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6 Tips to Encourage Speech and Language Development

submitted by kidspeak

Being a “speech therapist turned mommy”, one of my favorite things is chatting with other new moms about life with a little one and also answering any questions about child development. One thing I have come across is that many parents are under the impression that you can’t “work on” speech and language until the kids are older and able to “sit and do work”. Oh the contraire! You are able to “work on” speech and language from birth, it just doesn’t manifest in the form of “work” but as a way of life and a way of interacting with your child.


Guest Blog: My People First Language Story

submitted by juliehornok

I think you will enjoy this touching story from my friend, Rachel, about her son Jude. What a great reminder that our children are first and foremost, children. Their disability is a part of them, but doesn't define them.
My People First Language Story
By: Rachel R. Wolverton, OTR/L


The Extra Hole

submitted by juliehornok

The more I think about it, I may have been the perfect candidate to have a child with autism. It takes a lot to embarrass me, even more to offend me, and I have been known to throw something ridiculous into a conversation just for shock value.
I never really shied away from talking about anything deemed “inappropriate for mixed company.” Which is a good thing since no topic is off limits to a child with autism.
When Lizzie was in 2nd grade, all the teachers at our elementary school must have heard there was “something in the water” and decided to promptly drink it. As a result, there were more than a handful of teachers walking around with growing babies in their bellies.
Lizzie became infatuated with pregnancy. She loved to touch the teachers’ bellies, kiss their bellies and tell them how big they were getting. She would run up to every person she saw with even the slightest hint of a belly and ask, “Do you have a baby in there?” You can only imagine how much people appreciated that question.


A GIRL AND A CREEK

submitted by juliehornok

Whoo-hoo! I was out of town on a girls’ weekend where I could FINALLY relax and not think about autism.
The second night, I called my husband, Greg, to see how things were going. He sounded a little down, but that was to be expected since he was in charge of chasing our three young kids for a few days. “Ha!” I selfishly thought, “He is getting a taste of what my life is like every day, all day long.”
Greg showed great self-control that night on the phone not telling me what had happened earlier that day with Lizzie. He knew it would have ruined my ability to enjoy myself on a rare weekend away. I found out later that he had had the scare of his life.
He had taken the kids to the nature preserve to play at the park. Seems simple enough, right? Run around the park, swing a little, and maybe go down a few slides. That would surely kill an hour or two.
Only it wasn’t simple. The park was super busy that Saturday. Our youngest, Noah, had to be carried or in a stroller, our oldest, Andrew was an extremely active 6-year old, and then there was 4-year old Lizzie, a wanderer with autism, who had no understanding of danger or the consequences her actions could bring.


Improving Your Child's Biochemistry.....No Supplements Required!

submitted by juliehornok

Since I have been “doing autism” for almost 10 years, sometimes I feel like I have heard it all. I go through periods of time when I really want to dig deep, research and tackle the issues that Lizzie is facing. Other times, I am overloaded with information, and I am really just trying to keep my head above water as I run the daily activities of my family.
Recently, I was asked by a friend to go to a seminar on autism. I wasn’t excited because lately I have been in that “overloaded with life” frame of mind. But, I went anyway, and I was glad I did!
I heard Dr. Sandy Gluckman speak on the how we can impact our child’s body chemistry just by controlling our words and stress level. Wow! Did this hit home!
I run my kids from therapy to activity to more therapy. We are so hurried and stressed for time that it never even occurred to me that I could be undoing all that therapy with our stressful schedule! It never occurred to me that I could actually positively affect the chemistry in Lizzie’s brain just by choosing to slow down and say the right words to her!
Rather than try and recap what I learned, I thought I would have Dr. Gluckman share with you some important information that was news to me…even after 10 years of autism.


Stuck in an Airport in Austin

submitted by juliehornok

As I sit in an airport in Austin, the words from a Garth Brooks song ring vividly in my head,
Stuck in an airport in Austin,
and all of the flights are delayed.
As the rains keep fallin’
The memories keep callin’
me back to another time and place

For the first time in a long time, I am alone in an airport, traveling by myself. No whiny children sitting on my lap demanding food, no tantrums from a little girl who doesn’t understand why she has to wait so long, and no Dora DVD playing in the background. I don’t have to keep my eyes darting from child to child to child to make sure one of them doesn’t disappear. I am free.
Yet, I still have an uneasiness that stems from the feeling that I should be doing something more. What I am forgetting? Oh yeah, nothing. So I give myself permission to relax and do what I have always loved to do in airports…People Watch.


To Give Is To Receive

submitted by juliehornok

As I might have mentioned once or twice (or possibly ten thousand times), autism takes its toll on the mind and body. The lack of sleep alone can kill any desire to do anything fun and leaves us feeling as if we have nothing left to give. As parents, we just want to get through another day, so that we can lie on the couch and watch a TV show that will take our minds off our troubles – even if it is only for an hour.
When Lizzie was almost 3-years old, life was really hard. We were in the middle of a 30 hour-a-week behavioral home program. I had a very active and challenging 4 1/2 year old who was bored at home, and we were trying to sell our house so that we could move to a better school district for Lizzie. Oh yeah…did I mention I was 8 months pregnant?
I literally ate my way through that pregnancy. If there were a contest in stress eating, I would definitely have won! Anxious from decisions with Lizzie and the stress of having a child with so many problems weighed heavy on my mind all day long. I went to bed with the same knot in my stomach that I woke up with, and my sleep was restless at best. Chocolate was my medication, but unfortunately, I had a bit of a tendency to over-medicate! Fudge and brownies were a normal breakfast for me during that time, and so as you can imagine, 8 months into the pregnancy, right around the time my 31st birthday was a approaching, I had already gained 50 pounds (all baby, of course!).


Study Finds Premature Babies at Higher Risk for Developing Autism, Phobias and ADHD

According to Reuters Health and a study released in the journal Pediatrics this week, premature babies have 5x greater risk of developing autism than their full-term peers. According to this article, the study results surprised the lead researcher from the University of Pennsylvania. Read more HERE. What are your thoughts on this new study? Are you surprised?

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Tue, 10/18/2011 - 17:31

Study Examines Flame Retardants in 101 Commonly Used Baby Products

A new study, the first of its kind, examining flame retardants in foam samples collected from 101 commonly used baby products yeilded some very unnerving results; eighty samples contained an identifiable flame retardant additive, and all but one of these was either chlorinated or brominated. As such, the authors of the study predict that infants may receive greater exposure to these chemicals than children or adults, at a higher than acceptable daily intake level set by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

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Thu, 05/19/2011 - 08:59

Garage Sale Emotions

submitted by lawilcox

Let me be frank, I’m a bit of a pack rat. I come from a long line of them – on both sides of my family. We keep stuff…especially stuff that someone in our family, sometime, might someday use. That being said, I have a lot of…well, stuff.
We moved into our current home nearly 5 years ago. While I’m embarrassed to admit this, we actually have some boxes that had not been opened since I packed them 5 years ago; that is until this past weekend. You see I’m preparing for a Garage Sale. Our neighborhood hosts one annually (and does the promoting and obtains necessary permits) and since this is the first year we haven’t had a direct conflict, I decided it was Time (with a capital “T.”)
Along with a bunch of junk that I unearthed this weekend (that I can’t believe I actually kept, much less packed into a moving box), I’ve unpacked, uncovered and started preparing lots of paraphernalia we used when Ethan was a baby and toddler. We kept just about every reusable baby item possible to save on expenses because we planned to have two – maybe three – children when all was said and done. And, if simply going down memory lane, remembering Ethan’s sweet and precious early years so vividly while sorting through these items wasn’t enough; when we purchased this home, I was expecting our second child. I have always loved babies (even as a little girl and teenager) and loved, loved, loved having a newborn. I was so thrilled that we were expecting again and had such dreams of the kind of older brother Ethan would be. But, I lost our second baby before we could move in.


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