the family

the family

Friday, January 30, 2009

Feeling Green

Well the weekend is here again, how on earth did that happen? i guess a busy week will do that. Tomorrow is Chance's 4th birthday party, his birthday is sunday, super bowl sunday, so were celebrating a day early. he is getting a superman cake, transformer plates and such and a blue table least it will somewhat streamline hu? what do you expect when you let a three year old pick it all out. lol. we will have a few people over, enjoy some cake, then head over to WAZOO's and let the kids jump themselves silly! sounds like a plan to me.

been trying to be a lil more "green" and with all the craziness with peanut butter! (of all things! darn it my kids LIVE on this!!) i decided to make my own and put it in a glass container in the fridge, i must say its very easy, i had no idea, and yummy too. i dont think ill ever buy another container of peanut butter, and this way ill also save the plastic! i bought stainless steel straws, not only do they look super cute but they are sturdy, will not rust, dishwasher safe, and no more lil straws to add to the landfill!! ive stopped using teflon pans and plastic utensils, we have bamboo spatula and such now, and as soon as i can all the kids plastic cups and dishes, gone....replace with a BPA PVC free plastic dish or glass. no more papertowls, or napkins we have cloth for both. this with reuseable bags and using vinegar more and natural lotions and soaps were taking our baby steps to helping the planet and helping rid ourselves from the chemicals, ive feeling pretty "green"

Thursday, January 22, 2009

hand picked

i wanted to share some information i just got from the medical records i requested from TCH they came in the mail today, a huge packet of files, hard to believe this was the "basics" the eeg, ultrasound, labs, xray , surgery,and delivery reports. obviously there is still a lot to read but i did learn, as i couldnt remember who had done zach's surgery, odd but i guess at the time things were in such a blur. but my Thanks and Grattitude and more go to Dr.Wesson, he did a wonderful job! in his report he noted that zach had almost no diaphram tissue, the words in the report are...
Findings at operation: He had a very large defect with almost no diaphragm anteriorly and posteriorly with a small left lung. there was no hernia sac. approx. half the liver was up in the chest as well as the stomach, small bowel, colon and spleen.
because there was an inadequate diaphragm for any kind of primary closure, they made aflap of muscle from the transversus abdominis, seperating the transversus abdominis from the interna; and external oblique muscles superiorly and laterally.

i had NO idea how bad his defect was, given that with his prematurity and the fact he had half his liver in his chest, yes were looking at a miracle! had Dr. Wesson decided to give zach a patch, he would have outgrown it many months ago, reherinated and would have had at least one more surgery for that, if not more. Thank you for using his muscle as it can grow with him! Dr. Wesson was not suppose to be our surgeon, in fact the surgeon i met with prior to zach being born was an awesome doctor as well but was leaving for vacation or to work at another hospital for a short time, at the time zach was delievered, i remember being concerned that he wouldnt be doing the surgery and now, i can see it was for a reason, Dr. Wesson was hand picked.

i also learned that on day 1 of life zach needed a blood transfusion, i really dont recall that one, im sure dad signed the papers for it. i learned that he was bagged and needed resuscication (sp) at birth.

seeing all that needed to be done when it was done for Zach and all the skill that was required to save him, i know Texas Children's was Hand picked, anywhere else and Zach probably wouldnt be here today, thank you to EVERYONE at TCH the staff is wonderful, caring and experienced. we couldnt have asked for better.

and so that leaves one question.....why Zach? the answer i think you know, he was hand picked. what for? im unsure but you can bet it will be something great! He has already touched many lives, changed many people and given soo much back to everyone he meets. Zach's amazing, and yea im a little Bias:)

i hope if any newly diagnosed CDH parents or parents with a baby born with CDH read this and have been concerned with the "outcome expected" or been told to "terminate" i hope this little bit of information can be a world of inspiration to them. dont loose hope, dont give up, and if you dont like the answers your getting, dont settle.

after we met with the first hospital and was basically told to terminate we left with a mission, later that week i contacted TCH via phone and spoke to there NICU, a nurse answered some questions and from that moment i knew thats where we would go. when Harold came home from work i told him we would be delivering in Houston, he said he would give it a shot and see how the first visit went and if it was like the last he wasnt gonna bother, much to his suprise he left the appointment that day telling me this was the place, Dr. Carpenter was the doctor who would deliver Zach. it was all Hand Picked from above......

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

new year, new start

k i didnt make any Resolutions so to speak, i upped my expectations of myself and what needs to get done, i guess you could say. one of my big ones was to get to the bottom of mikeys issues....bam done, asperger's....fine now we have a name lets get started on therapy.....started those calls today.

got chance and zach set up to meet this developmental pedi too, so if there is any concern he should be able to help us out. also have zach getting ready to get seen by an opthomologist. zach is also weaning off meds, in 4 weeks he will be off keppra, he has been off xopenex for over a month and off the oral steriod for about a week now, its wonderful!

i feel like im speeding right along, i finally dug out all my unmatched socks and rematted them, attempting to get clutter dealt with here at home,trying to clean more often and stay up on it, not easy with the washer being broken and my new one not gonna ship for about another week, but hey, my electricity bill should be much lower!

so anyway im making lots of changes, i have stopped drinking soda, i only drink diet soda now i really like coke zero. im trying (much harder done than said) to eat more at home and not out so often, its just soooo easy when therapy ends for zach to go out verses getting up and cooking, im tired and im lazy. but i am working on this. i would love to loose some weight, id love to drop like 50! maybe more. so we will see. i had wanted to join a gym, but decided not to spend the money when i do have work out stuff in the garage all set up, but it seems i cant even find time or energy for that! but soon.

so things are sliding right along and then it hits me, we throw away too much trash, we leave too many lights on, the kids waste water, they waste food, i worry about chemicals in our everyday stuff, so i searched thru MANY blogs today, ill eventually get them posted on here as well. but have decided its time to try again and get a bit more green. i have ordered more burts bees lotion and shampoo for zach, the boys got organic shampoo and toothpaste, i ordered some hylands products and am looking forward to those getting here. in addition to that, im going to be more energy aware, what we are using, what we need to use, the "vampire" plugs that are sucking our energy out, you know the ones, item not turned on, but still plugged in....yea its still sucking money out of your pocket and energy from our planet. im trying to get more paperless statements from our bills, do everything online. try not to make unneeded trips out of the house and save gas. trying to be smarter with meal planning and not waste food.

the BPA is still a concern in our products, everything from cups, to bottled water(thats a whole other story) baby bottles, plates, lunchboxes, and even dental sealants......yep you heard right some dentists are using the sealants that contain BPA! check with your dentist ASAP. i did and found out ours isnt using that and am VERY happy i stumbled upon this information as next week mikey is due to get 4 sealants done.

so i need to start small, but i have a very high long list of things i want to accomplish before Harold returns in Oct. i also have high wants for the boys too, mikey i want to be more self sufficent, better adaptivly and socially, reading really well, chance to calm down, not become so spazzy, and zach, i want him sitting on his own, i want him playing with toys, i want him trying to crawl and trying to talk and eat by mouth. me i want to get the house in order, get appointments under control (about to add the opthomologist and developmental pedi to zach's already overwhelming load, the developmental pedi to chance, ocupational and speech therapy for mikey) loose weight, get healthier, get more GREEN.

Chance will also turn 4 on the 1st of Feb! wow its so hard for me to think he is 4! he is growing like a weed and doing wonderfully. such a big boy and a big helper.

so heres to the next few months and the list of to-do! wish me luck

Monday, January 19, 2009


well i finally broke down yesterday and let the boys go to this bounce house center thing, its like $8 to let them run wild inside with about 10 different bounce houses as long as they want. we were there only 2 hours yesterday because our nurse had to leave our house and i didnt want zach to be at the place, so we just came home. they had a flippin blast, it was wonderful!!they ran mad and wore themselves out. we will definatly be doing more of that again!!

today i had errands, i had to drive out of town to temple to get 2 medications from the pharmacy and then i had to pick up some of zach's medical supplies from his DME(durable medical equipment) company and then get the van's oil change and service done then i finally got to come home and rest, and pay a few dreaded bills.....blech!

Whats for dinner? have you seen that new wave oven thing? its pretty cool, it can cook a frozen chicken in an hour....awesome hu? cause if your like me, you forget to take the meat out of the freezer till its too late. so im really gonna check this out and see the reviews and all. let me know what you think if you get one.

as for our dinner? yea well the meat is frozen, the mom is tired, the kids are roudy and i think we will be heading out for dinner.

Friday, January 16, 2009

the Green Straw club

yes its official, ive become a member to the green straw club, i now know the lingo and can order it with the best of them. in case your wondering the green straw is from starbucks! yes, me, the one who hates a member. my fav's are the mocha frap with extra expresso (light of course) and the java chip frap with extra expresso, yummy yum. still not diggin the hot coffees but im loving this! anyone know how to make this at home? the $4 drinks are really adding up.

im sooo glad its the weekend, im ready for a rest, tomorrow im hoping to get the boys into some free respite care that is being offered. if i do ill probably spend the time looking in kohls, getting meds from the out of town pharmacy and getting the oil change on the van. but at least it will be a peaceful run of errands.

tonights plans are to rest, watch meet joe black, and maybe do some crafts. (life is so much more relaxing with coffee...) lol where i have been hiding that i never tried starbucks?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


how is it i wonder, when your sitting in the mist of a crowded play area for the kids and parents are talking together and you simply sit, no one talks to you and therefore you simply dont talk...

i guess its easy when your holding a baby with oxygen on him, a baby who cant sit up on his own, a baby who has a feeding tube in his stomach. i guess they dont know what to say. "hello" would be a good start. we get the corner peeks from their eyes, watching our every move. and just at the time when i can feel myself becoming upset theres that smile, the one from "that" baby, the one who is.........always happy, the one who doesnt complain, who always smiles, and he melts your heart. suddenly i dont care if no one talks to me, he isnt contagious, but their ignorance is. im not ashamed or embarrased of him, just the opposit really. he is such a wonder in my eyes, a wonder that could have easily not even been here with us. Miracles happen, with every smile he makes i hear the lyrics of George Straits song, "I saw God today".

in case you havent noticed on my side bar i have added all the blogs and a couple new ones i found there , if i have added yours and you would like me to remove it please let me know. hopefully i wont have offended anyone. i enjoy reading the blogs and keeping up with everyone, sometimes i feel i have most of my friends in the computer, and i suppose its not a bad thing, just a different thing.

different has really become our new normal, lets face it, when we leave the house it looks like a circus! ive got two kiddos who bicker and fight, one who apparently doesnt understand that he is causing a disruption, one who says exactly whats on his mind with no idea how it impacts others. one kiddo is almost always crying for one reason or another and then there of course is the one who is hooked to all the machines. ive heard the saying over and over again that God only gives you what you can handle, but sometimes i wonder if maybe with all our moves we may have confused him as to our whereabouts. lol. seriously though i cant imagine my life any other way, less chaos? thats boring! and not having 20+ therapy sessions a month or a tool box full of medicens, mostly just to calm them down to prepare for bed.....nope cant imagine.

i havent mentioned on here ? i dont think at least, a VERY good friend of mine, ive known here more than 7 years , she is family to us and were so lucky she has moved back here and we can get together again. anyway she had her second daughter on Dec. 5th, her name is Julia, she is a beautiful lil princess with a head full of hair, now we knew she was gonna be special to begin with, but no one knew just how special, she was born with C.H.A.R.G.E. syndrome, its a very rare syndrome, in fact she was the first case for Scott and White hospital in Temple, she is already teaching everyone around her. CHARGE syndrome is a collection of possible issues, from eye problems, to heart problems( she has a small PDA hole in her heart) hearing problems, feeding problems, growth problems and more. she is home now and doing well. she has a feeding button and is keeping mom and dad on their toes. she is doing great at home and her big sis is so proud of her. before moving back to Texas here they were living in kansas, they moved shortly after they learned they were expecting baby number two, i cant help but thing it was divine intervention that she was brought closer for not only her (though i wish a special needs baby on NO ONE) but also for me, as i was and am at the isolation phase and felt that no one understood, and here she is close as family going thru similar issues. but i also hope that i can help her, walk her thru some of the things i wish id known. be a helping hand or a listening ear. funny how things work out though, there is always a reason i suppose.

time to get the boys in BED! darn meds its still a hit or miss thing with them!!:)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

understanding Asperger's

Asperger’s Syndrome
By: Shoshana Motechin

What is Asperger’s Syndrome?

Austrian Hans Asperger identified Asperger’s syndrome in 1944. Asperger’s is a neurologically based disorder on the autistic spectrum. It affects social perception, interactions, language and nonverbal communication. People with Asperger’s look typical, may have average to superior intelligence, but lack the social awareness and skills needed to connect with their world. There is a great debate as to where Asperger’s fits in the spectrum. According to Uta Firth in her book Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome, Asperger’s is described as being on the autism spectrum disorder. She describes Asperger’s Syndrome as “having a dash of Autism”. Others disagree and believe that Asperger’s Syndrome is a Nonverbal Learning Disability (NLD) or that Asperger’s Syndrome shares characteristics of Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS), or as High Functioning Autism (HFA).

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM- IV) a diagnosis of Asperger’s syndrome requires that four of the five listed criteria be present, including at least two indicators of a qualitative disability in social interactions, (e.g., serious impairments in peer relationships,
social reciprocity, nonverbal behaviors, and empathy) and at least one in the category of restricted interest and stereotyped behaviors or rituals (e.g., rigid adherence to rules or routine, preoccupation with a narrow interest, parts or objects, repetitive motor movements).

Many individuals who fall within the category of having Asperger’s Syndrome are often misdiagnosed with ADD, ADHD, schizophrenia, learning disabilities, bi-polar, receptive language, oppositional defiant and emotional disorders. Many children with Asperger’s are seen as being “bad kids.”

Characteristics of Asperger’s Syndrome:

May move into the personal space of others, not recognizing body language, facial and verbal cues that he/she has transgressed
May not make direct eye contact
Lack of emotional reciprocity or empathy
Rigid and inflexible adherence to specific routines or rituals
Stereotyped and repetitive motor movements
Persistent preoccupation with parts of objects
Friends and new acquaintances may be acknowledged with tight and enthusiastic hugs instead of formal greetings like “Hi, how are you?”
May begin to talk about the latest topic of concern which is of interest only to themselves (e.g., train schedules), may be age inappropriate or boring but the person does not pick up on looks of disinterest or snickers from the group.
Speech and language peculiarities such as: stilted and formal language, voice too loud or monotone or hyperverbal.
Hypersensitivity to noises or smells
Cognitive abilities which are average or above average (They are often known as “little professors”)
Difficulties with subjects that require inferential reasoning, abstract concepts, problem solving, extensive calculations or social judgements.
Fine motor problems which lead to poor penmanship and low writing motivation
Gross motor clumsiness which leads to poor skills in competitive sports and physical activities
Depression, frequent school absences, low school motivation due to being socially vulnerable and easy targets for teasing and bullying

Helping Students with Asperger’s Syndrome:

Obtain In-Depth Training - learn the differences among the children with Asperger’s in elementary, middle school and high school.
Understand How Social Impairments Impact Learning and Peer Relationships - (a) some students require weekly sessions with trained staff members who can help them “solve the puzzles” they encounter in everyday activities and help alleviate depression caused by perception of social failure. (b)Provide ongoing social skill instruction to help students form relationships with peers.
Recognize Students’ Strengths - Many students with Asperger’s will go on to make great contributions to society. However, we must tap into their strengths and offer support so that they do not dropout of school because academic and social demands are too high.
Implement Creative Programming - Through the student’s IEP, teachers can develop class schedules which will be motivating and challenging to the student while addressing his/her needs.
Intervene Early - The earlier intervention begins, the earlier students can learn the needed skills for adulthood and friendship.

Role of Inclusion Teachers:

1. Carefully structure seating arrangements and group work
Children with Asperger’s should not be seated near class bullies or aggressive students. Rather, sit them next to students who can serve as a “peer buddy.”
a) See where the child works most effectively; near the teacher or near a quiet open space.
b) Avoid self-selection when students are being assigned to a group.
c) Teach students how to function as a team and accept all members.

2. Provide a Safe Haven
Students with Asperger’s can become overwhelmed by noise, crowds, chaos or trying to engage in social interactions (e.g., an assembly, recess time), which can lead to anxiety and stress.
a) Offer an alternative to attending these events.
b) Try earplugs or headphones to assist in screening out troubling noise.
c) Make sure the child has a trusted contact person with whom they feel comfortable with (e.g., special
education teacher, school psychologist, guidance counselor or principal, older responsible pupil).
d) Give access to a quiet, private place (e.g., school library, tutoring room, empty classroom or office) where the
student can spend lunchtime, study hall or any other free time alone, can rest and refresh themselves
to alleviate the stress that accompanies the constant effort to fit in.

3. Prepare for Changes in the Routine
Since most students with Asperger’s thrive on clear expectations and routines there are many different methods a teacher can use to help create smooth transitions.
a) Write class schedules and time frames on the blackboard, or use a picture schedule for younger
b) Designate classroom jobs, space and time with certain activities (e.g., computer).
c) Explain changes in the routine well in advance (e.g., “On Thursday, we will have an assembly. That means you
go straight from your second period class to the auditorium.”).

4. Use Available Resources/ Make Needed Accommodations
Students with Asperger’s often respond well to visuals, graphic models and technology. They often have impaired gross or fine motor skills
a) Encourage the use of computers for written assignments and exams.
b) Allow for extra time or quiet space if needed.
c) When significant amounts of notes need to be taken, pair the student with Asperger’s with a
buddy in order that the student can photocopy the notes missed.
d) Allow time on the Internet. The effort and anxiety associated with interpersonal connections
is greatly reduced because then students only have to deal with the written word. However,
limit the amount of time on the computer in order that a potential obsession does not develop
and that the computer does not become a substitute for human contact.

5. Connect with Each Other, Parents, Internet, and Other Support Groups
a) To avoid the feelings of many teachers and families who feel isolated in their attempts to
support students with Asperger’s, create regular communication through meetings, telephone
or e-mail among inclusion and special education teachers and parents.
b) Create a Home School Coordination- Improve the behavior of this student by combining school
and home effort. Work on goals that the child should meet. Then send home a note indicating
if the child has met that goal. If s/he has done so, reward him/her (in school and at home if the
appropriate behavior is being exhibited there as well).

6. Promote Positive Peer Interactions
a) Create ways to connect the student with empathic peers in order to promote social acceptance
and friendships.
Use role playing and games - Try the program “Magic Circle” where students are seated in a circle
and are encouraged to share their feelings and listen to others. This type of activity helps
promote active listening skills and recognition of each individual
b) Help the student engage in successful conversations and reflection by using comic strips, since
the pictures, words and symbols identify what the people say and do and emphasize what
people may be thinking. Social stories which describe typical social situations and explain
the meaning of various comments and identify appropriate responses are also good.
c) Direct the child to participate in activities or clubs in which their abilities might neutralize their
social deficiencies (e.g., math groups). Make sure they are not involved in groups that are
frequented by bullies.
d) Identify the student’s special gifts and teach him/her to share those gifts through tutoring,
class presentations, or community service.

7. Don’t Take it Personally
a) Don’t be insulted by the student who interrupts, speaks too loudly or misses your jokes.
b) Separate the child from the syndrome (be perturbed with the behavior, but support the child) and try
to imagine the world as viewed through his eyes.
c) Model warmth and acceptance. Refrain from impatience and irritation so peers will too.

8. Help Your Classroom Become a Caring Environment
a) Create and maintain your classroom as a safe, supportive and accepting community by
expecting and ensuring that all students respect, support and take responsibility for each other.
b) Help create a strong sense of belonging among all the diverse students in your classroom.

Personal Challenges for Students
with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Listed below are behaviors that a child on the Autistic Spectrum might encounter a daily basis. Autistic spectrum disorder includes students with conditions such as autism, Pervasive developmental disorder, and Aspergers syndrome.

Social Interactions:
- wanting to be left alone at times
- trouble with back and forth social interactions
- little sense of other people’s boundaries
- inappropriate use of eye contact, avoidance or extended staring
- poor use of nonverbal gestures
- not accepting hugging, cuddling or touching unless self initiated

Interest and Activities:
- repeatedly watching videos or video segments
- lining up and or/ ordering objects
- strong attachment to inanimate objects
- pacing or running back and forth, round and round
- very sensitive to sounds
- resisting change
- difficulty waiting
- history of eating problems
- defensive to touch which isn’t self initiated
- lack of fear or real danger

Qualitative Impairments in Communication:
- problem with getting the order of words in sentences correct
- problem understanding jokes
- problems answering questions
- problems with reciprocal conversations
- problems using speed, tone and volume appropriately
- difficulty understanding abstract concepts

Learning Characteristics:
- well developed long term memory
- good visual skills
- hyperactivity
- delayed response time
- needs help to problem solve
- short attention span to some activities and not others
- problems organizing

Observable Problems Behaviors:
- aggression- biting, hitting, kicking, pinching
- temper tantrums
- toileting problems
- low motivation

Motor Problems:
- clumsiness
- balance
- stiffness
- tired easily
- motor planning- can’t make body do what it needs to do

Environmental Challenges that Lower Ability
to Function Competently

- not being understood
- not understanding
- not having choices
- making a mistake
- being touched

Major Changes:
- alterations in school, work, home, community
- time changes
- staff or teacher absent
- cancellation of event or activity
- having to wait too long

Environmental Confusion:
- crowds
- noise
- not having enough space
- losing things of value
- surrounded by too much movement
- surrounded by too much visual stimuli

- being corrected
- being denied
- being late
- being ignored
- being left out
- being teased
- being scolded

Sensory Challenges

Sound/ Auditory:
- reacts to unexpected sound
- fears some noises
- making self induced noises
- confused about direction of sound
- distracted by certain sounds

- has been diagnosed as having a visual problem
- is sensitive to light
- has difficulty tracking
- upset by things looking different
- closely examines objects or hands

- sensitive to smells
- explores environment by smelling
- reacts strongly to some smells
- ignores strong odors

- defensive about being touched
- prefers deep touching rather than soft
- dislikes feel of certain clothing
- over or under dresses for temperature
- upset by sticky, gooey hands

- has an eating problem
- dislikes certain textures or foods
- tastes non-edibles

- seems fearful in space
- arches back when held or moved
- likes rocking, swinging, spinning
- avoids balancing activities

Perceptual/Perceptual Motor:
- has difficulty with timeperception
- problems with use of some tools
- difficulty with body in space
- relies on knowing location of furniture

Social Skills which may be Personal Challenges

Personal Management/Self Control:
- waiting
- finishing work
- taking care of belongings
- turning in assignments on time
- changing activities
- accepting correction

Reciprocal Interactions:
- imitating
- sharing
- taking turns
- offering help, comfort
- inviting others to join
- asking for a favor
- letting someone know you are hurt or sick

Reciprocating Social Interactions Appropriately:
- listening
- commenting on a topic
- answering questions
- accepting help
- responding to teasing
- making a choice
- giving eye contact appropriately

Manner of Interaction:
- being polite
- being kind
- being considerate
- being honest
- not walking away when someone is talking

Abstract Social Concepts:
- being good
- timing
- fairness
- friendship
- caring
- lying
- humor

Group Behaviors:
- come when called to a group
- stay in certain places
- participate with group
- follow group rules
- winning and losing
- pick up, clean up, straighten up

There is a more extensive list and manual with other information. If interested please contact:
Anne Moll
Kentucky Department of Education
17th Floor CPT
500 Mero Street
Frankfort, KY 40601
(502) 564-2672
You can visit their website at

Effective Behavior Interventions of Problem Behaviors

What makes us do what we do?
Biological Influences
Instructional/ Reinforcement History
Setting /Events
Stimulus Events
In order to create an effective intervention for problem behaviors, teachers (and parents) need to take into consideration a variety of aspects.

1. Hypothesize the function of the behavior

Social Attention
Escape/ avoidance
Wants tangible item or activity
Sensory Feedback

2. Gather Information
a. Antecedent : Does the behavior occur……
- When you are attending to other people in the room?
- Following a request to perform a difficult task?
- When a request for an item or activity is denied?
- Repeatedly, in the same way, for long periods of time, even when no on is around?

b. Consequence: When the behavior occurs, do others….
- Attend to the student?
- Leave the student alone?
- Negotiate or give the desired item/activity
- Allow the student to engage in inappropriate behavior?

3. Plan an Intervention
a. Based on information gathered, are environmental changes needed?
- Move student closer to teacher.
- Limit materials available to student.
- Remove distracters.

b. Based on information gathered, determine how people should react to the challenging behavior each time it occurs.
- Plan to ignore.
- Plan to attend.
- Plan to remove privileges.
- Plan to redirect.

4. Identify a Replacement Behavior
a. What appropriate behavior is “functionally equivalent” to the challenging behavior?
- Manipulating a stress ball or twist pen to replace inappropriate hand movements
- Teaching the student to ask if he can use the computer later to replace tantrum behavior
- Teaching student to raise his hand to replace attention-seeking behaviors
- Teaching the student to communicate his wants appropriately to replace escape/ avoidance behaviors

b. Complete replacement behavior planning guide with team
-Which behavior is the team going to target for replacement?
1.What functionally equivalent behavior is the team going to train in place of the problem behavior?
2. In what situations will training occur?
3. Who will be responsible for conducting the training sessions?
4. What motivation system will be implemented during training?
5. Describe how the team will evaluate if and how the student uses the new response.

Promoting Positive Classroom Behavior of Students
The suggestions written below can be used to help children with Asperger’s but can be used in any classroom to help promote a positive atmosphere.

a) Rules - Establish, teach and enforce classroom rules. Rules should be positively stated and identify the specific behaviors you wish to see displayed

b) Premack Principle - Method of maintaining and increasing compliance with rules through the use of positive reinforcement. A desired activity is available to students on the completion of an undesired activity (e.g., a student who stays in their seat for a period of time can earn an opportunity to work on the computer).

c) Contingency Contracts - Students and teachers formalize agreements concerning specific behavior for the exchange of reinforcers by writing an agreement. It outlines the behaviors and consequences of a specific behavior management system. (See the link on this site titled "Contracts")

d) Self Recording - The student monitors his or her own behaviors by using a data collection system. Students can be taught to increase their on task behavior during a class by placing a + in a box when they are paying attention for several minutes and a -–if they are off task. (See the links on this site titled "Behavioral Recording" and "Self Monitoring")

e) Self Evaluation - A self-management system that has been used to promote appropriate behavior in many general education programs. Students are taught to evaluate their in class behavior using a rating scale. For example, a student can rate his on task and disruptive behaviors using a 0-5 point rating scale ("unacceptable" to "excellent"). The student earns points (which can be exchanged for reinforcers) based on both student behavior and the accuracy of his ratings.

Ways to Decrease Inappropriate Classroom Behaviors

Listed below are various ways to decrease inappropriate behaviors and increase appropriate ones for children with Asperger’s.

- Redirection - Introduce a novel stimulus to recapture the student’s attention by delivering verbal and nonverbal cues to the student to stop a misbehavior, offering assistance with a task, engaging him/her in conversation, reminding him/her to focus attention on the task, or modeling calm and controlled behavior.

- Interspersed Requests - Used to motivate students to perform a difficult or unpleasant task by initially asking them to perform several easier tasks, which they can complete successfully in a short amount of time. This helps promote “behavioral momentum”.

- Differential Reinforcement - Techniques used to decrease inappropriate behaviors by reinforcing the occurrence of positive behaviors, which cannot coexist with the appropriate behavior. (See the link on this site titled "Differential Reinforcement")

- Extinction - A strategy in which the positive reinforcers maintaining a behavior are withheld or terminated, resulting in the reduction in the behavior. (See the link on this site titled "What is ABA" ---then read about 'Ignoring')

- Checklists and Schedules - Provide visual structure and motivation needed to complete assignments and remain on task by checking off assignments and activities upon their completion.

Adaptation of Oral Presentations/Lectures for Students

Some students require modifications to be made in order for them to understand what is being taught. There are various types of adaptations. Listed below are a few which can be used to help any student achieve to their highest potential:

Pausing - to help students retain lecture content pause for 2 minutes every 5-7 consecutive minutes of lecturing. During the pause students can discuss and review content, ask questions or engage in visual imagery.

Visual Aids - Visual supports such as charts, graphs, lists and pictures can be used to highlight main points, maintain attention, promote eye contact and address the needs of visual learners.

Guided Notes - Outlined and guided notes in which the student fills in the blanks provide a foundation for note taking, and promotes on task behavior. Since many children with Asperger’s have difficulty with fine motor skills such as writing, this is a method that can be implemented to help them throughout lectures.

Active Student Responding(To encourage active participation)
choral responding- in which students answer simultaneously on a cue from a teacher during fast paced lessons.

Response Cards - cards are simultaneously held up by all students to display their responses to questions or problems presented by the teacher

Cooperative Learning Groups/ Peer Tutoring - helps with social interaction

Other Strategies

- Use repetition by asking students to answer the same questions several times during a class period.
- Reinforce correct responses and appropriate behavior with descriptive statements that identify what made the answer "right".
- Group student with peers who participate and attend.
- Select students randomly to respond and remind them that they may be called on next.
-Change activities frequently.
-Vary the presentation and response modes of instructional activities.
- Decrease the complexity and syntax of statements.

Affective Education Strategies to Implement
in Any Classroom

Rapport - Maintaining rapport with students can help establish a positive classroom environment. Teachers can establish rapport by talking to students about topics in which they are interested, sharing their own interests, providing opportunities for students to perform activities in which they excel, and complimenting students.

Humor - Good natured joking helps develop a good relationships and a positive classroom atmosphere. Humor helps students see a situation from another perspective and decreases the likelihood of conflicts.

Dialoguing - Dialoging involves meeting with the students to assist them in identifying the problem, discovering their perspective on that problem, phrase it in their words, and discussing solutions for resolving the problem. It helps students understand their behaviors and problem solve alternatives to inappropriate behaviors.

Web sites

There are various web sites that teachers and parents can use as resources to find more information on the topic of Asperger’s Syndrome. Listed below are a few that include information such as research initiatives, upcoming events, educational approaches, training opportunities, support groups and books/videos to order. (an organization affiliated with the University of N. Carolina called “Treatment and Education of Autistic and Related Communication Handicapped Children)

Friday, January 9, 2009

went to see the wizard today

yep, we followed the yellow brick road to the good wizards office, we sat anxiously waiting to see if he could help us. the wizard looked nothing like we had envisioned, he was caring and kind and very warm. he took sympathy to us and listened as i talked about the issues were facing. the wizard talked to mikey and they had a semi conversation, the wizard said, mikey is moody so maybe a mood disorder but he didnt think anything else. my heart broke, this was our last hope and i felt like the wizard was giving up on him and not reviewing him closely enough, then it happend.

the wizard took mikey outside, without chance to bother him, had him review a story board(series of pics that made a story and see if he understood it) it had irony in it but at a stage that mikey should be able to nail it, only mikey didnt. mikey is a very litteral thinker, such as if i say "pick up your toys" he will do just this, but he will walk about with them in his hand as i didnt tell him what to do with them, so he doesnt understand i want him to put the toys in the toy box. mikey and chance did their normal routine in the wizards office, they fought and screamed and cried and the good wizard just watched and observed. he told me "whats happening is,mikey is a BLACK or WHITE kid, there is no gray, so in mikeys mind he is always right, and he cant "let chance win" anything cause he doesnt see the social cues that tell him chance is upset, so he continues that he is right, chance gets mad, and violent, adn mikey doesnt understan why so he becomes violent" the wizard said this may be something mikey never gets better with. in the end he was 100% sure to say mikey has Aspergers syndrome, its on the autistic spectrum. you see mikey has a 110 iq, higher than average (90) for his age but his social iq is probably 70 (borderline retarded), but mikey is no where near retarded! he is just packaged a little different and learns in his own special way.

Mikey had tutoring with his teacher today and she tested him on the reading (he was diagnosed with dyslexia) and he was reading a level 0, kids his age in school should be at a 8, he was tested at a 3 last week and we were happy to see he was there, today she said she pushed him and he got a level 6! can you believe it! he is almost there! we may hit second grade after all:)

Chance and Zach will also be meeting with the wizard in the future to discuss them, he is a developmental dr and i am VERY impressed thus far. he also gave me some info on aspergers syndrome therapy in town and a support group for me, to get respite care where i can drop the kids off and get away for a few hours, and meet other moms whose husbands are deployed. he asked if i was taking any medication and i told him, he said he would be popping the zoloft and vodka ever couple hours. made me smile. i know there is a lot of stress here, but i just dont deal with it, and i bottle it up and at times the tears just stream. i miss Harold, i miss "normal" i LOVE all my boys, they are all amazing gifts, but we are like a FREAK show when we go anywhere. "toto i dont think were in kansas anymore"

were 1/4 way thru this damn deployment.

Zach is making progress in his stander, he stayed 20 minutes today without crying, how amazing is that!?!

ive almost 100% left my addiction for dr pepper, my long love for over 15 years in the past, ive switched to coke zero, and am hoping to shed some weight. wish me luck.

"theres no place like home, theres no place like home, theres no place like home"


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