Tip{py} Tuesday…pincer grasp!

One skill that both my kids constantly are working on is their fine motor. Those little hand muscles are so important for writing and neither one of my boys have ever been that interested in the “sit down and write” type of activities. Anything to help them get that proper pincer grasp I am all for. Their new OT shared this trick with me the other week and I had to share. Simply take a smaller size binder clip and attach it to a standard pencil in the spot where you would normally place your fingers. It should look like this:

Then their index finger just goes in between the two metal parts of the clip serving as a physical guide for where to put their fingers. Genius, right? This can be used to practice writing but could be used for coloring with colored pencils for some fun practice. Sometimes things are so simple you wanna smack your forehead and say, “why didn’t I think of that?” :). Have a great one!


Wordy Wednesday…Data!!!

I was having one of those days yesterday where I just needed some feedback. Well, let me be more specific. I needed some feedback that wasn’t negative. It seemed like all I was hearing back from my kids’ (nonABA-therapists and teachers was all that they couldn’t do, weren’t doing, and should be able to do but aren’t. That’s not the message you want to hear when you’re running yourself ragged trying to make all the different appointments, jamming snacks down your kids’ throats in the car so they don’t get to therapy on an empty stomach after a long day in school.

After the third day in a row, I asked my son’s BCBA (board certified behavior analyst) for something positive. She very happily produced the following graph in mere minutes:


That’s one of the things I love about ABA. Since they are constantly taking data on kiddo’s progress they can pull up graphs like the one above that literally show day by day how kids are doing. That way if they are having an “off” day, the therapist knows it. Unlike in more traditional assessments when my son has an off day and fails a test and then it looks like he doesn’t know the material.

So, thank God for data. It gets me through these tough spots when I wonder, ” is it all paying off?”

When I can look and see visible improvement I see that it is. Thank you ABA!

Tricare/ therapy Thursday…We are making progress!!!!

So, at times with all the therapy my boys get, it can definitely be overwhelming. Sometimes I wonder, is it all helping? Then I get a pearl like this one. My oldest, who is 5, completed this homework with my husband. The assignment ended with him drawing a cat. And I could tell it was a cat! Never would have happened even a few months ago. So proud of him. I’ll tuck this pearl away for the next time I’m stuck in traffic late for a therapy appt. wondering if it’s all worth it 🙂


Therapy Thursday…Tricare Regions

So, as parents of kids with special needs, we realize the importance of good insurance coverage and a good understanding of the good insurance coverage that you have. I have had Tricare since 2006 and am so happy with what we have gotten as a result. I have Type I Diabetes so I was used to the rigamarole of seeing my PCM to get a referral for my endocrinologist, etc. When my oldest son was diagnosed with ASD in 2011, I figured out how to navigate the paperwork maze to get him what he needed. Then my youngest was diagnosed with ASD in 2013 and it seemed like a breeze to get him through all the hoops because I had just gone through it with my other son. Then we moved and it was like hitting a brick wall. Starting over in a new place was hard, getting new referrals and all new therapists was really hard. But we did it. Now, we recently have moved again. This time we actually switched Tricare regions as well. So far so good, but there are some differences in what the regions will cover. Tricare West covered social group sessions hosted by our ABA provider. Here in the North Tricare region they are not covered and we will have a fee each time they attend. Not complaining, just something I wasn’t expecting. Another change is that instead of each of my sons having a set number of hours of ABA therapy a month, there is a set number of dollars per year that covers ABA therapy for my entire family. Regardless if I have one, two, or five kids on the spectrum we get the same amount of coverage. Those with more kids on the spectrum will have less coverage per child. Still doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. So are these changes because I switched regions or did I just find out about them we switched and were setting all our services up from scratch? Who knows. My head is spinning from trying to keep track of it all.

Oh, Mommies, Tomorrow I Have a Fight to Win

Oh, mommies, tomorrow I have a fight to win.

I will be positive and optimistic.

I will win.

It is a fight most of us have to battle monthly or even weekly. It’s an IEP meeting. Ugh, just the mention of an IEP meeting sends my blood pressure up and me full force into battle plan mode. This meeting tomorrow I know will be a vicious one.

My son’s school occupational therapist wants to pull his OT from his IEP. You want to know what is funny? She is only on his IEP as consultation only; which means she is only called in to help when there is a problem. So why does she feel she needs to remove herself from it?

My guess is it is mainly due to just removing him from her case load. She is the only OT at the school and the school refuses to let private therapy onto school grounds. Furthermore, she had an issue when he got OT added to his IEP. At the last IEP meeting said she wanted to make a verbal deal with us in regards to his care. Wait, what?! You want me to believe you will help us if there is an issue because you tell me vs. having it in writing? Yea, that’s funny and I’m not stupid.

Her problem is she feels he no longer needs OT because of the wonderful progress he has made. Um, yea…it’s called repeating kindergarten. Of course he has had no behavioral issues. What type of environment does a kid with ASD do best? One that he has already experienced and knows the set routine.

What worries me and why I will fight to keep his OT on his IEP is because 1) next year when he enters first grade it will be a new environment with a new routine, and we all know how unproblematic that is going to be and 2) if/when we move, he will once again encounter an new environment and new routine. What did I just repeat myself?

Either possibility will create upheaval and newness for him that will impact his behavior which has already proven to impact his education (hence why he had to repeat kindergarten!!!!).

When will educators stop worrying about paperwork and start worrying about the student?