Behind starburst eyes

ASL Alphabet Memory Game

The more I try to incorporate signing into my day the more the kids are interested in it. To that end I thought why not combine a fine motor skill activity (picking up the shapes practices using the pincer grasp) with learning colours and shapes with ASL.

So I made 2 copies of the ASL alphabet that I found here: http://www.lifeprint.com/asl101/topics/wallpaper1.htm

I purchased the wooden shapes at our local dollar store, but one could use card stock, cardboard from a box, or even foam blocks (if picking up almost flat shapes is too difficult for the person playing the game)

I then cut up both sets and glued one to different coloured circles and one to different coloured squares. Just like other memory games all the pieces are flipped over and you have to make a match. I tell the kids to make their matches by picking one circle and one square.

Both Miss. G and Mr. N love playing it and I’m getting some great practice before my first day of ASL class at our local college!

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Perspective

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My Unintentional Hiatus

I realized today that I haven’t posted anything on here in a couple of weeks. It’s amazing how fast the days fly by at times!

We’ve been busy with all sorts of fantastic adventures as well as a growth spurt (Mr.N’s) and it’s all lead to the days blending together as they whirl by faster than fall leaves on a windy day!

We went camping as a family of seven for a week-end. For those that have followed this blog for awhile, you know just how much our camping trips mean to us as a family, and how much I treasure the moments we get to create magical memories both as a family and as part of a community on them.

I took Mr. C to a Linkin Park concert as his main birthday present. By the end of the concert he was crying tears of joy. I don’t think there are words to adequately describe how much it meant to me to see him THAT happy.  

Mr. C did another lemonade stand at a local zoo to help raise money for a family that had lost everything in a house fire. Miss. G was as enamoured with a baby tiger as it was with her. She even went so far as to wrap her paws around her leg to stop from being picked up and brought away from Miss. G!

Mr. N is now officially in sizes 3 and 4! He grew at least 3 inches in the last few weeks. His sleep patterns are massively off right now. HIs emotions are also swinging wildly from his growth spurt. Understanding how his growth spurts effect those areas for him help me greatly to help him as best as I can to ease him through this difficult transition filled time.

Miss. G has added lots of words to her vocabulary, so many so that her speech therapist will be floored at tomorrow’s appointment! For example, last night she held up one finger and said “one mo time, baff peas?” because she wanted another bath after hers was finished. 

I took Mr. C and his friend to the CNE, they had a blast and I adored watching them.

Hubby and I took the three to the CNE by train and that was an experience all on it’s own. Why there are no seatbelts on Go Trains?!?! But aside from the train antics, they had a blast and so did us grown-ups :-D

I had another workshop yesterday, which I of course thoroughly enjoyed.

Hubby and his brother took the eldest three to see Battle of the Best. It was a wrestling event hosted to help raise funds for Grandview Children’s Centre. The pictures he sent me of the kid’s smiling faces warmed my heart as I came home from my workshop. I also adored the t-shirt they brought me home with Brett the Hitman Hart’s logo intertwined with the wrestling division’s on it.

I picked up my textbook for my first ASL course at our local college. Some of you might remember that for my New Year’s Resolution I had wanted to learn a new sign every day. But I’ve struggled greatly with syntax, slang, and the different signs that mean the same thing but are used by different regions. To that end, I figured the best thing to do was to simply sign up at our local college to learn it. In two more weeks I’ll attend my first class, and I can’t wait!

Well that’s a very brief summery of our last couple of weeks. I hope that everyone has been having a wonderful time soaking up the last of summer.

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Tired of all these Autism and ADHD brats!

starbursteyes:

Because, yes

Originally posted on Pensive Aspie:

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When I was a kid they didn’t call it “Behavioral Disorders.”  They called it “Being a little brat!”  This is just ONE of many memes I have seen on my social networks. They are shared by my friends and family. I would like to think that is just the ignorant/uneducated who feel this way, but it isn’t.

Driving home from work a couple weeks ago, a college-educated peer told me that she felt that “most of these autism and adhd diagnoses” are fabricated.  Her son had some of the traits of a child with Autism/ADHD but HE doesn’t have Autism/ADHD so maybe it doesn’t really exist. She felt it was just an “excuse” for people NOT to parent. Did I mention she was COLLEGE EDUCATED?!?  She knew about my blog, my Asperger’s, and my beliefs, but since my thoughts are different from hers, of course mine MUST be wrong.  After…

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Robin Williams

starbursteyes:

She speaks my thoughts on depression and suicide better than I could.

Originally posted on Pride in Madness:

I <3 Robin Williams... In sooo many ways he reminds me of my wonderful dad! He is my hero and so is Robin Williams :)Robin Williams experienced depression and substance abuse. I was shocked when my sister text me last night telling me that he had died. Inside I knew it was self inflicted and my research confirmed it. While my grief over the loss of Robin will never ever compared to that of his family and friends, I am still upset that the world has lost another amazing person because of the torment they felt inside.

Whenever I hear someone has ended their life I am torn. I understand the battle it probably took to keep the horrible feelings at bay. I understand the hard work that it can take to pursue recovery. I understand the consuming determination that can take hold before finally attempting to take your life. I have been there, just in my case I survived.

As I said to a friend today, “People are people first. If anything the…

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The unrecovered

Originally posted on Chavisory's Notebook:

I have had a lot of reaction in the past few days to that New York Times Magazine article concerning “The Kids Who Beat Autism.” Here’s about all I have left.

The parents, the teachers, the therapists and researchers without a clue who are celebrating “recovery” because they have, in their heads, defined autism as a fixed set of permanent inabilities—

-Are not the people doing the work of passing, and are not going to be the ones to find out first-hand just how long it isn’t actually sustainable.

-Are not the people who get told we’re too articulate to be autistic but have to ration our hours of speech per day.

-Are not the developmentally disabled women who suffer a sexual abuse rate of over 90%, no thanks to the compliance training that teaches that allowing others to control our bodies is desirable behavior.

-Are not the…

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Just 2 in 2 million

Recently Mr.C won a couple of tickets to appear in the audience of YTV’s “The Next Star Season 7″ (which airs on Mondays at 7pm) Through various circumstances the 3 people he’d thought to bring were unavailable and so it was just he and I that went. While at first I was sad for him that his friends were unable to attend with him, I cherished getting some one on one time with him. Him waiting for the bus to go to the studio:

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After he was done at the studio we hopped on buses and subways and travelled to Chinatown where we spent an unforgettable afternoon/evening. We window shopped, and shared yummy desserts from a little bakery. We laughed and chatted as we ducked in and out of different shops with their colourful wears and tempting foods. I didn’t buy myself anything, mostly because I got the best gift I could in the hours spent with my eldest son. He’s getting so big, almost a decade has passed since I first came face to face with one of the greatest loves of my life. When I had a really bad dizzy spell while we were out, he was calm and sweet as he smiled at me and reminded me that it was a trick of my mind and that nothing was spinning around us. While I listened to his words, so much like his father’s that I had to smile, what brought me to tears was the beauty of his serene smile and his determination to make sure I felt okay. He’s such a good person, through and through that I wonder how I got so lucky to have him.

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I’ve promised him we’ll go back to Chinatown again soon, and I offered that we could bring people with us next time if he wanted. He looked at me and solemnly told me he’d rather it be just us two, cause he likes our one on one time just as much as I do. Or should I say 2 in 2 million when we spend our day in Toronto ;-)

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Growth Spurts and Autism

 

Growth spurts are a time of constant flux in the entire body. They are a time where all the chemicals of the body are busy creating new growth, they are a time of rapid development of bones, skin, muscle and even brain matter. When someone is Autistic their neural pathways work differently from the get go, but they are the same as everyone in the fact that their bodies are always trying to return to a state of homoeostasis. Homoeostasis is the tendency of an organism to try and maintain it’s internal equilibrium.

However during growth spurts the body is far away from it’s ideal state of homoeostasis, even during sleep.

In the brain specifically the white matter will increase greatly from ages 4 to 20. White matter is the part responsible for relaying signals and messages from one section of the brain to another, it is responsible for sending sensory and motor stimulus to the central nervous system to create a response.

What does that mean for an Autistic child or adolescent? It means that the part of the brain that sends sensory signals is rapidly growing, which means new pathways developing, and just like in a field, it takes time for a pathway to become easy to walk, and familiar.  This means their brains are trying to send signals through new channels.

It makes sense that they will have more difficulties during those times of rapid growth with many aspects of daily living that they might not have had as much difficulty with pre or post growth spurt.

 

Areas of difficulties can include:

1) Speech production such as pronunciation, and echolalia

2) Sleep patterns can be disrupted and more irregular than what is typical for that individual

3) Transitions may be more difficult and they may need more time and help to adjust to changes in activity or location

4) Repetitive and Stereotypic Behaviours may be increased as they provide comfort and self-soothing to the individual

5) Emotional Regulation may be decreased as they are already struggling to return to homoeostasis and may feel closer to being emotionally overloaded from the moment they wake up than what is typical for that individual.

 

How you can help your child:
1) Remember that this is a difficult time for them. They don’t want to feel out of control, upset, confused, agitated or anxious and yet they are right now. No one WANTS to feel those emotions, and will naturally try to do whatever they can to either get away from the situation causing them, or lash out in frustration if it’s an internal situation they cannot remove themselves from.

2) Don’t overload them. If recently you’ve been helping them to learn how to cope with a specific sensory issue, or speech production issue such as pronunciation, remember that even when they are not going through a growth spurt they have to expend mental energy to master things such as being able to touch grass or pronounce an “s” sound correctly. Don’t stop working on goals already started, but don’t add additional ones until they have mastered the goals they are currently working on.

3)  Every person has a way they communicate, listen/watch extra carefully to theirs to learn more about what ways they are specifically struggling with the most. Help them to create plans to work through such issues, or if they are too young to either make the plans themselves or with help, make them for your child.

4) Watch yourself. If you are having a difficult time staying calm remember that you have the right to feel however you do, it’s how we react to our emotions that is either okay or not. Take time for yourself, especially if you are extremely frustrated. As long as your child is in a safe environment there is nothing wrong with stepping into the next room to take a few minutes to regain your composure. Or if you can, find someone you trust to babysit and go out, even a trip to the grocery store alone can be enough to come back to your child ready to help them in the ways they need.

5) Nothing lasts forever, even growth spurts. Eventually they will hit a “lull” in their growth for a few or even several months at which time it will be easier for them to handle all that our fast-paced society throws at us.

 

References:

Billeci, Lucia, Sara Calderoni, Michela Tosetti, Marco Catani, and Filippo Muratori. “White matter connectivity in children with autism spectrum disorders: a tract-based spatial statistics study.” BMC Neurology. N.p., 29 Nov. 2012. Web. 18 July 2014. <http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2377/12/148&gt;.

 

Giedd, Jay N., Jonathan Blumenthal, Neal Jeffries, F.X. Castellanos, Hong Liu, Alex Zijdenbos, Tomas Caron Paus, Alan C. Evans, and Judith L. Rapoport. “Brain development during childhood and adolescence: a longitudinal MRI study.” . Nature Neuroscience , 1 Jan. 1999. Web. 18 July 2014. <http://www.nature.com/neuro/journal/v2/n10/full/nn1099_861.html&gt;.

“The brain from top to bottom.” Le cerveau à tous les niveaux. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 July 2014. <http://thebrain.mcgill.ca/&gt;.

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TD Summer Reading Club

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In libraries across Canada children can join the TD Summer Reading club for free with a valid library card. Why is the TD Summer Reading Club so amazing you ask, well there are several reasons!

Such as keeping kids excited about reading every week during the summer months when many children might not be reading as often without it.
How do they do that? Each week the child goes to the library and tells a librarian about a book they have read, each library does it differently, some have roulette style boards, others have bingo style drums with balls in them with questions such as “IF you could change the ending, would you? Why or why not? Once the child has answered the question, they receive a small prize. Each city and municipality offers different things, from stickers to buttons to swim passes for the local community centre to really anything!

They have tons of fun free programs that the children can register to attend. From making Robot Key Chains, hair accessories, Magnets, popular movies such as Rio 2, Mad Science and even a community Garden club, and the list just goes on from there!

One of the greatest gifts for our family is the free bus pass each child can receive for July and August. With that bus pass we have the freedom to travel anywhere in our region, including to every single library in our town so the kids can attend as many of the libraries fantastic Eureka themed Summer Reading Club programs as their hearts desire! For 3 kids we would have to pay $186 a month for their bus passes, so it’s a huge savings for us. One that translates into even more adventures during the summer! Many of those adventures I’ll be posting about here, such as their trip to the bowling lanes.

 

So increasing reading, getting kids mentally active and engaged in a variety of fun and educational programs, plus a bus pass so we can all travel to said programs and more, is a wondrous gift. I love the TD Summer Reading Club and encourage any parent to go to their local library to sign their child/ren up :-D

 

 

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Beginners Luck Bowling

I recently posted about Neb’s Funworld offering youth bowling passes for the summer where the kids can be signed up and they get to play 2 free games of bowling every day during the summer, they only have to pay the $2.50 each for shoe rentals. I decided to take the kids last week and what fun they had!

Mr.N at first thought he got to pick from the bowling balls beside the shoes, but once he was shown the smaller black bowling balls beside our lane he was thrilled. He’d never been bowling before so I wasn’t certain how he was going to like it, if at all, but as you can see he loved it! :-)

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He loved bowling so much in fact that he ended up winning even though all 3 of his older siblings were trying to win as well, which made me giggle. Overall they had a great time eating popcorn, drinking slushies and bowling with their siblings, almost as great of a time as I had watching them all :-)

 

Miss. G stayed at home with her Nana as I wanted to see how Mr. N did first with the lights, sounds, and the activity itself. The older 3 understand when we have to leave because he’s having a sensory overload, but Miss. G doesn’t just yet, she is after all only 2 still :-) Now that I know he loves it and can handle it when it’s not really busy there I’ll be bringing her as well to give it a go.

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