Wednesday, June 04, 2008

In Which We Find Out How I Keep Sane

13 ways Send Chocolate copes with autism and homeschooling in her family

1. weighted blankets. Both the kids have weighted blankets that they sleep with or otherwise use for relaxing or quelling anxiety. JBear's blanket is about 15 lbs. JBean's blanket is 7 lbs. The idea of the weight is that the pressure on the proprioceptive system serves as a calming factor.

2. swinging. Another way of calming, this time with the vestibular system. Swinging helps to balance the system by regulating the inner ear.

3. lunges, wall shoves and wheelbarrow rides. Large motor work also helps to give calm the system by giving pressure input.

4. sensory diet: bean bags, bubbles, feathers, modeling clay, squeezy ball... all serve to help regulate the system and keep balance. Also, .gum helps my son to concentrate and attend to his school work

5. Schedule. In this house, the schedule is often the king. We have a white board and three assignments at a time are written on it. As they are completed, they get a checkmark. We also have schedules on the fridge of what we are doing on a weekly basis. There is a schedule of the events that take place before school work starts, as well as a list of subjects to be completed each day...the weekly schedule.

6. frequent breaks. Setting the kids up for success is the best approach. Small periods of work, about twenty minutes, and then a break for large motor work

7.The Incredible 5 pt scale. I use this here for many things. For my daughter, I use it for her voice volume.

  • 1 =silence
  • 2-=whisper/library voice
  • 3= conversational voice
  • 4= playground/outside voice
  • 5= the house is on fire voice

when she is too loud, I remind her what level her voice is at, and what voice works better. It helps.

For my son, we use it for his anger (we used to use it for volume, but have moved on)

  • 1= pretty comfortable, body feeling good, no tension
  • 2 =antsy, but more happy than not
  • 3= tension starting, feeling stressed
  • 4= starting to mouth off, feeling tense, jaw clenched, no violence
  • 5= abusive names, possible hitting ..time for social separation!

8. Wilbarger Brushing techique: this is a protocol for helping a child get over sensory defensiveness. You use a soft plastic brush, similar to a surgical brush and brush all the parts of the child's body except for torso. about every hour. This creates brain connections in order to help the child get over the sensory difficulties, such as touch, that can cause problems.

9. trampoline. We have a mini tramp that I have my son jump on when he gets antsy. My daughter doesn't enjoy it, however.

10. Anger workbook. I am walking my son through cognitive behavior therapy in order that he might get a handle on his frustration. We just started, but I am a huge fan of cognitive behavior therapy, so I am optimistic.

11. baths. When the day is really, really bad, I fill up the tub, add some mag salts, and the kid gets to stew for a while.

12. social stories. Carol Gray wrote these stories as a blueprint for how to behave and to give a warning to upcoming events in a tangible way the child can understand. The child's name is added to the story and in a very matter-of-fact way with no value judgments, only facts.

13. lots of hugs for the kids, and Starbucks for me!

T, who mostly has it down to a science

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday.

19 sent chocolate:

Hootin' Anni said...

That is a fabulous 13! I learned a lot here. #1 was so very interesting. I have a friend who has a grandson with autism, so this list was quite a bit [for me] filled with all things of interest.

My thirteen is shared, hope you can come by and leave a 'howdy-do' in ghe comments!!!

Carol said...

My sister's boy was just diagnosed with autism. I'm amazed how many of these things they've already implemented. Will have her drop by to see your list. Thanks for the TT!

Laura said...

You're a very organized woman...I'm impressed! We have schedules all over too...we have to, in order to keep track of everything.

Interesting therapies for use with your kids...Hopefully the Starbucks works for you!

Surfergirl said...

This is an impressive list. ive learnt a lot from it!

Joyce said...

That was an awesome list!
One of my best friends is an occupational therapist,and mom to a HFA son. She was observing one day that all of us are somewhere on that scale. I sure see that, in my kids as well as in myself. Bring on the weighted blanket. That sounds very comforting!

Thank you for stopping by my blog so I could meet you this morning. :)

Stace said...

That is a great list! I'm homeschooling my 3 younger children next year..the middle one has SPD..Your list has given me some great ideas! Thank you so much for sharing! :-)

Nina Pierce said...

Wow! I'm a former teacher and the DH is an Occupational Therapist ... your list is fascinating. Sounds like your kids have been gifted to a wonderful mom!

Thanks for visiting my blog!

Denise Patrick said...

What an interesting list. I don't know any autistic children, but yours sound healthy, happy, and loved. You sound like a wonderful Mom and teacher.

Thanks for visiting my TT.

mommastantrum said...

This is a great list! I love this list, and the reiteration that it is all about schedule. I have found if we get off of it we are just in a handbasket. I love the system of reminding where the voice needs to be, and hopefully I can work that in here when Bacon gets a little bit older. Keep it up...you are doing a GREAT job!

forgetfulone said...

Wow. I'm so impressed with your ability. I use a similar noise scale in my classroom. You have a gift to be able to do all that.

Val said...

Too cool! I'm a teacher and a mom, and some of this tips will be sooooo helpful. Thanks! :)

Frances said...

I am coming away from your post having learned something.
The weighted blankets were especially interesting.
Thanks for taking the time to stop by.
Sending good vibes your way.

Gayle said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog...you are amazing. I see bits of what I wish I could be in your words. I feel like a heel for the whining I did today. I am so blessed and don't even see it at times. May you enjoy a velvety tasting Starbucks when you wake and have a wonderful day! :)

Melessa said...

This is a very good list! I'm going to pass it along to a friend of mine who deals with autism in her home. I think she would find it very interesting. Thanks for visiting my TT!

Christy said...

Melessa passed it along and here I am! I've been toying around with the idea of a weighted blanket. I think my guy would love it. When he needs to calm down he likes to be wrapped up like a burrito in his blanket.

Great blog--I'm going to have to put it in my google subscription!

The Q Family said...

Thank you for stopping by my blog. I'm glad you did. Now I get to see this wonderful list!

What a great 13 list. My best friend has HFA child as well. I will definitely send her your link. And look like a lot of stuff you are doing we can also apply to our household. Also look like you have done such a wonderful job!

Lindsay said...

Thanks for stopping by my T13! I think your #1 is really interesting. I am not autistic, but ever since I was little, even on hot nights, I have always slept much better under a heavy blanket. There really is something calming about it.

Have a great weekend!

Malcolm said...

You have some sound coping mechanisms in place to help you and your family. Props to you. Since it seems that I had heard the name Carol Gray before, I did a web search which led me to The Gray Center website. I found that the center is based in MI (the state in which I live) so there is a chance that I had heard of Ms. Gray before today.

Danica/Dream said...

This is really great! Thanks for sharing.

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