Test Day

Today was our first test day at Serenity Spectrum School. We are 4 months into our school year, and I thought it was a good time to gauge where the girls are. Since we will be schooling year-round, three assessments per school year seems reasonable to me. What do you think?

I used the Pre-K Assessment forms, for Alphabet and Math, which are generously provided for free by Prekinders.com. I also used the Color Chart and Shapes Mini-Book printables; which are generously provided for free by PreschoolMom.com.

Beth was able to identify all her numbers from 0 to 10 correctly. She was also able to count objects (play rings) up to number 20, with only skipping number 13. Beth really liked counting the rings and putting them in her favorite red bowl, so we did that a few times. 🙂 She was able to identify all the colors on the chart correctly. She also knew all the shapes on the printout.

The assessment was going extremely well until I brought out the Alphabet sheet; at that point she started to shut down. It was almost as if she was having a panic attack, and just could not think straight. I tried several approaches, with no avail; I even had her taking trips to the trampoline, spinning and crazy shaking (Team UmiZoomies) between attempts. In the end, she identified 16 upper case and 12 lower case letters accurately. While, I do not believe this to be an accurate representation of her knowledge, I did learn something very important. I learned that whatever approach they were using in public school was stressful and possibly traumatic for her. I learned that this sheet was too similar to the public school’s version, and would never give me an accurate measure of her knowledge. I learned that I must find another way to assess her abilities, which will allow her to relax and truly show all that is in her beautiful brain.

Anne was able to identify half of her numbers from 0 to 10 correctly. She was also able to count the rings up to number 13.  She knew all her colors, but did have some trouble with yellow. She correctly identified all but 2 of the shapes on the printout. She did awesome with the Alphabet sheet! She accurately identified 17 upper case and 14 lower case letters. The only trouble we had were with “M” and “N” due to her speech issues, but we worked through it just fine.

I am extremely happy with our first assessment. I can see where the girls have grown in many areas. I was also able to identify areas that need extra attention. I was blessed with a little more insight, as  to how stressful public school was for Beth. Witnessing her extreme reaction to the ABC printout, taught me a valuable lesson, and provided an opportunity to help her work through some of that angst. Today, I feel as though I became a better teacher and mom. As usual, my girls make the BEST teachers, I just have to remember to always follow their lead. 🙂

 

Have a blessed day everyone, and don’t forget to smile. ♥

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Healing Touch

Have you heard of Healing Touch? If not here is a great post that explains Healing Touch.

On Saturday, I had a Healing Touch session with Sarah, from Color My Spirit. In this session, the intention was to work on Beth, through me. I was the one on the table, while Beth was at my parents house playing the day away. Before I left for my session, I put Chakra Balancing Oils on both Beth and myself. I also put a Chakra ring on both us. I then brought a picture of Beth, for Sarah to have during the session. Since Beth loves rocks, and is always on a quest for the perfect gold one, Sarah also placed a beautiful pyrite stone (amongst others) by Beth’s picture.

We talked about what I hoped to achieve through the session. My main goal was to help Beth process, and move on from, the negative energy that resulted from bullying. She had been bullied for months in public school, and is still trying to work through all those emotions. Beth is Autistic, and for her that means her memories are sensory based. Unfortunately, many activities such as painting, eating, playing, etc… tend to bring back painful memories from her experiences at public school. Sometimes she talks about how sad she is, while other times she has massive meltdowns. I am doing my best to help her work through her emotions each time she shares an incident with me, but I was hoping Sarah and Healing Touch could help her on another level.

The session was amazing! The energy that comes from Sarah vibrates in the air when she is working on me. When we started I had a lump, that felt like a rock in the upper left side of my chest. As the session progressed, the pain and weight I felt in that spot slowly dissipated. At times I had to take a deep breath, from the power of the energy moving through me. During the session, I felt another rock-like lump manifest in my lower abdomen and slowly travel up toward the center of my chest, where it rested, before dissipating as well. There were moments, when I felt as though I would weep, and others when I smiled from immense feelings of joy. Toward the end of the session, Sarah was moving her hands from my knee to my toes in a sweeping motion. Each time her hands swept downward, I felt as though she was pulling something out of me. My arms automatically stretched toward her, and I felt as though I was fighting to keep my body flat on the table. It was as if whatever she was focusing on, was being dragged out of every fiber in my being.

I pray this helps Beth. The overwhelming feelings of peace and love that I felt at the end of our session, is something I pray my children feel countless times in their life. Today Beth and I are exhausted, despite both of us sleeping very well last night. Sarah warned that we may feel more tired in the coming days, as our bodies detox from the negative energy she attempted to remove. I will be watching Beth in the coming weeks to see what changes are apparent. I will also be paying close attention to myself, since Sarah sensed that I must heal my own (old) wounds in order to fully help Beth heal hers.

There was one new thing today. For the first time, while talking about the boys who tortured her, Beth said: “I don’t like K anymore. He said I was bad team, but he is bad team and I don’t like him anymore!” This is HUGE, because just a few days ago, she was still crying about how he broke her heart because she wanted to be his friend and he didn’t like her. This change in her dialogue is like a beacon of hope for me! It is the shining star that tells me, she will not only overcome this, but she is going to use it as a base for something wonderful.

I believe the Lord has great plans for Beth. I know she will encounter good and evil on her path. I also know that when she must endure the bad, He will help her heal, and take what she needs from those events. I am very thankful that He has blessed us with people like Sarah, to help her on her journey.

 

Have a blessed day everyone, and don’t forget to smile. ♥

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Serenity Spectrum is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Great Week

This week has been great, and as I sit here reflecting, all I can do is smile.

Monday we worked on a lot of art; the girls really like creating pictures with chalk. Then we signed up for ABCmouse, which the girls are loving.  On a non-school note, I committed to running my second 5k, we are doing the Ugly Sweater Run in November.

Tuesday morning we attended a local MOPs group, which was amazing. The girls went to their own classrooms, while I enjoyed fellowship with some wonderful moms. As much as we are loving homeschool, I think sometimes they like to learn from people other than mommy. In the evening we went to the library for a fun story time, where the girls made apple magnets. The librarian even sat and colored a rainbow apple with Beth after the class was over. While they colored, Anne and I cleaned up the room, which made for a wonderful end to the evening for all of us. I cannot say enough about the awesome staff at our library. Isn’t the apple beautiful?

rainbow apple

Wednesday we had the privilege of spending three fantastic hours with a Homeschool Co-op, which we are joining. It is an extraordinary group of families. We felt very comfortable there, because everyone is so accepting of each other; children of all ages were playing with each other, like best friends. It is the first outing that Beth was truly her social, happy self in long time, which put a happy in my heart. The only downside was when Anne let herself out of the gym to play on the equipment outside. When I realized she was not in the gym I panicked. Thankfully when I got outside one of the older boys was standing there watching her. I scolded her and explained why she is NEVER to leave the room and NEVER go outside without me. The young man said: “I was watching her, I made sure she was safe.” I thanked him, but asked that if she ever tries to leave again, he alert someone. I am thankful she was okay, and impressed that a 4th grader we just met, cared enough to make sure she was safe.

Thursday was a rough day, due to all the excitement on Tuesday and Wednesday. We went to a weekly Fall Story-time at the library, and both girls struggled through it.  Once the class was over, we came directly home, because I knew they were not up to doing anything else. They both ended up taking naps, which is highly unusual for Beth, but her system needed some extra down-time to process everything. Thankfully, the girls were in great moods after naps, play time, and dinner; and so we started our school “day” at 6pm.  Class lasted about two-and-half hours, and was wonderful.

Today, Henry took off work so we could take the girls to a Special Needs event at a local pumpkin patch. The girls did really well in class, even with being excited to have daddy in school with them. After a successful school day, we headed to the pumpkin patch, where great fun was had by all. Their favorite part was panning, where they collected many unique sea-shells and a lump of “gold.” Unfortunately, there was no playground there, so before heading home, we stopped at McDonald’s play-land to run off the last of their energy. Between the pumpkin patch and McDonalds, they came home with some good loot.

pumpkin patch

Although it was a great week overall, it was honestly too much for the girls, especially Beth. I have decided that going forward we will only be doing MOPs and the Co-op, because those are the two places we are happiest and most comfortable. As a good friend reminded me, often times less is more.

 

Have a blessed day everyone, and don’t forget to smile. ♥

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Serenity Spectrum is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Should Have Known

We had a really ROUGH day on Friday. Aside from Occupational Therapy for Anne, we ended up scrapping the entire school day. I suppose you could say we took an emergency institute day. 😉

Friday evening, as I listened to Beth struggling to breath normally, our rough day started to make sense. Whenever Beth is sick, she is “off” and VERY meltdown prone; because her sensory system is trying to deal with the illness, and it makes her self-regulation much more difficult. Excessive meltdowns are typically our first sign of illness, and always send me into high alert. My current cause of terror is the respiratory virus hitting the midwest.

At 5 years old, Beth has spent more time in the hospital than I have in my 38 years. Thankfully, I have learned to notice the signs and can usually catch the illnesses before we get to the hospital stage, but I am always preparing for our next trip to the ER. We are blessed to have found a good combination of supplements, which typically help her immune system stay strong. We have not had an illness related hospitalization in almost two years (knock on wood), and I pray that we can keep it that way.

Yesterday when she woke up, she told me her throat did not feel good. She kept clearing her throat and I could tell it was really bothering her. A few hours later, my throat felt like it was on fire and it hurt to swallow. Beth appears to have a much higher pain tolerance than I do, but if she was feeling half as horrible as I was, then I knew ibuprofen was not going to be enough. So off to Walmart I went to get us both some cold medicine.

Last night, I introduced her to my mom’s secret weapon for sore throats. I rubbed her neck in with vapor-rub and wrapped one of Henry’s socks around her neck before bed. I am close to 40yrs old, and still wear one my Dad’s socks with vicks every time I have a sore throat. We are both feeling much better today, but our socks are hanging in the bathroom waiting to be used again this evening.

Anne is also congested today, so I will be trying the magic sock with her. Hopefully she will think that “matching magic socks” are as cool as Beth thinks they are. Although, in all honesty, I doubt she will let me put it on and/or wear it for long.

While it is possible for all of us to have picked up a virus in our travels; I am hoping that since Beth and I seem to have recovered quickly, it is simply allergies and we will be healthy for all our outings this week. My girls LOVE to be out and about socializing with everyone; but I will not bring them out if they are ill, because we firmly believe in keeping our germs to ourselves. I suppose we will just have to see what tomorrow brings, and take it One Day At A Time.

 

Have a blessed day everyone, and don’t forget to smile. ♥

 

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Serenity Spectrum is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

He flapped

This is a wonderful post, and something everyone should read.

I REFUSE to stop Beth from flapping! Some people are bothered by it, and want me to teach her to act in a more “normal” fashion. NEVER! Flapping is her Happy, and I would never tell her that she does Happy wrong.

I pray that Beth never feels alone or broken, because she is neither. Anne loves to be just like her big sister, and although she is considered neurotypical (if there is such a thing), she can flap almost as well as Beth. I beam with pride every time they show their Happy, because it is a beautiful thing. 🙂

autismthoughts

So far I am the only one in my family and extended family that has been diagnosed with autism. We sometimes speculate if a couple other family members have autism, but nothing has ever come of that. So basically… I’m all alone when it comes to trying to figure out what autism means and how to deal with it. I know my parents tried to learn about autism when I was younger so they could help me out more, but learning about it when you have autism is completely different than learning about it when you don’t.

When you learn about autism and don’t have it, you’re seeking understanding and perspective. When you’re learning about autism and do have it, you’re seeking to understand yourself, but you’re also seeking for validation. The quest to learn about autism isn’t just for understanding- it’s to figure out if you really are as alone as…

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Rock Star

Last night our family had the honor of being the “featured family” for our local Special Reaction Association’s annual golf fundraiser.  The girls’ pictures were everywhere, which was pretty cool. We mingled with guests before dinner, enjoyed a wonderful meal, and then spoke about what the association means to us.

I was worried going to the event, because we had several meltdowns throughout the day from the anticipation, as Beth says: “Waiting is hard.”

Beth was a Rock Star! Anne did well too, but she was a little less engaged and was much more interested in running laps in the hallway. Beth was a social butterfly from the moment we walked in the door. She talked to people about homeschool, her missing teeth, the tooth fairy, our cats, soccer, dance, etc… Although we needed to take a few walks in the hallway, so she could recoup, she did extremely well with the large group.

After dinner we were introduced and handed the microphone. Beth spoke first and told the guests her name, age and favorite activity before burying her head in my skirt. Anne told them her name and age before squealing and running off. Henry said a few humorous words, then chased after the girls. I then spoke about our life, the wonderful organization and all the blessings we have received in their programs. When I was done, Beth and Anne each took the microphone again and thanked everyone.  I was a beaming with pride, and admiration at how well my girls did.

It was a magical evening, but with big events come big meltdowns. Even the happiest of events have the potential for massive meltdowns,  because it is simply too much for Beth’s sensory system to process. There is always much time needed to recover and regulate, which means today will be a rough day. There was a time we would have avoided such situations to protect her from the aftermath, but that does not help her. We help her by standing by her as she ventures out of her comfort zone, acknowledging her struggle, and then supporting her in any way possible as she regulates her system again. She was a Rock Star last night, and today we will let her lead us in relaxing or play, as she finds her way back to her happy place. With that, I am off to join the band (consisting of kitchen items) and sing our ABC’s and Old MacDonald.

Have a blessed day everyone, and don’t forget to smile. ♥

 

 

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Serenity Spectrum is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.