Tip{py} Tuesday- Visual Cues


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We all need reminders. However, I have my limit at repeating myself 4 different times per person in this family. It gets old fast and I get annoyed even faster, especially with the 4 I have. I have also come to the conclusion that was a maid in a former life. I picture myself as one of the ones in Downton Abbey. Milling around a grand mansion striking soot off Persian rugs and helping the Lady pick just the right piece of flare for tonight’s dinner with the Earl. And then reality sets in and I am scrubbing pee off the toilets, using my nails as a abrasive edge to peel who-knows-what off the dinning room table, and the only piece of flare I get to wear is the splash of blueberry smoothie on my shirt…that I wore yesterday. I have hit that threshold of “no one appreciates me” yesterday when I said goodbye to a dozen small deadly little bits and pieces I sucked up with the vacuum. So today, I am doing something about it.

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Hubs and I have been battling in the past weeks on the next step with parenting. Our children are getting older, more responsible and understanding of the world around them and what we expect of them. It’s not cute anymore when they leave legos in the floor to be stepped on or when the sticker book threw up all over Diva’s room one afternoon. Actions will now equal consequences. We also decided it was about time the children start pulling their weight around here. Why else do you have kids? JK. However, the main battle we are having is should it be a paid system of chores or a list of household responsibilities?

I never got paid as a child for chores. I did what I was told with childhood resentment. However, it lead to adulthood gratification. I know how to clean a toilet, how to do the laundry and how to load a dishwasher with out looking for someone to hand me a quarter to do it. I was raised that it would your duty and responsibility to your home and your family to do your work.

This this is how it is gonna work. Everyone needs reminders. And from this point further I am going to stop verbally reminding everyone to do what they are suppose too (with the exception of SB). Yes, the rest of them has ASD and yes the rest of them have ADHD and see something shiney and there they go forgetting what they were suppose to be doing. But, I think it will benefit everyone in the long run and everyone will lead a much longer life. Even I have my own self reminders of work to do and things to remember. Don’t think this is just for little children. I am contemplating making one of these nifty do dads for Hubs.

I found the idea on Pinterest (who knew!). I adapted it to what materials I had on hand because I am thrifty like that. I used a diaper box we got from Costco and cut off all the folds with a sharp knife. Next, I took the chalk board door hanger off his door and used it as a template. However, if you do not have template handy you could probably do a “door hanger template” search on Google. After I traced out three, I used my sharp knife again to cut out the shapes. After that, I found some scrap scrapbook paper I had been saving and traced the template on the paper again. Again, I cut out the three paper templates. I grabbed my rubber cement and smeared some on both the backs of the cardboard and the paper templates and smashed them together. Lastly, I took my stash of Washib tape and clothes pins and got to work. I went on Pinterest again for ideas of responsibility, but mainly I just thought of what I had them doing daily already. We don’t have much time in the mornings so I left off any morning routines that needed to be followed. In the end it took about one hour to complete three.

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They are so cute hanging on their doors…until Diva when to close hers and broke the clothes pins off in the door jam. So new solution? I grabbed a couple small 3M command hooks and slapped those babies on the front lower middle of the door and hung their reminder charts there.

 

 

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Tricare and Therapy Thursday: Tricare to Close All Walk-in Offices 2014


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I don’t know about you, but if I call and get one more automated virtual assistant, I will throw my phone. Whoever invented the “please tell me why you are calling” I will hunt you down. Why? You try calling Tricare or other businesses regarding a question with three screaming kids in the background. It is hard enough without the automated lady; it’s harder when she mistakes your child’s cries as #3 for calling in Chinese. I always felt comfort knowing when something came up I could easily go to our local Tricare office and talk to a live person- in English. However, it looks like even those days are over. Last month it was reported that Tricare will close its walk-in offices due to low number of walk-ins and cost.

In November of this year, Militarytimes.com reported that the 189 walk-in Tricare locations will shut its doors next year (all overseas locations will remain open). So start practicing your Chinese, don’t use a Bluetooth when calling (they seem to never hear me on them) and find a safe, quiet and sane room to conduct your Tricare calls in. And if all else fails- scream human into the phone (yelling “representative” seems to work too).

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.

A “Special” Kind of Blog Hop: Stronger Together


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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.

Blank _______


I had goals in my life. I’m sure we all make them at some point. All goals we think normal people want to achieve. Graduating college, getting a job in your field, marriage, family, traveling, maybe even writing a book. I had several.

Age 22 – graduate college
Age 24 – get married
Age 26 – have first child
Age 30 – Cut off for kids

In between all those goals were more: getting my dream job, traveling and writing a book.

I pat myself on the back. I accomplished every goal I had set; and then some. I get a gold star my on chart.

On my 30th birthday, I sat alone on a beach in the rain and cried on the phone to my mom. I had no more goals. I had put a check mark by every one. I had nothing in my life to work for. I felt worthless and blank. Not blank as in _______; I felt blank, empty and emotionless.  I was numb.

I am sure we all have that day. A day of realization that can change the path you are on, or the route you had planned to take. I started writing some things down and realized I needed to create a new set of goals.

I never do well with “grey”. I like my black and white life and knowing (most of the time) what to expect so I can be prepared to handle it. Being caught off guard and having plans changed rattles and makes me feel anxious and afraid. Which is often the daily happenings with two special needs kids and military lifestyle. Just last week, Hubs was suppose to be home from a week long training and at the last moment his homecoming was pushed back a day. I cried. But after the year long hell of a deployment; one week should not have been that earth shattering.

Which leads me back to my opening thought- I have no goals. But maybe the goals I should be setting now are the ones for my family. My life has changed drastically since I first made the goals of graduating college, getting married and so forth. The center of my universe has shifted and in its orbit are three little stars gaining momentum and growing brighter each day.

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