Monday, March 30, 2009

My Letter to the "big dogs".. about budget/funding cuts.

Crystal Peek

March 30, 2009

To whom it may concern,

My name is Crystal I am a mother to three wonderful children. My oldest daughter Alana, age 7 has Autism and Turner Syndrome. We get a lot of support and beneficial information from the Parent to Parent program which is why I am writing to you today so I can explain on my behalf and others as well, how important Parent to Parent programs are the best way I can since the worth of this program is beyond words. They can not survive without funding, if that funding is lost many families including mine are losing an invaluable resource for our family and especially for our children. We do understand that there is budget cuts that need to be made but we also believe there is other programs not as vital and/or other options that can be utilized such as a state tax to resolve these issues. The special needs community is already facing budget cuts in other areas. Most likely my daughter will no longer be provided incontinence products through Medicaid. The school system including special education is taking cuts. Medicaid Personal Care may be facing cuts as well. How many cuts does it take before a better solution is found? We are already 39th in the country for our disAbility services and will only get worse. Cutting funding for our community surely isn’t the right answer.

I attend monthly support group meetings through Parent to Parent that I truthfully count as an intense therapy session, without those meetings I don’t know where I would be right now. I surely would be seeing a counselor at the very least. Without being able to afford medical insurance the only way I would be able to do that would be with the states dollars. The meetings not only help me but they also allow me to help other parents, who without parent to parent would probably never even know I existed. The networking that happens through parent to parent is like a second family to all involved, it is something that we need. It is not a want, it is a requirement we need in order to keep going some days.

I have also learned a great deal from speakers that present through Parent to Parent programs. I have learned about resources I can utilize to better our family and our child’s life. I have learned about countless treatment options for me daughter.

The activities that are sponsored through Parent to Parent such as the end of the year Special Connections Carnival are some of the only times my daughter can participate in an activity with peers, without stares and judgments and she can actually enjoy it. Her public school holds a carnival as well but she is unable to participate for many obvious reasons such as long lines, bigger more aggressive children, stares, other parents wondering why my child is shoving through the line and touching people in inappropriate places, over crowded, loud noises and most of all the safety of my daughter. All issues that are overcome or at least understood when we attend an activity through Parent to Parent. The program gets my daughter out of the house, without it the activities and places we go would be very limited. Even more so then they are now.

The Sibshop program through Parent to Parent gives my other children a chance to connect with friends that will know and understand them more then their friends from school. In the future they can invite those friends over and not have them stare and wonder why their sibling is licking the drywall. Maybe even turning them off as friends, friendship is hard for siblings of special needs children which is why this program is vital. Not only for friendship building but it is also vital because, most children with special needs siblings feel some sort of isolation and neglect. The reason being a lot of attention and activities revolve around the child with special needs. My typical daughter gets dragged along to therapies and doctor visits. I cannot take my typical daughter to the movie theatre because her sister will not stay in her seat. She doesn’t get all the same opportunities that her peers get and the Sibshop is an activity she gets to do alone. Her sister is not there, therefore she is the focus even if it’s only for an hour.




Crystal Peek

Proximity Award!

I received the proximity award from Renee. Thanks!

And you know what the funny thing is, I read some of my blog in Spanish yesterday translated by GOOGLE.. very neat and if anyone would like to check it out click here! It makes me happy that even people that do not read english can benefit from some of my blog posts and join me in this thing we call life!

The rules are:
Proximidade is described as:'This blog invests and believes in PROXIMITY - nearness in space, time and relationships. These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in prizes for self-aggrandizement! Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers!'This blog award should be sent to your favorite eight bloggers and they, in turn should forward to eight of their favorites.

I tag:
1. Tricia @ The old woman in the shoe has got nothing on me
2. Sara @ Domesitcally Challenged
3. Heidi @ Mommy Doesn't Live Here Anymore
4. Jana @ The Meanest Mom
5. Lisa @ Oh boy oh boy oh boy..
6. Stephanie @ More than a mommy blog
7. Kristine @ There's nothing like a daughter to love.. except maybe two!
8. Bethany @ Life with Bubba, Chicky and Nika.

Not Me Monday, Stellan Style.

Not Me Monday NON-confessional time.. For more head over to MCKMAMA!

I did not get angry at twitter, not even once because my mobile settings are set to no text messages before 10am which in my time means it's like 1pm in the frozen tundra already... Missing vital information.

I have not refreshed MCKMAMA's page a million times to see if there was an update.

I did not get excited when I seen my contribution to Stellan's name gallery actually in the name gallery. I was not suprised that MCKMAMA had taken time to upload the pictures to the name gallery because I have been there before, well not exactly there but you get the idea.. where some mindless tasks are needed to keep you sane.

I do not keep praying that Stellan will kick this SVT and be home with PC and all the MSC.

I do not wish I was in the frozen tundra to help with the MSC, I even know how to cloth diaper. Bonus!

I did not get very sad when I saw the red eye photo of Stellan. Stellan GET WELL SOON! We are all praying for you!

Friday, March 27, 2009

File Folder Games, Work Station, TEACCH, Tasks, Desk, Workjobs

So yesterday I spent the better half of the day making up some file folder game work tasks for Alana for her workstation... I even have the mess I made to prove it. And as promised I said I would share. If you have no idea what I am talking about you might want to check out this post first. There is a few more I want to do this coming week, one with pictures of animals with the word. A few with alphabet flash cards.. the picture of the apple and she has to match the letter A to it etc. Oh the possibilities.

1. Flash Cards usually are not tolerated by kids with autism as it is a dual activity. Utilizing those flash cards in a file folder form is much more efficient.
2. If you are glueing or even velcroing a back of a card to the folder and you need that other side for any reason (like copied the number answer to the how many picture on the other side) always keep a folder of a copy of the backs of the cards.. THIS way if you lose the copied number etc.. you will have a backup, because once its glued you will not be able to copy it again. Think of it like when you keep the original worksheet and only utilize copies.
3. Some people prefer not to glue at all but use all velcro, this can be beneficial because you can rearrange the picures/cards to thwart off your child purely memorizing where they go. This can also be aggravating if you have the type of child who would rather remove them all then actually do the work.
4. Laminate, laminate, and laminate. As much as possible laminate. I did not laminate the cards on these because I dont have enough laminate paper but if you do laminate the cards too! Always laminate anything that is not a cardstock, normal paper will never last unless its laminated. You don't need a fancy machine, I just buy self laminating paper in the office section of Walmart. It comes in many sizes I buy the photo size normally. The larger letter paper size is a little harder to manipulate plus I dont want to waste a large one if I have a small piece to laminate.
5. Have lots of velcro on hand.
6. You can add envelopes to the front of the folders to hold the pieces.
7. Most of my flash cards, I found near the puzzle section of the thrift store, and the dollar store as well. Very few were actually bought at Walmart, etc. but even those are cheap.
7. I am steering away from "pure" matching because that takes Alana 1 second but that would be the first step in these file folders for younger kids or kids that are new to this concept. I am matching words to pictures, versus picture to picture. Matching things by category, alike, opposite, etc. rather then just matching the same picture to the exact same picture.

This picture shows the "answers" that I photo copied off the backs of flash cards you will see below. I then cut them and placed them on the laminate paper. I have double sets of the numbers because I will be using those on the actual bins themselves so she goes in number order instead of just picking what she wants.

All cut up, laminated and ready now.

These are my extra copies that go in a folder since I will be gluing the cards on the folders I won't be able to access them again and if she loses a piece of one of the file folder games I can simply make another one from these "originals".

Laminating paper.

This folder is go togethers. How they use this is there would be one in each section and the "matches" would be in the bin or an envelope on the front and they would need to put them where they go (this goes for most file folders). Place it back in the bin and to the finished side of the desk. This one is all velcro, no glue so I can move around the pictures if I want if she starts to memorize them. These cards were made as a go together set.

This one is also go togethers in carebears, this was just a flash card set of "words" but I found a few that went together and am utilizing it that way. Also all velcro.

Inside of above folder. need to draw lines on it though.. oops.

This one is cards that are ryhming pictures, same idea as the go togethers you leave one on and the "matches" are set aside for them to place where they go. Also all velcro.

Inside of above folder.

This one is opposites in sesame street of course. This was also a "words" flash card set that happen to have alot of opposites in it so I utilized this one in that manner. Gotta draw lines.. oops. but same idea as the others just a different way of "matching". All velcro.

More opposites from sesame street.

This one I photo copied both sides of these flashcards and used the photocopies laminated to be kind of a dry erase activity. The child has to circle which number is the correct one for how many there is. You could always just laminate the actual cards and do this but I wanted the cards as backup in case something happened to these.

These I bought at the dollar store I think. They are a dry erase, one side has the words with all letters and the other side has the "red" letters missing and they have to fill it in. So it shows them what goes there just makes them write them in, which as we all know writing instills it into our memory better then just seeing the word.

These are her name worksheets, the same ones they use at school because we wanted to be consistant with the name writing. She traces these. and hates it. She is a huge perfectionist and gets mad. lol. Other worksheet ideas are dot to dots, they have some sticker dot designs and letters too that most kids like and requires no actual writing. Also tracing anything shapes, lines etc. Also cutting tasks are good get a clearly defined cutting paper like a person that the background is all black.. they cut the person out. Just place it and the scissors in a bin. I will post about worksheets, etc. more indepth another day.

Pooh go togethers this one is one card glued to the folder and the "match" velcros to the card it goes with. I took the spoon off the bowl and the flowers off the vase to show you the cards underneath :-).

This one was just a few cards I found in one of the sets that I found task worthy, I think I will make up a middle, under and over answer pieces to change it up every nowand then. The cards are glued down. We are tring to encourage readin and word recognition, that is where we are right now.

This shows the answers place on it. (answers were on the backs of the cards)

I think these time ones are over her head right now but I had the cards and its never to early to try new stuff! Its only the hour and half hour times, no 7:08 etc. The clocks are glued down and the times are velcro answers she would place where they go. (answers were on the backs of the cards)

Colors.. The first step to this well after just matching the exact pictures to the same exact picture would be to match color to color, one way to do this is make the "answer" word blue in blue font, word orange in orange font etc. So they are matching the color but also see that word associated with it. Alana is beyond that step so I am trying to branch out to the just the words. This requires some level of "reading" which really isnt reading in our normal sense but more so memorization that she knows that particular word is associated with that object/color. Cards are glued down and answers velcro to the cards. (answers were on the backs fo the cards)

Same idea with shapes/word recognition. (answers were on the backs of the cards)

This one is a combo folder I did, when first starting out you wont want to do mix tasks like this. Its directions with word recogonition, and identifying money/ word recognition again. Money and arrows are glued and the "answers" are velcroed. (answers were on the backs of the cards)

More time..

Number/counting recognition. The numbers were on the backs of these cards, I copied them and velcroed them into little answer pieces. I think I am going to make number words like four, six etc as answers to change this one up as well every now and then. Cards are glued answers are velcroed to the card.

Directions, cards are glued answers that were from the backs of the cards copied and laminated are velcroed.

More Pooh go togethers. One card is glued and the matching cards are velcroed to the glued card.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Yummy Tummy Thursday ~ Delicious "White" Country Gravy.

So I wanted some white country gravy for my breakfast (I like to pour it over my eggs, hashbrowns, etc) but didn't have any packet gravy..

I wanted it, pmsing I guess so I went searching for a basic recipe with stuff I already had. I made this recipe with a few changes to the original (that is linked), I subbed Butter for the Oil it called for and I also added a tiny tiny bit of garlic powder. I thought I was done but tasted it and it was too flour tasting for me, I remember reading someone that mentioned her mom used chicken stock in her gravy. I don't have any liquid stock but I did have bouillon cubes. So after I had finished making the gravy I put a cup of water and a bouillon cube in the microwave for a minute until it dissolved and mixed that into the gravy and it made the best gravy I have ever tasted I swear it! I wasn't planning on using this for a thursday post so I only have finished pictures.

Mom's Country Gravy

**My changes in blue**

1/2 cup vegetable oil
(I used 1/2 cup butter)
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper (to taste)
Dash Garlic Powder
4 cups milk
1 Cup Water
1 Chicken Bouillon Cube

**My changes in blue**

Heat the oil(or butter) in a large skillet over medium heat. Whisk in the flour, salt and pepper, garlic powder until smooth. Cook and stir over medium heat until browned, about 10 minutes (I think I did a little less). Gradually whisk in milk so that no lumps form, and continue cooking and stirring until thickened. (I cooked it until thicker then I like because it thins a bit with the chicken stock) If the gravy becomes too thick, you may thin it with a little more milk. (DO NOT add more milk if adding chicken stock/bouillon) Remove from heat. Heat water and bouillon cube in microwave for 1 minute or until dissolved, add to gravy.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Stellan Prayer Name Gallery

See other photos or add your own here.

"Spiderman" rescues boy with autism from balcony.

Someone shared this on facebook and I thought it was neat. Well not neat that he got there in the first place but neat how he was rescued. Check it out!

Wordless Wednesday

Prayers for Stellan

Sunday, March 22, 2009

It's a party, It's a party,.. stomp your feet.

First off do you know what my title is from??

Alana's birthday party was today and she had a blast. My neighbor asked the pony people for their business card, and when the trailer first got here kids came out of their houses to see the ponies but then the ponies disappeared into my backyard! Thanks to everyone that came! I took TONS of photos it will be hard choosing some to share so as usual these will be repetitive but cute nonetheless..

Feeding a pony yummy carrots, they love carrots and apples!

Donni with Daddy.

Hitching a ride w/sis

"Party friends"











Photobucket The cake

Donni and Daddy again.. thats Donni's normal face...

Janelle with Donni

Opening gifts

New bike!

She got a "Donni" too!

Parent Reviewers