Saturday, March 22, 2008

Spring Party

And from the Andy front:

Andy's class had their spring party on Wednesday. His teacher is very very pleased with him- Andy loves school, and is adapting well. He's ahead taller than everyone else, even though he's one of the youngest in there. He sits to eat his snack and everything. It was fun to watch him go with the flow, follow instructions, and look at books with his friends. It's a little strange, too, since Joey didn't do these things at this age; he didn't talk with other children, tell me or show me things, insist on things. On the other hand, its also fun to see how they are/were the same- still wanting to hug on Mom because she came to school, still wanting to be the one who holds the book and trn the pages when the teacher is reading. She also mentioned another similarity- Andy is considerate of his classmates' feelings. He does his best to help them, share with them, and does his share in cleaning up.

The class is a little more cliquish than I was expecting of 3-year-olds; the boys tend to leave Andy alone and bunch together without him. He's getting along fine with the girls, though.

I'm going to be in trouble when he becomes a teenager.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Economic Options

Just when you think you've got your feet under you, the economy takes a tank.

There are some economic realities when you have a kid in therapies. One, if you own a house, no matter the mortgage, you are at the mercy of your medical insurance. If you are lucky like us, your medical insurance will pitch in for occupational therapy, and (less often) speech therapy. But educational tutoring and "therapy"? You are on your own- or stuck with what the school gives you.

Which means when the economy goes down, folks that are not being helped already by social services, the schools, and community services due to low income have to choose between therapy for the child and paying the mortgage/rent. Therapy or food? And what about the second mortgages we already had to take out to pay for therapies? What happens when home values crash, and those equity lines and second mortgages are "called in"?

Which brings us to the question we have on our minds here: continue ABA, or not?

Joey gets two hours of ABA per week. For folks who have heard kids need 40 hours per week, we're a little farther along in the program. We're not working on discrete trials for responses; we're working on supporting the school program and generalizing skills. We've moved beyond having some college kid sitting at a table with flashcards and M&Ms. Besides, at $65 an hour, who can afford it? Private pay, we get a 30% discount. That's $78 a week, or $314-$390 per month.

Imagine if we could put that money towards the mortgage, instead of taking it from the mortgage. What is more important for Joey, generalization therapy or a roof over his head?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: Hard Work

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Homework Project

Joey has a homework project we are working on- a poster about himself. So I printed out some good pictures of him in various places and with various people, places he likes to go and things he likes to do, his toys and his brother and all that kind of stuff, all our "greatest hits". Then we went through them and I told him to pick out his "favorites" for his project, in which he would talk about himself with his friends. (He's going to have to get up in front of the class and present this!) It was really interesting what photos he picked out, and what he had to say about them. I didn't limit him at all- he kept picking, we kept talking and writing. I had him write sentences about the pictures on his usual paper, and we'll cut the whole mess out and glue it to the posterboard in the morning.

So what did he pick?

We were required to have him include "I was born April 10" and "I live in Fredericksburg." To accompany these two very boring sentences, he selected a picture of his Grandma holding him in the hospital. Granted, I gave him a limited selection to go with these, but they were an array of very early pictures of him. Did he pick the one of mom holding him? No. Grandma. It's a lovely picture, though.

Then from the throng he selected a picture at the beach. I love the pic, though I would have picked the one with him looking out over the ocean. The one he picked is from the fall. Probably remember it better. Anyway, he wrote that he liked to go to the beach "because I like the water and the sand." All by himself.

He picked himself playing the snow, riding his bike, and playing in the shark mouth at DinosaurLand. He also wanted the pic from Halloween. The sentence I was trying for was "I live with my mom, my dad, and my brother, Andy." What I got was "I live mom, my brother Andy, and Joey Little Bear, and T-Rex." Poor JoeyAndyDad. But this was the photo he wanted- and notice Dad is there. I think he got a little excited and forgot words in the sentence. I thought I'd toss in a picture of me when we glued things together tomorrow.

All weekend he's been saying he doesn't like cats, and been shying away from our cats. i know he has a love-fear relationship with dogs, but he's usually OK with our cats. After all, they've been here longer than he has. But I was surprised when he pulled out a picture of the cats (especially since I didn't mean for it to be in the stack of pictures. Surprise!) His sentence? "I have 2 cats at home. They are Luna and Ellora." I had to remind him of the names, but he could pick them out in the picture. Later, when Ellora came in to remind me she needed dinner, he triumphantly chimed, "Hello, Ellora!" I think she was confused, since he's been stand-off-ish, and suddenly he wanted to touch her. She's not into being touched.

And speaking of Grandma, he wanted her to have a sentence all her own. With no help at all (and not even facing me... he starting writing with his back to me): "My Grandma is Grandmother Bear. I love her." A voluntary, spontaneous, and appropriate pronoun. Wow.