Thursday, September 11, 2014

A Photo Dump for Papa

My dad has a facebook account but never ever gets on there. I forget this, so I forget that I need to keep posting to my blog or directly sending him pictures if I want him to see them. So here is a post of how long Alexander's hair has gotten since you (Dad) were here in the summer.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Scrolling (An ABA terms lesson)

In scrolling the student emits a correctly formed topography, in other words, the student uses a well formed vocal word or sign, but the topography emitted is not the one that would usually control the specific reinforcer. The error pattern is one in which the child says words or uses signs that in the past have resulted in the delivery of reinforcers but are not the correct word for the particular item they want at the time. Most often in scrolling, multiple error responses are emitted in a sequential fashion which may include the correct topography. It is almost as if the student is fishing for the correct response. 
- Mand Training - Pennsylvania Dept. of Education 

And now in English -
Scrolling is when a child uses the wrong word or multiple extra words when trying to ask for something. This usually happens part way into therapy, when the child starts to get the basic concept that you expect them to do something (sign, speak, tap dance??) in order to get what they want but before they have enough practice to be able to recall the correct word/sign when they want it. So they pull up the word or words that have gotten them the most success in the past. It's not the best case scenario, but it's a step in the right direction. It can also be cute as heck.

At the moment we're focusing more on PECs with Alexander and moving directly from PECs to vocals but for a while he was using a handful of signs pretty consistently. His main ones were candy, show, car and drink. And just about any time he wanted a drink, he'd start at the beginning of that list, with the intent to work his way through. Our protocol was to stop him and help him get it right but his little hand jive was pretty adorable. (And it was the best feeling to see him trying.)

When Jacob first started saying "goodnight" he started off by just saying "t" and then, later, "night, night." We were so happy about it, though, that he started saying "t" for everything, because he thought it was the magic sound to get our attention (which, let's be honest, it pretty much was - what sound is sweeter than your child asking to go to bed?) It was fairly amusing teaching him to differentiate the request for "night, night" from the requests for candy, milk, etc. One or two experiences of being lead to his room instead of handed an m&m and he figured it out quick.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Itty Bitty Olympians

Alexander's special education class took part in our county's special olympics last Friday. Alexander was an "athlete in training", I volunteered to run a station, and Kevin, Jacob, and "Beepaw" (Kevin's dad) came to play, too. All the athletes and ait's were assigned a buddy from the high school to help them participate in the events (and Alexander's was great!), and Alexander had our full entourage following him around most of the time. The ait's got their very own "Itty Bitty Olympics" to do and here are our boys at a couple of the stations.
Alexander thought we were thoroughly inefficient to stand back and try to throw the balls at the target. He demonstrated the practical approach by walking up to the bullseye to place his "dart."

Later we took the boys to the bounce houses, which of course they would have stayed at forever if we let them.

Then I insisted on attempting to get the boys' faces painted. I had the girl do a heart on my cheek while the boys watched and Alexander thought it was so cool, he sat perfectly still while she painted his sun.
Jacob reached up and smeared his before it dried but he sat still while it was going on, too.
Such a great day! We love our itty bitty boys!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Green photo wall

I both pinned and facebooked this awesome entryway a few weeks ago. I had been going over some photos of loved ones who have passed away in recent years and felt the need to display them in more than a photo album. 

With this inspiration, all clean and bright, I set to work with frames and spray paint I already had on hand. While I really loved this pretty off-white version, I wasn't sure I would be able to do justice to the "collage", and didn't want to put unneeded money into it until I had proof of concept. Hence the green. 

The thing I did channel my budget into was more of these little beauties.
Like, a lot more, like, a real "lot"; the biggest lot Amazon would let me buy (16 small sets, 32 medium). The idea of even attempting to nail hooks into the wall for all these frames just wasn't an option in my head. And after my success hanging plaques last week, I knew these strips would be the minimal-hassle solution. The things are literally a snap. You snap the two sides together, apply to your frame, take 30 seconds of pressure to get the wall piece to adhere and then, if you wish, you can snap off, snap on, swap out, reorganize your layout to your heart's content. Depending on the weight of your frame (mine all weighed much less than the max. recommended per strip), I've found there's even a little play in how specifically you line up the connection. Need to move a frame about half an inch or so in any direction? Just pull it off and line up less of the little teeth. I'm sure that doesn't make sense, but buy a set and experiment for yourself. I also love that there's no annoying -daily- straightening of frames required when you use these. Your picture will stay securely locked at the angle you chose to hang it. (My little home decor heart might just burst!)

Selecting the perfect photos became the most time consuming part once I had the hanging strips in hand.
 Which is how it should be.
Minimal practical issues. Focusing instead on too many moments to showcase.
I love my luxury problems.

Monday, February 10, 2014

A couple crafts

First - my door wreath. I based it roughly on this etsy wreath I found on Pinterest.

I really liked the sunflowers but I couldn't find white ones anywhere so I went with daisies instead. And I still have the wooden "B" that just never got around to painting itself. But this is the finished wreath I have up when it's not Christmas time.

Yep, all year except December. I figure the daisies can work for spring, summer, and fall. I like that the burlap can be sloppy. The grapevine was brown originally and after I had the whole thing put together, and hung up, I realized my door was brown. Regroup, green spray paint, dry time and done!

And here are my sorta kinda finished silhouette plaques. 

I really wanted to do the silhouettes in vinyl but when the fever took me on Friday, I couldn't find my brown roll. My craft room/master closet is a pit and I was soooo tired of looking and I NEEDED these to be on my wall. So printed card stock had to do. And in that same vein of impatience to get them done and up, I also discovered 3M picture hanging strips that day. I really didn't want to have to bother adding sawtooth hangers to the back of my plaques, so I did some web searching for a decent idea and this popped up. --->

They're like a combo of velcro and snaps (don't know how else to describe it), and I'm a big fan of the Command brand sticky strips in general. No nail holes! I don't know how long they've had these out but I definitely didn't see them last time I was shopping for picture hangers or a never would have bought that huge pack of these puppies. 

But now - I know. :-)

Monday, January 20, 2014


Here is the slide show I threw together for my grandmother's funeral last weekend.

And here is the one I made two years ago when my grandfather passed.

I love you and miss you, Nana and Papa.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Alexander Eats

Here are better videos of Alexander eating dinner tonight.

New Year

Behind on blogging as always but here's a quick little update.

I graduated from my massage school program on December 20th. I finished my license application last weekend and am now just waiting for it to be processed and approved. Once I'm licensed, I'll be applying to massage envy and doing in home massages (referral based) for personal clients. I'm also planning on getting a massage chair and traveling around to all the various waiting rooms I've sat in for Alexander's therapies. People in waiting rooms need massages. They just do. If I can get any of the businesses to pay me, great, if not, I'll just set out a tip jar and make sure no one leaves without my business card.

Kevin is still working at Fiserv. He's working on a big project right now that had him working odd hours before the holidays. He was able to take off a couple of days to go for training in Alexander's feeding protocols at Marcus Autism Center and he worked extra hard at home while I was super sick over Christmas and New Years.

Alexander, as noted above, just finished his feeding program (which was 8:30am-3:30pm 5 days a week) at Marcus Autism Center. He's finally getting all the calories and nutrients he needs by eating food instead of just drinking Pediasure all day. His current protocol is for 900 grams of pureed foods and 250 grams of nutrient rich drink but we'll be going back for outpatient visits and trying to work up to table texture on all 16 of his acquired foods. While he was in the feeding program he wasn't attending kindergarten or any other therapies outside of Marcus. We were able to schedule his feeding therapy sessions around the Language and Learning Clinic sessions there so he was able to continue in that and will be finishing up with that program in early February. He's made some progress in verbalizations but we're still working and waiting for him to really start talking. Today was Alexander's first day back at kindergarten and he didn't have any trouble getting back in the groove after his feeding therapy absences.

Jacob was shuffled around quite a bit while Alexander was in the feeding program and I was finishing massage school. He was able to continue in preschool the whole time, though. Today was his first day back after the Christmas break as well and he had a good day. He's picked up quite a few more words, it's just a matter of getting him to use them. I'm really looking forward to being able to work with him more specifically now that I'm done with school myself.

And here is a video of Alexander having a home "Marcus Meal." My mom took the video while she was here before Christmas for my graduation. Like she says, this was taken toward the end of the meal, and he wasn't cooperating as well as he usually does, but it does show him eating, and we're all super happy about that! (And really, I'm kind of dull and not doing the best job at my ABA therapy duties in this clip, but well, this is the video we got.)