Thursday, February 24, 2011

Purple is our calm color!

Purple is our calm color! Yes, we are the Purple family!

I never liked Barney and that is who I associate when I think of Purple. Purple is also a color that my Grandmother for many years and I believe until even now thinks is my favorite color. Purple has never been a calming color or favorite for me.

So when we went for a screening to see how Aleq views words,  it amazed me that Purple is his calming color. It seemed like I would never escape Purple, so I need to embrace it.
I have known all year that Aleq was having issues with reading. It seemed to frustrate him more then anything and it was to the point that I was lucky to get one page read by him in his reader each day.
He knew his sounds, he knew his letters, and he knew how to sound them out. So what is the problem! A thought might come across that he is possibly being lazy or stubborn about reading. It was not a comprehension issue, he would understand no matter how long it took to read a sentence.
It was a different look in his eyes, you could see him trying but it really frustrating him as if it hurt his head.  Knowing he has SPD, I thought maybe he is not processing it! Ding a light went off....perhaps it is dyslexia!

So here I go to the library as always, when I have an idea about something. Grabbing all the books I can preparing myself to help him in anyway I can.  There was one particular book called "Reading by Colors" by Helen Irlen. It caught my attention because it had in the description about sensory issues. I read it and it made sense but I still was not really on board.
I had a homeschool mom, who I called because she was having issues with her son as well. She informed me of our local homeschool store that did the testing. I called and we went today. So Aleq has a a type of dyslexia called Scotopic Sensitiviy Syndrome, So does my husband!

So what is Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrom? It is more of a perceptual issue. Which makes sense because Aleq has gravitational insecurities as well.  According to Irlen, it involves the functioning of the eye. You may see the background flashing, or see colors in the background, letters fading, changing shape, or the resolution. It is frustrating trying to read with all that going on.
It was really amazing how after testing Aleq and him talking about the colors he sees. Then walking out to where my husband was and the tester mentioned that Aleq sees colors. My husband said " I thought that was normal". Jaime knew exactly what Aleq was going through. I could not see anything different, but they did.

This is how it affects you if you have Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome and not know it:
  • you enery level is low
  • no motivation
  • low in work production
  • short attention span
  • writing is difficult
  • handwriting is not very legible
  • gross motor activites are affected
  • depth perception is off
These are just some of the clues....

Also according to Irlen, and I witnessed it there are five components:
  1. Light sensitivity - does not do well w/ flouresent lights or energy saver lights
  2. Inadequate Background -having issues with high contrasts between black and white
  3. Poor Print Resolution- the letter/numbers change, dance, vibrate, jiggle, move
  4. Restricted Span of Recognition - difficulty in reading letters, notes, numbers, or words at the same time
  5. Lack of Sustained Attention - can not focus or concentrate
The result is you will have an insufficient reader and an all-or-nothing attitude!

Aleq is to young to figure out what he really sees as far as how the words looked, check it out with the examples. Some words could look like rivers, shadows, jumping off the page or blurred. Jaime said he could see the words forming rivers. After coming home and talking with my mom, she admitted she sees shadows on all her words.  WOW!!

This has been a learning experience. I always thought dyslexia was seeing things backwards. That is farthest from the truth.

Where was I when this aired on TV! It is so worth to watch it. Amazing!

The way we are working through it right now is we use our Purple overlay and he read 4 pages with no problem. In about 6 months or a year we will go back and see how his progress is. Another method is we will use Purple colored paper for his school work. So I found Purple paper at Office Depot and will copy his Math U See and HWT work onto the colored paper. We will use Purple index cards for sight words to practice.  Oh, we changed our "energy saving light bulbs" back to the old type as well.

Now all of this makes sense, he never liked books with cartoons in them because it overwhelmed him. We also need to use more readers with just black and white drawings in them. I found a couple of Pathway First Step Readers to use. How cool is it listed on Cathy Duffys website!

I bought an overlay for Ashlie and my husband.

So now we are off on another journey.

More to live, love and laugh.....

Sunday, February 6, 2011

God's other green playground....

One of the things I learned about SPD children is they need their green playground. Nature was something that most of the children had in common.
What is a green playground? A playground rmade out of recycled material or on that is with grass?

A green playground is outside, nature, without manmade playthings...Kids focusing on what bug or bird is making a certain sound. It is amazing how kids really will focus on trees, birds, flowers, and bugs when you take time to show them. Let them explore the green playground that God has given us.

Children with SPD or children without, really benefit learning about nature. It does not mean let's go play in the mud, all the time, lol. My daughter does not like getting dirty. However, she can tell you anything about many birds, trees, and even bugs.  Animals of course are a big thing in our family.

SPD children tend to be able to really focus and not feel overwhelmed when playing in God's green playground. Maybe that is God's way of providing therapy for them.

Nature trails, prairies, or fields are not the only way to get the benefit of God's green playground.  The beach is another place as well.

Where we live we have the "Dike", it is the awesome since they reopened after Hurricane Ike damage. It is amazing and has been our second favorite place to play in God's green playground. The kids love to go out there to just explore. Sometimes we see the ships coming by, pelicans getting lunch or dinner, the shells, or just watching the seagulls. The kids love this kind of playground as well.

Snowy Egret

Our path onto the sandbar.
Some lovely seaweed and oyster shells with barnacles.

We talked about the salt in the water, why there were suds and the currants.

Just chillin and taking in all the learning...
This is a sandbar we found and went on, however, everytime the ships would pass there was not an entrance or exit to it.
The kids exploring.
Some of the ships in Galveston Bay...brought up the conversation of trade.
 A beautiful sunset...
Who made these footprints? Ashlie?
A Brown Pelican looking for dinner.

Ashlie just comes alive when she is exploring as well.
Aleq loving every minute of it. It is his therapy as well.

My point is, do not just settle for your backyard. Explore what is around your enviroment. Even stopping on the side of the road to see wildflowers, watching wildlife or even animals. You don't have to discover just your yard, there are many other options as well. The kids love to learn and you can learn with them in  the God's green playground.
   We saw a huge group of vultures. My husband turned the car around and we watched these vultures like we were on Nat. Geo Wild or explorers.
We counted a total of 16 all together..they were eating a carcass of a skunk.

This one is too cool to me, it look like it could just be one bird!

Yeah, some say we are crazy...but we love God's green playground.

Live, Love, and Laugh

Saturday, January 29, 2011

These books make me feel like I am a BAD Momma!

I can not wait to share these with you!
You know how much fun it is to watch your children eat food that is good for them and tastes yummo!

It is so ture....I feel like a bad and evil mom that is laughing behind a straight face while I watch my daughter eat here is the story:

Once upon a time in a far away home Ashlie and I both would suffer from digestive issues. I have been trying to delete any processed food out of our home. Aleq is the only one allowed at the moment because some of the processed food is all he will eat, however, lately I have been able to change it to organic or no preservative/artificial whatever. Another evil laugh behind that as well.
So, Ash and I both have issues and I have been trying to put more veggies/fruit in her life. I could eat veggies and fruit all the time and be happy. Boy, do I missed our canned food from when I was a young one. I loved it when my grandma and mom would can our food. YUMMO!!
Back to the subject...So,I came across Double Delicious by Jessica Seinfield at Sams after Christmas. My husband saw my look at the book and grabbed it for me. Thank you my love!

I LOVE IT....then found out she had a another one called Deceptively Delicious.
Let me tell you, these are both awesome.

Here are the basics:
  • Buy fresh veggies such as butternut squash, cauliflower, sweet potatoe, carrots, broccoli, spinach and summer squash are just a few to name.
  • You then bring them home and wash them to then cut them up into smaller pieces.
  • Next you steam them.
  • The fun part is to puree them.
  • Then I measure 1/4 cup measurements into a ziploc bag or the ziploc airtight sheets that stick together. I have a vaccum sealer and have used that as well. The good thing is w/ a ziploc or vaccum sealer you can wash them out and reuse them.
  • Place them in the freezer
  • When you are ready to make one of the recipes you take the veggie to use out to thaw out during the day or in the microwave.
These instructions are more detailed in each book. Very detailed and describes it in a basic language that anyone can understand.

I simply love these....I have tried the Chicken Nuggets ( I will never buy chicken nuggets again at the grocer), the oatmeal it to die for ( there is variety of ways to fix it as well), Aloha Chicken, Sweet n Sour Meatballs are good, Chicken Biscuts (like a pot pie), Lemon Bars,Chili, Apple Crumble, and Burgers (my husband could not get enough of).
As you see this is simple food not food you have to change the name for your child to eat.

The only one I would change is the Spaghetti, there are not many Italian spices in it. So when you make it be sure you add fennel, oregano, and some basil.

Most of the recipes do call for Whole Wheat Flour, Milled Flaxseed, and some Whole Wheat Pastry Flour ( I had to order this one online, could not find it in our stores around town). It is worth it!

I can not brag enough, I feel like a commercial...when I tell you how good these are for you and how good they taste.

It has made her and I feel a lot better. My husband has loved all of the recipes so far.  If I can get Aleq on the same page, that will be a miracle.. We have to start somewhere though right.

Like I said, it is fun to watch your children eat and laugh a good "Muahahahahahha" knowing they are eating healthy! They have nooo idea what you are doing to them. However, Ashlie grabbed my books one day and laughed at the title. She said "HA, trying to trick kids to eat healthy food"...I looked at her and said "What do you think you have been eating?"
Well, the rest of the story is she proceeded to then go through and mark what she wanted me to make.

There is a deal, she likes it but she does not want me to tell her what is in it. My husband has been putting his hand up saying " Don't tell me". Reminds me of the TV commercial about Chef Boyardee, the moms keep hushing everyone to not say there is a full serving of veggies in the can. Well, my family hushes me...That is why these books make me feel like a bad momma because I am tricking them and they have no idea with what!


Friday, January 28, 2011

No straightjackets for us!

Well it has been almost a year since Aleq was diagnosed with SPD! WOW....

Happy Anniversary to US!!!

Sorry, for not blogging as much as I should have been. It has been crazy, I mean crazy....My good friend once told me that I am a crazy magnet...LOL!! So I asked her what that says about her, lol! 

Aleq , Aleq, Aleq....he has improved so much. I know exaclty what sets him off and can tell as soon as he wakes up if he is okay or not. He does not let me brush him as often as I used to. However, when we have those days where nothing seems to go right, I still brush him.

Less tantrums and breakdowns! YEAH!! However, he is still learning how to control himself when something upsets him and he can't process what to do.
Like today at the park, he went after a little boy because Aleq asked him where his bike was, the little boy answered " I don't have it with me, are you crazy or something?" Aleq just broke down and pushed the little boy down. He could not process how to respond and it overwhelmed him. After about 30 minutes of me holding him and talking with him. I don't think he knew remembered acting reacting that way. He just told me what happened and I knew that was it. After calming down, he finally decided to apologize to the little boy, told him why he was upset. Now, he wants him to be his best friend. They played for 30 minutes together without anymore problems. The mom was very comforting saying she understood, I of course cried. You feel embarressed and just waiting for bashing after an episode like that.
Then we have days where all is well for a long period of time too. I can talk to him longer when there is an issue. As far as his sleeping habits, ah, they are better but he sleeps with us now. Thanks goodness we are not in the process of expanding our family, we don't get time. LOL! Ashlie and he still have their moments but it is not like it was.

I have noticed instead of him getting frusterated more he shows what the real issue is, for example he will panic if we are not all together. He worries about us walking all together in the mall or if Ashlie will go with us. He needs to know where his Papi is all the time. Before, he would not talk about it, he would just tell me he didn't know what is wrong. Now, I know he just panics.

The eating issue is not solved still, however, I have noticed if I do therapy with him he will try something new. Most of the time he does not like it, but he attempts it. That is good enough for me. The best example is at Christmas...
The kids woke up at 3 am that morning. After opening presents he received some Legos he was wanting. Legos is the best therapy for him besides heavy work. He sat at the talble from 4 am to noon putting it together. At noon when it was time to eat, he ate turkey and ham. He would have never done that before. I actually cried seeing him eat something besides crescent rolls.

Therapy that we have using more then anything is the Legos, he loves the Legos City products.  The MegaRig Matchbox toys...he loves to create. These things help him focus and think clearly. The best therapy is still his heavy work. He carries his backpack full of stuff with him automatically. Going out throwing the ball with the dogs, helping with yard as well.

He has even tried playing baseball...he would never have tried that before. Wow, can he throw the ball and hit it well.  It has been awesome to see his confidence go up. Bowling is his thing as well, it really helps his self esteem.
So this is a round up for what has improved this year...last but not least is his schooling.  It is working out! WOOT WOOT! He is doing awesome in Math, gradually reading without resisting, and Science is beyond his level.

This year has really been a lot better, I feel better now I know and can see.
The only issue is finding friends that understand. It has been hard because either they label or just stay away. There are several that stick around and accept him.

Thank you God, for all that you have given us, the strength to not give up. The courage to keep going and to hold my head up high! He will be 8 next year and instead of dreading another year or confused still...I am looking forward to more journies and therapy...We will make it, I know all of you with the same issues will make it as well. It is a slow process but God will help you proceed.
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