Monthly Archives: March 2012

A Beautiful Hike!

This morning started out fantastic! We got to go play mini-golf!!! The boys were great!

Even my really nervous kid had what seemed to be a great time. He figured out that not only could he hit the golf ball with his club, but he could use his feet too! It was hysterical! My favorite was when he couldn’t get the ball in the hole with his club or with his feet, he reached down… picked it up… and dropped it in the cup. I laughed and gave him a high five and got a gorgeous smile!! It was like he absolutely knew what he was doing.

I think it was the fasted game of mini-golf in history and all the boys were pretty excited at the whole adventure.

What came next was my favorite part of the day. Please pardon the resolution on these pictures (as an amateur photographer I am quite embarrassed…lol), but they were taken with my cell phone as I didn’t want to lug my camera with us today.

We went for a long and absolutely stunning hike. The photo’s don’t do it justice AT ALL, but we were way up above the city. For the trained eye, you can see a teeny tiny Mt. Garfield on the top left of the screen and at the top middle/left is the Grand Mesa. You can also see the smoke in the background as it is burning season.

I was in a small slice of heaven and the weather was absolutely perfect. We even tied our jackets around our waists!

Tomorrow we get to go to the movie and I hope we have as much fun as we did today. I am sure that we will… nothing like a bucket of popcorn, 4 amazing boys, and a great movie on the big screen!!

One more pic to leave you with…

Have a fantastic night!!

~Kari

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Filed under Autism Coolness!, Field Trips

Playdoh… and The Lorax!

This week and next  is TCAP (Traditional Colorado Assessment Program) testing for our general education kids at my school. Our boys have done their testing already, so we get to have tons of fun for the next two weeks. Before I get in to all of that, I have a bit of autism coolness to share!

Last week, we were going to work with Playdoh with the boys and discovered that our Playdoh had somehow turned into some sort of snot concoction and really needed thrown out and replaced … we didn’t even want to guess how that happened. So, this weekend, I went out and purchased a 4 pack for our classroom. I came in this morning and set it on the table and thought nothing of it. The boys came in and my non-verbal guy started hovering over the Playdoh. I went and got him and told him it was time to work. After we finished with the section (Calendar), I was sitting next to him and another kid waiting for our next project, when all of a sudden, I hear… from his iPad… “Clay Please”… I was stunned and said “Oh… you want to play with clay?”…. He then touched “yes” on his iPad!!!! Needless to say, we jumped right up and broke open our new batch of Playdoh!!

A little background… we had previously programmed “clay” into his iPad for another activity… I am not sure I could find clay on that iPad… but he sure as heck knew where it was!!!! Remember, this is the kid that gets pinchy and grabby when he is upset, but lately, he has toned way down and I think it is because he realizes he has a voice now. He will still get grabby, but it is fewer and farther apart and not near as hard (most of the time). It is nice to see his gorgeous smile and hear him laugh!

Now… on to the fun stuff for the week.

Yesterday (Sunday), I went to one of our local theaters to see “Act of Valor”. While I was there, I stopped and talked to the General Manager. I introduced myself, told him what I did for a living, and asked very nicely to see if there was a showing of  Disney’s The Lorax that would be best to bring the boys to. He was super nice and agreed to open the theater at a special early time for us (4 boys and 4 adults)!! I think it will be so much fun to sit in the big theater with these kids, munch on some popcorn, and see a great movie! I have found that our community is getting really supportive of these kids. Knowledge is power and the word on autism is getting out. We are doing a good service to our boys and the community.

Other fun things on the list for this week and next are Miniature Golf, Pet Smart, Home Depot, Hiking, playing with remote control cars, visiting a doctors office… and a lot more fun things! I am so excited! Going to be a really fun couple of weeks.

Thanks for stopping in!

~Kari

 

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Filed under Autism Coolness!, Behaviors, Field Trips

Did you know…

….that “sugar could be the entire cause of autism”???

Ok… so now before you hit the roof, please let me explain.

The other day, I had the unfortunate experience of running over something that gave me an awesome flat tire … so there I was sitting at Discount Tires awaiting the fine gentlemen to fix the flat. I sat outside because it happened to be a gorgeous day, pulled out my book for school, and began to study.

As time passed and my back began to cramp from leaning over the book on a very uncomfortable bench, I sat the book down and decided to people watch a bit. There was an elderly gentleman wandering around … likely in the same predicament I was in. I watched him for a bit and then offered him to have a seat next to me on the bench. He happily agreed and we had the obligatory discussion about the weather.

That is when he looked down and noticed my textbook, “Learners on the Autism Spectrum”.

Him: “Autism huh?”

Me: “Yessir, I am getting my masters degree in applied behavioral analysis with an emphasis on autism.”

Him: “What do you think about this thing called autism.”

Me: “I find it incredibly fascinating and am excited at the possibilities!” (insert a big DUH here…. why else would I do it?)

Him: “You really should read up on the Gastrointestinal aspects of causes for autism.”

Me: “Oh I have read a lot of stuff on a variety of different ideas about causes and cures for autism.”

Him: “Wonder if the parents of your kids know about sugar and its affect on the GI and autism. They really should check into it…”

At this point I am starting to get frustrated and his words are becoming very similar to every adult on Charlie Brown; wah wah wah wah wah… so I smile and nod, thank him for the lovely conversation, say my goodbyes and get my keys.

Now I KNOW how you parents/caregivers/and other teachers must feel. Don’t people realize that, for the majority of families, everything has most likely been tried? Lordamercy… it is so frustrating. I would love for a cure to be found for autism. I would love for these kids to have some “normalcy” in their lives. Unfortunately, right now, there is NO cure for autism… there are just a bazillion ideas and interventions out there to help these kids lead a more normal life… a life that suits THEIR needs.

I just find it amusing that people that don’t have someone with autism in their lives become automatic “Dr. So-and-So” when they hear that you have someone in your life with autism. One part of the conversation that I left out is that I explained to him that there are many things that work for one child with autism that don’t work for another. A miracle cure for one kid will not work on another. A very sad, but true, aspect of ASD.

All we can do is continue to help these kids until there is a definite cause and cure. And that is my intention… to be there when nobody else can or will… and to not try and cure them… just help.

~Kari

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Filed under Lessons

Spring Break… well sort of..

Monday was the first official day of Spring Break for our kiddo’s.

Friday at school we had 3 out of four of the boys with fever, so it was an even earlier beginning to our very looked forward to break (they are all fine now, but it was pretty ugly on Friday). Nothing like 3 sick grouchy boys. LOL

Yesterday, I started my first day of my first Masters class! Woot woot *insert happy dance here*!!

Now because I am obsessive compulsive, I have already posted on the forum (3 times), found 3 articles for my first paper (due Monday), have started taking notes for another forum post, and have thought about my final research paper. This blog is a way for me to take a break.  And.. as a special surprise.. as I am typing this, my textbook just arrived! That just means more work, but right now… at the beginning of the first course, I am excited and not burnt out. So, I will give it my all and do the absolute best I can.

Interestingly enough, just from the first bit of studying that I have done, I realize that there are SO many different ideas and effective ABA treatments that are being utilized right now in the classroom I work in. These boys are definitely getting cutting edge, super powerful, and life-changing interventions. With, and without realizing it, I am learning so very much through my on the job training. I may not have had a name for the stuff we are using, but I am soaking it all in like a sponge. I have finally found what I want to be when I grow up. It is such an enormous weight off my shoulders and makes my whole body smile!

A lot of people that work with special needs kids say “If I make a difference in one kids life, then I will have done my job and be happy.” .. I won’t settle for just one kid. I NEED to make a difference in multiple lives. I desire to help every kid that I come in contact with. EVERY ONE.

Now it is time to get back to learning… studying… soaking it up.

Gentle hugs!

~Kari

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Filed under Lessons, Other

Parachute Smiles

Each day we pick a theme and try to do some activities in the afternoon that encompass that theme. Yesterday was Parachute day. Apparently a long time ago (in March) someone got the idea to jump out of a perfectly good airplane with just some cloth strapped to their back (why they would do that ON PURPOSE is beyond me).

I digress… ANYWAY…

For our theme yesterday, I chose parachutes based on the March holiday. First, we watched a YouTube video about skydiving. As the video played, we explained how the parachute is packed on someones back, an airplane takes them way up in the sky, and how they will jump out and pull open the parachute. Second, I had drawn, on our smartboard, a picture of a bear with a parachute opening and we discussed where the bear was (on the ground or in the sky). Third, we colored printed pages of parachutes (one with a cartoon boy, one with a cartoon penguin, and the last was of a man with a parachute). And lastly, we went outside to our play area with a giant parachute!

I have never seen all the boys smiling and laughing as much as they did yesterday during this activity. We were laughing and running and making the parachute do all kinds of fun things.

It is neat to see them full of joy when they are at school. As we all know, school can be tough even on the smartest and most typical children. When school is fun, it causes learning. Remember when you are working with your child with Autism to have fun! Those activities will remain the best forever!

~Kari

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Filed under Autism Coolness!, Lessons