Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Hooray....He's back into the General Ed School!

As of yesterday's IEP, Caleb is back to our home school full time! He has come so far in such a short time! Per his ASD room teacher, "The gap between Caleb and the other autistic students is so wide now that it's no longer appropriate to have him here." Music to my ears........... :)

Also, during the IEP we found that he is right on grade level with reading, is passing all of his AR tests on reading, and actually is ahead of the game in a few concepts for math. He still has gaps in his learning that have to be filled in as he understands more concepts, but truly it's been an amazing day!

Caleb is having more general ed this year, with Gym class (which his Daddy teaches :) and Spanish class. We are also looking at gradually increasing his interaction with the Gen Ed students, and we'll see what happens with that.

For all who read....stick with Biomedical, homeopathy, and of course PRAYER! It works!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Revisiting LDN (Low Dose Naltrexone)

We've been dealing with a never-ending cough since about the end of August. Poor Caleb started with a croupy cough in August, then it morphed to a cough with lots of phlegm (which got passed to the rest of us). As the weather stays warm with lots of moisture, the cough just wouldn't go away. Now, after a few months of this I've decided it's time to revisit LDN.

For those that don't know, LDN comes in a cream that we rub on Caleb at night. It is an immune system booster, and Caleb surely is needing that right now. I've noticed that he's begun again to get a bit giddy after eating wheat of any kind. Thus...LDN will become part of our routine through the winter months, or until Caleb shows signs that it is bothering more than helping. When we first tried LDN a few years ago, Caleb benefitted greatly from it. It first cleared up all food reactions, which are a part of a weak immune system. And then, it just kept him from getting every new illness that came along. I thought it also helped him maintain his mood and speech. The only reason I had stopped it before was because it began to cause mood issues after a time. (Which mood is always Caleb's first reaction when something no longer helps). We took it away, and things improved once again for many months. Now, here we are back on this end and adding it back in. I'm just so glad that we know and have access to a program of success for my son!

**The picture is of Caleb (in the blue coat) this week at the pumpkin farm. The bunnies were everyone's favorite! Especially since it was raining out, and the bunnies were in a shed!

Friday, September 10, 2010

First week of School!

We had a great first week of school! Caleb is back into the swing of things. He quite amazed his teachers at how much he'd grown intellectually over the summer. He even began some more general ed. by wanting to take part in the Spanish Class and of course gym (which Daddy is now his teacher for). As for the school fight, it truly has helped to know my rights! They can NOT change his IEP or any type of schooling plan if I don't agree. I have made my presence known this whole week; popping in at different times to make sure he has his normal teacher and is in his normal classroom (the resource--special ed--room). I just want to encourage all who read this to google the special ed. laws in your state. Go over them with a fine tooth comb :) Here in Michigan, the schools CANNOT deny services due to funding, nor can they change a child's individualized education plan without the parent's okay. Basically, they can do nothing without the parent's consent. If they try to, contact the state, an advocate, and the schoolboard. Your child has the right to a free and appropriate education (FERPA) in the school district you live in. For my son, since he is doing so well right where he's at, his least restrictive environment (LRE) is the resource room at the general ed. school. They cannot even begin to say it should be the autism classroom all of the time. Best wishes to a happy, fun school year!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Back to the School Fight...ugh...

Unfortunately, we're back in the fight for my son's schooling. Our new Superintendent doesn't want to have the elementary Special Ed. teacher tied to her room due to having Caleb most of the day (3 days a week), and is thus trying to muscle us out of what Caleb's IEP says. After already having a conversation with her, I can see that she has no intention of giving in. Thus...without some divine intervention....we will be doing a lot of fighting! Thankfully, I now know my way around an IEP. I now know that Caleb's current IEP MUST be in place when school starts (by MI law). I also know that services cannot be cut due to funding/lack thereof reasons. In addition, if the IEP states that a child is to be in a special ed. classroom, as opposed to a gen. ed or other setting, then it must be in place. I plan on talking to this superintendent again tomorrow, and if nothing changes I'll be on the phone with board members, possibly an advocate, etc. If all else fails, all 5 of my children will go somewhere else within county. Let's see how that affects their precious budget!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Our New Puppy!

We've found our puppy! Caleb is thrilled! He finds everything the puppy does hilarious. The great thing about getting the puppy is that he now is totally interested in other animals. He now notices the cats we've had for years, and tries to get them to do similar things as the dog. I woke up this morning to, "Come back kitty!" as he chased them around the yard. Then later he ran in yelling, "band-aid, band-aid..." as I assume his playing didn't go so well :) Caleb even spent a few hours watching the chickens at Great-Grandma's house as he plopped himself right down next to the fence talking to the chickens. He is TOTALLY into animals right now! Here are a few pics of our new puppy!

** On the biomedical note, we've also discovered we need to be treating Caleb with homeopathy for parasites (as I'm assuming he picked up from the dog). Once we started the remedy for worms, his mood again improved amazingly. **

Monday, June 14, 2010

Looking for a Dog for Caleb

Caleb's convinced us that we need to revisit the idea of getting a dog soon. Everywhere we go he gravitates towards the dogs (and them to him) and he finds everything they do so fun and amusing! Yesterday at a graduation party he was feeding the big dog cookies and fruit. He's even taken to trying to elicit the same dog responses out of our cats, only to rush in saying "I need a band-aid". Cats just don't like to play rough :) So, here we go on our search for the "perfect dog"....

On a side note, I couldn't believe the changes I saw in comparing last years' grad parties to this year's parties. Caleb now rarely gets a second glance from being "different". He now blends in more and more with the other kids. Now, I think he may just pass for "quirky". It's kind of nice to be able to just let him play, and not have to worry that he's into something, bothering someone, or throwing a big fit. Thank you God for the little blessings!

*Pics are from fishing and the carousel ride a week ago.** We're already into full summer mode!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Parents Ratings of Most Beneficial Treatments in Autism

I found this link to Parents Ratings of Behavioral Effects of Biomedical Interventions very helpful and highly useful, especially for skeptics who wonder whether biomedical treatment works. Here's the link: . Many of the things that we've found helpful, others also found helpful. Parents know best! Take a look at how many drugs (the most pushed by many mainstream doctors) parents found actually WORSENED behavior. Yet, see how dietary changes, simple supplements, and other biomedical treatments were rated as helping children "get better".

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Back in the Swing of Spring

It's been so beautiful lately that I've forgotten to update on my blog! Caleb's been very even-keeled, and thus has made life infinitely easier. He still has his moments of mood issues, but they are no where near as severe as a year ago. We occasionally do Melatonin at night if mood slips, and it picks it up considerably. Otherwise, I just do a general gummy vitamin every day, and give a well-balanced diet (not even necessarily gluten free anymore). We are looking forward to summertime as a family which is Caleb's favorite time of year.

I included a pic of Caleb coloring Easter Eggs this year. He thoroughly enjoyed coloring all of his eggs blue (his latest favorite color)! He understands the calendar so well now, and anticipates upcoming events, like Easter. After every event, he'll tell me what's next, like: "Easter's over, next is Bumpa and Joel's birthday." Thank you Lord for the little improvements!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Development of Empathy

I visited Caleb's new class yesterday. I am very impressed with the teacher, as I get to know her better and watch her in action. She has infinite patience! However, I'm a bit disappointed that the classroom is so much set up like his pre-primary impaired classroom. I was hoping for a similar set-up to his last class...that is more like a school classroom, but with a few centers too. Because of this, we've decided to up his days at regular education (the special ed. classroom) to 3. Thus he'll go to this new ASD classroom only 2 days out of the week.

The class itself has only 4 students. The boy similar in ability to Caleb was absent that day, but the 2 other children were very clearly lower ability and high needs were there. That day, I got to witness something that truly brought tears to my eyes and a sweet smile to my heart :) One of the high needs students, I'll label "B." was having a day full of meltdowns. He spent most of the morning in his tent with earmuffs to keep out the noise, and a vibrating pillow to help calm him. After lunch, Caleb, the teacher, and I came back to the classroom and found B. sitting at the beanbag area. As I talked to the teacher, Caleb went over and laid next to B. on the beanbags. He gently took B.'s hand, and rubbed it as he smiled at B (and B. smiled back). They stayed in that position for several minutes. It was as if Caleb was saying, "I've been there..I feel for you!" We all marveled at the empathy and care shown between the 2 boys. No one "gets it" like they do! No matter what others may diagnose as lacking in social ability, they both proved otherwise in one small moment! After a bit, a staff member tried to get B's attention for something else, and he once again broke into a large tantrum. Caleb calmly got up and went to the lego table to free play. He wasn't phased by the tantrums one bit! It helped me really internalize that education is more than academics. No one could have reproduced this social experience of empathy by mere teaching techniques. It came from feeling a connection to another child who deals with what you deal with. It made me very glad that I have tried to do both worlds for Caleb...the autistic world, and the neurotypical world. Hopefully, he gets the best of both! Everyone needs to be able to relate to another person when it comes to struggles that we go through. Caleb and B. are no different!

**The pics are from Caleb's 8th birthday that he just celebrated last week. He loved his new Lego Toy Story & Lego Star Wars sets! **

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Melatonin helping Mood

I just wanted to update on what is currently helping Caleb. We've struggled a bit again with mood...a bit of "screaminess" and the "no" answer for everything. One evening I went upstairs to give Caleb a mb12 shot, hoping it would again bring about a period of good moods. However, I wasn't able to give it because Caleb wasn't asleep...even at 10:30 pm. I decided to give some Melatonin the next evening because I know that he is a kid who NEEDS sleep! Low and behold, I noticed a much better mood the next morning. Whether it was the melatonin, or the increased sleep, I don't know. brought about the desired mood increase :)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

"the least shall be the greatest..."

I have decided to copy my journal entry from a few years ago. It is about the verse in the Bible saying how the "least of these shall be the greatest in the kingdom of God". Here is my entry:

I remember as a kid and young adult, that I never liked the verse, "the least shall one day be the greatest." After all, I've always had high abilities and never wanted to one day be at the bottom, especially in heaven. However, after having a son with autism, I have a new perspective on this verse. I would gladly give my spot of greatness up for my son, and others with disabilities. They have to endure so much in life, often with few choices in the matter...yet they make the most of it. I want to one day see my son shine!

I thought about the purpose God has for disabled or special needs individuals. Why put them hear to suffer and be the "least". I was especially reminded of this question when I was told about a young girl without a face. How hard it must be for her! Anyhow, I realized that in these special people, is where we discover God's meaning to life. We see the value, fragility, and beauty he intended us to see....on the inside of the person. While the rest of us are taught valuable lessons in compassion and unconditional love, they are developing their beauty from the inside out. I caught a glimpse at how God must see us and how he must view our purpose. For each of us, disabled or not, our life is a tool to spread God's love. Sometimes we learn the most from those who have no voice, no skills, or even no face. Truly, I look forward to the tables being turned one day. I'd like to give up my spot to my child who has already been scorned and pitied by so many. Thank you Lord for your blessed redemption, that you see and feel every hurt he goes through, and you are counting it as victory for him (and so many others who go through such trials in this life)!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

IEP and Ice Skating

We had Caleb's IEP yesterday, and to be was the BEST one we've ever had! They are definitely on -the-ball with the transition to his new classroom. The new teacher is observing him several times, meeting with his therapists/teachers/aides, and having the old staff set up the new classroom with all of the visuals and supports he's used to. They are providing him with a social story about the new class and going over it daily. Also, they planned a "going away" bowling party for him! I'm feeling much assured that this could work, so now it's time to see it in action! The new teacher seems very kind and knowledgeable.

On a lighter note, we took the whole family (Caleb included) ice skating the other day at my sister's house. It was fun to see Caleb get the hang of it a bit, and to enjoy a new event. He did wonderful! See the picture!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Switching Classrooms again...booo!!!

Well, it's official...Caleb will be required to switch to the new autism classroom forming nearer to our home town. The state is requiring Caleb's AI classroom (which is 1 hour away) to break into another class due to overload of kids. Since Caleb is the most northern & farthest away, he will be going to the new classroom (which is 20 minutes away). I'm glad about the location, but not about another switch for him. To top it all off, the director of the AI classes resigned after Christmas, so there will be no one consistent through the process. Caleb really loves the other boys in his current classroom, coming home talking about them everyday like a little "tape recorder". He gets great therapy and has a great teaching staff there, and I can only pray that things will be similar in the new classroom.

I plan on giving the new classroom 2 weeks to transition, and then I'll observe it's set-up and running. If need be, I can increase Caleb's number of regular special-education from 2 days to 3 days. Right now, Caleb goes Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday to the AI classroom, along with Wednesday, and Friday to regular school special education. Oh the decisions and headaches we parents must go through for our autistic children! I can see already that this coming IEP on Monday is going to be a long one!