Thursday, September 29, 2011

Parent/Teacher conference

Well, I met with the twins' teacher this morning.  It may or may not have been smart to have had two big cups of coffee and a Sudafed before driving to the school.  That's not my recipe for getting high, it's just my normal coffee intake plus a little allergy problem I'm having.  I only take half a dose of Sudafed because it makes me feel as if I'm hovering a few feet off the ground.

Anyway, I brought about eight of the file folder games I've been talking about, our IPad and a box of Oreos, in case the teacher wanted me to demonstrate what either twin can do in the presence of the right sandwich cookie.  Their teacher greeted me and mentioned in the first ten minutes that she has ADHD and has been having hot flashes.  Between the two of us it was a pretty hyper and disjointed conversation.

It started out with her saying how surprised they were when one morning G. did an alphabet puzzle all by himself.  What the what?  Here we go again, I thought.  So I pulled out my file folders and gave her the Oreos, and now I'm just hoping that G.  does me proud and actually shows some of what he can do.

There was more chit-chat, but the gist of the meeting was that the twins can do more than they'll let on, and we're going to work together to get them to do some of it at school.  I know this teacher means well and is very motivated, so I'm hoping for the best.

Now if I can just figure out the secret of getting B. to show what he really knows.  One thing I'm trying (only with G. so far because he can use the computer mouse ):
"Teach Town Basics"

TeachTown Basics Classroom
It's not cheap, but the boy can do it.  If I got a touchscreen, I think B. could, too.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Autism Breakthrough in 3 Easy Steps

My husband and I are always joking that we could get rich by developing the M****** (our last name here) Protocol for autism.  Doesn't really matter what it would be, but if some fraction of the desperate autism parents out there got on board, we'd be set for life.  Our original plan had to do with watching the Wiggles and eating Tyson Chicken Nuggets and Leggo brand chocolate chip waffles.

We never went through with it, but just lately I've been watching G and thinking maybe we should re-consider.  If you've ever dabbled in all the bio-medical stuff, anytime there's a change in your child's development you can't help thinking, "Is he eating differently?, etc.  Just lately G. has done so many things for me that he wouldn't have done six months ago.  In the pediatricians' waiting room I showed him how to play "Twinkle, Twinkle" on a music app.   He took the IPad from me and played it himself.  Then he tried to play Happy Birthday, and got a lot of the notes right.  He has also been doing all the things I mentioned in the last post.

So here are the possible  interventions:

  • Huge numbers of Kroger brand mini-pancakes. Substitution of healthier-seeming, name-brand mini pancakes is unacceptable.

  • Excessive exposure to YouTube -- in particular a medley of The Rose, Happy Birthday and We are the World.  Also endless viewings of grammar videos made by English as a Second Language websites (
  • File Folder Games-- G. will do any task that I present to him as matching Velcroed things in a file folder -- numbers, words, pictures of emotions, categories of objects.  This could be a passing phase, in which case I'll be stuck with a whole bunch of file folders filled with clip art images and velcro.
In all seriousness, I think a lot of the changes can be chalked up to the IPad.  Being able to operate the IPad with a touchscreen has changed the world for the twins.  I don't know if it's all the fine-motor practice, or an increase in confidence, but now they are trying to use the computer mouse and doing things with apps they could never have done before.  

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

G. was home with pink eye today, and I got him to do so much work!  Despite liking the new teacher initially, we are back to the old problem of no one realizing a fraction of what the twins, especially G., can do.

I had lunch with the twins, and the aide was flabberghasted that they could use complete sentences to make requests.

Time to send in the old DVD of G. working with me when he was four, saying words, letters, letter sounds and so on.  It is starting to seem ridiculous.  There he is with his old orange sippy cup, doing all sorts of stuff he won't do for them in first grade.

I am on a secret mission. Posting my plan here does not stop it from being secret. One advantage to having so few blog readers.  The plan is to make videos of the twins doing tons of work.  Today G. matched shape names to shapes, number words to numerals, the names of animals to pictures and more.  He navigated around the PBS Kids website with the mouse, and talked me into watching a YouTube video on present continuous verbs.

My mission is still a little vague.  Once I make all the movies proving that the twins can speak, use the IPad, etc., what will I do next?  We will still be living in Texas, in a school district that hasn't even bought any IPads yet.  Well, I'll start on step one, and maybe the next part of the plan will become clear to me.  I'll get a lot of satisfaction out of it, in any case.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Artsy paint splotches or stubborn autism-related stain?

I'm still deciding on this new template background. Sometimes it looks too much like a few surfaces in my house that just won't come clean, even with the "Magic Eraser" sponge. Hmmmm.

Friday, September 2, 2011

More good news

Today I dropped by the school (unannounced) to have lunch with the boys. When I stopped by the twins' room, their teacher said, "Look at this" and pointed to G. He was sitting at a study carrell, working all on his own. No aide, no ABA therapist holding a tiny piece of Oreo. He was just working for the sake of working!

Also, they said that during calendar time, G. had suddenly said, "Break time" (something they have been having the twins request with a voice output device). It was the first time he'd said it, so they let him take a break. I bet he'll learn that skill pretty quickly!

There are a few issues with ratios and also communication between school and home, but G's working without needing a reward is wiping that out of my mind for the moment.