Sunday, December 1, 2013

Long Time No Blog

We have been busy. So what else is new, right? Joshua has been doing great at school. He settled right in with virtually no problems with adjustment. Me, on the other hand, that's another story. His teacher is pleased with his progress. We had a little parent-teacher conference in October and she said he is very go with the flow. I said are we talking about the same child? Ha! Recently he has shown her more of his personality as she said that he was starting to have an opinion, he doesn't always want to do what she wants him to do but they make it work. That sounds more like the Joshua that I know. In addition to school he is also getting ABA therapy at home, about 20 hours per week. During the week he is busy from about 7am to 7pm with time for eating and he does nap at school. That was very shocking to me as he has always been particular about napping but he is napping at school. Some days it's only a 20 minute nap, other days they have to wake him up and he gets about an hour. At home he is still napping the same, most of the time we wake him up after 90 minutes. I think he is just tired from all that he is doing. Right now there are 6 kids in Joshua's class, there were only 5 until this past week when another joined. All boys. They do spend time with the kids next door, another developmentally delayed class, and the kindergartners at recess and lunch. They also had a Harvest Day celebration at the end of October and spent all morning with the kindergartners. I'm sure I'm rambling but I'm just trying to get 3 months of activity into one post. He loves circle time, of course, and got an award for waiting his turn at circle time. He loves the days of the week song and will try to sing it at home and do the motions. I am always getting good reports (I get a report everyday) about his participation, hard working, that he is happy & energetic. Sometimes he even requests to go back and do more work! They have iPads in the classroom and that is his first activity of the day (they get to choose and he always chooses iPad). I know that he would not have transitioned so well without his first preschool and I am beyond grateful that he got that experience.

I got  progress report at the end of October and he is doing well according to his therapists and teacher. Physical Therapy -  He is transitioning well from his classroom to therapy sessions. He is participating well but does require verbal prompts for redirection (not unusual). They are trying to get him to jump on the trampoline but he is marching, we have seen him do it too, it's cute but not exactly what we want him to do. He is pedaling on the tricycle multiple consecutive revolutions but not consistently. He has already met some PT goals like standing from the floor or from a kneel position. Occupational Therapy - He has met goals of increasing use of dominant hand and finger isolation. I have talked to the OT (she's easy to communicate with) about his hand dominance since we thought he was left handed and she has seen him use his right hand and she is not concerned. She said to let him choose what hand he wants to use and she is doing that in therapy. It is possible he will be ambidextrous. He is making progress with lacing beads and holding and using a crayon. Only issue we are really seeing is with his eating. He does not want to eat foods that require a fork or spoon at school. I have left foods at school for him to try when he is interested and he has tried a few more than he had been eating but not much. I never thought he had a limited diet but I think he does. Not extremely so but a little bit. We have tried school lunch and he ate hot dog twice but nothing else so we aren't doing that right now. He has made progress in walking in the halls and cleaning up at snack and meal times. Initially he did not want to walk in the halls but now does it with verbal and visual cues. He is also cleaning up with verbal cues. He is not interested in using the potty at school. We are working on potty training at home, not full time but I would like to try maybe over holiday break. He will sit on the potty at home and he does go in the morning and after nap and some other times as well. He is making progress in social goals as well such as greeting others, playing with a peer, participating in group activities, and checking his schedule. He likes to wander so he doesn't always staying in the area he's supposed to be in. He's doing well with checking his schedule. They have to collect a laminated card that says check your schedule, go to their schedule, collect the first card available, and if it is choice time they get to choose an activity from another board. He does great with all of that. It's the next step where he has to get to the desired location that he still has trouble with. He sings along with songs but he is not consistently doing the same activity in the song when asked. This is true of counting, naming shapes, colors, and body parts. Speech - he is consistently exchanging a picture symbol for a desired item with 80% accuracy from a field of 6. He is producing word approximations for car, numbers 1-5, go (not an approximation though), help, my turn, and some colors. He is signing my turn, help, please and more. In ABA therapy he has 9 signs he uses consistently. All in all I'd say he's made some excellent progress in just a few short months of the combination of school and ABA therapy. He's also receiving PT, speech, and music therapy outside of school. His music therapist gave us 6 months of therapy while we are trying to secure funding to continue therapy.

In the last week he turned 5! I can't believe 5 years have gone by so quickly. But we have been busy and he has been especially. We specifically asked for no gifts because he is spending so much of his time in school and therapy that he doesn't have time for them. We did get him a portable DVD player that they use in therapy (as a reward) and he has gotten some DVDs. He's also gotten books and money to spend on iTunes for games for the iPad. He is doing great with the iPad, we've gotten some great apps when they've gone free. I highly recommend the website They also have a Facebook page. They do Free App Fridays where they put a list together of great free apps and everyday they do a free and reduced apps post. We have transitioned him to a bigger car seat as he had outgrown his convertible car seats. We got a Britax Frontier 90 that will allow him to be in a 5 point harness longer and then transitions to a booster. He is singing all the time. I know that music therapy has been wonderful for him. Just the other day his speech therapist was telling me that he was trying to mimic everything she was saying. He has said the whole of ready, set, go from which he used to just say go. He will try to sing along to just about anything. His verbalizations and word approximations have really increased.

As for the rest of us I am finished with school! I will graduate in February (the next available conferral) with honors and possibly Magna Cum Laude or Cum Laude. It has been almost 2 years since I started on this going back to school journey but it has been worth it. This past semester was full time and it kept me very busy but once Joshua was in school it was easier to keep up. Today is the official last day of the semester, all of my work has been submitted, and I am waiting on grades for one class. The other class I have received a final grade of A and I expect that of my other class as well. That will give me a GPA of 3.97 and should allow me to graduate Magna Cum Laude.

I'm sure I've left something out but I think this is long enough for now!

Saturday, June 15, 2013


I have been meaning to sit down and write a post on here for a while. It's just been busy around here lately and I haven't taken the time. We have made the difficult decision to send Joshua to public school next year for preschool. He will be in a preschool class with 7-8 children ages 3-5 with a teacher and 2 aides. It is an all day program and I am concerned about that but his day will be busy and filled with activity that is good for him. It will require him to be more independent and it will allow him to learn to be more independent, both of which are good and needed. He will get PT, OT, and speech at school and we will continue as much outside therapy as we can. He will have some activities with other children as well as there is another preschool class next door and they do activities together. He will also have lunch and recess with other classes. He has been getting ABA therapy at home for almost 2 months now. Right now he is getting about 15 hours a week which we may increase when he has time off from school and after the transition is made to school if we feel he can handle more. He is allowed to get more but we are trying to ease him into and don't want to put too much on him at once. He has had success with it already and of course there have been some bumps along the way but he is doing well. He is doing more signing, vocalizing, and speech. He consistently signs more, please, and all done. None of which they are teaching him in ABA, they do more specific signs but those are ones that we have been teaching him for a long time at home, therapy, and school. In ABA this past week he signed puzzle and swing independently. He has many vocalization approximations, basically he says something that sounds like a word or phrase or he sings along with a song. Like when he signs all done he has a vocalization that goes with it. It doesn't always sound exactly like it but it is his way of saying it. I know that music therapy has helped a lot with his vocalizations and I have heard him in music therapy talking or singing along. It has been really nice to see these positive changes happening.

We have all been busy around here with the additional therapy and making decisions about next year for Joshua. I have finished 7 out of 12 courses for my degree! When I finish the one I am taking now I will have 1 semester left. It is so exciting! I am going to attempt to take full time classes for my last semester since Joshua will be in school more hours during the day beginning in August. If all goes as planned I will be finished at the end of November. Unfortunately with the conferral dates the way they are for this school I won't receive my official degree until February but that's okay. I managed an A in statistics, the class I just finished at the end of May. If all goes well I should be able to graduate with honors as right now my GPA is higher than the minimum required to graduate with honors. They actually have an official ceremony where you can walk if you want to but it is in Maryland and I'm not sure I will go. I want to but we will have to see. It was today, they only hold it once a year although they confer degrees 4x per year the ceremony is held in June.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Joshua's Music Therapy Recital and other things

Click here for the video of his Music Therapy Recital.

That was this morning. It's a good thing he was first because it was too loud in there and he didn't want to sit for any other performances. Oh well. He did a good job. Of course he normally says go and stop during therapy (I sit in the waiting room but I can hear him) so you'll just have to imagine it.

In other news we are all finished with his assessments for the school district. He did an OT, PT, speech, & psychological assessment and we filled out many questionnaires and and answered lots of questions. They will be doing one more observation at his preschool and then will be finished completely. The psychologist does not want to label him with autism so he will be labeled other health impaired. I'm ok with it for now, if it becomes an issue later on then we will deal with it. He would be placed in an autism preschool classroom likely all day all week. It would definitely be a change. He would have a teacher and two aides with 8-9 children. They use similar teaching to ABA so it would be familiar to him as well as things he is already familiar with like circle time. We would be looking to start in August and he would graduate from his current preschool in July. We're still deciding, next we will see the classroom he would be in. He is also starting ABA therapy soon. We've met the lead therapist and one of the line therapists and will be meeting the coordinator next week.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

SmartApps4Kids iPad 2 Giveaway!

SmartApps 4 Kids is giving away an iPad2! Click the link below to enter!
iPad2 Giveaway!

Monday, March 18, 2013


Busy, busy, busy around here! Going through the process at our school district for Joshua possibly attending preschool there next school year. So far we've done the intial meeting, and the hearing & vision screenings. Sent in the permission to evaluate so we next will be the evaluations and they will go to his current preschool to do an observation. We did the evaluation with our ABA therapy service provider. Joshua was approved for way more hours than he will ever be able to use so now we wait to meet with our "team". Coordinators (people who oversee services) and the line therapists who they likely have to hire although they are supposed to start us with someone who's had experience. I am still taking classes, almost halfway done with my courses at the school where I am now! I'm now 100 credits in and will have 6 courses left to take when I finish the I one I'm taking now! The reason I came on here was to share this - 100 Ways You Know You're a Special Needs Mom. The ones that I like the most are #s - 7, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 19,  31, 35, 36, 47, 51, 53, 55, 60, 67, 73, 75, 82, 89, 95, 99, & 100. Some of these more than others.

Sunday, December 16, 2012