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Archive for the ‘kids’ Category

Grover

Image via Wikipedia

One of the first apps I got on my son’s iPad was something I wanted for myself. The Monster at the End of This Book was one of my favorite books growing up.  When I saw it was at the iPad store, and it still had Grover, and not Elmo (which they had when my daughter was the age for this), I had to download it!

It keeps true to story, and is interactive in a seamless, appropriate manner.  It encourages the child to be involved in the story, in subtle ways. If they still don’t get what to do on a page, Grover will hint, building up the hints until the work is done.  He does it in a way, though, that suits the story. “Whatever you do, don’t touch that. Not that corner over there. That will make the page turn. You don’t want to turn the page!” Things like that, and maybe a bit of a flicker or flash to show where the child should touch.

My son is completely non-verbal, and can’t really read much at all.  He’s never been interested in reading, either.  He’ll look at I Spy books, or flip through something with a character he likes, but not much more than that.  After a while, though, Ted would read along with the book, running his finger under each word as it was said. Each word comes on the page one at a time as Grover says it, and he’s really starting to learn the relationship between what is said and what the word looks like. That interaction is probably helping him read more than the constant drilling we’ve done over the years in school, in therapy, and in the home.  He reads it every night before going to bed.  He also is engaged with it more than most other apps, without perseverating on it, reading it over and over for hours on end.  It’s also made a great reward for his educators and his therapists, because he will work for enough stars to have time with this app.

I’ve seen a number of children’s e-books, and apps based on children’s books. This is probably our favorite, and save for a handful of others, one of the better crafted ones. You can tell that not only did the software developers know what they were doing, educators and other professionals who know about development of literacy skills and children were involved. All the little touches not only make this app more enjoyable, but are a great way to help an emerging reader.

This award-winning app is $3.99 at the Apple App  store.

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We finally got Ted an iPad, primarily for use as an AAC device, but we knew there were other apps out there that might be useful.  We’ve found autism related apps, educational apps, some really fun apps for rewards, and lots of communication apps.  We also found a fantastic case for it, too!

It’s a shame that insurance does not cover these. An AAC device starts at around 3k.  An iPad with a good case, good AAC software, and some other apps? About 1k.  But the insurance would rather pay 3k and up, because those devices are for communication only.  Heaven forbid someone has something that can be used for things other than the intended purpose. They’d rather throw money away. No wonder premiums are so high.  Insurance companies will not use common sense when it comes to deciding what to pay, and what not to pay.

I hope to be reviewing some of the apps we’re using.  The whole experience is a real game changer. It’s made an impressive difference in my son’s life.

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If you’re a parent with a child on the spectrum, you’ve probably responded to the same annoying remarks and questions a thousand times. Here’s a handy list of responses that…you’ll probably never use out loud (but are fun to imagine using)!

via Top 10 snappy answers to annoying comments about autism | Autism Support Network.

I need to memorize these…

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I made this video today, based on actual conversations over the years.

http://www.xtranormal.com/site_media/players/jwplayer.swfhttp://www.xtranormal.com/site_media/players/embedded-xnl-stats.swf

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I posted this on Facebook after watching my wall explode with opinions all over the place, very heated. Just wanted my opinion out there. This just happens to be a day that my husband is working on the Memorial downtown. I want to say that when we took my kids down there once when he was working on another site down there, fixing it, rebuilding one of the damaged buildings not too long after 9/11. My son was a bit concerned, because what was happening, what was that big hole in the ground? I told him what happened that people like his dad were rebuilding it, and making things better. I pointed to the workers on the building, fixing it, making it whole again.

So here’s what I had to say on FB:

I am somewhat bemused that as Facebook is exploding with Muslim Mosque hysteria, my husband is at this moment building the memorial to the victims of 9/11. Put your money where your mouth is, and help REBUILD our nation, instead of tearing each other down. I think his actually being in the dirt and heat and sweating does more honor to the victims and our nation than whining about a building expanding blocks away. Ask why the site is STILL not finished. Where is the glory? The honor? Instead, there are squabbles like filthy animals in the muck. Is THAT the America you want to be?

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My son started Camp Bee A Friend this week. This camp pairs off children on the autism spectrum with their typically developing peers, sharing the camp experience together. It’s not about therapy, academics, things like that, it is camp. Real camp with camp activities. Fishing and swimming and crafts and lunch and songs and games and sports and all the typical day camp stuff — something that kids on the spectrum, particularly ones like mine, don’t really get to experience.

Now, one of my fears with Ted is that he’d be alone when we were gone. That the only people who would be with him would be obligated to. Family members, and people who work with him. Maybe a roommate in an apartment or group home. It’s one of the things that makes me sad, the thought my son may never have a partner, a family, a social life. He’s still non verbal, and he doesn’t really notice other people a lot. He doesn’t interact, usually. And since there are a lot of things he doesn’t understand, what could he bring to the table, friendship-wise? This breaks my heart on a regular basis. I try not to think about it, because it makes me want to die inside.

Well, when he got on the bus to go to camp, another kid came by. He looked at the open doors, looked over the seats, and said, “I want to sit next to Ted!” I smiled, I made a pleasant remark to one of the staff members standing there (as well as continued to discuss how Ted doesn’t eat lunch) and left.

And then proceeded to cry the entire drive home.

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Sick

Does it sound wrong for a mom to want her child to be ill?

If he was sick, then there would be a reason for what’s going on now. The crying, the screaming, the agitation, the misery, the sheer hopeless attitude he has right now.

If he isn’t sick, then it’s that random autism who knows what the hell is wrong now, and then it is back to specialists again. Psychiatrists and psychologists and developmental pediatricians and behaviorists and neurologists and it just goes to “I guess it’s the autism”. Which isn’t much of an answer at all, it might as well be, “I guess it’s because the sun is hot and water is wet and it is Sunday.”

So I hope he has a bug. Nothing bad, just maybe an upset stomach or stuffed nose or sore throat or something that will go away, and he’ll be back to his usual happy self again. Of course, since he is ‘non verbal’, I don’t know what hurts. His head, his heart, his eyes, his nose, his throat, his tummy, his ears, who knows?

No one WANTS their child sick, of course, but in our case, it beats the alternative.

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