Saturday, March 24, 2007

What a Day!

So yesterday was quite the adventure. It was the first beautiful Friday we've had in a while, and the kids didn't have Wee Time, so I thought ti would be good to take them somewhere. Joey wasn't feeling good Thursday, but he seemed to be recovered, so I thought Richmond and goat-petting would be an excellent destination.

We were delayed by ome phone calls- the most damaging being one of the lawyers calling to say she wasn't taking new cases, and perhaps I ought to spend my energies making sure his next IEP is "airtight." TO which I could only think, I canput all the OT goals and time in there I want, if its done by a person with an attitude and lack of skill, what good is it? But anyway...

So I packed up the guys and headed out to get some gas. I was about to right-turn-on-red when a little truck cut me off, and I had to brake. I didn't hit him. The person behind me, however, didn't stop in time, and we were bumped. It was more of an annoyance than anything else; there's a dent in my tailgate, but it still works, and no one was hurt. Andy freaked because of teh bang, but soon was giggling with his brother. WE had to wait for a policeman to show up, who was very nice, but it ate our morning.

So instead of heading down to Richmond right away, we went ot World Market and picked up a set of CHinese paints and brushes. I want to show my students how difficult Chinese ink painting really is, and there is no better way than handing them a brush, a stone, and some dry ink, and saying "go for it!" The store was a disaster waiting to happen- little kiosks of grabbables every where. Fortunately, my guys were more interested in each other, and they were perfect little angels. I was so proud of them! We decided to go get Grandma and go on to petting goats, they were so good.

Goat petting is fun. Feeding them is even better. There were peacocks on top of the chicken coop, and Joey found them all by himself- it is such a miracle to have him noticing his environment, but to really explore it to find peacocks way over his head... wow! And when they got tired, they said goodbye to the animals and came along to the car without a lick of trouble. Incredible.

So home we went, and rested for a bit while I made some spaghetti for dinner, and returned more phone calls (Kennedy Krieger, the director fo student services, another possible professional advocate, a couple of law offices). We had a nice dinner, some nice baths, and an OK bedtime (Andy was a bit of a fuss, the time change is a little bit of a mess still). My husband and I setled in for the night with our work.

About 11:30, we heard tow quick barks from Joey's room. Oh no, I thought, croup! And he came in barking, sure enough, so I got the humidifier going in the bathroom, and got settled into the steam with him whil Allan ran to get some meds for him. He had been gone... five minutes? Not ten... and Joey started to scream with every breath, "I'm broken! I'm broken!" OK, the mist isn't working, I thought, I'll get his shoes on and take him over to emergency when Allan gets back. I carried him down the stairs. I foudn the shoes. I took up Joey's foot in my hand. It was cold.

It was blue.

I ran to the door. No Allan.

I called 9-1-1. The dispatcher was very professional, and I rubbed Joey's hands and talked to him until we could hear the ambulance. He asked for Daddy, he asked for Grandma. Broken-broken-broken- all gone. He said he could hear the ambulance, and I told him they wer coming to help, help was coming, the doctor was coming. Allan arrived just as the ambulance and the fire truck did. THey put an oxygen mask on him, and he was better within a minute. The blue faded. He smiled at me, at the paramedic, and he looked for his Daddy. We told him he would get to ride in the ambulance, and he seemed happy about that, sitting up on the stretcher like a big, big boy and letting them strap him in.

I got into teh ambulance with him. He was turning slowly pink again. We were waiting for him to stabilize, and they switched to blow-by. He was giving high-fives to one ofthe paramedics. They asked him some questions, and he was answering and responding to them pretty well. Then he said, "All fixed now. Thank you. I feel better."

The ride was fun for him. He liked getting the x-rays taken. He didn't like the medicine much, but he did OK with teh mask and the all. We finally went home about 3 am. On the way home, Allan said, "Hey, Joey, Did you have fun? Want to do this again tomorrow?"

To which that silly boy replied, "oh, YES! I had fun!"

Thursday, March 22, 2007


It is very strange to relate the same story half a dozen times, and always get the same reaction... "So... have you found a good lawyer yet?"

Relating our meeting on Wednesday, before even mentioning that we were thinking its time for a lawyer, this has been, without exception, the first comment from everyone I have spoken to.

It is very strange.

Why should people need lawyers to get what the law already says is their right? And why should it be so common to need one that whole firms do nothing else but this specific type of law? Are schools really this stupid? For the $200 grand its going to cost for one due process, they could put together a decent in-house autism program, especially in a little system like this one. But instead they pay all that money to lawyers. Or spend all that energy in divide- and-conquer, instead of using it to help kids. What planet is this, anyway?

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Anybody out there know a good lawyer?

We need one licensed in Virginia. Unfortunatle, that's our update from here.

Thank you.

Having a Stimmy Week

The return of the tracking has been something of a shock for us. WE know it comes and goes, like everybody's moods, but holy crap, he's putting his eyes right to things to track them, or to watch numbers. He hasn't been this bad since school started 2 /2 years ago! It is distressing to us, because usually this means HE is stressed. The question is, why? Is he just stressed because his brain is moving forward and doing new things, or is there a real concern- like something going on at school we should know about?

While we investigate, I will say it has given us an interesting opportunity to see what supports he needs to channel these needs for stimulation. We have discovered that he will focus on video games, een if he will focus on NOTHING else. He loves Pinky DInky Doo and Oobi games through the Noggin site, the coloring pages on Mr. Roger's Neighborhood's site, and some of the counting-based games on Sesame Street. Counting and numbers are very comforting for him. WE also noticed that putting him in a rocking chair makes a difference, and having something in his hands makes a difference. IF he can sit with some playdough in his hands, he can do more. I think having the trackball mouse for the video games gives him that same kind of input, and heps him focus. And, of course, the gum...

I wouldn't really worry about him not being able to focus fully except that full-day kindergarten is coming. He won't have a choice- he has to perform the activitiy when it is presented. So we need strategies for helping him perform those tasks, and perform them on time. He'll have aenough trouble keeping up because of the processing delays, but if we can find those strategies that help him process- instead of zone out completely and process nothing- the happier he will be, because his frustration will be less.

Oh, by the way, I meet with teh Director of Student Services this morning about the school OT situation. Wish me luck, and I will keep you posted!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Therapeutic Listening

So Andy has been having some issues with noise and sound, so we signed him up for therapeutic listening. This is a program where the child listens to specially modulated sound, stimulating brain development. His first session was today.

The whole experience was overwhelming. He was in a new room, with a new person, and then she wanted to put headphones on him! Yikes! Insta-meltdown! Then she started noticing other things, and finally turned to me and said, "He really desperately needs this; but you know he has other issues, right?"

Riiiiiiight. Just what I want to hear on a Monday morning.

So we decided to just try to get him to put the earphones on this week, instead of having him listen to anything. Coming down teh road, I put them on, so he would see me wearing them; and he wanted them. So I handed then back to him... and he put them right on, and cheerfully wore them until naptime.


So the question is... how to control the overload? The earphones do not muffle outside sound, but I wonder if they control it some for him- so that it hits his ear at a certain angle, and if that would make a difference. I wonder if putting sound directly into his ear like this might not hurt. Yet, I can't send him to school like he is- there is no way he can focus on anythng in a classroom full of chaotic noise! Maybe sending him to a Montessori, where its usually quiet, would work better fo him than a public school. I suppose we'll have to wait it out and see. :P

Sunday, March 18, 2007

A Review: Nature's New Hope

Charlottesville today. We checked out a therapy where Joey would listen to music and look at a light while lying on a table that moves. This is supposed to encourage his brain to improve his sensory integration.

The three different parts of this I have seen elsewhere. The light has to do with visual integration, but I haven't seen it in any "regular" or mainstream therapies... I hope someone will comment if they have. The table movement is for vestibular stuff, like the swings and stuff Joey does for OT. The sound is similar to therapeutic listening, which Andy starts tomorrow, and both our OT and out speech therapy folks were very happy about.

A sample session was part of the visit. He hated the table. He had to lay on his back and look at the light, but I think it made him nauseous. He preferred to sit up, but of course, that wouldn't do. But far worse, the lights had to be out. I know most autistic people prefer less light, or even dark, but Joey is really freaked by it, unless he's in his own bedroom. He hates dark. The lady tried to use the light switch as a reinforcer to encourage him to lay on his back and be still, but that made me all the more skeptical. "Do this and I'll stop torturing you" is just not what I would consider good therapy. However, he definitely was speaking better and clearer while this was all happening than I've heard from him in a while.

It costs $3000, plus the costs of being in Charlottesville for 12 days, since he would need to be there every day, twice a day.

So I would say, if you have a kid with sensory issues, and you start checking this out, I can't really say there is nothing to it at all. However, overall it seemed a little... duckish.