Thursday, February 12, 2009

Quick Update

We've continued to home school while the School District got Frog's program, including his own room to work in, together. He has an amazing and wonderful one-to-one Para Educator who has been working with us at home and attending Frog's therapy sessions with his school OT, PT, and SLP. The transition is going better than any of us could have dreamed.

Today Frog was at school from 9am - 10:30. He worked one-to-one with his Para Educator then they joined a general ed first grade class (taught by an wonderful teacher who also happens to be an autism mom) for recess then snack and story time. He did some more one-to-one work with his Para then they joined the special ed class for a horse drawn wagon ride provided by a very special Principal and his horses.

Frog has come home from school this week giggling and re-enacting some of his day (running up and down the hall way like he did in the relay race in PE class) He seems especially motivated to be with the other kids. Such a different experience than the last time he was in school! We will continue to supplement the school program with work at home (Rapid Prompting, pre-reading stories, chores, imitation, Floortime). Hope to have some pictures soon :0)

Sunday, December 7, 2008

All is Well, just no time to type :0)

Just a quick note of thanks to everyone who has checked up on me! We are all fine here at the pond. We've spent the last weeks working on getting a re-evaluation for Frog - closing out the old IEP and getting a new one together. I've also been teaching an enrichment cluster in Diva's multi age cohort at school - 12 kids ranging between 1st and 5th grade. The theme this year was Winter Celebrations around the world - we are studying celebrations that grew out of a recognition of winter solstice - the shortest night of the year. Lots and lots of prep time have gone into project which we based on Lights of Winter

We've made Yule logs, wassail, Swags, Saturnalia cake and meed (mock of course), Chinese lanterns, and Raven masks. We've told stories from Scandinavia, Italy, China, India and America. We are noting many similarities between ancient celebrations and some of our current winter celebration customs.

I also have new office space and hope to start moving in and getting set-up the week of the 15th (when the enrichment cluster is over). I've been busily scouring the Internet for deals on office furnishings and equipment.

Today we are off to Bellevue for Diva's first State Championship Gymnastics Meet. Tomorrow she has a mini dance recital and next Saturday her gymnastics club is holding their home meet/exhibition.

If all goes well - I'll be back to posting around the 22nd. I promise I am coming back!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

I've been busy here at the pond dividing my time between home schooling, starting a business, and working with the IEP team to get Frog a new school placement by January. We were also feeling a bit under the weather last week so everything took longer than it should have.

Here are a few of our home school highlights:

I'm outing Frog on this one, but I thought using the letters he's been writing to write his name was a reasonable and important goal. I have a magnetic alphabet fishing game and we used it to "fish out" the letters in his name an put them in the right place. I sang about the letters in his name as we fished.

He was supposed to follow up by connecting the dots to write his name - but that was more than he was willing to do this first time out. I'm hoping as we continue with this game he will become patient enough with it to actually teach him how the game is supposed to be played.

We continued reading Coyote's Rain Song from our ENKI fairy tales. Frog seems to enjoy this story. Our composition book was not handy, so we used a sheet of tag board. He was able to identify the word CLOUD from the two words on the sheet. He copied the letters C and R with support and resistance.

We made a rain stick to shake while we sing the rain song from the story. I had Frog put the letter C in the Cloud (with support from me after we practiced making the letter C together). I had him put Coyote under the rain cloud. Finally I had him put dots (for rain drops) falling from the cloud (I helped him hand over hand with this). I had already partly assembled the stick, and had him pour the beans into the tube. I finished tapeing the ends and putting his picture on the outside.

Later in the week we read a new Baba Yaga story -

a Russian version of Cinderella. It is a rather long story, but Frog has listened to it twice already. I'm hoping to interest him in a little doll making before we move on from the story.

There has also been a lot of play time, running in the wind, and making music together. Today we went to Frog's new school and met his new teacher and the rest of his team. It went very well. We will see how things go in January when there are more rules and expectations to stay on task.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Day 35 - Back to Frog School

We started the morning with a decision. We had 4 more days left on our medication trial. I had reduced Frog's dosage back to 5mgs last week to see if having more time to adjust to the way his perceptions changed would make a difference. He continued to cycle between clam/lethargic to sensory overload melt down with prickly feet, large red itchy splotches, lots of tears and the need to go to his room and sleep it off. He also has gone quite manic every day around 4 or 5 pm, running and yelling non-stop. His therapists were very happy with his session yesterday, but still reported red itchy splotches and discomfort. Frog and I have really not had any quality home school time since we started the medication trial. This morning I decided we have had enough. So today was school without meds.

We started the day with Frog choosing pancakes for breakfast. He ate a little bit before we had to leave to take Diva to school. He ate a granola bar in the car. With a little prompting, Frog gave Diva something between a high five and a wave goodbye. At home we finished breakfast then headed downstairs for some Floortime. Frog wanted to climb up the mats against the wall. We turned it into a climbing and sliding game with an anticipatory 1, 2, 3, go! Later he moved to his swing. He let me move my body into the swing and add additional pressure for proprioception. We used the setting for requesting and working on the ee sound - with the choices "eat sweet feet?, squeeze knees?, or kiss please?" There was lots of Frog laughter, twinkling eyes, requests (offering me the body part he wanted pressure on) and ee sounds. We moved on to music and took turns strumming the guitar and singing/vocalizing into the karaoke machine.

Frog decided he would like to take a bath. This fit well into our school day, as stories work best for Frog when he has water to play with. Since today is a very rainy day and there are at least 4 more days of rain forecast, I thought rain would be a good subject. We re-read It's Fall and talked about the changes we've seen outside this week. Then I read Coyote's Rain Song, a Native American story from our ENKI folk and fairy tales. I had the pleasure of taking Diva to see According to Coyote at the Seattle Children's theater.

Gene Tagaban , the gifted story teller, brought Coyote to life for me. At the time, I really wished that Frog had been able to see the show with us - but I knew it was still too much for him. I must admit, I heard Gene's voice and saw Gene's mannerisms in my head while I told the story today. Frog and I both enjoyed it. (side note: If you ever get the opportunity to see According to Coyote performed or to see Gene Tagaban perform or speak - do not miss it!)

After I finally talked Frog out of the tub, we opened up the windows and doors so we could hear the rain. We also listened to the rain pounding on the skylights while I got our art supplies ready. Then went outside in the rain (and got almost as wet as Coyote) to do our art project - rain painting. I put a few drops of food coloring onto white paper plates and we took them outside into the rain. The rain bounced off the food coloring and splashed colors around the plates. Frog did not want to stick around for the "art" but rather ran around and experienced the rain bouncing off of him. He did come back and checkout the finished product.

After the plates dried in a warm oven, we used them for our lunch. Frog actually ate half his lunch today - including some yogurt WITH A SPOON (but only a little - he didn't want more if he couldn't use his fingers).

Frog also has a new box from Grandpa C.

Today, instead of using our composition book, we got out the markers and made lines and scribbles on the box.

We also discovered that when you push the box against the window, the box has a smaller window to look through - another perspective on the yard.

We finished off our school day with some more Floortime, including throwing and catching a ball - to musical rather than verbal cues. It is now 2:30 and Diva will be home soon. Frog is not having a melt-down and does not appear to be heading for a nap any time soon. Since we have had a week of sleep problems, I'm hoping this is another sign that stopping the medication is the right thing to do.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


I knew I wanted to work with pumpkins and Halloween this week but I wasn't quite sure what we would do. We are still struggling with the dosage on Frog's Vyvance and he has had some pretty off days. When I logged onto 4-frogs this morning, I came across a link to the 5 Little Pumpkins poem at If I Only Had Superpowers

Diva loved this poem when she was in pre-school and I had just heard one of Frog's friends reciting it after he learned it at school. So I gathered up our 5 little pumpkins and Frog and I went downstairs to read the poem and roll the pumpkins away at the end. I went through it three times, but Frog was not impressed. Not even when he had a pumpkin muffin to eat while I acted out the story.

What he is impressed with is a Russian fairy tale I found in our ENKI material about Baba Yaga - an eight foot tall witch who lives deep in the forest in a hut on three chicken legs. Her black geese snatch up children and bring them to her to cook for dinner! The children in the story get away and make it home safely. Frog wants me to read it again and again. He even went to his composition book today while I was reading the story. He flipped through the pages until he came to the page with a witches hat and broom and the name Baba Yaga. He patted the page as I described the witch in the story.

For our art project, I cut contact paper into a pumpkin shape then had Frog put the face on it. Afterwards he got to sprinkle, pour and dump a mixture of rice, paper punch outs, and glitter over the pumpkin face. The glitter stuck best of all so we ended up with a sparkly pumpkin face.

After lunch, Frog got to spend some time in the autumn sunshine, jumping on the trampoline, playing in the sandbox, and running around the yard.

I had a meeting in the afternoon, so Grandpa came to our house to hang out with Frog. They had a good time :0)

We still have to decorate our big pumpkin. But given Frog's preference for witches, I got him a few dress-up options to make a witch, warlock or wizard costume for Halloween. We'll see what he thinks of it tomorrow.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Day 33 -

As some of you may have read at 4-Frogs, financial circumstances are requiring that I go back to full time work. To accomplish this Frog's School will become a night and weekend school starting in January. Frog's Grandma has been watching Frog in the mornings this week to give me some time to reorganize and make plans. This has been very nice for me, but very hard on home school as Frog is at his best in the mornings and early afternoon and our routine requires 4 to 6 hours so I am not trying to cram everything in at once and overwhelming him. Between the change in our routine, the splitting of my focus and the medication trial - Frog's School has really suffered the last two weeks.

Tomorrow Frog is staying home in the morning and we will see what we can do. I'm tempted to keep him at the present medication level for another week to see what happens for a week when he is better adjusted to the dosage.

We did manage to get one project done today - a face project that I had done with Diva when she was three or four years old. I set the pieces out and had Frog, with help, place the face parts where he wanted them to go. Then I glued them down for him. I made one first for a model.

This is the pumpkin face Frog made:

The similar pumpkin face is the one I made. The smaller pumpkin face is the one Diva and I made years ago. The extra pumpkins are for Diva to put faces on later - she always feels left out when she sees what Frog got to do at school!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Day 30 and 31 - Trial and Tribulation

On Monday we bumped the meds up from 5ml to 10mg. Frog cycled back and forth between regulation and disregulation. He seems more tactile sensitive while on this medication and wearing clothing is getting more difficult for him. We read one book - Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf, while Frog played in the bathtub. He was quite distressed through most of the reading. The distress continued throughout the bath and even after he got out. He seemed to be experiencing sever pain in the groin area - something he has dealt with off and on for years. He was finally able to urinate, which relieved the pain and left him calmer and happier.

We've talked to so many professionals about this and they all conclude it is a sensory issue and leave it at that. It is so frustrating! It may very well be a sensory issue, but it is also very painful. It might also be something else, but nobody has any ideas about how to determine what might be going on. I suspect this has more to do with Frog's lack of ability to speak for himself, answer the doctor's questions, and because he is autistic and has sensory processing disorder - so they choose to stop there. The only suggestion I get is to bring him in when he is having an attack. He can't be touched when he is having an attack - so I haven't figured out how to get him to the doctor's in time for them to see him.

We had planned a leaf walk and leaf rubbing activity for today, but Frog's sensory state put that plan on hold. He played in the yard on his own for a little while, and watched Diva play on the wii (even tried out the balance board on his own), but mostly he just rested. I did a few leaf rubbings and he checked them out. He also explored the leaves themselves - tearing them and letting them fall to the ground.

On Tuesday, I spent most of the day getting the van serviced. Frog spent some time with Grandma and Grandpa. He seemed to be tolerating the 10mg of medication much better today. He was not holding his head and fussing as much as yesterday. He was tired, not surprising since he was awake between 2 and 4 am last night. When he came home with me, he began to have pain in his feet. Like the groin pain, this is not a new experience. It happens often when Frog is stressed or under some sensory pressure. He goes from not wanting anything to touch his feet to stomping them on the floor really hard or, like today, jumping really hard and high while screaming. It looks like he is having a very extreme pins and needles sensation in his feet which he is holding very taut. They sometimes get hot. And his ears turn bright, bright red. I have video, but again it is not loading onto blogger. If any and of Frog's therapists would like to see it, let me know and we'll make arraignments.

Edit: I was able to load one of the videos on Youtube -

On the positive side, he was very communicative today when he wasn't in a sensory melt down. He really wanted to play and sought us out with vocalizations, a couple of echoed words, and lots of referencing and giggles. Tomorrow he has Speech/OT at school - maybe we can get our leaf walk in after that.

Update - Wednesday Frog woke in a good mood. He did much better at Grandma's and seemed to be tolerating the medication better than he has the last two days. But when we got to our Speech/OT appointment at school, Frog went into meltdown and had the same foot reaction he was having yesterday. It was actually good timing since it gave his therapist a chance to see what this looks like and try all the things that logically should help, but don't. By afternoon, Frog and I were both wiped out. Frog had not slept the night before and neither had Frog's Mom or Dad. Fortunately, Frog took a very short nap and stayed up a little later, going to bed around 10pm. We were all able to sleep through the rest of the night.