Friday, January 31, 2014

On the list

As of today I am officially back on the list!  I am a licensed foster parent again :)  It only took about a year, 8 home visits, and 3 safety inspections, LOL!  My licensing worker came out today to have me review and sign off on the home study.  He also had a placement of a 13 year old girl.  I had to turn it down because she needed transportation to her school in another county every day. I don't think it would work out timing wise between Matthew catching the bus and the other two needing to get to preschool.  Hopefully this is a good sign and Ill get a call for my age range soon.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Food Issues


Do your kids have food issues?  I know mine do!  Across the special needs, foster care, and adoption communities I am involved in I am constantly seeing parents lamenting about what to do with their children when it comes to meals.  Some of the common issues talked about are:

Hoarding
Stealing
Refusing to Eat
Vomiting
Anorexia/Bulimia
Picky Eater
Overeating
Holding Food in Cheeks

Before you can address the food issues you have to understand where they come from, this is different for each child.  For us, my children had food withheld from them.  They didn't know where there next meal would come from and were punished when trying to "steal" food.  The food they did receive was mostly junk food without real substance.  They had never sat down at a table for a meal.  Matthew was exposed to this the longest.  When he first arrived sitting at a table and eating caused him so much anxiety that coupled with non-junk food being served would often lead to him purposely vomiting to get out of sitting at the table and eating.  He would "sneak" around and "steal" food, especially in the middle of the night.  He would refuse to eat food that was prepared and given to them and prefer to eat any food that he had taken without permission, regardless of if it was the same exact thing that had been offered.  James struggles with some of this but his main issues stem more from his "spectrum" like behaviors, he doesn't like change, textures, smells and colors bother him.  He gets stuck on liking certain foods and only those foods, he doesn't like meat (unless its chicken nuggets or pepperoni). Joel does not exhibit any ongoing behaviors but he was failure to thrive when he came and took awhile to adjust to taking a bottle and eating.  Now he has some copycat behaviors from watching his brothers but doesn't appear to struggle with food issues.

If you can identify what the underlying issue is you will have more success in coming up with some solutions to ease the daily struggle.

Here are some of the things we do to try and ease the battles and anxiety surrounding eating-
  1. Plan meals together:   Each week we sit down as a family and talk about what meals each of us would like to have.  That way everyone is guaranteed at least a meal or two that they will eat and enjoy.
  2. Post your schedule:  Once the schedule has been made for the week, breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snack options are posted for everyone to see. I also include the times for the meals.  This has reduced anxiety over meals.  I have taken pictures of food to put next to the schedule, so my younger kids and kids who are more visual can anticipate what is coming.  Even if they don't like the meal coming up they can see on the schedule where their favorite meal is and when its coming.
  3. Involve kids in the cooking:  I try and pick a "meal helper" when preparing meals.  I've found when the child has made the meal they are more apt to try it!  This also goes for siblings, we will make it a competition of who is the best cooker this week so they need to try it to vote!
  4. Let them pack their lunch:  My kids are responsible for packing their own lunches.  See Lunch for how we handle this.  I have found this to greatly reduce stress at lunch or uneaten food coming home from school.
  5. Box of non perishable snacks: One of the suggestions you often hear from caseworkers or in trainings is to provide the child with a box of non perishable snacks they can keep in their room.  This is supposed to reduce anxiety that they will not receive more food and help with hoarding/stealing.  We tried this for awhile and it did help somewhat, however my son would eat everything in the box within the hour.  So we would pick 5 things for the box each Sunday.  When they were gone they were gone till next Sunday.  It helped him portion things out a little better.
  6. Explaining the Behavior:  As my son got a little older and was better able to understand past events and what had happened one of the biggest game changers for us was talking about why he had food issues.  Discussing his early neglect and trauma and how this has tricked his brain into thinking he wont have enough food.  Understanding it has been key for him!
  7. Get Creative:  One of the great things about the internet is all the wonderful tips and tricks you can find to be creative with food!  Cut your food into fun shapes, put food coloring in mashed potatoes/milk, hide veggies in the spaghetti sauce.  Start browsing around and see what you can find.
  8. Rename the food: Its funny how giving a food a new name suddenly makes it edible!  Cowboy Casserole, Ninjago Carrots, the sillier the better.  I like to come up with whole stories to go with the names.
  9. Incentives:   Im totally cool with bribing my kids, lol.  In our house we don't do dessert every night. However, if the kids eat everything on there plate they do get dessert!  Set up an incentive that will work for your child.  If stealing food is an issue maybe set up a variation of The Stealing Box.
  10. Routine/Rules:  Developing a routine around mealtime can be very important.  Kids need to know what to expect.  Our routine is posted near the table:  1.  Prayer 2.  Go over Rules 3. Eat ____ bites of everything 4. Ask to be excused  5. Clean your area 6. Thank the cook.  We use dinner time to focus on manners (and my kids still totally suck at manners, so take this for what its worth, lol).  I try and focus on one "manner" at a time and post this as well. We add the manners to our Dinner Rules after we have worked on them for awhile.  We go over the rules before dinner.
  11. Let it Go: Sometimes the bigger a deal you make of it the bigger the issue gets.  Prioritize what is most important to you when it comes to food and meal times and focus on that.  If the food issues don't bother you that much and their is no real safety issues, just let it go, eating chicken nuggets every day for a week isn't going to kill your kid. 
  12. Sensory Alternatives:  You can also try things like Sensory necklaces made for chewing or allowing gum. Sometimes for the overeating bunch, they crave the chewing sensation.

Here is a great video by Dr. Karen Purvis on handling food issues. CLICK HERE

What ideas do you have for dealing with your kids food issues?  Share with us in the comments or join the discussion on facebook!

Transition Meeting Update

The meeting went alright. I may or may not have gone off on the lady from the Intermediate Unit, but the representatives from the district for school age were there and seemed to be on board.  The school district will be making their decisions and sending out notices to re-evaluate by April 15th at the latest.  I left them with a lot of paperwork, reports, letters, etc all contained within my handy dandy documentation binder.  I even got a "Wow, you are very organized"!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Kindergarten Transition Meeting

I'm starting to get nervous, tomorrow is James' Kindergarten Transition meeting.  I was originally surprised when they called to schedule a transition meeting for him.  The transition meeting is supposed to be for 3-5 year olds who have IEP's and will be transitioning to the school age program.  When we moved states James was discharged from his IEP by the Intermediate Unit (3-5 year old service providers).  This was appealed and we ended up mediating an agreement.  I didn't approve of the whole thing but after months of back and forth I realized he wasn't going to be getting any services that would be helpful regardless, they didn't understand trauma, attachment, or behavioral/emotional issues in general and certainly not to the extent of James' complex issues.  So when I got the call I was more than happy to schedule a meeting with the school district that he would be going to for Kindergarten.  The meeting was scheduled by the Intermediate Unit.  Imagine my surprise when a week later they called to try and cancel it since they realized he doesn't even have an IEP.  No way, I was not letting them cancel.  Clearly they have no idea what they are doing, I am more than happy to meet with the school district now rather than having to go through the whole dog and pony show come fall.  James' BHRS is coming to the meeting and I had the mobile therapist and his preschool teacher write letters outlining his problems, current goals and progress.  Hopefully we can reevaluate him and get him an appropriate IEP before Kindergarten so he doesn't fall even farther behind.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Chicken Nuggets Recipe

These Chicken Nuggets are awesome!  They taste pretty similar to Chick-Fill-A which my kids love.  I make double the recipe and freeze some for lunch/dinner later in the month.

What you will need:

4 skinless and boneless chicken breasts
2 cup milk
2 egg
2 1/2 cups flour
4 tablespoons powdered sugar
4 tsp salt
2 tsp pepper
1 tsp garlic powder (can be omitted)
peanut oil or canola oil

Directions:

Whisk the egg and milk together and pour into a Large Ziploc bag or bowl.  Cut the chicken into bite size pieces.  Place chicken in milk mixture and let it sit for 3-4 hours in the fridge.
In a gallon size ziploc combine flour, powdered sugar, salt and pepper. Shake to combine.
Put about 2 inches of oil in a pot. Over medium high heat let the oil get hot. It should sizzle when you drop a bit of flour in the pot.
Take the chicken from milk and place in the flour mixture. Shake until nuggets are completely covered. Place about 6-8 nuggets into oil and cook until golden brown, this doesn't take to long depending on how big your pieces are it should only be a couple minutes. I have a small basket I used to drop them in the oil or you can place them in and turn them over with tongs or fork Drain on a paper towel and repeat until all nuggets are cooked.
 

Saturday, January 25, 2014

My private homestudy came in the mail today, woohoo!  The entire process took 4 months start to finish, which is much quicker than my foster homestudy/license has taken.   I am irritated that the homestudy only "approved" me for a single child or possibly a sibling group of two.  There is so much more to say about the bias towards large families and single moms, but Ill save that for another day.

Either he's dedicated to his job or we are REALLY messed up!

It's Saturday and it's snowing.  Its been snowing all week, we had 6 or so inches earlier in the week and James' Mobile Therapist had to cancel.  AND by cancel I mean he just didn't show up, no that I figured he would with the snow, but a call would have been nice.  Anyhow, he called on Friday to schedule a session for today......a Saturday, and no they don't typically work on weekends.  He is either really dedicated to his job or we are really messed up and he was afraid to skip a session with us, lol!

Anyway apparently we have completely given up on trying to "fade out" and have the boys play by themselves for a few minutes in order to enable me to get things done around the house.  Now the plan is to just set them up with something to do wherever I need to be in the house.  Which is really not very helpful at all, the whole point is I need a break for a few minutes to put some laundry in the washer and take a breath, not to have them follow me around the house.  Good news is it sounds like we will finally be doing some direct instruction on social skills with James (and the others) in a special circle time starting next week.

Both James and Matthew requires direct instruction on social skills, they don't pick up on social cues or by watching how others interact.  I think this will be good for them......hopefully.

The Stealing Box



The Stealing Box was created by Bruch Buchanan and I originally found the idea in a book called "A Safe Place For Caleb" by Kathleen A. Chara and Paul J. Chara, Jr. The idea is to create a box that is filled with small toys or "vouchers" that can be traded in for bigger items.  The child is allowed to steal from the box (how often can be negotiated) and keep the items stolen if:
  1. Nobody saw them stealing (this then hopefully satisfies the desire to steal elsewhere for the thrill)
  2. Items are not stolen from anywhere else, inside or outside the home.
  3. The child talks to the adult at the end of the day about their feelings surrounding the stealing.
  4. If the child steals elsewhere, all items stolen from the box are returned.
Although at first glance you may be concerned this idea is encouraging the stealing, the idea is to meet the child where they are at and then help them to transition towards honesty as well as decreasing the episodes of stealing.

This idea could easily be adapted to a classroom setting as well.



Book Review: A Safe Place for Caleb




Title:  A Safe Place For Caleb
Author:  Kathleen A. Chara and Paul  J. Chara, Jr.

Description from Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/dp/1843107996/?tag=mh0b-20&hvadid=3525330470&ref=pd_sl_5sv099im3v_b
"A Safe Place for Caleb is a comprehensive and richly illustrated resource for individuals of all ages who are dealing with attachment problems. Parents, professionals, and lay people will find this book helpful in understanding and addressing attachment disorders in children, adolescents, and adults. The first half of the book is an interactive story that follows the experiences of Caleb, a young boy who relates his difficulties and frustrations in forming and sustaining healthy relationships. He learns strategies for coping with attachment issues during his journey to the Safe Tree House, where he is introduced to the four "attachment healing keys". These act as therapeutic tools to unlock difficulties with attachment, and are presented using text and illustrations that are easily accessible for readers of all ages, even for young children. The second half of the book presents a summary of current scientific thought on attachment styles and disorders, and provides a wide array of assessment tools, photocopiable material and healing techniques to address attachment difficulties. Lists of helpful organizations and relevant reading materials are also presented. Based on established psychological principles, the book is a unique and imaginative guide for professionals, parents, caregivers, and people of all ages who are dealing with attachment issues."

Review:
My son and I went through this book together when he was 7/8 years old, I wouldn't recommend it for kids much younger than this.  There are some really great concepts and parenting ideas in here that could be utilized for younger kids, so you may want to read through the book and introduce the concepts that would be appropriate for your child.  For older kids they could work through the book independently if they wanted to.
The book is broken into three parts.  Part I tells Caleb's story from the perspective of Caleb.  He starts by discussing his hurt parts, what he believed and how he behaved.  He then talks about starting to heal, how he changed his beliefs and behaviors  The next section in Part I talks about Caleb's Safe Tree House, a safe place that can be created in your mind to go to when things are tough.  He then goes over four steps to healing and where he ended up 15 years later.  Part II contains helpful charts, assessment tools, and handouts. There are several tips/tricks for dealing with difficult behaviors like lying, stealing, anger, negative thoughts, etc.  Finally, Part III has resources that might be helpful.
I would highly recommend this book if you are ready to delve into helping your child heal.  My son was fascinated reading Caleb's story, that bad things had happened to other kids too, not just him.  Those of you parenting kids from hard places know that dealing with all of these feelings can trigger some more behaviors in our kiddos, so you need to be prepared for that as well.  The book offers some GREAT suggestions on dealing with behaviors, we have used several of them!  The other thing I really liked about this book was the language introduced, "hurting beliefs" "healing behaviors", etc.
The language put some complicated ideas into simple language that can be used with your child to explain things they went through or feelings they are having.

Making More Meals: Shredded Chicken










MAKING MORE MEALS
 
One of my favorite cooking tricks is to make a large amount of something that can be used for several meals during the week or frozen for use later in the month.
 
 
SHREDDED CHICKEN:


Did you know you can shred chicken with your mixer???!!!!  It has revolutionized my life.  All you need to do is cook some boneless chicken breasts however you want, thrown them in the mixer with the bread paddle attachment, and turn it on for about a minute or so.  BAM, shredded chicken.




So here is what I do.  When boneless skinless chicken breasts are on sale I will buy several family size packs.  I usually marinate half of them with a little olive oil, salt and pepper.  The other half I marinate with taco seasoning.  Sometimes I will do a few in teriyaki or other Asian flavoring.  Once they have all marinated I will like a baking sheet with foil (one for each "flavor") and bake for about 40 minutes at 350 degrees.  Put about 6-8 chicken breasts in your mixer with the bread paddle and let it mix for 45 seconds to a minute.  You can keep the shredded chicken in a Ziploc bag.  Feel free to freeze it at this point or leave a portion out for a meal during that week.

Once you have the chicken, what can you do with it:


Chicken Caesar Sandwiches:  Place shredded Chicken in a slow cooker with a bottle of Caesar dressing and shredded parmesan cheese.  Leave it for a few hours and scoop onto buns.

Creamed Chicken sandwiches:  Place shredded Chicken and can of condensed cream of chicken soup and pack of crushed buttered crackers in slow cooker.  Leave it for a few hours and scoop onto buns.

Chicken burritos, quesadillas, tacos:  Use shredded chicken in all your Mexican dishes!

Use it to top your Salads or Pizza.






What are some of your favorite recipes with shredded chicken?

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Requesting a Special Education Evaluation



So you think your child may need special education services.  The first thing you want to do  is carefully read through your state's procedural safeguards.  I have compiled a list of links for each state here: PROCEDURAL SAFEGUARDS.  Your states procedural safeguards  will be a wealth of information, read them, make notes in them, put post its on important pages!  These will explain what it takes to qualify for special education services, the timelines and process involved, and answers to frequently asked questions.  This is the first place to go when you have a question or are unsure about something.  Do not rely on what the school will tell you, even the most good hearted, well meaning school personnel may give you incorrect information.

Once you have read through the Procedural Safeguards you will have a good idea of the different disability categories that a child can qualify in for special education services.  You can read more about the different categories here.  Your child may meet the qualifications of several categories.  The important thing now is to just get an idea of what categories your child would fit so you know what information to gather together to prove your child qualifies.  If you have any medical diagnosis/evaluations, psychiatric diagnosis/evaluations, recommendations from doctors/counselors/therapists, results from previous tutoring or interventions, past years report cards/evaluations/teacher concerns, you will want to gather them together. If you have already compiled your Documentation Binder, then you should have all that information in one place!

If you are at the point where you are thinking of asking for a special education evaluation you have probably already had numerous conversations with the school.  Many parents I know have even discussed wanting an evaluation many times, but never had anything come out of it.  It is vital that your communication with the school be in writing.  If you have a conversation in person or over the phone, follow up with an email detailing your understanding of the conversation and anything that is supposed to happen next. 

When you are ready to make the actual request for an evaluation, you are going to want to write a formal letter and send it to both the classroom teacher and the principal, you may also want to send it to other people within the district you have discussed your child with (Guidance Counselor/Social Worker, Special Education teachers/supervisors, District Administrators, etc).

There are many sample letters on the internet that you can take a look at when formulating your request.  Regardless of which format you use there are several things you want your letter to address.
  • Why are you requesting an evaluation?  (what difficulties is your child having, what diagnosis do they already have)
  • What has been done to intervene?  (In school interventions and out of school interventions tried to help child)
  • An official request for an evaluation
  • Give them a way to contact you and a timeline to get back to you.
  • I recommend sending this letter by Certified Mail or Return Receipt, so that you have proof of the day you sent it and when it was received.
Here is a copy of the letter I used:



October 19, 2012

__________________ School

Dear
I am writing to request a multi-factored evaluation (MFE) for my child Matthew (DOB ). I am requesting this evaluation because of Matthew’s difficulty in the school environment and with accessing the school curriculum as well as numerous diagnoses which hinder his learning.  Matthew has been diagnosed with ADHD, Mood/Adjustment Disorder, Reactive Attachment Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, Pervasive Developmental Disorder-NOS, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  Matthew was adopted through the foster care system in __________ and has been living with our family since ______________.  Given his background, past trauma, and mental health issues participating in his current school setting and accessing the general education curriculum is extremely difficult without additional supports.  As we proceed throughout this school year I would like to ensure that Matthew receives an appropriate education with the accommodations and support he needs in order to be successful and accurately demonstrate his abilities.
We have tried the following to help Matthew:
  1.  Matthew has been enrolled in three different school environments prior to _________, online, public and private, with consistent negative behaviors that hindered his ability to learn across environments.  
  2. At previous schools Matthew was given additional supports outside of the classroom, including adults to escort him out of class and help him get under control, access to a guidance counselor, participation in a social awareness group, one on one testing, and small group learning.
  3. At previous schools Matthew was given interventions within the classroom such as frequent reminders, additional time, retaking assessments, reduced work and priority seating.
  4. Outside of school Matthew participates in weekly counseling sessions and monthly meetings with doctors to address medications.  He has also participated in Speech and Occupational Therapies outside of school.
  5. Matthew underwent a psychiatric hospitalization for a week in ___________ where he received both private and group therapy, art therapy, and individual counseling.
  6. Matthew has been evaluated by a Neurodevelopmental Disorder Clinic and I have participated in their parenting workshop.
  7. Furthermore, I am a licensed Special Education teacher and have spent a significant amount of time tutoring Matthew outside of the school environment.
This letter serves as my request and consent for a multi-factored evaluation of my child. Please provide me the name and telephone number of any person who will be forwarded this letter and who will be coordinating the MFE. You can send me information through Email (_____________) or call me during the day at _______.

Attached you will find copies of relevant evaluations, diagnosis and treatment plans that may help assist you during the evaluation process.  If you need any additional information I would be happy to provide it for you
I look forward to hearing from you within five school days of the date you receive this letter. Thank you for your help.
Sincerely,

 I hope this helps as you begin to try and wade through the school system!  If you have any questions feel free to comment or to use the contact form on the right.

Special Education: Procedural Safeguards for each State



So you think your child may need special education services or your child already receives services but you have some questions.  The first thing you want to do  is carefully read through your state's procedural safeguards.  I have compiled a list of links for each state here on this page. Your states procedural safeguards  will be a wealth of information, read them, make notes in them, put post its on important pages!  These will explain what it takes to qualify for special education services, the timelines and process involved, disciplining and answers to frequently asked questions.  This is the first place to go when you have a question or are unsure about something.  Do not rely on what the school will tell you, even the most good hearted, well meaning school personnel may give you incorrect information.  I have found that although the school may pass these out like candy, very few have actually read through or understand the procedural safeguards. 

Below are links to each state's procedural safeguards:

I will check the links periodically to ensure they are current and still working.  If any links above do not work or are out of date, feel free to let me know by using the contact form on the right or leave a comment!

    Special Education 101: Disablity Categories



    There are 13 categories that your child can qualify under for Special Education services.  You will want to look at your states procedural safeguards and read through the definitions there as well.  The following definitions are from the IDEA 2004 (federal regulations).

    AUTISM:
    Autism means a developmental disability significantly affecting verbal and nonverbal communication and social interaction, generally evident before age three, that adversely affects a child's educational performance. Other characteristics often associated with autism are engagement in repetitive activities and stereotyped movements, resistance to environmental change or change in daily routines, and unusual responses to sensory experiences.
    Autism does not apply if a child's educational performance is adversely affected primarily because the child has an emotional disturbance.           
    A child who manifests the characteristics of autism after age three could be identified as having autism if certain criteria are met.
               
    DEAF-BLINDNESS:
    Deaf-blindness means concomitant hearing and visual impairments, the combination of which causes such severe communication and other developmental and educational needs that they cannot be accommodated in special education programs solely for children with deafness or children with blindness.
              
    DEAFNESS:
    Deafness means a hearing impairment that is so severe that the child is impaired in processing linguistic information through hearing, with or without amplification that adversely affects a child's educational performance. 
             
    EMOTIONAL DISTURBANCE:
    Emotional disturbance means a condition exhibiting one or more of the following characteristics over a long period of time and to a marked degree that adversely affects a child's educational performance:            
    (A) An inability to learn that cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory, or health factors.
    (B) An inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and teachers.
    (C) Inappropriate types of behavior or feelings under normal circumstances.
    (D) A general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression.
    (E) A tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or school problems.
    Emotional disturbance includes schizophrenia. The term does not apply to children who are socially maladjusted, unless it is determined that they have an emotional disturbance under this section. 
               
    HEARING IMPAIRMENT:
    Hearing impairment means an impairment in hearing, whether permanent or fluctuating, that adversely affects a child's educational performance but that is not included under the definition of deafness in this section.
     
    COGNITIVE DISABILITY/MENTAL RETARDATION
    Mental retardation means significantly subaverage general intellectual functioning, existing concurrently with deficits in adaptive behavior and manifested during the developmental period, that adversely affects a child's educational performance. 
             
    MULTIPLE DISABILITIES:
    Multiple disabilities means concomitant impairments (such as mental retardation-blindness or mental retardation-orthopedic impairment), the combination of which causes such severe educational needs that they cannot be accommodated in special education programs solely for one of the impairments. Multiple disabilities does not include deaf-blindness. 
             
    ORTHOPEDIC IMPAIRMENT:
    Orthopedic impairment means a severe orthopedic impairment that adversely affects a child's educational performance. The term includes impairments caused by a congenital anomaly, impairments caused by disease (e.g., poliomyelitis, bone tuberculosis), and impairments from other causes (e.g., cerebral palsy, amputations, and fractures or burns that cause contractures). 
             
    OTHER HEALTH IMPAIRMENT:
    Other health impairment means having limited strength, vitality, or alertness, including a heightened alertness to environmental stimuli, that results in limited alertness with respect to the educational environment, that--
    (i) Is due to chronic or acute health problems such as asthma, attention deficit disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, diabetes, epilepsy, a heart condition, hemophilia, lead poisoning, leukemia, nephritis, rheumatic fever, sickle cell anemia, and Tourette syndrome; and
    (ii) Adversely affects a child's educational performance. 
               
    SPECIFIC LEARNING DISABILITY:
    Specific learning disability means a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, that may manifest itself in the imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or to do mathematical calculations, including conditions such as perceptual disabilities, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia, and developmental aphasia.           
    Disorders not included. Specific learning disability does not include learning problems that are primarily the result of visual, hearing, or motor disabilities, of mental retardation, of emotional disturbance, or of environmental, cultural, or economic disadvantage. 
               
    SPEECH OR LANGUAGE IMPAIRMENT:
    Speech or language impairment means a communication disorder, such as stuttering, impaired articulation, a language impairment, or a voice impairment, that adversely affects a child's educational performance. 
             
    TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY:
    Traumatic brain injury means an acquired injury to the brain caused by an external physical force, resulting in total or partial functional disability or psychosocial impairment, or both, that adversely affects a child's educational performance. Traumatic brain injury applies to open or closed head injuries resulting in impairments in one or more areas, such as cognition; language; memory; attention; reasoning; abstract thinking; judgment; problem-solving; sensory, perceptual, and motor abilities; psychosocial behavior; physical functions; information processing; and speech. Traumatic brain injury does not apply to brain injuries that are congenital or degenerative, or to brain injuries induced by birth trauma. 
             
    VISUAL IMPAIRMENT:
    Visual impairment including blindness means an impairment in vision that, even with correction, adversely affects a child's educational performance. The term includes both partial sight and blindness.

     

    Wednesday, January 22, 2014

    Pickles and Brownies

    I just ate a jar of pickles and then I made brownies........is this a sign??  Is it some weird foster/adopt craving??  Maybe Ill get a call soon?  I seem to remember some weird cravings last time around waiting for the call :)

    How Bey Blades have taken over my life, shown me how far we've come and pointed out what we still need to work on!

    Have you experienced Bey Blades at your house?  If not, get down on your knees and thank God for the blessings he has bestowed upon you by keeping them out of your house.  I'd say we have had them in our house for about two years, the boys playing with them on and off.  However, this past month their has been a resurgence of Bey Blades, due in part to our trip to visit friends in Georgia who also liked them.  The basic idea is these little toys hook on to a "shooter"  when you pull the cord they go flying and then spin like a top on the ground.  Everyone shoots their bey blades and they spin into each other and whoever's blade is the last one spinning is the winner.  There is also a TV show....you know in case you wanted to have a marathon Bey Blade watching session.  Its not too bad at first, but after an hour of kids screaming at the top of their lungs "3....2....1, LET IT RIP". Followed by loud banging and crashing and yelling.......you see the dilemma.  Throw in there three little boys who think its fun to shoot these things into the air towards glass windows and you have a stressed out momma. 

    As annoying as these toys are, last night I tried to look at the positives.  The boys are ALL playing together!  Sometimes it lasts longer than others, but usually we make it a good 30 minutes before I need to step in or remove someone from playing.  Sometimes its even longer!  To top it off they are playing it upstairs (away from the windows I was sure were going to get broken) so Im not even needing to directly supervise.  This is pretty impressive when you think about it, three years ago this would NEVER have been a possibility.  They also seem to be incorporating story lines into their play, granted the storylines still involve fighting and beating the other person, but its more than I have seen previously.  They are working on sharing and taking turns, being good sports, etc.  SOme of this requires more prodding on my part, but its happening.

    There are a few things which are evident need some major work in our house still based on our Bey Blade interactions.  James' anxiety is still through the roof, and he whines and yells and stomps without telling anyone what the issue is.  Joel still has issues with sharing and with loosing the game.  Matthew still needs to work on is bossiness and his role as the oldest, meaning sometimes we do what the younger kid wants even if its not "fair" and that we need to help the younger kids play the game without getting frustrated at their lack of ability.

    We had a long weekend due to MLK day, no school Friday or Monday, now we are on our second snow day (Tues and Wed).  I'm about Bey Bladed out!  Praying for school tomorrow!!

    Merging Blogs

    I've decided to try and simplify things with my blogging.  I had several different blogs going, one focusing on the fostering angle, one focusing on the kids who have already been adopted, and one filled with recipes, frugal living, tips etc.  I found I wasn't updating as much cause things were so spread out.  From now on everything will be on this blog!  I've imported old posts from the other blogs, some of the links or pic might not come through so I apologize ahead of time.  I will leave the old blogs open, but for now will not be updating on them.

    Sunday, January 19, 2014

    I may have a vampire in my house

    The boys were playing so nicely upstairs with their Bey blades.....that is until the blood curdling screams!  That's right my newly nine year old son bit his five year old brother.  You may ask why he would do this, we'll apparently he had told James not to shoot the toys under the bed.  James did it anyway and he thought that warranted sticking his teeth into the apparent offender, ripping a giant hole in the shirt and puncturing the skin.   Nobody has bit in this house since Joel was in his terrible two phase!


    The offender had to write an apology note and will be using his money to buy a new shirt tomorrow.

    Saturday, January 18, 2014

    Report Cards!

    My oldest son Matthew's report card came in the mail today, for the first time ever he had all A's and B's!!!!!  I was so excited and proud for him.  This coming on the heels of an unfortunate fight at school this week where he pushed someone in tag and was then punched in the stomach...Ugh he just does not get how his actions played into this at all. BUT putting that aside YEAH!!!!  We all proceeded to dance around the house singing "O HAPPY DAY".  It was fun and I even got him to laugh a little by my silly dancing :)

    Child Listing

    I just received a child listing for a sibling group of 4, the youngest has Down Syndrome, there are two girls and an older boy close to Matthews age....it would be my dream placement.  BUT that would be crazy right?!  Im going to send my homestudy but am thinking of also sending along some kind of persuasive letter that even though I am a single mother of three I could TOTALLY rock this gig as a single mom to 7.  Any ideas on how to convince a social worker of that, lol????  Im not the best writer, seriously feel free to comment away on what you would say......

    Thursday, January 9, 2014

    "Two more weeks".....wait, Ive heard that before...

    Last conversation I had with the homestudy worker was at the end of November, he told me it would be two more weeks till the license was official.  I called this past Monday since a month had now gone by with no word.  I left a message and he called me back today....two more weeks, he said.  Yeah weve heard that before.  This time he told me he had JUST talked to my previous agency and needed them to send a letter that I was in good standing.  Now I signed the permission for them to talk to the former agency in July of 2013....yep, you read that right.

    We will see in two weeks I guess.
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