Monday, February 28, 2011

My Average Student

When my son was 18 months old, he was not talking or communicating at age level, as a family member pointed out as a possible problem. She suggested I get it checked out with the school district. The school district had an early intervention program which was free if he qualified for services, and so I figured we had nothing to lose. He did end up qualifying for services, and he has had an IEP ever since.

With the IEP comes a yearly meeting, along with testing to see if he still qualifies for services. The test measures where the child is developmentally compared to peers. It is admittedly disheartening to walk out of those meetings sometimes, after you hear; "Your child is in the 5th percentile for such and such, and in the 8th percentile for such and such." And so on down the test, and of course being in the 5th percentile for something means that 95 percent of children the same age are at a higher level. The testers have always been very kind to us and have always explained that communication was a huge setback, but that didn't always make the meetings easier.

After years of this, how exciting it was to go to a recent parent-teacher conference and to be presented with Eli's current academic scores for reading and math! He scored right at grade level for reading, and in math he was not as high, but still within the average range. I have an average student! Now I know that this test he took and the developmental tests of the IEP are not the same, we are not comparing apples to apples here, but this is still amazing. I could not be any prouder of my little guy. I just feel that if his communication has improved to such a level to understand all this abstract academic material, we are also approaching a much better developmental level, too.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Sustainable Work In Progress

First, here is a close-up of my new toy:

A vintage thread spool holder that I scored at a thrift store. It is my new favorite, after my sewing machine and scissors. :)

And here is what I have been working on:

Making afew of my own all-in-one cloth diapers for when little one comes!

This one is almost done. It just needs a visit to my wonderful friend's house who has kindly offered to help me surge outside edges.

The best part is, the inside absorbent fabric, (under the flannel,) is from my 6 year-old's old pre-folds that he used for awhile. We used the old Gerber style cloth diapers and pins with him for a time because it was the best we could buy back then. I am so excited to have the time and know-how this time to make and buy some things that will make cloth diapering more comfortable for all of us this time around.

I will have more to show as progress moves along and as I get more creative with recycled fabrics. (Terrycloth inserts, anyone?) :)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

There is something very novel about a decorated, themed cake. I worked in bakeries for several years and took hundreds of custom cake orders. There were those who would order for the wedding shower or graduation, and then there were those families that were "theme cake families." They were in ordering for every birthday.

This is a very not allergen friendly, gluten filled cake that I made for a neighbor whom I traded services with. (She gave me a very nice, professional haircut last week.) I thought it turned out pretty cute, even though I did not have all the professional tools I would have liked to have had. My dishwasher is now in functioning order, so that will help me to not worry too much about contamination in my kitchen. :)

I really got to thinking while icing this cake about those "theme cake family" members who perhaps have discovered an allergy/sensitivity that suddenly shuts them out from their family tradition. How fun it would be, to be a "neighborhood allergy-friendly baker" who makes allergy friendly cakes and delivers them to happy people who are celebrating in style, despite allergy restrictions? What a fun thought.

Happy Valentine's Day everyone. I hope you all get to spend time with those you love.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Cost of Biochemical Intervention

I remember the day that I first picked up "Changing the World of Autism" By Dr. Bryan Jepson, and the way that it made me feel. I ate that book up, and I felt it was a gift from my kind Heavenly Father to help us help Eli. And those feelings of gratitude and conviction were what we needed, because we found that biochemical intervention is taxing on parents on many levels, and just let me say that we were not well off. We were still getting Daddy through college at the time we started the program.

Just afew short years later, our lives are so different. Meltdowns are an extremely rare thing, and our boy talks in a communicative way. And man, can he read. I am positive I could not read that well until late first grade, and he is still in kindergarten. We have been blessed with a teaching job for Eli's Daddy, and we are looking into buying our first little home. This purchase is a huge step for us, and so I have been reviewing our expenses, and where does our money go to. Our grocery budget is $150-$200 dollars a month more than we would otherwise spend if not doing special medical diets. I have a credit card that I put Eli's supplements on, and I hate seeing the balance occasionally go up some months rather than go down. However, when I review this part of our spending, I realize that we have always been blessed to be able to make it through, and there is no going back. He is so much more well and so much happier now.

All these thoughts really take me back to when I read "Mother Warriors" by Jenny McCarthy. It was on sale for $4 and we were curious, so we bought it. My husband said all it did for him was make him sad. It had some value for me as I saw the practical side of other parent's struggle to implement biochemical intervention, and their successes. The part of the book that really blew us away was the part that explained the average cost of raising a child with autism. Let's just say that the sum she offered as "average" was afew times our annual income.

So just let me say, you can do this on a modest income. We do.

Just as a side note, another cost of biochemical intervention is being weird. Yeah, basically to the medical community in general, I am a weird, misguided parent. I have already been lectured by a dentist about how 'it is better to err on the side of caution' when it comes to the decision of giving my son his artificial fluoride. And just recently I was given a "news flash" at a pregnancy check up about how 'in those recent news stories the research was fraud and vaccines really don't cause ADD and other things.' Well, I don't know about all of that, but seriously all I said was that I didn't want to give my child hep B at birth. Sheesh.