.  He started to be willing to sit... first for 10 seconds, then for minutes, and even started doing it at his program.  Two to three time a day we were able to have him sit and try.  And then, on the day we got Dolly, he peed on the potty for the first time.  Alas, it was at school, so I couldn't have the out and out freak-out party that I wanted to have for him.  With presents and rewards galore.

Oh well.

So given these successes, I decided that this weekend we would kick it up a notch.

Away went the diapers.  No pull-ups.  Big boy undies only! 

Trips to the potty every hour at least.

Rewards for sitting on the potty.

BIG rewards waiting for the BIG moment.... and waiting... and still waiting...

How can we spend that much time in the bathroom and not even have an accidental pee???

Nope.  He was happy as can be, ring around the derriere, singing songs and reading stories and playing with the numerous Dollar Store toys I bought.  But no potty business..... until about 10 minutes after getting up and then BAM... we are changing clothes.  And cleaning the carpet.

It's okay, though.  We will try it again tomorrow and see what happens.  So far J-man is having fun with it (related to the treats and toys no doubt) and who knows... maybe something will click.

Pray for us. Or at least me. PLEASE.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Be Inspired

Be Educated HERE

Be Supportive HERE or HERE (Team PIE!)

Be an Advocate HERE

Please...  BE POWERFUL, so J-man (and Bianca and Kay and Ethan and Connor and... the list goes on and on) can be the very best they can be. 

Thank you to Lou from Lou's Land for this amazing work.  You inspire me.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Introducing Dolly

I am happy to announce the newest member of our family:  Miss Dolly!

Miss Dolly is a seven year old King Charles Cavalier that my friend's friend was breeding, and she decided that Miss Dolly needed to go into retirement and have a chance at the good life.  It only took a little begging and pleading for Big Daddy to come around.  And now I think he is loving her...

She needs a bath.  And a haircut.  But she is sweet as pie, and tolerates the absolute hysterical excitement J-man had when he met her.  Miss Dolly is going to be awesome for him, I can tell already. 

Oh, and have you ever heard of debarking?  That is when the cut away a portion of the vocal cords to soften or eliminate the dog's bark.  I had never heard it before.... it sounds barbaric.... but the previous owner (prior to the breeder we got her from) had her debarked.  I must admit I am a little horrified.  She has the softest squeak.  And don't think that I don't miss the irony that my apraxic, verbally challenged son's dog has no voice.  In a way, it may be a match made in heaven.

On another note:  J-man peed on the potty today!  Details coming in my next post....

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Little Things

I will say being J-man's mom has definitely helped me pay attention to the little things in life.  The simple pieces of the puzzle.  When they fall into place, there is no missing them.  No ignoring or having them pass by unnoticed.  The smallest gain, the simplest milestone is noticed and honored and cherished.  It is a double edge sword, of course, because the lags and delays are there too, and every 'problem' makes me afraid we have a Problem. I notice them too.

But one thing that I hope J-man comes to know about his mommy is that ... if I am anything... I am present and aware of him.  The whole of him. 

And that every single moment matters.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Therapy Schmerapy

Confession Time

We enrolled J-man in an ABA-VB program in June. 

There. I said it. 

I can hear some of you thinking "so? what's the big deal?"

Ahhhh...  well, if you are thinking that, you might not be aware of the thorny issue of what kind of therapy is the "right" kind of therapy for kids on 'the spectrum'.  Recently I received this email from a reader (I have those???) who asked me how I knew what therapy was the right therapy for J-man?  I can't remember exactly what I emailed back (probably something unbelievably wise and smarty-pants), but in reality... I have no idea.  In fact, if I am honest with myself, I am not sure I have made the right therapeutic choices. 

You see, the options are many.  Some therapeutic options are well researched, well documented, and well marketed.  Some are back-alley and sketchy.  And when I first fell down this rabbit hole, it was very difficult to know which way is up.  Which way is the right way.  AND the thing is... the right thing for J-man might not be the right thing for another child.  So how do you weed through all of the options and even have a clue what is "right"? 

And the opinions... oh the opinions... it seems like every parent, professional and specialist has an opinion about what is the best... most effective... most appropriate therapy.  And what are not the best therapies...  That tends to result in different therapy "camps".  Camp RDI.  Camp Biomedical.  Camp ABA.  Camp Floortime.  And I have spent most of my time at the Camps CP, Flootime, and RDI.  Camp ABA held no appeal for me.  To be truthful, I am still not 100% for Camp ABA.  So why enroll J-man in a program I have real reservations about?

First of all, I have come to believe that there is no such thing as the "perfect" therapy.  The appropriateness and effectiveness of a therapy is wholly depends on who is delivering it and what you are trying to accomplish.  For example, the Communicating Partners approach is perfect for relationship building and engaged social communication.  ABA (discrete trial) is good for developing compliance and teaching discrete skills, but not so great at engagement and generalization.  And ABA/VB is the more sophisticated sibling of traditional ABA, combining some of the elements of more relational approaches but with the behavioral structure of traditional ABA.  Each area best serves different purposes.

Secondly, I also believe that there is nothing wrong with taking combined approaches.  Why not do pieces of each?  Why not take the best of all of them and combine them to address the needs of J-man?  I mean, isn't the best therapy individualized and adapted for J-man's needs? 

So when J-man turned four,  we took a good look at his progress.  Some areas were much better.  Other areas seemed stagnant.  With consultations with the Camaratas and examination of different programs, we found Partners and decided that we would try J-man in the program part time, continue a CP approach at home, Speech and OT twice a week, and see where we ended up after 3 months. 

J-man LOVES Partners.  He is constantly challenged and stimulated, which is perfect for him.  When he entered the program I was upfront and honest about my concerns.  About whether he would fit with what the program had to offer.  About his strengths and his challenges and what his needs really are.  And what our expectations for him are. The staff were very open to our concerns and issues, and to how my current 'home program' might fit into what they do.  In essence, they have said and done all the right things.  We are very pleased. 

We are taking a chance on doing something I would not have normally signed on to because being flexible and open is more important than holding on to some preconceived ideas about what is the "right" therapy for J-man.   And so far we have not been disappointed. I might get kicked out of some of my other camps, but I hope not.  I hope that my CP peeps don't drum me out for trying ABA/VB. 

In the end, what is the "right" therapy?  I guess it is the one that works for your family. 

Once again, the wonderful folks at Best of the Best SOS Research have featured me in this month's addition Therapy and Special Needs Kids.  Check out these awesome writers and get their take on the whole therapy world!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Wanna Go for a Walk?

I can't help it.
 I love the photo!

I try to do one fundraising charity walk a year.  This year it seems especially important, as we delve deeper into All Things J-man.  And this year, moreso than many other years, the funding for research and resources for special needs kiddos is remarkably thin.  So this year I have decided to support the Walk Now for Autism Speaks by building our Team J-man and (hopefully) convincing some of you to consider sponsoring our team!

Why, you ask??  Well, if you read this blog, you probably already know why.  J-man and other children like him remain a mystery for many families and professionals.  Providing support, whether it is through well-done research or through providing support services to families, is vitally important for our kids (and our sanity).  And really, in this world right now, the only way that support can be given is through your generous nature.

How can *I* help, you ask???  

Ahhh... there are so many ways.  First, go find your calendar and your wallet.  Don't worry, I will wait.

*insert annoying musak soundtrack*

Ready?  Excellent!

First Option:   Join Team J-man on Saturday, September 24th 2011 for the Walk Now for Autism Speaks at the Mall of America in the Twin Cities!

If you join us, you can have a lot of super-cool fun and help raise both funds and awareness!!  Plus, I will make cookies!  If I get a least 10 walkers to join me, we get our own special area just to hang out and look super-cool.   AND you can make your own very special page on our Team J-man site.  So help us fund raise and come window shopping!!!

Second Option:  Not much of a walker?  That's ok!  You can help with a donation to my own Team J-man page.

Obviously donations with lots of zeros would be great, but I would also be thrilled with single digit donations..  So show us some love!!!

Third Option:  Pass the word about Team J-man!  Direct people to our blog so they can see our story and be inspired (or just amused).   Or to our fundraising pages.   Just let people know and schmooze for us a bit!!!  And, let's face it, for a very worthy cause.

Questions?  Just let me know!!! 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Hot Summer Days

I owe you a post, but I haven't really had a chance to sit down and write.  As you will see, J-man and I have been VERY busy. 

This is an excellent language day for J-man. If you have ever wondered how J-man's apraxia and ASD affect him, here you go! What you are hearing is his language delay and apraxia, but if you listen very carefully you will hear him say a lot.... even one or two full sentences!!  His engagement is pretty great today... and yes, I should be playing with him... I promise you, I did put the camera down and get wet!! 

It is the only way to spend a hot summer day!


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