What’s the Word Wednesday? #10

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1) One of the biggest issues that people with seizure disorders have is with driving. Each state has different protocol when it comes to the rules of driving with epilepsy. The article Driving and Independence is very informative. A link to each state’s laws regarding this very important issue is included!

2) The Autism Women’s Network recently released a statement calling for the zealous prosecution of Kelli Stapleton who has admitted to the attempted murder of her daughter, Issy Stapleton a teenage girl with autism. You can read the full statement at #JusticeForIssy: Statement by Autism Women’s Network

I can’t deny that raising a disabled child with violent tendencies is devastating, painful, and heartbreaking and as the mother of a daughter whose behavior is very similar to Issy’s I do speak with experience. However, neither can I in any way condone the murder or attempted murder of anyone even if the one doing it believes that they are ending their victim’s pain and suffering.

To sympathize with the mother of this innocent disabled victim by rationalizing that her daughter’s behavior drove her to such drastic measures is nothing more than victim blaming, in my opinion.

3) And speaking of victim blaming- This is tragic, disgraceful and just plain wrong. Culture of Blaming the victim is root cause of failure for NFL, Ravens in Ray Rice case

4)) Help bring hope to an entire community living in extreme poverty where children are at risk for becoming orphans. Please visit Help One Now

5) And just for fun, some cute crafts made from nature’s resources- dragonflies and flowers made with leaves and maple seeds. Autumn Woodland Treasure Sculpture


The Benefits of Yoga for Children With Special Needs

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Bethany attended her very first ever Yoga class for children with special needs this past Sunday. The class was the first of an eight week session sponsored by her Flash Club.

She is always slow to embrace a new experience, but the fact that there was a new teacher compounded her anxiety about joining in with the rest of the kids even though she knew all of them already and had been looking forward to seeing them again.

Malcolm and I accepted the invitation for parents to participate in the hopes that our doing so would entice Bethany to join in on the fun. It worked and before long she was down on her mat doing her best to copy all the poses. She concentrated very hard and was very serious about the whole process. It’s always so cute and such a joy to see her enjoying herself!

The instructor was very sweet, calm, patient, and accommodating. She also has a son who has autism and so understood our kids from the perspective of experience!

Some Benefits of Yoga for Children With Autism and other Special Needs

According to the article 7 Benefits of Yoga for Kids With Autism-

1) Yoga can help our special kids develop their motor skills because it tones muscles, enhances balance and stability, and develops body awareness and coordination.

2) Yoga can improve their confidence and refine social skills because the self-control and self-calming techniques of yoga can increase their confidence in interacting with other children. Learning to work together in a yoga class and playing with partner poses can also increase confidence within group settings.

3) Yoga provides sensory integration. Children with autism often suffer from a highly sensitive nervous system and are easily over stimulated by bright lights, new textures, loud noises, strong tastes and smells. Yoga’s natural setting of dim lights, soft music, smooth mats, and “inside” voices creates a comforting environment largely protected from unknown or aggressive stimuli in which calming down becomes enjoyable.

4) Yoga teaches coping skills. The physical poses allow nervous energy to be released from the body in a controlled manner, also leading to a calming sensation. Less stimulation means less uncontrollable behavior, outbursts and repetitive nervous movements

5) Yoga also facilitates self awareness. It helps children become more aware of their bodies and breathing.

6) Yoga engages their emotional brains. The combination of movement, music, breath work and story telling activates the brain’s emotional region.

7) Yoga is orderly and consistent something that many children with special needs thrive on!

*This post contains affiliate links. Thanks in advance if you should decide to purchase an item from one of my links! I appreciate your support!

For more information on how Yoga can help our special kids or your child has a disability that makes it impossible for them to stand or get down on the floor- I recommend reading Yoga Therapy for Children with Autism and Special Needs

Chair Yoga: Seated Exercises for Health and Wellbeing

Chair and Standing Routines: Ageless Yoga, Vol. 1 – Great for Seniors and for People Unable to Sit on the Ground



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Friendship Friday: Bubbles, Balls, Birthdays, and Bronchitis

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Welcome to our Friendship Friday Link Up! Here you will find a gathering place of mostly special needs families, families with chronically ill members, and homeschoolers, but you don’t have to be one of the above to share
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We will be completing out first full week of doing school at our house today! So far so good!

Jeremiah actually seems to like his Language Arts book. Which totally baffles me because he usually balks at having to do more school work. I know that being able to write his answers in the book is a big factor in his adjusting well to it. I doubt very much that he’d like if he had to copy a multitude of sentences down in a notebook! The same goes for his math and geography books. I guess he can tolerate big changes if he doesn’t have to write down a ton of stuff! We’ll work on writing soon enough though!

Jerry also took his first ever test this week! I plan to allow him to do all his science tests open book style. It was a little hard for him to grasp what ‘skimming the page for answers’ really meant but he picked up on it soon enough.

He’s not real thrilled with Hamlet, but then neither am I! Nor is he all that happy with reading “The Three Musketeers” but then I knew he wouldn’t be. At least he is cooperating with reading it without complaining about it!

This week we also added in Bible (God Visits His Chosen People), Art (Impressionism), and Health (Mental Health for Middle Schoolers).

One day Rebekah and Rachel decided to take Jeremiah on a field trip to the cider mill. It will be closing soon and they wanted to fit in just one more chance to taste all their yummy samples. They even brought home a couple of fudge covered Oreos for their father and me and though I am trying not to eat sugar, I could not resist that Oreo!
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I am happy to announce that Bethany is back to being excited about going places again! She went for a ride in the car to the library with her aide this week and is showing signs of being excited about starting adapted Yoga at Flash Club. We’ll see on Sunday how it all plays out! I really hope she still excited about it when the time actually comes to go!

Bethany mostly worked on self help skills this week. We also played a lot of games! We have been discussing the changing weather and season (science), adding up our scores for “Go Nuts” (math), and we are still talking about Africa (geography) and North America.

We found this cicada skin in our backyard which sparked a discussion of what it was (more science).
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I wish we could have seen the insect emerge from its old skin in real life, but we had to be satisfied with watching the video below instead.

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Something has been a little unsettling for me this week. One of my sons has been battling a nasty cough for quite some time. This past week it got much worse. I wanted him to go to the doctor. He doesn’t like going to doctors and refused to cooperate the several times I suggested it.

Finally, his cough got so bad that I had to insist he go to the doctor and get checked out! After I explained to him that I was worried he might have pneumonia and that pneumonia can be fatal, he finally agreed to go. I am very relieved that it wasn’t pneumonia but it was bronchitis.

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Some of you may remember a post I wrote about My Business Plan a while back. I’ve started the ball rolling with it and will be doing a couple of classes at Bethany’s Recreation club in October and November. If the kids seem to enjoy it we’ll keep going with it.

I’m very excited about this opportunity but also very nervous about it. Several times I had to give myself little pep talks to keep from backing out of even giving my pitch to the director. But I persevered and she was happy to get some new activities going for the participants.

I don’t know why I’m so nervous. It’s really just all about the kids having fun and being active. I decided to volunteer my time so it’s not a paying job yet, but I’m hoping to eventually turn it into a little business. We shall see!

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This week was my husband’s 60th birthday. It was also my son Josiah’s 27th. We are planning a joint birthday party for next weekend but we couldn’t let the day go by without giving him some kind of recognition so Rebekah made him a birthday pancake!
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The following videos are of Bethany having fun and being cute!



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In case you missed them:
Bethany at age 11- Or Why We Homeschool Her
What’s the Word Wednesday? #9
Remembering 9/11
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It isn’t mandatory to do so, but I sure would love it if you would link back to me either with a text link or my button below and like me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, follow me through email, or subscribe in a Reader!

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Remembering 9/11

*This post was originally published on 9/11/12. I felt it was worth re-posting today*

On the beautiful morning of September 11, 2001 we were at the Jersey Shore. We had planned to meet our son in NYC that day but changed our minds. He called on his cell to tell us that he had just seen a bomb go off in the WTC. Suddenly he was screaming, everyone around him was screaming. He managed to tell us that a plane had just crashed into the WTC and then the phone went dead. We turned on the TV and the reality of what had happened hit us like a ton of bricks. We watched the towers fall! It was devastating as you all well know. We didn’t know if our son was dead or alive for a couple of days!  He later told us that as he was taking pictures he suddenly realized that he was taking pictures of people jumping out of the buildings!

We got in the car and drove to the Atlantic Highlands and saw the smoke pouring out into the atmosphere. American Flags were draped over all the overpasses and people were standing on them waving our country’s flag. I get the chills and tear up just remembering the scene! We all had a sick eerie feeling for a long time after that.

We are grateful that our son had decided to call in sick to work that day. My prayers go out to all the people who lost loved ones that day. Thanks and prayers also go out for all the brave men and women rescue workers who risked their lives in the aftermath and to those in the armed forces who have fought and are still fighting to protect those of us here at home!

Photo Credit: weshouldallmakeaneffortblogspot.com

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What’s the Word Wednesday? #9

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1) Should babies as young as 6 months old who show signs of autism be treated for it? In my opinion, yes! There’s absolutely no harm in working with an infant suspected of having autism even if it turns out that he or she doesn’t. The earlier to start treating suspected autism the better as far as I’m concerned! Therapy for Infants May Stave off Autism

2) Many of you may have heard of the despicable “Ice Bucket Challenge” of urine and poop being dumped on a young man with autism and then showing the video of it on the internet. I’m glad to report that several celebrities have offered rewards and financial help to assist in finding those responsible for such a horrible crime and thankfully some suspects have been identified. I hope some of that reward money makes it into the hands of the victim. Police ID Suspects in Ice Bucket Case

3) I don’t know why I was surprised to learn that disabled people of color who are also LGBTQ face a much higher risk than the general public for becoming victims of police brutality. To learn more about this very important issue please read SINS Invalid Statement on Police Violence

4) If you know of a child who can benefit from some DIY occupational or physical therapy, I highly recommend clicking on Your Therapy Source. I have used and love many of their instantly downloadable occupational therapy resources for Bethany!

5) Do you think your loved one with a disability might enjoy the benefits that a therapy dog has to offer, but you don’t want the responsibility or expense of owning your own animal? Perhaps this article “How To Arrange A Free Therapy Dog Home Visit” might be a good one to check out!

6) Wondering if you should homeschool your teens but worried it might be too hard? Check out Kris Bales’ post, “Why Homeschooling Teens Is Easier Than Homeschooling Little Ones”!

7) And lastly, I find this very disturbing and hope it doesn’t spread. People should have the right to be self sufficient and live without electricity. Florida Makes Off-Grid Living Illegal – Mandates All Homes Must Be Connected To An Electricity Grid

Bethany at Age 11- or Why We Homeschool Her

We had been homeschooling all our children since 1984 and we had every intention of homeschooling Bethany too, even after she became disabled by brain cancer in 2000. But when she was about seven I began to have doubts that homeschooling was a good choice for her. I felt inadequate as her teacher. She had so many special needs that I wondered if a professional special education teacher would better meet her educational needs than I and so began our journey into institutional schooling for Bethany.

Five years age we made our third and final attempt at sending Bethany to school. We had tried twice before at our local public school. The first year by February she had stopped eating and had lost so much weight that she became overdosed on her seizure medications and could not even sit up for months.

We had no choice but to pull her out of school, but after she had recuperated we tried sending her again the following September. By February the same thing happened plus she began having so many seizures that it was pointless to send her anyway, so we took her out of school again.

We homeschooled Bethany for two more years and then decided to try sending her to a very small private school for children with special needs. We had toured the school and really loved the friendly atmosphere. It was very homey, quiet, and calm there. We could tell that the teachers, therapists, and aides really loved the students and enjoyed working with them.

We started her out attending just for half days, which I think would have been ideal and not caused her any health issues, but our school district had to pay for her to attend full time whether she attended full time or not and so eventually they insisted that she had to begin attending full time or they would need to give her spot to a full time student.

By year’s end she was back to losing weight and began having more seizures. We were hoping that after recuperating over the summer she’d be ready to go back to school in the fall. Unfortunately, it was not to be. It only took until October for Bethany to begin losing weight again and having so many seizures that sending her to school was ridiculous, and so we decided to pull her out of school again before her condition could deteriorate further.

Bethany and her teacher at school.  She looks so miserable!

Bethany and her teacher at school. She looks so miserable!

You can see in the pictures how miserable, thin, and sickly she looks. She had lost a significant amount of weight already and was nothing but skin and bones. On her eleventh birthday she was so lethargic and weak from not eating and having daily seizure storms that she could barely sit up long enough to blow out her own birthday candles.

This is why we will never again attempt to send Bethany to school!

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Today, just one month away from her sweet sixteen birthday, Bethany does still spend more time lying on the couch than her average typical peers do. She still needs loads of down time. But she is more active than she’s ever been in her life.

When she’s feeling good and not experiencing any anxiety or little seizures she enjoys shopping, bowling, going to the beach, riding roller coasters, and attending her special needs Flash Club at the YMCA where she and her friends participate in many activities like swimming, dancing, and basketball.

And as you can see she has gained her weight back. Maybe even a little too much weight!

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Friendship Friday: Back to School!

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I value our online friendships and appreciate your support!

I love to hear all about your week and enjoy learning from you

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School has started up again at our house this week!

Bethany enjoyed working with her MindWare Imaginets.

As you can see in the collages below she made a giraffe and an elephant. This coincided with our discussion of African grassland animals. She also worked on a cut and paste African animal puzzle and a cut and paste African animal counting activity. We looked at You Tube videos of elephants, cheetahs, ostriches, and antelope and located Africa on a world map.

I also showed Bethany North America on the map and tried to explain that we live there.  I don’t really think she can comprehend the concept of a map actually being a picture of the world that we live on.  To her it is probably just a weird picture of something on a piece of paper or on the computer.  But I can certainly try to explain it!  If nothing else, at least I’m making her think and keeping her mind active and occupied!

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Bethany enjoys  cutting and pasting just about anything.  Here she is working on a shape fish that I found at Totschooling!

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We also played a lot of Go Fish and Go Nuts! this week!

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Jeremiah is in eighth grade this year.  Many of you know that other than math we have been somewhat of a radical homeschooling family.  But this year I felt like it was about time to get a little more rigorous with Jerry’s academics.

For History and Geography I decided to use  Around the World in 180 Days.  This is just what the title says it is- a world history and geography course. It comes with a student book full of suggested activities,  geography terms to look up, and questions to answer.  I’m sure we won’t complete every suggested activity, but it will be a great guideline for us. We began our world study with Africa!

I decided to introduce Jerry to Shakespeare this year. We are starting with Hamlet abridged by Leon Garfield. This is an easy to understand abridged version of Hamlet. The first chapter’s description of the whole theater experience of that time period (including even the smells) was really quite interesting!

I was shocked to discover that there were actually buckets set up against the walls INSIDE the theater for people to “relieve” themselves in and only people who paid could sit in seats under an actual roof! After we read about the theater and how there was recently a new one built just like the original, we looked up Shakespeare’s Globe Theater on the internet. Very Impressive!

Jeremiah has never had a formal grammar or Language Arts lesson in his life and this year I felt that it was about time that he did! I chose Applications of Grammar Book 1: Basics for Communicating Effectively because it is for older students but it is consumable so he can write in the book. I knew that it would not go over big with him if he would be required to copy a lot of written work into notebooks.

Jeremiah does not like to read and never gets excited about any book, so this year I decided not to go crazy trying to find books that I think he’d like and just assigned him to read The Three Musketeers for this quarter.

I have been wanting to try Algebra Tiles with one of the kids for a long time and Jerry is my last chance to do so!  I decided to try this inexpensive  book Working with Algebra Tiles, Grades 6-12 and got these Learning Resources Algebra Tiles Student Set to go with it!  We also have an Algebra Tiles app for iPad that we’ll give a try too!

I decide to go with a more formal science curriculum this year also.  I chose Earth Science for Christian Schools mostly because someone gave it to us. So as not to totally overwhelm him with too much “work” right off the bat, I’m just going to have him read the book and then take the quizzes open book style to start out with.

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In addition to working at the pharmacy and  doing college at home online this semester, Rebekah has been keeping herself busy making Mario characters with herPerler Beads 11,000 Count-Multi-Mix to give out as Christmas presents!  She finds the patterns on Pinterest of course!

 

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In case you missed them:
Little Seizures, Anxiety, and Having Fun at Balloon Fest
What’s the Word Wednesday? #8
The China Interviews Part 2
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*This post contains affiliate links. Thanks if you decide to purchase an item or two through one of these links!*
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It isn’t mandatory to do so, but I sure would love it if you would link back to me either with a text link or my button below and like me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, subscribe through email, or subscribe in a Reader!

Now it’s Your turn! I hope you all had a wonderful week full of fun and learning!

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What’s the Word Wednesday? #8

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1) This is outrageous and very scary! Is it possible that if you disagree with doctor recommended medical treatment for your child you can be arrested or have your child taken away from you? Unbelievably Yes it is! We all remember the sad case of Justina Pelletier. Now these parents have been arrested for taking their child out of a hospital in an attempt to save his life with proton beam treatment at another hospital. Parents Arrested Over Son’s Cancer Treatment

2) Are you a dissident Christian? According to the article The Dissident Christian: Does This Describe You? I am. You might be too if you dare to ask questions and don’t just blindly accept everything you are taught in church and Sunday School.

3) More by Carolyn Henderson of beliefnet. Are We Being Bullied to Think a Certain Way? discusses one way of responding to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

4) And even more by Carolyn Henderson. Can you tell I like the way she thinks? Christianity is not a Political Party.

5) I can’t wait to get a copy of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s “new” book, “Pioneer Girl”- the one that was never published because it wasn’t suitable for children!

6) If you love organization and record keeping for your homeschool a great place to go is Donna Young Printables and Resources!

7) Frighteningly, many In-Home Caregivers Often Lack Training, Oversight. In our case, Bethany is supposed to be given rectal diazepam if she has a seizure cluster of more than three seizures or a seizure that lasts more than 5 minutes. In NYS only a nurse is legally permitted to administer this life saving medication. As a result none of her respite or community workers are legally allowed to save her life with this medication if needed and she is not eligible for nursing staff. Crazy, I know and a bit scary.

Little Seizures, Anxiety, and Having Fun at Balloon Fest

Last Friday afternoon I showed Bethany a picture of Balloon Fest and asked her if she wanted to go see the beautiful hot air balloons. She was very excited and really wanted to go.
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Shortly there after I found her lying on the couch with the blanket over her head. She lay there like that for about two or three hours. She only left the couch a few times to use the toilet or engage in her normal everyday ritualistic changing of the clothes.

Actually, Bethany covers her head up like this a lot. Whenever she does, she says she’s having little seizures but because this behavior doesn’t show up on her EEG’s as seizure activity everyone has attributed it to being anxiety.

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That day I naturally just assumed that this was how she was expressing her anxiety over going to Balloon Fest. I didn’t want to cause her any more grief than necessary so I didn’t mention Balloon Fest again until it was almost time to get ready to go at which point I asked her if she still wanted to. She replied, “I’m waiting for the seizures to go away.”

That is what she says every. single. time. she lies in the couch with a blanket over her head.

I know that this behavior does not show up on her EEG’s as seizures, but honestly, who are we- her parents, her workers, her doctors, and even the EEG machine to say that they are not!

She is the one who has suffered with seizures since she was two years old.

Surely she should know what having a seizure feels like!

Surely we should respect that if she says she’s having seizures than she most likely is!

When Dad got home from work we asked her if she still wanted to go to Balloon Fest. She immediately got off the couch and put on her “going out” clothes. She climbed into the back seat of the car where she proceeded to lie down with a blanket over her head all the way to Balloon Fest. When we arrived at our destination she got out of the car and sat down in a lawn chair. She watched two balloons be blown up (which happened surprisingly fast I might add!) and then she was ready to go!

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Anxiety or seizures? Perhaps we’ll never really know, but for a few minutes Bethany enjoyed herself and had fun!

And that’s a rare and amazingly good thing!

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Happy at Walmart after the Balloon Fest.

Happy at Walmart after the Balloon Fest.




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