Wednesday, August 19, 2015

First Day 2015

Not sure how I feel about this school year. For the first time in 6 years, James is not starting out as Full inclusion. It's heartbreaking for me but James seems to like it. It's been his easiest start back in years.

Glad it is easy for him because everything else is a mess, from the constant construction on-site all year to the fact that no one still can tell me what his Special Day Class routine is like to the fact that the district is asking me if I have the original signatures page for the IEP meeting we had in June.

On top of that, the comparison between the organization and seemingly effortless support at his sister's new school and the broken mess from his school district ... after all our efforts ... I must confess, I broke down and cried after dropping him off that morning. I feel like I've failed him and he's being lost down a hole.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Science Experiment: 4th Grade

While doing housecleaning and photo organization, I came across James's science project this year from Fourth Grade. He was so excited to do this experiment and write-up poster with me, probably because it was simple and not drawn out.



He made illustrations and gave me the words and some observations to use. He helped cut and paste the computer print outs from the PowerPoint presentation file I used to create the paragraphs of text.



We had a pretty fun time and he was chuffed!

Extreme Dental Visit


James has been seeing a pediatric dentist regularly since he was 3.  For several years, his teeth would get cleaned and checked. While James does not like sugary foods or sodas, he also won't brush or floss properly without an assist. We don't always make sure he does a thorough job, as we are usually exhausted by day's end.

This caught up with James last year: a cavity was discovered. Because it is difficult to get James to sit still for a cleaning and impossible to get him to sit still for x-rays, his dentist recommended sedation dentistry. Because he screams and freaks out over needles and whirring noises by his ears, she recommended general anesthesia (GA) - quote for which was $800, which we don't have.

Turns out there is a special program for kids with issues like James'. We could get it from his health care HMO. Catch: they only offer this in a service area that is over an hour away.

So I did phone consults and health histories. The day before his procedure his Dad took him to the pre-op physical at a facility an hour+ away. I spoke with four different people about GA and James. The week of the procedure, I worked 10-hour days so I could take a day to accompany him to the almost 2-hour away hospital without losing pay. He started fasting 12 hours before his procedure.

We got there early and signed in. James got his wrist bracelet and a number code, so I could track his progress on the Outpatient Surgery Board. We've been here before. What was different this time was that James' number showed no status - not even that of "waiting room," which some others showed. I was concerned about this because (1) James has a history of wandering and (2) I wanted to make sure they knew he was here so they didn't give his slot away as a no-show. It took a few minutes, but I was able to talk with someone who could not find him in the system, even though he'd checked in. Yikes!

Within 5 minutes we were called back to the prep area. I noticed that James' number now showed a proper status and I was assured we were not only on time, we were an hour early. The nurses, staff, and surgeon were all super nice. We had James changed into a hospital gown and up in a gurney in no time. He had his blankets and found Nick Jr., which kept him busy for most of our 2-hour wait.

I had a final GA consult and got some expert help from a nurse to get James to take the initial oral sedation. I checked all the procedures he was going to get with the nurses: tooth cleaning, first dental x-rays. at least one cavity filled and dental sealants. They would also take blood for several lab tests that had been postponed due to James' fear of needles. I gave James an overview of the procedures and told him I would be there with him until he went to sleep and when he woke up.

It was a long afternoon. I had some lunch, read a book, and took some walks up and down the hospital corridors. At last it showed he was being taken to recovery. It took a while, but he started waking up. And he wasn't happy. While the type of GA used made him less contentious, he  REALLY hated the sore feeling from having the breathing tube in his nose and throat. Despite  warnings to his team, James ripped the IV out of his foot. He really hates needles too.

An hour later, a helpful orderly helped wheel James outside. Fortunately I had been able to park so close to the hospital that could see James the whole time I picked up the car and drove back to pick him up. Then we had a 2 hour ride home with James moaning (and occasionally roaring) in the back seat. It took him a while to realize that a tooth was missing (a loose baby tooth). He didn't like that either. Turns out he had 4 cavities. Luckily none of them were serious, but we do need to step up the oral hygiene. I don't think either of us wants another extreme trip to the dentist any time soon.

Eating Out

It is getting harder and harder to get James to sit down at a table for a meal. Doesn't matter if it is at home, dining out, plain chair, or padded seat ... He will not sit properly for more than half a minute.


 Enter dinner at a place called The Healdsburger. It used to be an A&W Drive-in, back in my day. So nice they've kept the best of the past while updating for current residents and visiting foodies.

After a rough couple of weeks, I took the kids there for dinner. This is how James waited for our food (one table away).



And this is how he ate it:


We will keep practicing sitting at meals, but it is nice to find a place that allows kids to roam around when dining out.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Happiness Is ...

Finding and playing with all our pals from Peanuts.


While we don't have a warm puppy, we do have two sweet cats!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Summer Evening Swim Class

I signed James up for swim classes again this summer with our town's Park & Rec. I have missed coming here.




Group swim lessons are one of the rare activities my kids have been able to share with others. The program is homegrown, with local teens teaching the kids. The setting, tucked away in the trees, is idyllic.

Summer is here and we are out in it!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Kimochis: Managing Emotions

Something new from James' ongoing sessions at the Swain Center: Kimochis.
Photo courtesy of The Kimochis® Feeling Lessons

I saw the handouts last week and thought: "Cute! Hmmm, why??" Then I completed the behaviours homework with James today and understood: the toys are something visual and tactile that James can use to understand emotions, body language from others, and learn how to better interact with other and regulate himself.

Each animal is identified with an emotion, and comes with a back story/history. The kids will learn more through a process that looks like it blends story boarding, picture schedulers, and PECS.

Like his biofeedback sessions, these lessons will visually help him connect what is going on inside him with the world and people around him.

This is all my take-away. For more about the actual program, see them online.

I had no idea this was out there. I am excited to see where this takes us.