Posted in Autism, Homeschooling, Special Needs Family Life, Special Needs Parenting, Therapies

Daily Life Therapy: An Autism Teaching Method

I recently came across a “new to me” idea for teaching kids with disabilities while searching educational methods that might help my daughter, Bethany, who is an autistic brain tumor survivor, learn better.

It’s called Daily Life Therapy, which is apparently an innovative, holistic approach to teaching autistic children and young adults!

It was first established in 1964 when Dr. Kiyo Kitahara began using her method to teach her kindergarten classes in Tokyo, Japan.

Her ideas quickly spread throughout Japan and then eventually made it all the wayacross the ocean to Boston in 1987.

The three key components or “pillars” of the Daily Life Therapy method are:

  • Building physical stamina: The theory is that vigorous exercise can help regulate biological rhythms thus benefiting physical health, mood, awareness of one’s surroundings, and one’s ability to concentrate.
  • Promoting emotional stability: Teachers form a tight emotional bond with their students which promotes trust and emotional soundness.
  • Providing intellectual stimulation: Students are provided with a broad based, age appropriate curriculum.

It seems to me that while good and effective on their own, most other methods of teaching children with autism focus solely on teaching academics and life skills.

Most do not even consider the importance and benefits of incorporating movement and exercise into a student’s educational program, despite the fact that Dr. Temple Grandin repeatedly stresses the importance of autistic kids getting enough physical exercise.

When Bethany was having so much trouble all those years with debilitating seizures, it was difficult, but not altogether impossible to ensure her emotional well being and keep her brain somewhat stimulated.

However, it was impossible for her to get  up off of the couch to do much of anything even remotely physical.

But, I can with all honestly and much enthusiasm attest to the fact that as soon as Bethany’s seizures were under better control and we were able to get her involved in all the fun fitness activities at Flash Club and the YMCA, not only did her physical stamina improve, but so did her emotional health and her ability to learn!

So to say that I am excited about a teaching approach that addresses the students emotional and physical well being, as well as academics and life skills is a huge understatement!

My only disappointment is that according to their website,  presently this approach is only being utilized in day programs or residential programs at just two campuses in the entire world: one being in Boston and the other being in Japan.

It would be awesome if they eventually make resources available for creating home programs using this method.

I plan to do a little more research into this exciting new autism educational method to see how I might incorporate some of its key ideas into Bethany’s homeschool program!

I’m going to start my research by rummaging around on their website: Boston Higashi School and visiting their Higashi Kids Wiki Space where they offer academic resources and games!

You might also be interested in:

4 Common Autism Teaching Methods
Autism Thinking Styles and Educational Thinking Styles
TEACCH Principals in Special Needs Homeschool Programs

*A version of this post was first published in March 2016.

Thanks so much for stopping by!

If you have a minute, please check out our Etsy Shop where you can purchase handcrafted junk journals, instantly download prints of vintage ephemera and copies of Bethany’s paintings!

We’d love for you to join our big, happy, family!! Please Subscribe to our blog and You Tube channels below and please consider sharing this post on your other social media accounts!! Thanks!!

Adventures of an Autistic Brain Tumor Survivor on Youtube

Crafty Old Lady on Youtube

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Posted in Autism, Homeschooling, Special Needs Parenting

TEACCH Principals in Special Needs Homeschool Programs

When I was homeschooling Bethany, I loved incorporating TEACCH principals in her educational program, because they work!

I began adding fun TEACCH activities into her homeschooling program because it’s a highly visual and hands-on educational approach and Bethany learns best when she can see and touch the lesson.

TEACCH activities are perfect for Bethany because she doesn’t have to use her mind’s eye or imagination to learn!

Everything for the lesson is right there in front of her to see and manipulate!

And now, even though she is no longer required to do school, she still enjoys her TEACCH games!

Especially, The Body Builders File Folder Game!

 

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Developed at the University of North Carolina, TEACCH is an evidence based method of “structured TEACCHing” and is supported by empiracle research.

It’s based on an understanding of how the majority of individuals with autism learn, process information, and make sense of their world.

On the TEACCH Website,  it says that this approach can be used in a variety of educational settings, including: regular education classrooms; music, art, PE, and foreign language classes; speech and occupational therapy sessions;  private schools; residential settings; social groups; summer camps; group therapy, competitive and supportive employment settings; and of course, home programs.

The fundamentals of the TEACCH Approach are as follows:

  • An individualized person and family centered education plan is developed for each student.
  • The learning environment is highly structured.
  • Visuals are used to schedule daily activities and make the students’ days predictable and understandable.
  • Visual supports are used to make individual learning activities understandable.

If you are interested in using TEACCH in your homeschool program, check out the following links for creative ideas and enjoyable learning activities. 




*A version of this post was originally published in March 2016.

Thanks so much for stopping by!

If you have a minute, please check out our Etsy Shop where you can purchase handcrafted junk journals, instantly download prints of vintage ephemera and copies of Bethany’s paintings!

We’d love for you to join our big, happy, family!! Please Subscribe to our blog and You Tube channels below and please consider sharing this post on your other social media accounts!! Thanks!!

Adventures of an Autistic Brain Tumor Survivor on Youtube

Crafty Old Lady on Youtube

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Posted in Autism, Bethany Moments, Special Needs Parenting, Uncategorized

She’s a Control Freak!

It’s no big secret that my daughter, Bethany wants to be in control of…EVERYTHING!

Most of the time this really doesn’t bother me because I understand why.

I mean, when you really stop to think about it, her whole life has pretty much been out of her control ever since it was taken over by a great big, nasty brain tumor when she was just a baby!

She had absolutely no control over anything that happened to her body while doctors saved her life from the afore mentioned brain tumor.

And let me tell you, most of those treatments were pure, physical torture and there were many of them over a two month period.

If I had done to her what those doctors did, I would have been arrested for child torture and put away for life.

Then you add a life long unpredictable and untreatable seizure disorder into the mix and it’s no wonder she feels compelled to fight for every little shred of control she can get.

So, I’ve tried to let her have control over as much as possible.

She is twenty, now for cryin’ out loud, and even though she is developmentally only about age two, she does deserve to make as many of her own decisions as she possibly can.

I must be ever so careful though, because she also forms rigid routines very quickly.

It seems like if she does the same thing twice, we run the risk of it becoming a rule, written in stone, that her OCD and need to control will not let her waiver from!

And so now, because I let her pick out my outfits a few times she thinks she can dictate to me what I will wear everyday…even what color underwear!!

What started out as a fun little “fashion” activity for us to do together has become an obsession!

I know I need to get a handle on this because it’s getting out of hand.

However, it’s a delicate situation for sure, because even though 99.9% of the time, Bethany is as sweet as pie, she does get aggressive at times!

If you have any suggestions please do tell!!
Thanks so much for stopping by!

If you have a minute, please check out our Etsy Shop where you can purchase handcrafted junk journals, instantly download prints of vintage ephemera and copies of Bethany’s paintings!

We’d love for you to join our big, happy, family!! Please Subscribe to our blog and You Tube channels below and please consider sharing this post on your other social media accounts!! Thanks!!

Adventures of an Autistic Brain Tumor Survivor on Youtube

Crafty Old Lady on Youtube

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Posted in Autism, Bethany Moments, My Vlogs, Special Needs Family Life, Special Needs Parenting

Helping My Autistic Daughter Cope With Change

One of Bethany’s most significant struggles as a person with autism is handling change.

She wants everything in her life to always be the same!

A change in her routine, throwing away old, worn out clothes and accepting new ones are tough on Bethany.

Even a change in her environment, like getting a new kitchen table, for example, can be extremely hard on her emotionally!

Our recent move into a new house in a new city has sparked a bit of anxiety for Bethany, even though she had been looking forward to it for a very long time!

For the first two weeks, she coped with her new environment amazingly well!

Before we moved, I had shown her pictures of bunk beds online and asked her if she wanted one for the new house and she did!!

She talked excitedly about getting her new bed for days and when we finally got it she was thrilled!

My husband and I anticipated that she would have a change of heart when we took apart her old bed and drug it away.

She shocked us, however, by excitedly climbing up to the top bunk and happily settling in.

She even slept all night, which is highly unusual!!

She also surprisingly, had no issues with getting a new couch.

But then one day we decided to hang up curtains and for reasons known only to her, she freaked out and had a very aggressive and potentially destructive tantrum.

She did not want those curtains hung up and she let us know it!

However, we didn’t back down and  a month later, other than occasionally asking if I can take them down and me telling her no, she has accepted them being there without further incident.

At about the same time as the curtain incident, Bethany started waking up twice a night, every night.

Her need to control everything has also magnified, especially her need to try to control me.

She even tries to dictate to me what outfit I should wear each day, including what color underwear she wants me to wear!!!

TMI, I know!!

The latest issue we’ve had actually happened just yesterday.

We bought a new smaller kitchen table and chairs that fits better in our new smaller house.

Bethany watched Malcolm take apart and remove our old table and chairs without a problem.

She watched him put together the new one without even so much as a hint of distress.

It wasn’t until we put the new table and chairs in place that she blew up!

She wanted the old table and chairs back and was willing to fight for them!

She threw a few things around and threatened to pinch me.

Her tantrum didn’t last long, thank God, but she was grouchy for the rest of the night.

She kept moving the new chairs into another room.

My husband and I decided to leave them there and he would put them back in place before she woke up and he left for work the next day.

It’s now 3:30 the next day and she seems to have accepted them.

Anyway, that’s what I’m optimistically assuming because she hasn’t said a word about them all day.

With all that being said, when I know a change in Bethany’s life is imminent,  I’ve learned to try to prepare her ahead of time for the transition.

A feat which can be tricky, because there is a fine line between giving her enough time in advance to successfully process the change, while, at the same time, not giving her too much time to stew about it, which can end up causing her even more anxiety!!

I’m certainly not saying we’ve cured Bethany’s dislike of changes, but below are some suggestions that have helped and might help others with autism cope with changes in their lives as well.

      • Social Stories: I am a big fan of social stories. In Bethany’s case I use photos or realistic drawings to explain to her ahead of time what kind of change she can expect to happen soon.
      • Timers: For transitioning from one activity to another in her daily schedule I’ve had great success using the Time Timer. This timer lets Bethany see time passing. She knows she must change activities when the red part is all gone. I have to be careful to put the timer up high enough that she can’t reach it though, or she’ll keep giving herself more time!!
      • Create a fun transition signal: I use counting to prepare Bethany for changes in activity.  For example: When it’s time to get out of the tub, I tell her that I will count to 20 twice, say, “Peek a boo Bethany”, ( She likes to hide behind the shower curtain while I count) then it will be time to get out.
      • Practice changes: Practicing the gradual acceptance of small changes in Bethany’s routine, activities, and environment has proven to be very helpful in helping her deal with the more significant changes in her life that cannot be avoided.

I truly believe that Bethany’s attendance at Flash Club, a social club for children with autism, has played a huge part in helping her accept changes better.

She participates in several eight week sessions of activities on a rotating basis. At first changing activities was very stressful on her. She melted down a lot!

But concentrating on one activity for eight weeks gives her plenty of time to enjoy each activity while also processing the idea that a change is coming.

Now she realizes that changing activities gives her more fun things to do and she looks forward to each new activity.

In the video below, my husband and I discuss the potential change to Bethany’s environment!

* A version of this post was previously published in February 2015.
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Thanks so much for stopping by!

If you have a minute, please check out our Etsy Shop where you can purchase handcrafted junk journals, instantly download prints of vintage ephemera and copies of Bethany’s paintings!

We’d love for you to join our big, happy, family!! Please Subscribe to our blog and You Tube channels below and please consider sharing this post on your other social media accounts!! Thanks!!

Adventures of an Autistic Brain Tumor Survivor on Youtube

Crafty Old Lady on Youtube

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Posted in Autism, Special Needs Family Life, Special Needs Parenting

New Year, New House, New Adventures!

We’ve been living in our new house for little over a month now!

It’s crazy how fast the time has gone by!

We’ve been busy making the house our home and settling nicely in to some new routines.

Unfortunately, however, not all of our new routines are nice ones!

Bethany has taken to going to bed, then getting up again about an hour later.

Of course, she wakes me up in the process.

She goes back to bed just 30 minutes later, but then wakes up again about 3 hours later.

Needless to say, it’s getting on my nerves!!

Her OCD and control issues have ramped up quite a bit too.

So even though she very much wanted to move, it’s clear she’s experiencing some stress and anxiety.

The boys have learned the bus system and have been applying for jobs.

No luck yet, though, I’m afraid!!

I’ve been keeping busy changing over our primary care doctors, having all our prescriptions transferred to our new pharmacy, and all the tedious administrative work that goes along with relocating.

I think it’s so weird that our new doctor’s office is in a shopping center next to the Dollar Tree!

And what’s even weirder is that it’s only a 5 minute drive from our house!!

In fact, just about everywhere we need to go is only about a 5 minute drive from our house!

It feels so good to know when we’re done shopping or with appointments, or whatever, that it won’t take to 30 minutes to 2 hours to drive back home!!

Everything is literally just around the corner!!

Bethany is loving the new pool at our new YMCA!

It even has a basket ball hoop in it!

So, now she can enjoy both or her favorite sports at the same time!

I even got a swim suit and have been getting in the pool with her and she is loving that!

Me not so much!

I’m not a fan of being in cool water!

I want my pool water to be hot!!

But I can make that sacrifice for her!!

One of the best things about moving here is that we have already found a new aide for Bethany!

We knew it would be easier to find help in the city, but we honestly didn’t think we’d find someone we felt we could trust this quickly!

She will officially start working with Bethany 30 hours a week mid-February!!!

We’ve never had an aide work that many hours before.

This will be quite a change for us, but it will also be a good transition to get Bethany ready for the time when Malcolm and I are too old and eventually no longer here anymore to take care of her!!

The new aide is already working for the disabilities agency that Bethany is associated with, so she has been through the vetting process and has a few years of experience under her belt.

Plus, she came highly recommended by a friend.

So, hopefully that will all work out!

My birthday flowers!

As for me, I just turned 60 and am still battling with depression.

Now that we are near a mental health facility, I think it just might be time for me to do something official about that.

It’s not fun being sad, anxious, and worried most of the time.

My time here on earth is nearly up and I can’t stop worrying about what could happen to Bethany when I’m no longer around to keep her safe.

Well, I think that’s about it for our new year update!

I hope your year has been going well so far and that you are all happy and healthy!!


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Thanks so much for stopping by!

If you have a minute, please check out our Etsy Shop where you can purchase handcrafted junk journals, instantly download prints of vintage ephemera and copies of Bethany’s paintings!

We’d love for you to join our big, happy, family!! Please Subscribe to our blog and You Tube channels below and please consider sharing this post on your other social media accounts!! Thanks!!

Adventures of an Autistic Brain Tumor Survivor on Youtube

Crafty Old Lady on Youtube

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Posted in Autism, Holidays, Special Needs Family Life, Special Needs Parenting

Our Huge Secret Reveal!!

Finally, we reveal our huge secret!!

If you haven’t seen our secret reveal video on YouTube yet, than you might not know that we sold our old house, bought a new one and have been living in it for 2 weeks now!

We actually accepted an offer on our old house that we had lived in for 32 years and put in an offer on our new house on the very same day which was October 5, 2018!

We chose to keep it all a secret just in case it didn’t work out!

But on December 27, 2018 we closed both deals: selling our house and buying our new one all in the same day!

We were actually homeless for about an hour and a half that day!

I must say though, that as much as we have been wanting to move to where life will be easier for all of us as we all get older, the process was not without it’s anxious moments and panic attacks!

There were so many unexpected glitches, negotiations, and last minute financial responsibilities that threw us into quite a few panic attacks!

To be honest, I became an even more anxious and depressed mess than normal!

I spent three months worrying about how we would come up with money for unexpected expenses, where we would live if we sold our house before we could move into our new one and how Bethany would actually handle leaving the home she was born in and never going back!

As it turned out, our attorney was able to set both house closings to be on the same day!

The owner of our new house graciously allowed us to move our belongings in before we actually bought it which helped tremendously!

A couple of ladies Malcolm knows from the Post Office really saved the day when they showed up with a truck and willing bodies to help us move our stuff out!

They even took all our junk to the dump for us!

We literally could not have pulled this move off without them!

The house had to be empty by 10:00 a.m the day of the closing, so Malcolm, Bethany, and I did have to spend one night in a hotel and we farmed the boys out to their siblings for the night!

It was crazy and hectic, but we managed it!

After moving into our new house, Bethany did quite well the first few days.

Then she suddenly had a major temper tantrum because she didn’t want us to hang up curtains.

She remained upset and angry for a couple of days which did worry me at first, but although her emotions have been up and down, for the most part she’s actually been handling the changes quite well!

She has never once asked to go back to the old house , so that’s a huge relief!

We are all really enjoying living in civilization close to Josiah and Katy and friends!

The convenience of being able to pop over real quick to the grocery store, movie theater, medical care, and to get a bite to eat is awesome!

We are attempting to get Bethany motivated to try out a new day program which we hope she will enjoy and I’m looking forward to begin attending the special needs family support group that I’ve signed Malcolm and I up for!

Unfortunately, we lost Bethany’s aid, Connie, in the process of moving, so that has been hard, but we do believe we may have found a new one to help out a few hours a week already.

In fact, she is an old friend who was actually Bethany’s Sunday School aid when we used to attend church many, many years ago!

We hope to begin implementing our plan of turning one of our apartments into a mini group home for Bethany and roommates to live in forever with in the next 5-10 years.

If that doesn’t work out for some reason, there are lots of other options and disability agencies and services in this city which we can access if needed!

I am so thankful for all the help we had making this move happen and am looking forward to all the new changes life will bring us!


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Thanks so much for stopping by!

*This post may contain affiliate links. Thanks in advance if you should decide to purchase an item through one of our links at no extra cost to you. 100% of all commissions earned from sales go directly toward providing a better quality of life for our daughter, Bethany, an autistic and  brave brain tumor survivor !

If you have a minute, please check out our Amazon Store where I have put together a list of my favorite books and resources and Bethany’s favorite games and products and our Etsy Shop where you can instantly download vintage book illustrations and prints of Bethany’s paintings!

We’d love for you to join our big, happy, family!! Please Subscribe to our blog and You Tube channels below and please consider sharing this post on your other social media accounts!! Thanks!!

Adventures of an Autistic Brain Tumor Survivor on Youtube

Crafty Old Lady on Youtube

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Posted in Autism, Disability Awareness, Homeschooling, Product Reviews, Special Needs Parenting

Activities for Visual Learners and Kinesthetic Learners.

Many individuals with autism and other special needs are visual and kinesthetic learners.

In other words, they learn best by seeing, touching, and doing!

Temple Grandin PhD who is perhaps the most famous person in the world with autism says that she, herself thinks in pictures.

*(This post contains affiliate links.)

She describes her mind as actually working like Google Images! (My Mind Works Like Google Images)(Autism: The Way I See It).

She believes that if students with autism are to be successful learners, their teachers must discover what their dominant learning styles are, then teach them accordingly.

I have had the awesome privilege if hearing Dr. Grandin lecture in person and I respect her opinions and suggestions immensely!

I believe she speaks with authority, therefore, when she speaks, I pay close attention!

 

My daughter Bethany, has been diagnosed with autism as well as a few other disabilities.

Through trial and error, I have discovered that her dominant learning styles are visual and hands-on (kinesthetic).

Her language processing speed is quite slow so it’s almost impossible for her to learn by listening only.

Consequently, I’m always on the lookout for fun toys, games, and activities that are designed with visual and kinesthetic learning styles in mind.

I’ve compiled a list of visual and hands-on educational products below.

Some of them I have personally used in Bethany’s homeschooling program.

They have passed the “Bethany likes them” test and have also been effective in teaching her new skills.

The others are either very similar to items that we have or items that I think would be a good fit for her.

Flash Cards

  • Flash Cards, especially photo flash cards are one of the handiest and most effective tools for teaching a variety of concepts. You can find Flash Cards that will enforce matching skills, teach about feelings, emotions and categories. You can even find vocabulary flash cards. The teaching possibilities with flash cards are endless!

Puzzles

  • Manipulating puzzles is one of Bethany’s favorite ways to learn new concepts! Working with puzzles incorporates both visual and kinesthetic learning styles!
  • She loves learning how to spell words with her set of three letter word puzzles. She also enjoys using two piece puzzles to work on concepts like go togethers or opposites. These self correcting number puzzles were instrumental in teaching Bethany one to one correspondence.
  • For a bit more of a challenge and to develop language and critical thinking skills I suggest this three piece sequencing puzzle.

Math

  • Math manipulatives are fun for younger kids or even older individuals who still need practice with basic early learning math skills such as identifying colors, shapes, sequencing, patterns,  sorting, and more!  They are great for getting  your precious one’s gross and fine motor skills involved in the learning process!
  • You are sure to find a Domino game for teaching just about any early learning math concept such as counting, addition, fractions, and even time
  • Rolling and throwing Dice is a fun for kids and as an added bonus it gets their muscles involved in the learning process! Any kind of dice game is Bethany’s favorite at the moment. She loves the excitement and anticipation of wondering whether she’ll get a good roll or a bad one!
  • You can use Dice to teach basic math operations, the metric system, place value, and money skills.
  • Tenzies is a fast and frenzied calculation dice game that would be perfect for fun family game night as well as actually sharpening your eye hand coordination!

Language Arts

  • Dice games aren’t just for teaching math skills either! Dabble is a fast paced word game that is sure to wake up the language areas of the brain which are located in the temporal & frontal lobes.
  • Crosswords is like doing a crossword puzzle with dice!
  • And speaking of Word games, Bethany loves getting her whole upper body involved in language processing development while playing Zingo games. You can choose from either Zingo Sight Words and Zingo Word Builder
  • Word Whiz is an electronic word building flash card game!

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You may also find Six Tips for Modifying Lessons for visual learners helpful!
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Whether you are finding in yourself in need of adding a little excitement and pizzazz to your homeschooling program or you just want to reinforce skills your child is currently learning at school, you’re sure to find just the right item by clicking on any of my affiliate links!



Please enjoy this video of Ethan a young man with autism. All his teachers said he was not capable of learning. Watch the miracle of learning unfold as his parents begin homeschooling him and teaching him visually!

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Thanks so much for stopping by!

*This post may contain affiliate links. Thanks in advance if you should decide to purchase an item through one of our links at no extra cost to you. 100% of all commissions earned from sales go directly toward providing a better quality of life for our daughter, Bethany, an autistic and  brave brain tumor survivor !

If you have a minute, please check out our Amazon Store where I have put together a list of my favorite books and resources and Bethany’s favorite games and products and our Etsy Shop where you can instantly download vintage book illustrations and prints of Bethany’s paintings!

We’d love for you to join our big, happy, family!! Please Subscribe to our blog and You Tube channels below and please consider sharing this post on your other social media accounts!! Thanks!!

Adventures of an Autistic Brain Tumor Survivor on Youtube

Crafty Old Lady on Youtube

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Posted in Holidays, Special Needs Family Life, Special Needs Parenting

We’ve Got a Huge Secret!

Happy New Year everyone!

If you celebrate Christmas I hope it was a happy one for you!

To be honest, I do believe this was the worst Christmas I’ve ever had and it’s all because of the worries, fears, anxiety and panic attacks that I’ve been experiencing in recent months.

You may have noticed I’ve been AWOL around here and on other social media since just before Christmas!

That’s because of a huge secret that I’ve been keeping from you all since October 5th!

I’m not going to reveal what that secret is just yet, because I want to do that on my YouTube channel first, as soon as I get the chance.

If you’ve seen my Instagram lately though, you might have guessed what it is already!!

Anyway, now that my big secret is actually a done deal, I’m feeling much better about life, although I doubt I will ever be totally without any anxiety!!

However one can always hope and here’s hoping for a happy, healthy, prosperous, anxiety free and worry free 2019 for all!!


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Thanks so much for stopping by!

*This post may contain affiliate links. Thanks in advance if you should decide to purchase an item through one of our links at no extra cost to you. 100% of all commissions earned from sales go directly toward providing a better quality of life for our daughter, Bethany, an autistic and  brave brain tumor survivor !

If you have a minute, please check out our Amazon Store where I have put together a list of my favorite books and resources and Bethany’s favorite games and products and our Etsy Shop where you can instantly download vintage book illustrations and prints of Bethany’s paintings!

We’d love for you to join our big, happy, family!! Please Subscribe to our blog and You Tube channels below and please consider sharing this post on your other social media accounts!! Thanks!!

Adventures of an Autistic Brain Tumor Survivor on Youtube

Crafty Old Lady on Youtube

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Posted in Bethany Moments, Holidays, Siblings of Special Needs Children, Special Needs Family Life, Special Needs Parenting

Our Autism Friendly Christmas Festivities

Each year, just after decorating our Christmas tree on Thanksgiving, I start thinking about what holiday activities our daughter, Bethany might enjoy and be able to tolerate.

For those who may not know it, Bethany has autism.

She’s also a brain tumor survivor and has developmental disabilities and seizures.

Even though she’s 20 years old now, she still usually enjoys little kid stuff!

Though sometimes she does surprise us by enjoying more age appropriate activities.

So, it’s not always easy to come up with activities she might enjoy doing.

We usually figure it all out by trial and error!!

When Bethany was younger she loved visiting Santa, so we took her every year.

But last year, whenever we drove past Santa’s igloo and asked her if she wanted to go see him she said no every single time.

This year, however, when we drove past that old familiar Igloo and saw Santa walking down the sidewalk, she got super excited and wanted to go see him.

Luckily, he was heading straight toward his igloo!!

She had a blast visiting him and in fact, the very next day she asked her aide take her to see him again!!

For those that may live near Norwich, NY,  in my opinion, this Santa is the best one to take kids with disabilities and little kids to.

There is almost never a line and Mr. and Mrs. Santa were super sweet and accommodating!

autistic girl sitting on Santa'a lap

For many years, Bethany also enjoyed riding the Christmas Carousel in Johnson City, NY.

This is just a fun night time ride with Santa.

They turn off the overhead lights during the ride so everyone can enjoy the Christmas lights better!

But two years ago, when they turned off the lights, Bethany flipped out and changed her mind.

She refused to ride and actually let it ruin her whole night.

Because it’s so far away and Bethany still hates having the lights turned off, we’ve decided not to try again for awhile

No sense in chancing making her miserable again.

Happy to be on her way to the party!

But one Christmas activity we can always count on Bethany enjoying is our annual ugly Christmas sweater cookie decorating party with her sister Rebekah and brother-in-law, William!

This year was no exception!

She was so thrilled to give Rebekah and William the presents she had made for them.

She enjoyed eating her 5 pieces of pizza and feeding Sophia the hamster some treats!

She especially loved checking out Rebekah’s manger scene and little Christmas village.

After watching, The Christmas Chronicles, on Netflix, she and William had a little dance party, then we all settled down to decorate our cookies and gingerbread house!

Keeping the gingerbread house from falling apart proved to be a bit frustrating, but brother, Jeremiah solved that problem by duct taping the insides of the walls together!!

All too soon, the party was over and it was time for us to say our goodbyes.

But we’ll all see each other again on Christmas Day for dinner at brother, Josiah and sister-in-law, Katy’s house along with a whole bunch of other people Bethany loves!

Do you have any holiday traditions you enjoy doing each year?

 


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Thanks so much for stopping by!

*This post may contain affiliate links. Thanks in advance if you should decide to purchase an item through one of our links at no extra cost to you. 100% of all commissions earned from sales go directly toward providing a better quality of life for our daughter, Bethany, a brave brain tumor survivor and special girl!

If you have a minute, please check out our Amazon Store where I have put together a list of my favorite books and resources and Bethany’s favorite games and products and our Etsy Shop where you can instantly download vintage book illustrations and prints of Bethany’s paintings!

We’d love for you to join our big, happy, family!! Please Subscribe to our blog and You Tube channels below and please consider sharing this post on your other social media accounts!! Thanks!!

Adventures of an Autistic Brain Tumor Survivor on Youtube

Crafty Old Lady on Youtube

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Posted in Autism, Special Needs Parenting, Therapies

5 Fascinating Sensory Gift Ideas

There is not a person alive who doesn’t process information through a whole bunch of sensory systems that our bodies are equipped with.

Each and every one of us has a different system to process what we see (visual); what we hear (auditory); what we smell (olfactory; what we taste (gustatory); what we feel (tactile); how our bodies move in space (vestibular);  how are bodies experience sensations from our muscles and joints (proprioceptive); and how we process what our internal organs are feeling like hunger, thirst, heart rate, respiration, elimination and our sense of well being (the oft neglected interoceptive system).

Some have no problems processing the information that comes through their sensory systems, but others don’t process that information very well and their bodies become confused.

We can become overloaded and overwhelmed by bombarding sensory information and need to calm down while others can’t seem to get enough sensory input and crave continuous stimulation of one kind or another!

Then following items are all what I would consider to have a calming effect on individuals who may need to retreat from constant sensory assaults.

On the other hand, however, they may also be stimulating for those who crave more visual and or auditory stimulation.

I think these items just might make a great addition to your  sensory room or the bedroom of an autistic individual.

Check out the videos and click the links or images below to get a more detailed look at each item!!

*(The following links are affiliate links.)

 

1) Deluxe Jelly fish Aquarium– On sale now for $69.99- offers all the beauty of a salt water aquarium without the care and feeding of animals!!
2)Indoor Waterfall Light Show

3) LED Volcano Lamp– Only $20.99- A calming visual item!

4) Laser Light & Music Show for $77.99 Create your own light up music show!

5) Twilight Turtle– On sale now for $32.95- This little guy projects a soothing and calming blue, green, and amber starry night light effect onto any ceiling! Click the image to check it out!

*(A version of this post was first published in November 2013.)

*Disclaimer
I am not a professional counselor, psychologist, therapist, or teacher. Therefore the information, recommendations, referrals, and/or advice contained within this blog are my own opinions and should not to be construed as professional recommendations, advice, or treatment or any kind.

I make no guarantees that any product or book  I recommend or advice that I may suggest will cure your child of any special need, disability, illness, or learning difference.

Always check with your doctor before embarking on new treatment plans or following suggestions from others. I will not be liable for any damages, deaths, injuries, or other mishaps that may result from following any advice contained within this blog.

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Thanks so much for stopping by!

*This post may contain affiliate links. Thanks in advance if you should decide to purchase an item through one of our links at no extra cost to you. 100% of all commissions earned from sales go directly toward providing a better quality of life for our daughter, Bethany, a brave brain tumor survivor and special girl!

If you have a minute, please check out our Amazon Store where I have put together a list of my favorite books and resources and Bethany’s favorite games and products and our Etsy Shop where you can instantly download vintage book illustrations and prints of Bethany’s paintings!

We’d love for you to join our big, happy, family!! Please Subscribe to our blog and You Tube channels below and please consider sharing this post on your other social media accounts!! Thanks!!

Adventures of an Autistic Brain Tumor Survivor on Youtube

Crafty Old Lady on Youtube

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.