Tuesday, April 28, 2015

When ARD'S/IEP's Go Right. My Top 5 for ARD'S and IEP's

*This post  is from April 2015 

NOT!  Only a teacher (or IEP parent) would get this joke.
No. Not really but this one wasn't that bad.

Annual IEP's and  if your in the state of Texas is one of the most stressful times for parents...but time I didn't have to wear water proof mascara. Nothing got Tabled (Tabled: Term used when ARD Committee can not agree and need to take a 10 day break then come back and hopefully a decision in the best interest for the child can be made). I wasn't secretly cursing out any part of the ARD committee. This school year has shown me that their is such a thing a constructive ARD (Admission. Renewal. Dismissal). Communication between N-Zilla's teacher and I are great. I didn't feel like I was being patronized. I really felt that we all had my son's best interest at heart. All together it only took 2 hrs. Yeah, even good ARD's take time.

Of course I still have mad anxiety leading up to the day of the ARD. It's kinda like going into a mediation for child custody. If you've never been then thank your lucky stars.

I'm not delusional to think that I will never have a difficult ARD again but I really do appreciate the Staff at Spring Meadows Elementary. N-Zilla and I have been blessed to have the teacher he has had this school year.

Here are some of my tips and suggestion to help with ARD's and IEP.

1. Communication. Communication. Communication.
Don't wait for an ARD/IEP meeting to talk about your concerns. I'm sure on average Ms. C and I are having a Parent/Teacher Conference once a month not to mention emails and text. I appreciate this. Tons.

2. Take notes and keep a paper trail.
 A parents brain is just a computer with several tabs open. Mine has a gazillion open. It's like    Pinterest on steroids. Taking notes helps me remember what you talked about in the parent    meeting last Tuesday.
 It also helps as a reference during ARDs. AND it shows progress or regression for your kiddo.

3. List. List. List.
Before going to the ARD make a list of what you would like to talk about. Your child's strengths and weaknesses.  For ex: I made a list of Accomplishments and Strengths and bullet point list to keep me on track.
  • Evaluation from Doc
  • Transition reminders
  • BIP(I would like a Behavior Plan)
  • Plan in place for sub
  • Visual schedule and timers 
  • seating arrangements for next year
  • accommodations/modifications
  • teacher recommendations for next year. 
4. Bring with you the most recent evaluation form Doctors and/or Therapist.

5. Ask questions. Communicate. 
You are the main B-I of the ARD committee. Don't every forget that.

I hope I can help any newbies or "oldbies" when it comes to ARD's. I wish all ARD's-mine and yours could be like the one I just had.

Here's to ARD's and water proof mascara. May the next one be just as good

Tuesday, April 7, 2015


Children and Adults on the spectrum do not lack the ability to have empathy.  Sometimes it is just a matter of knowing how to communicate or show the emotion. 

  • Cognitive Empathy- The ability t predict other's thoughts and intentions including the ability to read between the lines during communication
  • Affective empathy- The ability to share another person's feelings with them
  • Compassionate Empathy- The desire to help others.

When N-Zilla was very small and didn't have the communication skills that he has now I was sad that maybe possibly I would never hear my son say that he loved me. I obsessed if he would even know how. I use to be hung up on those things. I'm gonna say it...I was so dumb then. It didn't take me very long to get over it.  Recently, at the beginning of the school year N-Zilla did something completely inappropriate at school. Still to this day I don't know why he did what he did. (I don't know if it was AU or ADHD or OCD or a bad day or whatever.) After talking to his (wonderful) teacher I did my walk of shame back to the car all the while N-Zilla was talking about Minecraft. I asked him if he did what he did. He said yes blanked faced a bit annoyed that I interrupted him. As soon as we all got settled in the car (minivan. Barf)  I turned to him and the tears poured over. I ugly cried. I managed to ask N-Zilla why he did what he did. He couldn't give me a answer. What he did next made me cry even more but this time tears of happiness. He unbuckled and gave me a hug and wiped my tears, "I'm sorry mommy". "Mommy, you sad"?

Sometimes when he is eating he walks up to me and gives me a piece of his food without saying a word.  Just last night while I was watching T.V N-Zilla came up to me, licked his finger and made the sign of the cross on my forehead.  I just went with it. I know that N-Zilla may not have Cognitive Empathy but I know with all of my heart that he has the ability to share another person's feelings with them and the desire to help others. Everything in life Autistic or not boils down to communication.  

*Here are links to post about AU and Empathy.


Girls and ASD

Something to think about:

Girls are held to social norms and are more
 likely to go undiagnosed and less likely to get 
early intervention.


Tips and Suggestions. Stimming

Helpful tips, suggestions and good ole' fashion info from N-Zilla and mom in honor of April the month known as allergy hell in San Antonio Texas and National Autism Month. A month to promote Awareness, Acceptance, and to Educate.

In the world of Neuro-disorders you'll hear words like MELTDOWNS. TICs. STIMMING. 
While their are similarities they are different.

 Let's talk about Stimming.
Stimming is a repetitive body movement that self-stimulates one or more senses in regulated manner. Fun fact found at http://autism.wikia.com/wiki/Stimming many autistic children have no stims and about 10 percent of young children without autism stim.

Some benifites of stimming:

  • Increased ability to remain calm
  • Reduced meltdowns
  • Increased tolerance of challenging sensory situations
  • Increased focus, attention span, and task management abilities
Some examples of stimming:

  • flapping hands. Blinking or moving fingers in front of eyes. 
  • making vocal sounds. snapping fingers
  • scratching; rubbing the skin with one's hand or other object
  • rocking front and back or side to side. Moving in a rhythmic motion.
  • licking body parts or an object. (their was  a point when N-Zilla licked tree's and Crazy Horse bite her hair)
  • smelling objects, hands, or other people

Stim On!

*Stimming is not to be confused with self-harm. In the case of self-harm find a replacement behavior that is safe and healthy. Please speak with your doctor or in the case of a child your child's pediatrician. 

Friday, April 3, 2015

Tips and Suggestions. April Edition.

April is Autism Month!  A month for Awareness. A month for Acceptance. A month for Education. And if you or a family member is on the spectrum then it all year long.   

Tips and Suggestions from your friendly neighborhood N-Zilla and Mom~

Posting pictures and hashtagging are part (and appreciated) part of spreading the word. Keep doing it. In addition to hashtags and retweets in honor of April Autism Month here is a list of some local organizations her in San Antonio/Bexar County that are a good resource for Autistic people and families. Donate.Volunteer. Get to know the organization and share with your community. 

Any Baby Can. anybabycan.org

San Antonio Office
Address: 217 Howard
San Antonio, Texas 78212
Main Office Line: 210-227-0170
Fax Line: 210-227-0812

*autism community network. acn-sa.org 

Address: 4242 woodcock dr suite 101
San Antonio TX 78228
Phone: 210-435-1000
fax: 210-200-6056

*Brighton of San Antonio. brightonsa.org

Address: 14207 Higgins Rd
san Antonio tX 78217
Phone: 210826-4492

*Kenetic Kids San antonio. kinetickidstx.org

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Autism Awareness

Friends and Family April is Autism Acceptance Month and April 2nd is Autism Acceptance/awareness  day. Tomorrow wear blue, red, pink, green any color to show support! Share your pictures FB IG Twitter etc #autismacceptance. All month long join activities throughout your neighborhood in support  of Autism Awareness and more importly AUTISM ACCEPTANCE. Learn more and search website like autismacceptancemonth.com or thinkingpersonsguidtoautism.com. 
Donate your time or money to an organization that goes back into helping and educating families on the spectrum. Educate yourself. Educate others.

Peace. Love. Educate. Awareness. ACCEPTANCE.

(P.S family and friends when you post pics in honor Autism Acceptance Day in addition to #autismacceptance don't forget your friendly neighborhood to #nzilla)