Stage One: the Honeymoon Phase; New ABA ‘s


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Week one went smashing. We were all smiles and giggles, talking non stop and dining on lavish meals. Our real honeymoon almost 10 years ago was even better. However, hubs and I am still in that lovey dovey stage while I have a feeling that same feeling has passed between Bug, Diva and their new ABA’s.

I wasn’t present for their first session in clinic, nor their second session at home. I got resounding, and not surprisingly, positive reports from each ABA. Not surprising because with all new relationship there is that ooey gooey stage of bliss and a high of happiness meeting a new friend. At that point the therapist hasn’t unleashed her cruelty of trying new foods, park trips just to practice conversations and actual work. The first week is all about building a relationship and friendship to gain trust and respect.

Nevertheless, the honeymoon period should soon be over and they have their work cut out for them chasing our eloping children and trying to get them to eat one kernel of corn. Neither ABA will be remarking on the child’s eagerness to please or their engaging attention span.

I will hold out hope for the sake of not burning out the ABA’s and making them question their profession of choice. God speed ladies and may the force be with you

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Therapy Thursday: Making Your Own Therapy Time


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If you didn’t know, we are in the middle of a pcs (military acronym for moving to a new duty station). Due to the fact we have moved away from our last duty station and therapists and haven’t yet reached our final destination- we have had no therapy of any kind since the start of May. The lack of therapy is starting to show on our kids. The lack of routine and assistance has become an issue. A issue we can not fix until we reach our new duty station. However, no one likes to see their children regress and suffer. To help aid them we have started trying to incorporate their past therapy techniques as we can.

One tip of being on the move with your littles that are missing out on therapy is to talk with your child’s therapist before you move for helpful advice and things you can do on your own to help maintain the levels they have reached.

For example: We talked with Sb’s PT before we moved to see what fun things we can do on the move to help her progression with her coordination. She told us to go to the park and walk her up and down the stairs. She gave us further information on what exactly what to do. But the mere fact we can easily go to a park to do therapy while on vacation or during a move is awesome and more importantly; doable.

Not all therapy is so easily achieved. We don’t stress about what we can’t do and we make sure we do plenty of what we can. In the end everyone is happy. SB and the other spawn get to play and mommy and daddy feel like real parents (Compared to those alien ones that spike horns and carry a sickle when their children misbehave).

Tricare/ Therapy Thursday…Thank God for insurance!


So, I am guilty as the next gal of complaining about our insurance.  Maybe we get too much junk mail from them, it takes too long to get a reply back when I send an email, I spend a lifetime on hold, etc., etc., etc.  But the truth is, my kids wouldn’t be anywhere near where they are without the therapy they’ve had.  And to continue being honest, there is no way my husband and I could have afforded that therapy without the insurance we have.  Here is one bill that covers a one-month period for just one of my boys, for just one of the types of therapy they receive.

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The amount billed to the insurance was the $955. Our co-pay was $45.

We got another bill recently for both boys for their ABA services the entire time we lived in Arizona (about 8 months or so).  The total was almost $20, 000. 00  Seriously.  Like I said above, even if I went back to teaching and somehow had three jobs, we couldn’t cover that.  So, I’m taking this as a wake-up call and reminder to be thankful for our insurance.  I’ll try to keep it in mind the next time I’m on hold for eons.

 

Tricare and Therapy: Around and Round We Go- New ABA


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I like change. I like discovering new things; but my ASD kids don’t.

As you read in yesterday’s story about my son and the restaurant; change can be and is often a scary thing. Typically, my kids ABA often comes up with social stories, preps them months in advance and will even go as far as pretend scenarios about the up coming change. But what do you do when the change is the ABA ?

That is what we are faced with. Not only is my son getting a new ABA , so is my daughter and our respite worker has been pulled for unknown reasons and will be replaced eventually with someone else. So in one week we are getting three new workers in our home. Talk about change!

So as parents how do we prepare our kids? The same way their therapists do. I created social stories using Microsoft word (if you have advanced warning you can also go onto shutterfly or snapfish photo web sites and create real books. I did this for our long trip to the mainland, Hubs deployment and our trip to Disney). We talk about meeting and making new friends every night before bed and when even a situation arises we work it in (we ran into one of Divas friends today and worked in how Diva will make new friend with her new ABA. We are also have the new therapist shadow the old one for a few sessions to show our kids everything is all rainbows.

Change doesn’t always have to be scary. But even if they cry and have meltdowns. I suggest acting like everything is ok. Show them you are brave and ok with the transition that is coming. Chances are after they see you relaxed about the change they will slowly come around to it. I like to think my kids can smell fear!

Tricare/Therapy Thursdays: My Child is Diagnosed with ASD. Now What?


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When Bug got diagnosed with PDD-NOS I was completely ignorant to the types of therapy that might help him. I of course had heard of ASD and all its components, but I really didn’t know what there was in types of assistance to help them. My misinformation and misunderstanding was there were none.

I pictured a family with an ASD child like this:

Screaming child…everywhere. Screaming in the house, at the park, in every public location he went to. All his screaming was unintelligible (no, I did not think they were all stupid) because I thought not many of they could actually talk. I thought they went through life in a normal school environment just with the understanding that the child has ASD and there is nothing you can do for them; because there is no cure right? Then I pictured the parents and them crying every night after the child goes to bed because they are beyond tired, worried and stress. They are smelly (the parents not the kids) because they are so busy giving 24 hour attention to the ASD child, they don’t have time to take a shower. So they also have stock in Old Spice and Dove deodorant and their stock portfolio looks amazing. The parents are also so skinny they look like Ethiopian children because their intake of calories isn’t enough compared to the use of calories in a day chasing around an ASD child who can’t speak but sure as heck can run. Lastly, are the siblings. They are druggies, or don’t even live at home because they have run away. If they do live at home, they are never given attention and often are at the receiving end of the abuse from the ASD child, who can’t talk, can run and is violent when he can’t express what he needs; which is all.the.time.

After we got home from the doctors I looked at us and our home. No telling when Bug actually got ASD, but we looked average. I was over-weight, personally well taken care of. Our daughter was happy and healthy as well. Bug could tell us what he needed to a point and our bank account did not reflect income from stocks, since we didn’t even have a portfolio. So I waited. I waited for that shoe to drop. I waited for him to stop talking, for him to start running and for us to wither away to nothingness. But we never did.

Instead, Bug was given an IEP and started at a special education preschool. He thrived. He was the only verbal child in his class and because of that he was a amazing model for his peers. The doctors soon wrote prescriptions for therapy and the influx of therapists started entering our homes and our daily lives. I quickly learned what they all did in terms of helping ASD children. However, it took me some time to get it all down.

When faced with a new diagnosis, it is always overwhelming, even the second time around. With two ASD children, I felt in control and prepared when handed her diagnosis. But I wasn’t. I was less prepared actually. I quickly feel back onto Bug’s therapists for advice and help. And soon I was maneuvering the road down ASD again like a pro. So I thought I’d share some of the foundations of therapy that are often prescribed with a ASD diagnosis. Remember every child is different. I have two ASD children and besides them both receiving ABA, they receive different services.

OT– Occupational Therapists (OT) Autism Speaks describes OT as “brings together cognitive, physical and motor skills. The aim of OT is to enable the individual to gain independence and participate more fully in life”.

PT– Psychical Therapists (PT) “focused on any problems with movement that cause functional limitations,” as stated by Autism Speaks.

Autism Speaks lists speech – encompasses a variety of techniques and addresses a range of challenges for children with autism.

ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis), to me, is the most important type of therapy a child with ASD can receive. Autism Speaks states that “Since the early 1960’s, applied behavior analysis, or ABA, has been used by hundreds of therapists to teach communication, play, social, academic, self-care, work and community living skills, and to reduce problem behaviors in learners with autism.”

All this information and more can be found by visiting Autism Speaks.