Posted in family, Uncategorized

Giving Independence to a NV Child

It was very hard sending Eli off to school. He had been in daycare once before when my husband and I were both working; but that was only for a few months. Now that he will be in school vs daycare there are going to be more demands, which worried me. Nonetheless Eli loves going to school and does great! I had the pleasure of volunteering for his class the other day and to watch him independently following directions and participating in group and solo activities was amazing. He has come so far! But just because I gave him an inch doesn’t necessarily mean I’m going to give him a mile.

Aside from the fact that he is so young, I have a very hard time giving him more independence. When we are at the playground I am always two steps behind him; I can’t be one of those moms who sits at a picnic table reading and not paying attention. I am always worried about him getting hurt, being bullied, or him being a bully. Because he is (for the most part) nonverbal he wouldn’t be able to tell me how he got hurt, or if someone was mean, or if he threw something at someone else. He can tell me generally what happened (that he’s upset and at what or who), but cannot tell me details. So I want to be there so I can see everything that happens; if I’m not I may never know what is going on with him.

Eli really wants to ride the bus to school. He see’s other kids getting on and off the busses before and after school and has asked me multiple times to go on them. When I say no, we have to go to the car, he gets very upset and cries the whole way to our car. I never rode the bus as a kid, I always walked to school, but who doesn’t like riding a bus with all your friends? I would love for Eli to experience that and feel more grown up doing this on his own, but I’m not ready and neither is my husband. I just can’t stop thinking about “what ifs”. What if a kid is mean to him and the bus driver doesn’t see? What if he is physically hurt? Who will tell me? Because Eli can’t speak for himself, I will never know if something like this happens. I saw a story on facebook the other day. A five-year-old girl was riding the bus from school to an afterschool program; the bus was mixed with young and old students. The girl was having a tiff with another young girl when a grown boy in high school said “if you don’t hit her then I will” and slapped this five-year-old girl in the face so hard it left a red mark. Thank God the bus had security cameras that caught the whole thing. If that were Eli in the situation I would never known anything like that had happened because he wouldn’t be able to tell me what happened and who did it. He also wouldn’t be able to stand up or defend himself. I never want him to  be in a position that leaves him so vulnerable to attacks. Children these days are horrible and cruel, the thought of someone being able to be hateful to Eli and him not being able to defend himself makes me sick.

The same could be said for Eli’s classroom; things like that can happen anywhere. Although I will say, after volunteering in his class, 4 adults to 7 kids leaves a lot less room for things like that to happen vs a lot of kids to one bus driver. As Eli grows he needs to receive more independence, but because of his delays he’s going to have to get them a little slower than some of the other kids. For the time being, I will continue to be a hovering mother and I have no shame in my hover game!

Posted in family, Uncategorized

Child discipline vs abuse

* Disclaimer *- Post includes disturbing photos and strong personal opinions. All readers have the right to agree or disagree. I would just like to share my thoughts on this subject-





I saw this post floating around on Facebook today multiple times and it makes my stomach churn every time. A woman was shopping and saw a man dragging his daughter around by the hair while she cried and asked him to stop. The woman confronted him and he told her to mind her own business and he was free to discipline as he felt necessary. The woman called the police who showed up almost immediately and told the woman that unless there were any signs on bodily harm they could not do anything. Are we really supposed to believe that because this poor girl doesn’t show any physical signs of abuse that nothing bad is happening to her? Is seeing a girl being pulled by the hair and crying and begging him to stop not abuse?!? Is our system failing us? Is this the standard for parenting now?

I know that we are present in the “time of sensitivity”. Everyone seems to get offended at everything these days and pretty much no one can take a stand or action without being torn to shreds. I, however, do not think this is the case here. Yes, I believe children should be disciplined. I tell my child no, I raise my voice, I send him to his room, he gets swats on the butt, none of which actually cause him any real pain. When I was younger we got spanked and swatted with wooden spoons, did anyone call the cops? No. Parent’s DO have the right to discipline their children how they see fit…to a certain extent. Publicly abusing and ridiculing your child in front of a hundred or so people in a grocery store is different. I have raised my voice at my son in front of people, I have even swatted his butt in front of people. We’re people watching me? I’m sure. Did anyone judge me? Probably. Did anyone feel the need to call the police? NO. because it was discipline not abuse.

The difficult part in all of this is- where do we draw the line between discipline and abuse? Well for starters, I would say if someone calls the police on you, its probably abuse. We all have our own opinion of where the line is. In my PERSONAL opinion, anything that inflicts substantial mental or physical pain for more than a few minutes is abuse. A swat on the butt may sting for a few minutes then it’s over. There are parents out there that believe spanking a child is abuse and we are all entitled to our own opinions. I can say that I don’t think anyone would call the police if a mother spanked her child quickly in the store after they were purposely being disobedient. I also believe that constantly yelling and ridiculing a child is abuse. As parents we are here to raise our children to be good, polite, happy hardworking people. Would a child come out that way if a parent was constantly yelling at and demeaning them? No, they would grow up scared, angry, and destructive.

There is no perfect mold for parenting. Everyone is going to parent how they feel necessary, whether we agree with them or not. We will all have our opinions on where to draw the line when it comes to disciplining our children. But PLEASE, when given the opportunity, be a voice for a child who needs help.  I know it’s a sticky situation whether or not to but in; because yes, it is none of your business if my kid is screaming his head off during a tantrum and I’m ignoring him. But when you see a child being abused, crying and begging someone to stop- BE THEIR VOICE. Let them know that not all people/adults act this way, let them know that someone will stand up for them. It may be uncomfortable and awkward and you may get yelled at. But are a few awkward minutes worth standing up for a child?

Posted in Uncategorized

Learning Tools

Every child learns differently, what works for one child may not work for another. In Eli’s case there was a lot of trial and error to find out what activities were really working for him. As I said in my last blog, Eli responds best to play-based therapy. When he is presented with “hard work” he shuts down and refuses to try. When things are made fun, he is more willing to follow directions and participate. I figured I would show some of the things that work for Eli.

Our main objective here is to get Eli to say more words. So far he’s learned about 15 or so words and he see’s how knowing these words makes life easier; therefore, he is more willing to learn and trying to say new words. This alone gives us a huge boost for progressing his vocabulary, but we need some more ideas. Aside from saying everything out loud and asking Eli to repeat it, we also use a lot of flashcards. I have tons of flash cards that I pick up from the Dollar Tree (pictured- below left). Eli’s speech therapist also uses flashcards, but hers are a little more detailed. Instead of just showing a picture on one side and the word on the other, these cards (Kaufman cards- pictured below, right), break the word down into how we should be sounding out the syllables for Eli. For example, the word “UP” start by saying “uh”, then “uh..P”, then the full word “up”). The Kaufman cards have actually worked really great for Eli so far. I highly recommend them.


Now that Eli has started preschool we need to focus on some school readiness tasks. He picked up on numbers right away and really didn’t need much help with them at all. Now that he has those working we are now starting ABC’s. to help Eli with the alphabet we have traceable cards and a dry erase alphabet book. Eli isn’t really one for sitting and drawing/coloring. So these are kind of hard to get him to really do. Since he doesn’t really use them to write on, we use them as flashcards. Hold up the letter cards, say the sound, and have Eli repeat it. When he finally finds the interest in tracing them we will work on his writing skills. He does some drawing activities that aren’t too time consuming so he can keep his attention to it. I printed off tracing activities and put them in between clear sheets and have him use dry erase markers.

Eli has always done really great with gross motor skills (throwing balls, running, jumping, etc), but what he lacked in was fine motor skills (pinching, writing, cutting with scissors, etc.) A lot of this is worked on in occupational therapy. A pretty basic way to work on hand muscle activities is picking small items up with tweezers. An interesting activity Eli’s OT brought out one day was silly putty. She has a large amount of silly putty with small beads hiding inside; Eli pulls apart the silly putty and pulls out the beads. It holds his interest well and really works his hand muscles. She also has a big tub of dry beans that is a good sensory activity. But in the tub of beans she has a tennis ball with a face drawn on it, and where the mouth is, is also a cut straight through the tennis ball. When you squeeze the ball, the mouth opens and you can put beans inside. We also have some board games at home that help with his fine motor skills. Two that Eli really enjoys are ‘Let’s go Fishing” and “perfection” (Although perfection scares him when it pops at the end.)

At home in our free time, we also use ABC mouse. We actually started our subscription about a year ago but, up until recently, Eli was too young to really figure out how to use a computer mouse. At this point, we only use it for the game activities, specifically color games. Eli has learned his colors for a few months now but I love the games on ABC mouse. He really gets into them and a lot of them are pretty self explanatory. Again, if it’s fun, it doesn’t feel like work.

I know all kids learn differently, and though these work for Eli they may not work for all kids. But it is also good to find new activities to try. Don’t knock it until you try it!

Posted in family, Uncategorized

The Chair of Shame

A lot of time during Eli’s therapies I have a hard time drawing the line between butting in and staying out of the way. My view is, let the therapists do their job; they’re the educated ones, they know the processes, they know what works and what doesn’t work. However, there are times that, as a mother, I need to say, “Give the kid a damn break!”

Eli was in very intense ABA therapy for a while, (4 hours a day, 5 days a week) so it was kind of hard for me to completely stay out of the process. He also did better when I wasn’t in the room; he listened to the therapists a lot better and didn’t look to me to bail him out. Even through the hours and hours of screams and tantrums I was still close enough to look in and see that it was ok, and every so often I would say “ok, that’s enough” and let Eli take a break. Now, his ABA hours have lessened and so did the demand. ABA is known for being a more intense type of therapy; but at the same time there is a lot of fun and games with it too. Even though he cries a lot during ABA, he has a lot of fun too.

When we go to occupational therapy I am in the room with Eli and his therapist, and though I stay out of the sessions as much as I can, I am there to observe and learn some techniques that work for my son. OT is mostly play based and works great for Eli, no complaints.

Our problem lately has been with speech therapy. The sessions are only 30 minutes, twice a week, each with a different therapist. Eli goes back with the therapists alone and my husband or I are waiting in the lobby. Although waiting in the lobby doesn’t completely keep us out of the loop because we can hear Eli screaming from down the hall. My husband usually takes Eli one night and I take him the other. On the nights my husband brings him, Eli cries and screams the whole session. He mentioned one week that the therapist was going to try keeping Eli in a highchair (pictured above) during the session to keep him focused. I remember not being happy about this at all, but again, the therapists know what they’re doing. After 2-3 weeks of Eli screaming the whole sessions (and not screaming once during the sessions that I take him too) I decided to take Eli this particular night to see what was going on. I didn’t want to seem pushy so I told her how ABA had lightened the stress load because Eli wasn’t responding to forceful “work” he responds almost 100% better during play-based learning. She agreed to try it and invited me back to the room, which is where I first saw the highchair mentioned before and I just could not believe my baby was strapped in that thing for 30 minutes being badgered to name flashcard words. I wouldn’t want to do it either. So she tried just asking him the questions while sitting on the floor and he didn’t response. I told her sometimes other therapists will ask him questions while he is occupied with a toy/game/activity. She did that, and what do you know…he said three words right in a row for her. The rest of the session went smoothly, and hopefully the rest of the sessions will too.

I still stand by my theory that the therapists know what they’re doing and I should, for the most part, leave them to it. But there are times as a mother that you know your child better than they ever will. Parents can give input too. Don’t be too shy to step in and be an advocate for your child.