Sunday, March 14, 2010

Great Upcoming things for FEAT

Our local autism group, Families for Effective Autism Treatment of Western Kentucky has a few exciting events coming up. Our annual FEAT on the Street 5K will be held on Saturday April 17. We are co-hosting this event with Rehab Associates Foundation and GoSoccer. Come out and join us in the run! The proceeds from the run enable our group to do things for local families like bring in speakers and then the other half goes to GoSoccer. This organization provides a buddy for kids with disabilities who works with them on the soccer field. The kids have a great time. I posted a pic of Patrick with his behavior therapist, Joni on their way to a GoSoccer event. He loved it!

The other really exciting thing is that Stephen Shore, a national speaker, college professor and author...who also happens to be on the autism spectrum, is going to be speaking here on Sat June 16. Our FEAT group is hosting him and this event is open to the public. We are still working on the time and the place but we will have details out soon.

Stephen is the author of "Beyond the Wall: Personal Experiences with Autism and Asperger Syndrome." It is a great book about his experiences on the spectrum as a child and as an adult. I would highly recommend it.

On the autism home front we are still working on some behaviors from the strep (we just did a blood test to confirm elevated levels) and Packy has been really stimmy. Thankfully he is much better by now. His Dr in Nashville has just had back surgery, but he will only be about one week delayed in getting his IVIG treatment. We wish his Doc the speediest of recoveries. I know that re-cooperating from back surgery is not a fun deal. I just had a family member go through it.

Overall though Patrick is doing great! He is like his brothers and sister...just impatiently awaiting spring!

Can you have a new kid by Friday? Yes, You can!

Hi all.
Last year, scratch that, make it two years ago, I went on vacation and while in the airport bought a book called "Have a New Kid by Friday." I read it, took some notes, came home with a new resolve, and two years later........I still had the same kids.

Don't get me wrong, they are good kids. The oldest three are awesome and Joey, the "Baby" who is now 4, is great too. However, like most kids...they know how to work the system. The system being my husband, our extended family, and myself.

One reason I bought the book is because I had read a few of Dr Leman's books before and found them entertaining but chock full of good parenting information. Well, a few weeks ago, I pulled the book back out as I was cleaning out some bookshelves.

I started reading a bit of it and I came to the realization that I needed to really follow through on some of this. One thing that Leman points out is that "powerful" kids are the ones that others might refer to as bossy, demanding, and fit throwers. He likes to remind you that if you have powerful children then you need to look to either your spouse or yourself to see where kids get these behaviors. Scary isn't it? When I start thinking about my kids "powerful" attributes and then start wondering if they get them from my husband or is kind of scary, and well, downright embarrassing.

Hmm...Do I really act that way?

Surely not! It must be from his side of the family. His family likes to think that the "powerful" behavior of our youngest comes from MY side, and I laughingly have to assure them that it must come from THEIR side. Now of course, the kids are all smart, so yes I will take credit for that. :)

One thing hit me though as I was reading Dr Lemans strategies. He likes to filter issues into one category of two: Mountain or Molehill. Many things such as choice of dress and other type issues he puts in the Molehill category. He thinks that parents should pick and choose battles wisely. Many items such as choice of dress are just not issues I have came across yet with my kids being as young as they are.

However one thing startled me. He states that powerful kids who throw fits and demand a lot of their parents would be put into the Mountain category. He said that effective parenting by age 2 should rid kids of this fit throwing, back talking, type of behavior. I looked down at Joey, age 4, who has just went swimming with his brothers and sister. As the other kids are saying "I loved it", "that was great," Joey crosses his arms, frowns and yells "I HATED IT." This is a typical scenario of anything we do....right down to celebrating his 4th birthday at Disney World. He "hated it" and wants to know why he didn't "get to go to Chuck E Cheese?"

Joey's complaining, back talking, just general grouchy, obstinate behavior has ruled our household for awhile. Did I happen to mention he is stubborn too?

Well he spent Thursday night with his Grammy, as Joey comes rolling in to our house on Friday morning, I have everything in the school room ready to go. Ms Joni (Patricks behavioral therapist who also teaches him) is already sitting down. Here comes Joe...."I hate school. I am not sitting by Packy and Ms Joni. I am moving back to Grammys. " By the time I walk in from the kitchen he is laying flat on his back with his feet in the air kicking Ms Joni's table.

In the olden days, you know like yesterday, we would have argued, cajoled, threatened, and generally wasted a large amount of our time and patience with this one little four year old. But today little did Joe know...I was armed with "Leman Power."

I smiled, walked in, said something to Joni that had nothing to do with Joe or his actions, scooped Joe up, WHILE NEVER ACKNOWLEDGING him or his fit verbally, walked to the front door, unlocked it, and sat him outside. I then shut, locked the door and walked back in. The screaming was tremendous but the only ones that paid attention to him were Melvin and Marvin, two of our dogs that were out on the porch.

After about two minutes of the loudest screaming ever, and my reminders to Grammy and the other siblings that we IGNORE, IGNORE, IGNORE. All got quiet. Then Joey decided to pet the dogs and talk to them. He then after about five minutes, knocked very nicely, I went to the door and asked him if he was ready to be nice and come in. He waltzed through the door and said that he was "going to school" as if that had been his idea in the first place and I better get my act together and teach him. :)

So far so good. We have had a fairly pleasant weekend and he is acting better each day. I told my husband we just had to speak Joe's language. Obviously what we had been doing was like speaking Japanese to him for the first few years when all we had to do was realize he only understood "Lemanese." Thanks Dr Leman!

I will keep you posted on some of my other Joe strategies. I have a great one waiting for him!