Thursday, January 31, 2013

My baby's love

"I love you with all my heart and bones and organs and my brain and my memories. And my squishy eyeballs." My child loves me so much. I need to remind myself of this when my heart feels a tug because he gets so excited when his Dad is around. Speaking of Dad....he will be on a plane tomorrow back to AZ. Joey's love for his Dad is super sized and in short spurts. His love for me is daily and long term and...squishy eyeballs.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Rules...according to Joey

Today at Target, we started talking about things Joey needs to learn before he becomes a teenager. He said, "I already know the rules:  Do not smoke; always pay for your stuff; do not go on crack; do not eat a popcorn seed; do not shoot a gun."

I said, "You forgot don't have a baby when you're a baby." He said, "How can a baby have a baby? A baby couldn't fit in a baby's belly." 

I clarified that I meant to not have a baby when he is a teenager. He asked what would happen if he did, and I told him he better never find out.

They grow up so fast:(

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Dove and Daddy

Joey read a Dove wrapper that said "Make "someday" today. He then said, "Maybe someday I'll see my Daddy, you know your ex-husband." Just then, his Dad called to tell him that if his team goes onto the Mexico World Series (there's such a thing?), he won't be home until February...when spring training starts (he'll leave for Seattle 6 weeks later and be gone for 5 months). Joey is fine...he was happy to talk to Ben, but I feel bad for him. I'm so thankful I have Bryan, Uncle Paul, and Grandpa nearby.

As always, Joey keeps it locked up inside. I wish I knew how he was feeling and how I can help him.

South Park episode addressing Cartman's behavior

I have been a South Park fan for years. Behaviorguy posted the link to this episode on his Facebook yesterday and I had to share. Please be advised there may be some inappropriate language.

Fabulous waiter refused service because of rude remark

I love reading stories like these:

The waiter praised for REFUSING to serve man who made vile remark and complained about being seated near Down syndrome child

By David Mccormack
A waiter at a steakhouse in Houston, Texas has won a lot of fans after refusing to serve a customer who made a cruel comment about a special needs child that he didn’t wish to be seated near.
The incident took place at Laurenzo’s, where Michael Garcia has been working for more than two years and enjoys a good rapport with many of his regular customers.
On Wednesday night he greeted two groups of regulars - Kim Castillo and her family, including five-year-old Milo who has Down syndrome, and another group who sat in the adjacent booth.
Support is flowing in from all over, thanking Michael Garcia for taking a stand for a special needs child
Waiter Michael Garcia refused to serve a customer who made a cruel remake after special needs children
Michael Garcia has been working for more than two years at Laurenzo's in Houston, Texas
Michael Garcia has been working for more than two years at Laurenzo's in Houston, Texas
Not long after Garcia seated the second family they requested to be moved. Garcia duly obliged, until he heard the man say, 'Special needs children need to be special somewhere else.'
Garcia was thrown by the cruel remark and couldn't believe that the man had said it in front of his own children. Although worried that he might lose his job, Garcia felt he had to something.
‘It was very disturbing,’ he told ABC13. ‘My personal feelings just took over and I told this man, 'I'm sorry, I can't serve you.'"

That family quickly left, but not before Garcia told him: 'How could you say that? How could you say that about a beautiful five-year-old angel?'
Kim Castillo says she noticed the family leaving, but didn’t think anything else about it until one of Garcia’s co-workers told them what had happened.
'If he had been obnoxious, which like any other five-year-old he can be, I wouldn’t have thought twice about the family asking to move,' she said.
Kim Castillo and young son Milo, she said he shouldn't be discriminated against because he has Down syndrome
Kim Castillo and young son Milo, she said he shouldn't be discriminated against because he has Down

Read more:
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Parkridge boundaries

I went to a "closed" meeting regarding the boundaries at Parkridge Elementary school. Let's just say, I was shaking for an hour after.

Please read my petition and consider signing it. This is not fair that people who live near the school are being zoned out or "displaced," to accomodate children on variances from other schools. My son's daily life and skills development will be affected by this.

Peoria Unified School District Governing Board and Zoning Committee: Stop open enrollment which is overpopulating our schools.

Petitioning Peoria Unified School District Governing Board and Zoning Committee

This petition will be delivered to:
Peoria Unified School District Governing Board and Zoning Committee

Peoria Unified School District Governing Board and Zoning Committee: Stop open enrollment which is overpopulating our schools.

    1. Michelle Hogan
    2. Petition by
      Peoria, United States

In the northwest area of the Peoria Unified School District, schools are becoming overpopulated. To fix this, they are changing the school boundaries and are moving students as many as 2 or 3 times in the next few years, based on estimated growth of the area. They have a program in Arizona known as "open enrollment," which allows for children to go to any school of their choosing, regardless of where their home school is, or even if they live in the district. The rule is supposed to be as long as they can accommodate those children, they can attend the school. However, the zoning committee is now saying that once you're in the school, you're safe, meaning that the children on variances from other schools are a higher priority than the children who live within the boundaries of that school. This is not fair. Why is my child not safe when I purposely bought within the boundary for our school? Our subdivision, Camino A Lago South, will be the most affected. My son, who has Autism Spectrum Disorder, Epilepsy, and Dyslexia, will be moved several times, with no regard for his special needs or what the constant change will do to a child who needs stability and security. Change can be difficult for any child, especially those who thrive in structure and familiar surroundings.
The rules from PUSD regarding open enrollment and variances is attached below:

What is the district policy on open enrollment? The District has an open-enrollment program as set forth in A.R.S. 15-816 et seq. The open enrollment program described in this policy shall be placed on the District website and made available to the public on request. No tuition shall be charged for open enrollment, except as authorized by applicable provisions of A.R.S. 15-764, 15-797, 15-823, 15-824, and 15-825.
Resident transfer pupil means a resident pupil who is enrolled in or seeking enrollment in a school that is within the school district - but outside the attendance area - of the pupil's residence.
Nonresident pupil means a pupil who resides in this state and who is seeking enrollment in a school district other than the school district in which the pupil resides.
Enrollment Options
District resident pupils may enroll in another school district or in another school within this District. Resident transfer pupils and nonresident pupils may enroll in schools within this District, subject to the procedures that follow.
Information and Application
The Superintendent or the Superintendent's designee shall prepare a written information packet concerning the District's application process, standards for acceptance or rejection, and policies, regulations, and procedures for open enrollment. The packet will be made available to everyone who requests it.
The Superintendent or the Superintendent's designee shall annually estimate how much excess capacity
Peoria Unified School District Governing Board and Zoning Committee
Stop open enrollment which is overpopulating our schools.
[Your name]


Reasons for signing

    • 31 minutes ago

    My son with Autism Spectrum Disorder will be affected by having to move schools more than once before high school just to accomodate other children from other areas.


Keep your supporters engaged with a news update.

Michelle Hogan
Petition Organizer

      Tough questions

      On the way into school yesterday, Joey asked me why he takes his "silver medication" (Keppra for his Epilepsy). I said, "You remember hearing me say you have Epilepsy, right?" He said, "Yes, but what does that mean?" I told him that it means that sometimes his brain hiccups. He said, "Ok."

      Later that night, he asked, "Ben Daddy was your first husband. Why did you marry Ben Daddy and then Bryan?" Completely thrown for a loop, I said, "I was married to your Daddy because I loved him and then I married Bryan." He said, "But whyyyy did you marry Daddy and then Bryan?" I said, "You know sometimes people realize they are better as friends but that's ok because we had to come together to make you." I squeezed him tight and as he went to walk away after our hug, he turned to me and said "I. Have. No. Words." I said, "Why did you say that?" feeling panicky. He said, "I don't know; I hear you say it all the time."

      I need to come up with better responses. Before you know it, I will be dodging the puberty curveball questions.

      "Poop free" for 7 days

      From Sunday to Saturday last week, my son was beaming with pride. By Saturday, it had been 7 days that he was "poop free." After his big, "chocolate pudding" explosion last Sunday, he was able to make it to the toilet to get the poop out. And since he was cleaned out, there was no poop to smear in his undies. On Tuesday, he even excused himself from the lunch table at school and went to poop in the bathroom outside the cafeteria. Amazing progress for my little pooper. Ok, maybe I should change his nickname?

      Sunday, January 13, 2013

      ADHD and ABA

      Behaviorbabe just posted this link on FB and I had to share:

      Thank you for posting. I keep my son on a thin reinforcement schedule for homework. I've also broken it up over 5 days, instead of trying to do too much in 1 or 2 days. It helps minimize complaints and also doesn't make it such a huge task if we tried to do it all at once.

      Here is the link: If you don't follow this blog, you need to!

      Using ABA to Address ADHD

      English: A child not paying attention in class.
      After yesterday‘s post regarding the use of ABA to treat ADHD, readers expressed interest in learning more. So today, one intervention to address ADHD behaviors will be discussed.


      Readers should not be surprised to hear that reinforcement is a recommended intervention. Reinforcement is a key topic in almost every single post on this blog. The important thing to remember is that reinforcement must be individually designed and administered in order to obtain maximum results. Individualization is not easy for teachers or parents. However, if appropriate reinforcers and correct schedules of reinforcement are utilized, great changes in behavior will be observed.

      Differential Reinforcement

      There are many types of differential reinforcement:
      • differential reinforcement of other behavior (DRO)
      • differential reinforcement of incompatible behavior (DRI)
      • differential reinforcement of alternative behavior (DRA)
      • differential reinforcement of higher rates of behavior (DRH; designed to increase desirable behaviors!)
      • differential reinforcement of lower rates of behavior (DRL)
      Essentially, differential reinforcement is the use of reinforcement for one behavior and not for others. Differential reinforcement requires implementors to reinforce one behavior while withholding reinforcement for another.

      Differential Reinforcement of Alternative Behavior (DRA)

      In this intervention, reinforcement is provided when an alternative behavior is observed but not when inappropriate behaviors are observed. Specifically, if a child is engaging in off task and distractable behaviors, alternative behaviors would be identified. It is important to know why (e.g., to get out of work, to get teacher attention, etc). An assessment must first be conducted to know why a behavior is occurring. To read more on assessment, check here, here, and here. Once the assessment has been completed, then alternative behaviors to obtain the same reinforcers are identified.
      If a child is trying to get out of work, an alternative behavior is to work faster so that play and non-work time may be accessed. If a child is trying to gain teacher attention, then the child is taught to use appropriate behaviors to get teacher attention.
      The next step is to reinforce the new/alternative behavior. If the child is working quickly, she needs to be reinforced with a nice long work break or play time. If the child appropriately recruits teacher attention, the teacher needs to come over quickly to give attention.

      Thin Reinforcement

      As with any intervention, the goal is to get appropriate behavior then to thin or reduce reinforcement so that the child may function like the rest of children in the class or home. It is important to thin reinforcement at a pace that will prevent the ADHD-type behaviors from escalating.
      I hope this helps readers better understand one way that ABA may be used to address ADHD.

      Will you play with me?

      It was 27 degrees out yesterday and that was the morning Joey decides he'd like to play soccer in the backyard with me. I asked my AZ child if he realized how cold it was outside. He put his hood up and said, "No sweat, Boba Fett."

      My son is an only child and I have long realized that I am his favorite and most constant playmate. I always try to make myself available to play with him, no matter how big my To Do list is. Lately, he seems to be asking for more of my attention and more playtime.

      On Thursday, I made a list of activities for his new habilitator. I would like them to work on transitioning from a preferred activity to a non-preferred activity. One of them was kicking the soccer ball outside. He loved it! It was almost like I needed to show him he can play sports with someone other than Daddy.

      Yesterday, we played a total of 3 times before the sun went down, lasting at least 30 minutes each time. We had a great time. In the beginning, he told me I was 50% the athelete his Daddy is. As the day progressed, he told me my "number was going up" and I was at 80%. His number? 120%.

      Thursday, January 10, 2013

      Best Report Card EVER

      Yesterday, I received the best report card ever for Joey. I am so proud of him that I was almost in tears! I was with my Mom at the time and I think she got misty too!

      Here's the lowdown:
      P = High level of performance
      I = Making steady and sufficient progress
      N = Needs more time/practice/support

                                                     1st quarter                      2nd quarter
      Listening                                       N                                     P!!!
      Speaking                                       N                                     I
      Spelling                                        N                                     N
      Writing                                         I                                       I
      Reading                                        N                                     N
      Math                                             I                                       P
      Social Studies                               I                                       I
      Science                                         I                                       P
      Study/Social Skills                       I                                       P
      Music                                                                                   P
      Art                                                                                        P
      PE                                                                                         P

      He improved in completing assignments on time, exhibiting self control, and increasing dependability (all under study/social skills) and reads with understanding (reading). He also got a + for areas of strength in comprehending oral directions and messages read orally (both under listening). I am just amazed. He truly is amazing!!!

      I am so beyond proud of Joey's report card. He got his standard P's in his specials (P=high level of performance), but he also got a P in math, science, study/social skills, and....wait for it...listening. His areas of strength were comprehending oral directions and messages read orally. This is truly amazing for my little dude. Back in October, his ped at Melmed wanted him on Focalin 5 for attention and compared his processing to that of a stroke victim. I refused to medicate him. His report validates my belief that medication isn't always the answer!

      Monday, January 7, 2013

      The significance of numbers

      329,000+ The number of files found on my hard drive, almost 2 months after my hard drive failure. 1.3-2.3 Joey's new reading level after being at .9-1.7 for the first half of 2nd grade and .9-1.4 for Kindergarten and 1st grade. Numbers that I've been waiting for to change. Interesting how they both happened on the same day. I am so beyond proud of Joey. He truly amazes me everyday!