Is a 504 plan Right for Your Child- Via Military Special Needs Network

School starts next week for us (thank you!). Last night was our open house and the children got to meet their new teachers prospectively. Of course new situations don’t come without a few bumps we must maneuver around along the way. On is named Ms. Pérez, who happens not to be Diva’s kindergarten teacher for the entire year. For half of the school year, Ms. Pérez will be the teacher subbing for Diva’s real teacher who is on maternity leave until Christmas. However, at this point I feel that is the least of Diva’s worries.

Up until this point Diva as not been in a public school education or qualified for IEP to obtain admittance to a special needs preschool. She has been tested twice and told, even though she was mute during both testing periods, that would not impact her education and she still passed all the tests. Her passing the tests was remarkable to me since they reported she didn’t say one word, does not know how to spell, read or write. So here we are a year later in a new state and a new school district. Seeing Diva in a preschool setting I feel she will not qualify for a IEP, however, I feel there are certain accommodation. So how do we get those accommodations for her if she has no IEP to write them in? Say ello to my ittle friend… the 504 Plan.

I have been looking for the Dummies Guide to IEP’s and 504’s and found one today. Who can say “awesome sauce”!? Just say thank you to Samantha over at Military Special Needs Network provided us with a great explanation of the difference between an IEP and a 504 plan.

Wordy Wednesday: bullying vs Rude vs Mean


Ugh! I want to pull my hair out. First spring break and now some random state holiday. These kids need to be back in school. They are getting on each other’s nerves and mine. Every 5 seconds it’s “he did this….” Or “she did that…”. They keep picking on each other and everyone’s tempers are thin. I don’t know how many times my kids have approached me this past week and I have that ask them if they are tattling or reporting. However, the positive is that- they are learning the difference. Want to teach your kids the difference? See here how I did it.

It has been a learning process over the years to figure out how best each child learns. It took me a while and even now I get confused on who learns best which way. Because of course it can’t be the same for everyone.

Those moments was brought on one day at our doctor. We went to a appointment and the nurse triaging me asked how I learned best. I stopped and had to think about it. Telling me didn’t work; I’m a visual learner. She gave me the choices and I told her it was all of them. I asked what that meant. She explained that if they ever need to teach me how to administer a drug or treatment they will be able to do it in a way I will understand. Why did that shock me so? Its brilliance. So I got to thinking why don’t teachers stop and asses which child learns what ways. It might help millions of children excel in school and life better. However, since I can’t impact that many children, I can at least set mine up for success. I realized I can teach them in their best learning style, and once they are older I can teach them the best way for them to study. But until then they will stand next to me while I’m on the couch tattle telling or reporting on each other.

I finally had enough of them and sent them to their rooms for some quiet separate time. However, before my son left, he let out one of those replies that makes your blood boil as a parent. My mom referred to it as the “f” word; FINE! Oh hell no, you just did not throw that word at me little boy. But, oh sure enough he did. His eye brows went up and his eyes got huge as he saw that look of evil spread across my face.

He walked over to me, head hung low, and said he was sorry. I stopped even madder now. Does he even know why he is apologizing? No, he just saw my reaction and via all our social stories and experiences, knows that face means he is in trouble. Autism, sometimes I hate you.

I ask him why he apologized. He said because he knew I was mad. I asked him if he knew why I was. He said because “I don’t know”. I tell him what he said was rude to me. I asked him if he knew what that meant. He replied “mean”. I stopped and had to think about it. Rude does mean mean; but it means more than that.

I started getting angry with myself. I realized I had never explained to him what rude and mean meant. How can I be mad at him for not teaching him yet we don’t talk like that. I simply can’t. No one can. So I stood there trying to find the right explanation of the word. It was hard. And I basically skirted around it. I just didn’t have a good answer. So I had to find one.

First thing was I knew I could not define the word with the word itself. So I can’t say mean means mean. Instead due to Bug’s way of learning, I needed to come up with concrete examples and definitions. While looking around I ran across this article by Signe Whitson, written a few years back.

She writes about the differences between bullying, mean and rude. Perfect! And since we are school age now it is great to teach them about bullying.

The one thing I want to also teach my children is how to recognize what bullying is. We all know how being bullied can effect ones ego and self esteem; but if one of your deficiencies is social how are you going to realize you are being bullied? It’s a horrible set of circumstances. I have already seen it happen to my children and seen what it can do when they don’t understand what is going on.

Here is another resource our ABA gave to me today:– super flex

Tip{py} Tuesday: Tips to Help Teach Your ASD How to Wash Themselves


Sniff. My children are growing up. All those cute little quirks they used to have aren’t so cute anymore. I’ll admit some are annoying, aggravating and time consuming. At the end of the day all I want to do is have some clean and happy kids. However, it took awhile for those two little unassuming words to be used in the same sentence. I’m talking years people! How did we get there? By force.

It all started two years ago when we had to move to a new house on post. As luck would have it we got a HAH (handicap accessible house). It was a one story with lowered light switched, toilets and a zero entry shower. Up until this point our children had only taken baths. Yes, we could have continue to give them baths in the master bathroom, but to me that wasn’t an option; it was an opportunity. At some point in their lives they would eventually have to take showers. They would also have to take them unassisted. Issue was they hated showers; loathed them. They would all scream in unison when we would try. Baths were just easier on the ears.

But I was determined. I wanted those few precious minutes of my life back eventually. So we threw them in cold turkey.

Tip:: At first, pick one night a week to do a shower; the rest baths. Gradually add more nights as shower nights and lower the number of bath nights.

We basically lied. Yup. We are great parents. We told them they had no option. We did make it fun though. Here is how we did it:

We treated it like a play time at first. We had the kids shower in their swimsuits!

They thought it was a so cool we let them shower in them. It honestly took a little persuasion getting Bug into the shower. Why? Because you aren’t suppose to wear clothes in the shower. Duh! Sometimes this kid….

Next we used bath toys. We went to the store and had them each pick out a few different ones. We then got some shave cream and made colored shaving cream.

We also used music. Our children love music and to dance. So we had a little dance party in our swimming suits.

I realize some peoples showers may not be as oversized as ours. At that point in time we were lucky to be able to shower all three at once. Now, due to age, we shower Bug alone. However, you can easily use all these tips for showering one at a time.

So the actual washing part- this is an example of how my kids washed themselves: 0.1 milliseconds of actual scrubbing time.

Of course that will not work when they are 13 and are a walking deodorant stick. So to keep my children from public embarrassment, I need to teach them how to actually clean themselves.

Basically, it is the same set up at washing their hands. I said they lick music, so…. They now sing the washing your hands song to clean their bodies. Of course we adapted it a little.

“Wash, wash, wash you arms
Get them nice and clean.
First the bottoms, then the tops,
And everywhere in between.”

Yea, we are cheesy. But it works. So we sing that about three times. More when dirtier. Then interchange the words for each appendage.

Lastly, you want to look at your shower space and see how it is set up. If you are sharing a shower with you entire family, you will want to move dangerous items out of their reach. I suggest buying a few of the bathroom caddys that suction cup to the wall. Then you can place your razors and other dangerous objects high out of their reach. I also suggest to but additional ones for each child. Place them lower within their reach. Add in such items as their toothbrush, toothpaste, wash cloth and other items.

We are not yet to independent shower taking, but at least we have set up our kids to succeed.

Mommy Moment Mondays: Check Your Pockets!

Oh the things your find in your washing machine. Things that should not be in your washing machine. Things your children put in their pockets that end up in the washing machine. And millions of other things that end up in the trash that shouldn’t be, the fridge that shouldn’t be, and under beds that shouldn’t be. As moms, we all have these experiences. I remember to stay calm, and you should too. Why? Because up until that point, your child has no idea it is wrong to put anything that doesn’t belong in those place. For example, this is what I found in my washing machine this morning.


My child had no idea it was wrong to not check your pockets before putting your dirty clothes in the laundry basket. Why? Because I never taught her to check her pockets for little treasures. So before I ran my mouth and went off the handle, I had to take a breath and realize she didn’t do it out of malice, but did it out of naiveness.

That small pause made me think about a lot of things. What else was I getting angry at my children for when it was pure innocence on their part instead of the deviousness I felt it was? Probably a whole hell of a lot of things. My children are smart, smarter than you think, smarter than I think. There are times I don’t give them enough credit and times I forget how little they are. So this morning after I discovered all her little treasures in the washer, I smiled, laughed and showed Hubs.

This afternoon when she gets home from school I will shower her what I found. I will bite my tongue and hold back my irritatedness, and calmly explain to all my children to check their pockets before putting their dirty clothes in the basket (and hope Hubs is within ear shot). And then, along with the dirty laundry hiding under her bed, and empty cups of now cottage cheese I found while cleaning out her toy box, I will explain to all of them (for the umteithbillion time) where our dirty dishes and clothes go. Why? There is still innocence in my children.  They have not reached the age  of maliciousness (maybe I’m the naive one) .

A “Special” Kind of Blog Hop: Stronger Together


We are asking our bloggy friends – and friends of friends – to write on the theme Stronger Together. This can include posts featuring things we do to support others in the military and/or special needs community, how you’ve been helped in the past and intend to pay it forward, stories of families coming together during sequestration, finding your “tribe” through online support groups and blogging, or anything else that goes with the general theme.

To participate, write your story. Then come over here and follow the instructions on how to “link up.” Then share and promote the link-up page on your blog, Facebook and other social media platforms. Finally, click-through and read some of the other outstanding bloggers who have linked-up. This is a great way for military special needs bloggers to connect & discover new favorites.

To read the other blog hoppers, please click on the above icon. You will go to the Inlinkz site. A list of blogs will be there for your viewing pleasure. Please stop by and read a couple. And make sure you leave a comment when you visit our fellow bloggers – comments are like gold to bloggers. You’ll make someone’s day, I promise.

Today’s post is part of our “Special” Kind of Blog Hop series. This week’s blog is based on the theme of Stronger Together.

Stronger Together:

When you have children of your own, you are immediately told to never compare them to your friend’s children, neighborhood children or even siblings. However, I feel the person who often tells that lie, has a normal child and has never had to deal with the little voice in the back of their head yelling “something just isn’t right!”. At least that is how it was for me. I pushed the little voice in my head to the back and slapped some duct tape on its mouth.

Bug was diagnosed in January of 2011 with Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS). At the time, Bug’s diagnosis was really no shock to me. I saw red flags and I knew enough from my past to know Bug was not developing as a “normal” child. Eventually, as my confidence grew as a mother, I learned to listen to my instincts. After walking out of the doctor’s office being given Bug’s diagnosis, Hubs turned to me and said “if he has Autism, then so do I”. I will never forget that moment. I knew I would be doing a lot of this swimming alone. I managed those first couple of months just fine. It was hard doing it alone, but with the support of his therapists we did great.

It was when our middle child was diagnosed with Autism in October of 2011 that I was thrown into the water and felt like I was drowning. Diva was seemingly normal. I kept lying to myself that all her red flags were merely mirrors of her brother; that their closeness in age, personality and her love for him made her want to be him. After her diagnosis is when I started reaching out; trying to find a life preserver to hold onto. However, that was also when I realized that due to location and life style, if I wanted to keep afloat I was going to have to do it swim it alone.

I doggie padded, swallowed a lot of water and barely made it those first few months. I learned Hubs was still in denial about Bug’s diagnosis and therefore did not take Diva’s lightly. He still has yet to go to more than a handful of each of their appointments combined. This is the point in my story I tell you about my life preserver.

She is a Army wife. She mother of special needs children. And she is funny; funny as heck. Funny is what I needed. Her understanding and laughter is what taught me to swim. Shortly after we initially meet and before any of her children were diagnosed, we ironically joined a local organization, MOPS. Through this group, we were able to be surrounded by other peers. However, to my knowledge, we were the only ones with special needs children.

If you know me, you know that wouldn’t stop me or make me feel secluded. Instead, I asked to be the guest speaker at one of their meetings in regards to understanding EFMP, children’s milestones and health. Additionally, I talked about resources and what to do if you heard that little voice screaming in your head “something just isn’t right!”.

That meeting was a gateway to open up a line of communication that would have forever been sealed. I have learned people don’t happily and openingly talk about what is wrong with their kids. They want everyone to think they are that perfect little happy family. I am here to tell you to know think that way. My life preserver and I would have never made that connection that saved us both if I was ashamed of my family.

Be open in talking.  Be open in taking.  Be a open book. If people have questions; educate them. If people have hugs; take them. If people have rude comments and stares; well……

We are all in the together. We are all bonded by the same thing and that is love for our children and our family.