Sunday, May 31, 2009

Signing Time

Signing Time is a series of products that were started by a Utah family in an effort to share sign language, the language of a young family member named Leah, with their friends and the rest of the family.


My son's first words were "car" and "ball" but they were not consistent, and after a time disappeared. His first consistent communications with us were signs that he learned in part from volume one of Signing Time. His first sign was "more." Then came "milk." It was like a mini miracle. Our son was talking to us with functional communication!

If you are not a parent but have a friend, niece, nephew, or grandchild who is struggling with language development, why not surprise the parents with the first volume? I have learned from them myself, and I have been so grateful for the miracle of that first little sign my son made.

My son is still learning from the Signing Time videos at the age of four. (Animals, colors, and letter signs.) We started out with just the regular volume one. We have never used any of the other products, just the original series.

I probably live relatively close to these people, but I don't know them and I am not affiliated with their company, I'm just sharing what has worked with my autistic son's language development.

Image used with permission.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Another Chem Free Idea


Here's my son's used, beat up tube of toothpaste. He has actually been using this type of toothpaste for quite some time. I guess this one was a no brainer for me since it goes in his mouth and he swallows it. It is completely natural, and I opt to give him the fluoride free version. Why? I guess I am skeptical of this fluoride stuff when it comes to my sensitive little boy. I mean, if the label of fluoride toothpastes say that poisoning can occur if more than a pea sized amount is swallowed, it can't possibly be safe for his delicate system. That's what my fears have been, anyway.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Yet Another Book I'd Rather Not Live Without

It's about time I updated that book list of the books I have found helpful. So far I have posted them in the order that I acquired them.

To keep a running total of my book list, the first was Changing The Course of Autism, by Dr. Bryan Jepson. Read my post here.

The second book I blogged about was Life Tastes Good Again, by Kristi Kirkland and Betsy Thomas. Read my post here.

The third book I got my hands on was The Kid Friendly ADHD and Autism Cookbook: The Ultimate Guide to the Gluten-Free, Casein-Free Diet, by Pamela J Compart, M.D. and Dana Laake, R.D.H., M.S., L.D.N.


I found this one day while browsing and decided I had to have it. I have been very pleased! Only half of this book has actual recipes. The first half of the book contains these chapters:
Chapter one: Food Reactions: What they are and how to test for them
Chapter two: The Culprits: Glutens, Casein, Soy, and others
Chapter three: More Culprits (this chapter explains diets and who they help)
Chapter four: Eater Beware! Improving your nutritional IQ and shooting down myths
Chaper five: Yes-there is plenty left to eat!
Chapter six: Getting started and bumps along the way
Chapter seven: Dealing with the diet and common concerns

The second half of the book covers the practical side of the diet... what and how to get the right nutrition down our kids! It features ideas, strategies, and recipes straight from parents. I have found it very useful.

I'd have to say that my favorite part of this book are the "blue boxes," the little tidbits here and there that are quotes from the parents, or the children themselves. From those I learned that for some kids there is dramatic, almost instantaneous improvement, and those are the ones I often hear about in many sources. That has not happened in my house, however. But from those parent quotes I learned that many parents also see steady improvements that happen over time... that is what I have been seeing! It has been very encouraging to see others having the same challenges but seeing results as they stuck to it.

My son started on the diet in July of last year. Now he is starting to say 2-3 words together... functionally!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Mother's Day

For me Mother's Day was pretty retrospective. I thought about the last four years that I have been a mother and how much joy it has brought to me. I thought about how much I have learned along the way, about being a mom, and about autism. Somewhere in a dark quadrant of mind I also began to think about what I would do differently if I could do it all again. I was thinking that just maybe, if the me now could go back in time, maybe I could save my son from classical autism.


Of course that was the point where I had to tell myself to just snap out of it. Guilt is just something us moms do to ourselves, but why? I have no way of knowing if doing anything differently would have made a difference. I don't know what it was that tipped him into autism. It was likely lots of things. Except for the protection of possible future siblings of his, I need to learn to not think about what I would have done differently.


What does matter: That I do what I can to help my son now.

I will remind myself of that when I groan to myself over supplement time, or when I am running across town to the natural foods store to get the gluten free pasta mix to make the dish that he loves. Or perhaps when he comes to me at the end of a frustrating day with his blanket in tow saying "mom, mom, mom" and curls up in my lap.

My son is so sweet and I love him and all the happiness he brings to his dad and I. Every progress he makes is monumental to us, and progress keeps coming and coming!

We will do everything we can for you son, and we are excited to grow with you and someday see the man that you grow up to be!

Happy belated Mother's Day to all you moms out there.

Friday, May 8, 2009

What's the Dirt on Synthetic Soap?

Lately I have discovered natural mineral makeup. People who sell this stuff claim that the norms in the commercial world are toxic and we absorb these things in our blood stream. I believed these statements after perusing some ingredient lists and running some of them through Wikipedia. I am an avid makeup wearer, and it's amazing the amount of these chemicals I have been putting on my face all these years. To start combating this problem, I've just ordered some lovely samples from etsy seller

This experience led me to think about what other toxins I am exposing myself to voluntarily and what is my sensitive son with autism being exposed to in our home? If food additives and pollution can bother him, what is he absorbing into his bloodstream through his skin?

I can only attack a question like this bit by bit. My main focus lately has been soap. I have been searching for a natural supply of soap that is affordable for us. The natural food store has some, which are kind of spendy. I love the handmade soaps on etsy, but I can't always afford the $5 a bar plus shipping. I was thinking of learning how to make it myself. I have been reading a book called Essentially Soap by Dr. Robert S. McDaniel. He has some great recipes I want to try someday. Also in his book he explains how during WWII the oils and supplies to make soaps were scarce, and so synthetic detergents were used, and it has remained that way to this day. So I have been washing my son with synthetic detergents. Great.

Making my own soap would require quite an investment in materials and having enough time Eli-free to handle the dangerous lye without him around. Those things are not happening right away. For the long term plan, I still intend to be a soaper, so watch out friends, you may be the unlucky recipient of mysterious samples. :)


Just when I was getting frustrated, I found this bar at my local Macey's grocery store. It was 99 cents! It is Kirk's Original Coco Castile. Castile means it is made with plant based oils. I wish they would name it something else, because if I hadn't known the word Castile, I would have looked over it easily. I washed with it last night, and it was NICE. So much lather and moisture, something a synthetic soap cannot give. Here are the ingredients:

Kirk's natural formula includes: Coconut soap, water, coconut oil, vegetable glycerin, natural fragrance.

Good bye Lever 2000, we are never going back.

I'm sure I'll be continuing this topic in another post, because trying to rid your home of chemicals is a big task!