Saturday, February 28, 2009

Have you talked with your child about autism?

Yesterday at Bearhug's IEP meeting his ASD teacher asked us if we had talked to the boys about their autism.

I'll give you my thoughts on it and how we've approached with Cuddlebug and Bearhug (obviously haven't crossed that bridge yet with Little Bitty), but I'm really curious to hear what other parents think and how you've handled this with your own children. I just want to say up front too, I don't think there's any right or wrong way to handle this, and my guess is it's something that we'll be evolving over time.

We've never had an official "autism" discussion with our boys. We've had some talks with them about how their brains work a little differently than some other people's brains. We've talked about how there are some things that are hard for them (they already knew that) that are easy for other people, but there are some things that are easy for them that are hard for other people. Basically, we've framed it as everyone has their challenges and everyone has their talents, and you need to just do the best you can to work on your challenges and take advantage of your talents. Sometimes you will need a little help from other people, and sometimes you will be able to help other people. It's like that for everyone, just in different ways. We haven't really focused on terminology or put a name to it.

Apparently, there are some in the school district who believe that kids with autism should be taught to advocate for themselves. I agree with that, I guess we just take a different approach. When they are a little older, we will talk more about autism specifically and teach them how to share information about autism with others. We'll certainly be there to answer questions as they have them. But for now, we really just want them to be able to just be kids and not have to be "advocates" at such a young age.

We've tried to give them terminology that is more accessible for the average person. They can explain to someone, "I'm having a hard day" or "I need a break." Most people can relate to that in their own way. From the time they were little, we referred to therapy as "school" and their therapists as "teachers." There's obviously nothing wrong with going to therapy, but we wanted it to be something that seemed familiar, and they'd seen plenty of cartoons about "school." Also, once they got to a point of being able to talk to other kids about their day, we wanted it to be in terms that the other kids could relate to.

It's not like it's a secret, we talk about autism at home and it's not a big deal. We just haven't made a point of having a specific discussion about it. They've had enough challenges with things like stimming and communication difficulties that present obstacles to social interactions, we didn't want to add terminology that would be unfamiliar to most people to the mix.

So, that's what we've done so far. I know some people talk more specificially about autism with their kids sooner, and I think there are some benefits to that too.

If you did, how did it go? What did you tell your child, and how did they respond?

If you're an adult on the spectrum, how did your family handle this? Do you agree or disagree with their approach? Do you have any advice for parents?

If you're a teacher or therapist, how have some of the families you've worked with handled this? What are your thoughts on it?

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IEP update

Bearhug's IEP meeting yesterday went great, he is doing really well overall. His teachers note that he's had just a tad of regression in the area of self-calming and asking for breaks when needed. He was doing pretty good with that independently for a while but needs a little more prompting now.

He has mastered some of his IEP goals from this past year (yay!) so we took those out. We kept a few that he's still working on, and we added some new ones to build on his progress.

One area he'll be working on is organizing his writing. He has a lot of great ideas but tends to write very stream of consciousness, so you end up with pages where the sequence really jumps around a lot. You could have two paragraphs next to each other that are completely unrelated, and when you ask him about it, he'll point you to another paragraph a few pages back that is a continuation of the first paragraph. He can follow it all just fine, but most readers can't.

We also had our regular teacher conferences with both Bearhug and Cuddlebug's teachers yesterday, and they are each doing great. They're both starting to read longer chapter-books for school. Bearhug is reading "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" and Cuddlebug is reading "Charlotte's Web." I remember reading both when I was a kid, but I'm thinking about reading them again so we can discuss the books together as they read.

All in all it was a good meeting and we're really proud of the boys :).

Next up is Little Bitty, we have his IEP meeting next week and then we're done with IEP's until next year :).

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Mission accomplished!

Yesterday I took the day off since we had Bearhug's IEP meeting (more on that in another post) and I figured it would be a good opportunity to get some other errands done with dh afterwards. Like birthday shopping for a certain little boy who will be turning 4 next month :).

At the toy store, we looked to see if they had Peter Sam. Having checked a few other stores earlier in the week, we had learned that he wasn't an easy engine to find.

We checked through all the metal trains and turned up empty yet again. Almost all of our trains are the metal ones because they're cheaper, and they're pretty durable too. We have a few of the wooden trains that came with DVD's over the years, but that's about it.

I went ahead and checked the section of wooden trains to see if maybe Peter Sam was available there. No luck. I flipped through the trains hanging on each peg, in case he was hidden behind some other trains. Nope.

Dh picked out a couple of other metal trains to get Bitty for his birthday. I called my mom since I know she's been birthday shopping too, to make sure we weren't buying the same ones.

I kept scanning the trains as I chatted with my mom, and then I saw it.

Near the bottom, the third in line behind two other trains, the name "Peter Sam" jumped out from one of the packages.

It was the only one there, perhaps the only one in the local metro area. I worked it out from behind the other trains and looked. A little bubble announcing, "Available for a limited time only" was on the front. Maybe that's why we'd had such a hard time finding him?

Being a wooden train, he was more expensive than what we usually pay for trains, and I knew we could order the metal one online, but by the time we paid for shipping or bought enough other things to get free shipping, we'd end up paying the same or more. Not to mention, who knows when it would actually arrive, and in the meantime we'd still have a Peter-Sam-obsessed little boy at home going nuts over finding Peter Sam.

We bought Peter Sam, along with some birthday presents. We hid the presents in the back of the car and put Peter Sam in the front, ready to give to Bitty when we picked him up from school. After all, he'd woken up that morning repeating yet again, "fweep, skoo, Peeh-San" and this time we'd finally be able to cross #3 off of that list :).

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The Mission: Find Peter Sam

A while back dh put a box of Thomas trains up on the attic in an effort to clear out some space in the boys' rooms and also encourage Little Bitty to play with some other toys. We kept a handful of trains out for him to play with.

A couple of weeks ago, Little Bitty came to me looking for "dree." I didn't understand what he wanted at first, but he took me to the little pile of trains he'd been playing with and said, "dree, En-ee." That would be Henry, the #3 engine, missing from his pile. I went up to the attic, dug around in the box of trains, and found #3 Henry.

Haha, mistake. I should have known better than to go up there when he could see me, but he was quite persistent, dancing around saying "dree! En-ee, dree!" and tugging at my hand. By tugging, I mean trying to pull my arm from its socket. Well, not really but he's strong so it kind of feels that way. :) There was no distracting him, and no way to satisfy his repeated requests without heading up to the attic, so I finally did.

Once he realized that panel in the ceiling held a ladder that led to a hidden stash of trains, he started coming to me with requests almost every day.

"Jay" (James)
"nie" (nine - Donald's tender)
"Sir Handoo" (Sir Handel)
"kwah" ("square," I eventually figured out he wanted Emily's coal tender, which has squares on it)

With each request, he pulled me upstairs and then danced around while motioning up toward the attic. There was one request I got wrong, but luckily Cuddlebug was there to help.


Bitty showed me a coal tender and I thought Diesel went with it but when I came back with Diesel, he responded, "dah naw wie!" (that's not right). I was confused, but Cuddlebug walked by, took one look at the coal tender, and said "that's not Diesel's, that's Neville's." He knows his trains :). I went back up and returned with Neville, and all was right with the world again.

And then came a request for a train I couldn't find.

"Peeh-San." (Peter Sam)

I looked everywhere in the box but came up empty. No Peter Sam.

"Fie Peeh-San!"
"I can't find Peter Sam, sorry honey."
A sad face like you wouldn't believe.
"Peeh-San aww gaw?"
"Yeah, I think Peter Sam's all gone."
"Soo sad!! Peeh-San aww gaw!"

He eventually moved on, but the next evening came back to me with a hopeful expression asking, "Fie Peeh-San!" and pulling me upstairs again. I couldn't remember if we'd ever actually bought Peter Sam, so I had no idea if he was missing or if we just didn't have him in the first place. Cuddlebug to the rescue again - he said we never had Peter Sam. If anyone would know, it would be Cuddlebug.

So I told Bitty we'd have to go to the store to find Peter Sam. He didn't really understand (or just wasn't happy with that answer?), and kept trying to pull me along to find the train. There was no distracting him, and we went through the same cycle of insistence followed by tears several times. Finally I promised him that the next day we'd go to the store and find Peter Sam. He doesn't really understand time concepts like "tomorrow" so I made a list for him hoping to make clear what would need to happen before we could go get Peter Sam. I used my fingers to count:

1 - sleep tonight
2 - school tomorrow
3 - find Peter Sam

I repeated it over and over. First, sleep. Second, school. Third, Peter Sam.

He started to calm down and count on his fingers with me. "Fweep, skoo, Peeh-San." The next morning, the first thing he said was, "Fweep, skoo, Peeh-San." Dh planned to go buy Peter Sam that day before he picked Bitty up from school.

Just one problem - he couldn't find Peter Sam at the store. Oops.

He called me at work, and I checked with the stores closer to where I work. No luck there either. Uh-oh.

Bitty seemed not to notice when he first came home, but that evening, the requests for Peter Sam resumed. He's never asked for a toy like that, so we really wanted to be able to find it for him. We looked online and found him, so we had a backup plan, but yesterday we made one more attempt to find him locally...

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

SEW & WW: Snack time


Just a cute picture of Bearhug at 23 months old, eating his Cheerios his own way :).

Click here for more Special Exposure Wednesday. Click here and here for more Wordless Wednesday.

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Monday, February 23, 2009

Magic Marker Monday: Happy Valentine's Day!



I know Valentine's Day has come and gone, but I just had to share these cute Valentines from the boys :).

Here's one that Little Bitty brought home from school: I love the picture they put on it :), and his little handprints!

Here's one that Cuddlebug made for me, as you can see he's been learning about the solar system so that was the theme of his card :). He's got quite a lot of detail there, too.

The note reads: "Dear Mama, Happy Valentine's Day! On the tv, we see many things like Vermont Teddy Bear, Pajama-gram. When you are at work we miss you. Love, Cuddlebug, Bearhug, Dad, and the solar system!"

LOL, his reference to the Valentine's commercials cracked me up, those were on non-stop! And his sweet note about missing me, you know I had to give him a big hug when I read that!

Bearhug made me three heart-shaped cards, each with a separate note. You can see a bit of the "solar system" theme in his notes too, and I love how his sense of humor shines through, especially in the third note:

"Dear Mama, I love you! I know what to do on summer. We're going to swing, camp, and look for a green flash, Mars and Venus. Love, Bearhug"

"Dear Mama, I love you. I love my family, grandma & grandpa, uncles, everyone. Love, Bearhug. p.s. Earth is our home."

"Dear Mama, I love when you give us DS night. Love, Bearhug.
p.s. It's a secret.
p.p.s. don't tell anyone.
p.p.p.s. for that I love you.
p.p.p.p.s. who's doing this?
p.p.p.p.p.s. stop it.
p.p.p.p.p.p.s. oh, it's me."

LOL :)

"DS night" is when we let them stay up and play Nintendo DS in bed (most Friday nights).

Check out their handwriting! A couple of years ago it would have taken them half the page or more just to write their names. They've really done a good job of learning to write smaller and more legible!

For more Magic Marker Monday, visit 5 Minutes for Special Needs.

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Thursday, February 19, 2009

Update on Little Bitty

It's been crazy-busy lately but thought I'd share a couple of updates on Little Bitty. The other day, I asked him how his day at school was, expecting to hear the answer he always gives, "koo bus" (school bus) . It doesn't matter how we ask the question:

"How was school today?"
"Did you have a good day at school?"
"Did you have fun at school?"
"What did you do at school today?"

The answer is always the same: "Koo bus"

He says it with a smile so we have generally taken this to mean he had a good day at school. (Ironically, he doesn't even ride the bus, he's always been a car-rider).

So when I asked him the other day, I was surprised when he gave a new answer:
"Ms. J---" (his teacher's name)
"Wow, you saw Ms. J--- today?"
"Ms. A---" (his speech therapist's name)
"You saw Ms. A--- today too? Did you have fun with Ms. A---?"
He smiled and went back to playing with his trains. Dh and I were pretty amazed :).


Not so much progress on the potty-training front though. We're still pretty much at the same place we were a couple of months ago. Well, actually we have had a little progress in that he will sometimes tell us "po-ee tie" when we're out in public now, and if we can get to a bathroom in time he'll use the potty. He's done this at church a couple of times. Unfortunately, he won't go unless his pants are completely off, so it takes a little time getting his shoes and everything off. One time I wasn't fast enough to get everything off and get back to help him aim (he doesn't do that by himself yet), and he got me. Luckily I had a black skirt on and you couldn't tell, and church was almost over at that point. It's not an issue at home obviously, since he is a minimalist when it comes to clothes at home.

He still shows absolutely no interest in doing #2 in the potty. None whatsoever, no matter how much we encourage and cajole. On the bright side, he still asks for a pull-up when he needs to do #2. That means (1) he recognizes the need to go before it happens, and can tell the difference b/t needing to go #1 and #2, and (2) he doesn't want to go in his underwear. That's pretty huge as far as I'm concerned. Two other boys who will remain nameless had no qualms about doing #2 in their underwear when they were potty-training. In fact, they would go hide somewhere to do their business in their pants, and then come walking around like nothing had happened. The clean-up was NO FUN.

So I'm extremely grateful that Bitty gives us some warning and prefers to use a pull-up for that, because it's easier to clean him up. Sometimes he even tries to clean himself up, but that generally leads to a bigger mess, and often even a quick bath. Which he hates :(.

As for trying to get to the next step, when he asks for a pull-up, we try to get him to sit on the potty (sometimes we put him there), and tell him it's potty-time.

His response: "No po-ee tie, pooyuh" (no potty time, pull-up)

He gets really agitated if we push it, and we don't want this to become a battle of wills or risk making it a bigger issue than it needs to be, so don't push too hard. He'll get there when he's ready.

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Saturday, February 14, 2009

25 Things, Autism Style

I've seen this on a few other blogs, thought I'd play along too :).


The Twilight Zone, USA :)

Cuddlebug, age 7, dx'd with autism & sensory processing disorder at age 3
Bearhug, age 7, dx'd with autism & sensory processing disorder at age 3
Little Bitty, age 3 (4 next month!), dx'd with PDD-NOS & sensory processing disorder at age 2

I believe so, yes, but as long as our boys are getting the support that they need we don't worry too much about the diagnosis specifics. Cuddlebug & Bearhug are both on the "high-functioning" end of the spectrum. Little Bitty was dx'd shortly after turning 2, and with him being so young the psychologist preferred to dx PDD-NOS. I think if we were to re-evaluate, Little Bitty's diagnosis at this point would probably be something along the lines of "moderate" autism.

With Bearhug and Cuddlebug, my first reaction was relief. Finally we had an explanation for the constant meltdowns and the difficulty with communication. There had been something a little "different" (for lack of a better word) about our twins from birth (they never regressed) and having the dx helped to explain a lot. At the same time, I worried about what their future would hold. I knew almost nothing about autism so I embarked on a crash course to learn as much as I could. At least I finally knew where to start.

With Little Bitty, I felt a deep sadness when I realized his regression was real and not me being paranoid. At the same time, the fact that we'd been at least partway down this road already gave me mixed emotions. Hope because we had experienced significant progress with his brothers, and dread because there were a lot of rough times and stress along the way to that progress, and I knew the road ahead was not going to be easy. Just thinking about it made me exhausted!

One of the hardest things is dealing with judgmental attitudes. I can deal with the ones who act like I'm the world's worst mother, because I know better. I love my kids and I believe that God gave them to me for a reason. What really bothers me is the ones who are rude to my kids. My kids may not notice the rolled eyes, muttered comments, or annoyed and impatient tones, but I do. I try to do what I can to educate people so the next time they come across a child who appears to be hyperactive, overly stressed, takes a little time to express themselves, just seems tuned out, or having a meltdown, maybe they will be a little more understanding.

Wow, where to start. My kids are amazing, and I am blessed to be their mom! I love learning from them, and it is so fun being around someone who has such a unique way of seeing the world around them and expressing themselves. I love that my boys are so energetic and that they aren't afraid to be themselves. They very bright and creative. They pick their friends based on who is nice, they don't care about (or even notice) superficial qualities. I also love being able to do our own thing. We have made our little corner of the Twilight Zone (aka Schmolland?) into a pretty cool place to be :).

Nope. The food we'd have to cut out is pretty much everything on the short-list of what our kids will eat.

Nope. Autism is just a part of who they are. It's not an illness, their brains are just wired differently. No treatment is going to rewire their brains, and I wouldn't want to even if we could. It's possible that a child could have medical issues in addition to autism, or medical issues w/ symptoms that appear similar to autism, in which case biomed treatments might be appropriate, but we don't feel that is the case with our children. We have focused our efforts on therapy to help them overcome their specific challenges.

We have done a combination of things. Our own version of floortime has been helpful, as have picture schedules. We've done a lot of speech and OT, and we've learned to incorporate that into our daily routine at home too. Gaining a better understanding of their sensory issues has been invaluable. Also, learning how to communicate in a way they can better understand has helped.

I wouldn't presume to say there is any one thing that will help every child, but I would encourage parents to familiarize themselves with sensory integration issues. That was one thing that had a huge impact on our ability to understand some of the reasons underlying our sons' behavior. It also really opened our eyes to appreciate some of the sensory challenges they were dealing with.

For example, most of us just take for granted being able to tune out most of the sensory input around us and just focus on one or two relevant things at a time. We don't realize that not everyone can do that, and how overwhelming the world can be to someone who doesn't have that natural sensory "filter" and is bombarded with every sight, smell, and sound around them all the time.

I don't know. I believe the estimates of 1 in 150 are probably pretty accurate. I think the fact that statistics now show this has helped to promote awareness, which is a good thing. On the other hand, I don't like the way the media sensationalizes it into a "doom and gloom" epidemic though. My personal opinion is that it has always been that way, but that in the past those with autism were often either misdiagnosed or not diagnosed at all.

I don't know of any others on our block, but I know of at least one who lives nearby. And considering the number of kids with autism in the same school with our boys, there are obviously a lot living in the surrounding area :).

No. Honestly, I don't like the term "recovered" because autism isn't an illness or something that can be outgrown. Our children will have autism / be autistic their entire lives, but it brings both challenges and strengths. Our job as parents is to help our kids learn to cope with their environment, to overcome their challenges as much as possible, and to capitalize on their strengths and reach their highest potential. They have as much potential for success and to contribute to society as any other child.

Cuddlebug and Bearhug are in an ASD program at school (not our "home" school but not too far away either). They are each in a regular ed class and that is where they spend most of their day, with pull-out as needed (for speech, sensory breaks, assignments that require extra focus like writing, etc.). They have a resource teacher and two parapros that work with them and the other kids in the ASD program, both in the regular ed classroom and the special ed classroom. They have social skills groups that include both ASD and NT kids, and the teachers make it fun so the NT kids want to be picked to join :). They have a speech therapist and OT who works with them at school also. They have been in this program since Kindergarten and it has worked out really well - the teachers and staff are awesome!

Little Bitty is in a self-contained ASD class at a special needs preschool (5x a week, 6 hrs a day). He also gets speech and OT support at school. He attends the same preschool that his big brothers went to, and we love the teachers and staff there also (we are very fortunate to live in an area with great support for ASD kids, I know that is not the case everywhere).

We have in the past, but we don't during the school year. There really isn't time after school to do therapy and still have the boys keep up with their homework without totally overwhelming them (and us). During the summers we reassess the need for private speech / OT. Our insurance pays a portion of that, which helps.

I don't know but that is the statistic I've heard. It's really sad if that is the case, because parents need each other more than ever when facing the challenges of raising special needs children. I've also heard that the divorce rate for parents of twins is high, so considering we have autistic twins (plus one) and are still together I'm glad we are beating the odds.

Just one? Hehe. Once when Bearhug was two, he woke me up by handing me a poo-ball, I guess it had somehow rolled out of his diaper and he figured that was a good way to let me know he needed a diaper change... needless to say I jumped out of bed pretty quick once I realized what it was.

When he was 6, Bearhug told me out of the blue, "poop is sticky." Hmmm... ok, thanks for sharing. I figured he was commenting on something he'd seen in Bitty's diapers and didn't think much of it. Then he said with a grin, "I know because I touched it." Ewww, I realized he had just been in the bathroom a few minutes ago, put two and two together, and told him to go wash his hands! Then he sniffed his hands and said they didn't smell bad. Double ewww, I told him I didn't care and to go wash them NOW! (yuck!)

Someone actually said once that my twins were "good birth control." They were about 18 mos old and screaming hysterically, we had taken them somewhere new and they were totally overwhelmed. As soon as we left, they calmed down.

There have been other stupid comments, but that, by far, was the worst.

I love it when people are actually curious and open-minded enough to ask instead of just making assumptions. I try to make a point of telling them both the positive and not-so-positive things about autism. I want people to recognize that when my kids are struggling with something, or having difficulty responding to situations the way their peers do, it is not always something they can control. I also want people to know that they have some pretty cool talents and if you open your heart and get to know them, you'll be glad you did :).

I would have to say our sons' special ed teachers / parapros. They go out of their way every day to help our kids learn to be successful in school and they genuinely care about all of the kids they teach. I have heard so many horror stories about unsupportive schools, I am just so grateful to have teachers who work together with us so well and have our kids' best interests at heart.

We have a local autism parents group. We don't go to the regular meetings (they are on school nights) but they run several weeks of summer camp for kids with autism. They get donations from the community to help offset some of the cost, and the camps are staffed mostly with ASD teachers and parapros. We've been sending our twins since they were 4 and they love it! Little Bitty will attend for the first time this summer. They also have family activities sometimes and we try to go those when we can.

Yes. I found a ped who uses thimerosol-free vaccines (one doctor's office I called actually laughed at me when I asked, needless to say we didn't bother going to visit that one), and after our twins were dx'd we made arrangements to do their remaining vaccinations on a slower schedule (still within CDC guidelines but at the older end of the ranges and not so many all at once). We've done the same with Little Bitty and will continue to do so. I don't think vaccinations had anything to do with their autism, but still prefer to be careful.

Yes, I think so.

We're still learning! So far I have learned more patience than I knew I was capable of. I already thought of myself as a relatively patient person but this experience has pushed me to a whole new level as far as that is concerned :). I have also learned to trust my instincts and trust in my and my husband's ability to teach them and to figure out how best to help them. I have always been one to try to learn what I could from the "experts" but found little to no useful advise from the so-called parenting experts so I finally had to toss conventional wisdom out the window, be willing to experiment and do whatever worked, regardless of what anyone else might think.

No way! I will continue to do what I can to make the world a more accepting place for them, but I would never want to change who my kids are. They bless our lives just the way they are (I wrote more about that here).

Here are links to some of the other "25 things" posts I saw, if you have one too leave your link in the comments and I'll add it here:

A Celebration of our Journey
My Inner Bitsy
Moms of Special Needs Children
Spectrum Siblings

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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Try This Tuesday: Does your child like science?



One day I found Bearhug sitting on the couch reading.

"Whatcha reading?" I asked.
"Bloggy," he answered.


I looked at the cover of his book. "Oh, Biology." LOL

We found the book at his school's book fair a couple of months ago. He and Cuddlebug liked it so much, we picked up a couple of other corresponding books for Christmas, "Physics" and "The Periodic Table."

These books are full of interesting scientific information, written and illustrated in a fun way that kids enjoy reading. By now, Bearhug and Cuddlebug have read all three of them cover to cover and continue to refer to them almost every day. Each topic has a one-page summary and a cartoon-like illustration.

Here are some excerpts:

Biology: Life as we know it!
Virus - "I'm an itty-bitty stalker who doles out large helpings of doom... Luckily for you, T Cell and the rest of the immune system are there to drive me away." (they cracked up laughing and read "large helpings of DOOM!" over and over, lol, they are fascinated by viruses)
T Cell - "A member of your body's special forces, trained to kill invaders."
Leaf - "My job is to bask in the sunshine all day long, soaking up as much light as I can. Ah! Sounds like bliss, but I'm no slouch. I make all the food for a plant."
Warning - includes topics like sperm ("I'm a little guy with a big job"), egg, and baby in womb ("I think I might be the most amazing thing the human body can do."), nothing too explicit but it did spark some questions. Lucky for me (haha) we have already had a discussion about that so when they asked me about sperm all I had to say was, "remember the 'special seeds' I told you about a while back? Those are called 'sperm' and 'eggs.'" And they were good with that. :)

Physics: Why matter matters!
Gravity - "I am a mystical mover and shaker, and my field of operations is the vastness of space."
Proton - "A big, chunky hunk of positivity, I hang out in the middle of an atom - the nucleus."
Einstein - "The original absent-minded professor with his crazy hair and even crazier ideas, Albert Einstein was a superstar scientist who took the world by storm."
Electromagnetism - "I stop you from sinking through your chair and your hand from going through this book."
Quark - "We come in six different 'flavors' called Up, Down, Top, Bottom, Strange, and Charm. That may sound to you as if we're just missing Dopey to complete the seven dwarfs, but we don't want to hear your wisecracks!"

The Periodic Table: Elements with style!
Chlorine - "I'm a mean, green, killing machine... I'm even bad enough to battle bacteria in the toilet bowl!"
Gold - "I am not the rarest or the most expensive element, but I am the world's most wanted." (the boys went on and on about the "most wanted" lol)
Oxygen - "I am the powerhouse behind most chemical reactions on Earth."

Bearhug and Cuddlebug have learned a lot from reading these books. Heck, dh and I have learned a lot too from all the interesting facts they've shared with us as they've read them. If you have a child who is interested in science I would recommend these.

On the topic of science, here is a website that the boys found through school that you might like to check out:

For more Try This Tuesday, visit 5 Minutes for Special Needs.

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Monday, February 9, 2009

Magic Marker Monday: The Solar System



Bearhug made this for a school project:

He painted the planets (dh helped with Earth) and found an interesting fact about each planet to include. He was careful to find facts that the whole class didn't already know. Cuddlebug just came home with a similar assignment but he wants to do something different, not sure yet exactly what he wants to do with his but when it's done, I'll post a picture of it here too :).

For more Magic Marker Monday, visit 5 Minutes for Special Needs.

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Saturday, February 7, 2009

In today's news...

WOW - we hit a milestone today! Little Bitty did just a little tiny bit of pretend play, actual role playing type pretend play! He was playing with a cord and put it around his neck (NOT tight, loose like a long necklace) and after checking it and re-checking it, he smiled and said, "dot-ter" I was stunned (because he's never done anything quite like that before!). I realized what the cord was supposed to be - a stethoscope. "Are you a doctor?" I asked. He got a huge grin on his face (he loves it when we can show we understand him) and started holding the end of the cord up to to one of his trains. "ee sick!" Wow again! Not only is he pretending to be a doctor, but this little play session actually involves a whole little scenario of what he's doing as a doctor, cool! "Is your train sick?" (yep, we're in the habit of repeating everything back b/c that's how we confirm either for ourselves or for him or both that we understood what he said). Another big grin. Then he was back to rolling his trains around and lining them up (in a row so straight it would make Sir Topham Hatt proud!). Pretend play, here we come!


Bearhug threw out a random phrase yesterday that just cracked me up. I asked him and Cuddlebug how their day at school had been. They both had a good day, but Cuddlebug confided that, "sometimes our schoolwork is hard." Bearhug jumped in with, "Yeah, but sometimes it's easy, peasy, lemon squeezy." I couldn't help but laugh, he said it so matter-of-factly. "Where did you hear that?" I asked. He shrugged, "in one of our books." I wish I knew which book it was, I'd love to see the context it was used in. But hey, he used it appropriately!


It was so nice out today, Cuddlebug and Bearhug had a chance to play outside which they haven't been able to do for a while. They came in for a few minutes to get a drink, and on his way out the door again Cuddlebug said, "I love you." I assumed he was talking to me and said, "I love you too!" He looked back at me and said, "I was talking to Orion. But I still love you too." LOL


A couple of nights ago as we were getting the boys to bed, Cuddlebug said to me, "Mama, we don't like it when you and Dada say 'nothing.'" Huh? "What do you mean?" I asked him. He responded, "When we ask what you're talking about and you say 'nothing.'" Oh, yeah. I guess dh and I have been doing that lately, if we're talking about things that we don't figure the boys will be interested in, but they ask what we said, we just say, "oh nothing." Now that he brought it up, I can see how that would be pretty annoying, so I told him we'll make an effort not to do that anymore.

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Google search

I took a look at my Google keyword stats a while back and was a little surprised to see right at the top of the list with the most hits (from google):

"too many boogers"

In fact, the topic of boogers was a recurring theme in my google keywords:

"what are boogers"
"purpose of boogers"
"research boogers"

I've only written ONE post about boogers (complete with photo of Bearhug's creative solution to booger extraction, lol)! Well, ok, there was also honorable mention of boogers in this heartwarming post. And technically this makes post #3 about boogers so I guess I can expect to see more related google searches...

The rest of the keywords were pretty predictable given the topics in my blog, but the booger ones made me laugh :).

Ok, back to regularly scheduled posting...

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Friday, February 6, 2009

IEP page is up & morning meltdown update

Check out the new IEP resource page and let me know what you think. I have more to add but it's a start...

Also, remember when I posted about our morning meltdown situation with Bitty? We thought we had tried everything but we finally hit on something that works - pop-tarts. For whatever reason, he just calms right down with a pop-tart and lets me get him dressed, shoes on, even coat on, without so much as a fuss, so this week has been better. That's the good news. The bad news is we're out of pop-tarts. All three boys love them so a box of pop-tarts doesn't last long around here. We're going to have to get a box specifically for mornings and HIDE it. :)

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Monday, February 2, 2009

Mondays in Motion #12: Baby workouts


Mondays in Motion!

It's the first Monday of the month! So it's time for Mondays in Motion again :).

Here's one of my favorite videos from Bearhug and Cuddlebug's baby days. They were (still are) constantly on the move, and liked to push furniture around (chairs, small tables, etc.) so I made a baby "workout" video of them. It's best with the sound on (so you can hear the music) :).

Bearhug is wearing red, Cuddlebug is wearing blue. They were about 13-14 months old when this was taken.

It's your turn! If you don't make it today, feel free to join in anytime during the week. :)

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Magic Marker Monday: Poetry by Cuddlebug



Cuddlebug wrote the following poems at school, the first two are haiku. I love his creativity :).

Solids are very hard.
Solids are part of matter.
They don't change their shape.

You can drink liquids.
Liquids are a type of water.
Liquids are a water.

What am I?
I can be any color.
I'm put at the end of a question.
I have a dot at the bottom of me.
My top is like a up, sideways, down, sideways, and down.
What am I?

I love the "up, sideways, down, sideways, and down," that's exactly how you would draw one of these :)

I like the wind blowing me.
I do math.
I love to study.
I don't like to get muddy.
I like wet and dry paths.

Sometimes I sing very loud.
I like to run at recess.
I like the trailers.
I'm proud of school.
School is fun.

(the trailers are portables, both boys have classrooms in a portable this year which they love)

Tick Tock Clocks
Tick tock tick tock clocks go.
Some tick tock clocks are low.

Some tick tock clocks are high.
Sometimes you can make it glide.

By running with it, then throw it.
Some tick tock clocks get hit.

Some tick tock clocks give light.
Tick tock clocks tick at night.

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I'm a mom of three boys on the autism spectrum, 11-yr-old identical twins and a 7-yr-old. My husband is a SAHD.


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