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Everything posted by Storygirl

  1. Storygirl

    OCD, ASD?

    Just to clarify, I wrote mostly thoughts about ASD in my post, above, because that is what I know about. I think that there are things in your description that could point toward either result, and that to figure it out with more certainty, professional help would be needed. By the way, in our situation, the need to get in the last word, no matter what, is related to Theory of Mind, now commonly called perspective taking. Some people with autism only see things from their point of view and cannot consider the other person's perspective. Not only can it cause friction socially, but it can also impact academics in multiple ways, including reading comprehension (because understanding characters is important for understanding the story).
  2. Storygirl

    OCD, ASD?

    It can be hard to distinguish between things that are due to OCD or ASD or even tics, and it can take a professional to sort it out. Often more than one professional, since they specialize in different things. I have a few thoughts that are just from me as a parent, without medical basis, but perhaps if OCD is involved and is treated, it would become more apparent which traits might be something else. Autistic traits can be tricky, because they are supposed to be evident from very early years, but the manifestation of the traits can also change over time. So something that a child did when two is not exactly what they do now, but the underlying reason is the same. For example, when my son was two, his particular obsession was his toy vacuum. He is not still attached to that now. But he is attached to playing his drum set or his bass guitar now as a teen. And he had other perseverative interests along the way; they changed focus, but they were there. So, if you are noticing something like a perseverative interest in nail polish or other grooming now, it can be a teen expression of the general need to fixate on one thing, which is common for many who have ASD. DS's interest in his hair is another of his perseverative interests, by the way. He washes it, gels it, spikes it, takes pictures, talks about it, repeats comments that friends have made about it, has to redo it after school and before going back out of the house, and so on and so forth (DS has ASD). Because therapeutic help is available for both of these things, I think evaluations would help. DS was against having evaluations this past summer, so we gave him a lot of lead time, and we talked about why, and we gave him a big incentive for participating in the sessions with the psychologist. (His incentive happened to be going to get his hair shaved on the sides and spiked on the top, because he was intent on having that hairstyle.) So there can be ways to increase buy-in from the child, if you decide that you want to pursue some professional help without her being too willing.
  3. I stopped doing cards perhaps 10 years ago. I still wanted to do them, and would even get the photos of the kids printed on cards, but I wasn't getting them sent out. I tried organizing them early and sending them out right after Thanksgiving, but I found I had trouble making that happen, too. After a couple of years of ending up with the stack of unsent cards, I decided just to stop doing it. I regret it, a bit, now, because I'm also not on Facebook, and the Christmas greetings were my only connection to some of my old friends. When I stopped sending cards, people stopped sending them to me, and now I get very few. Many of those connections are gone, now, and I never hear from them. As long as you won't regret not GETTING cards any more, I think it's fine to stop sending them. But realize that once you stop, others will take you off of their lists.
  4. The services available will depend on where you live and also what each organization determines that the needs are. The above are just examples of things that we've discovered in our area so far. I also thought it may be helpful for DS to be able to advocate for himself by naming his diagnosis, should he so choose. One of the problems for employment for him is that he can come across as uninterested or unwilling, when really he has communication barriers that make him appear to not care, even if he does (he has a flat facial expression and does not interact much verbally). He also can misunderstand what to do and fail to ask questions. Employers may be confused by these things, and we thought that it may help him to be able to say, "I am on the spectrum." Whether he will want to or need to or not, I don't know. But it's something that might help him. It's an option now for him, whereas it was not before. His previous list of diagnoses was long and cumbersome, and it would not help him advocate for himself very well by naming them. Many people do not disclose to employers. It's a personal choice, of course. Sometimes employers will know that disabilities are at play anyway, if job coaching or other services were involved when they obtained the job. But having the diagnosis does give that option, should DS choose to disclose.
  5. Getting help preparing for employment is our number one priority. Because DS will not be going to college, he needs to have some work skills by graduation. But there are other things that he needs help with, and having the diagnosis makes it easier. Driving, for example. DS also has ADHD and very weak visual spatial skills, so we expect driving to be very hard for him. Getting his license and being a good driver will make having a job and being independent much, much easier. The county and state services will help pay for driving services. So, he is scheduled first for an OT evaluation to determine driving readiness, and the county will pay for a portion of that bill. If he needs OT to get ready, and if our insurance won't cover it, the county can help pay for the additional OT. If he can't pass the road rules test to get his temps, the state will pay for a private tutor to help him prepare for the test. If he needs adaptive driving lessons once he has his temps, the county can help pay for those. We've been told that it can cost $5000 or more for these services, so we are glad to be able to have help with that. DS does not take instruction well from DH and me (we can get him to cooperate usually, but he gets angry and it's frustrating for everyone), so we are not sure that we will be able to teach him to drive. DS can also get help from the county with personal skills, like learning how to shop for food, prepare meals, clean up after himself, etc. If he is unable to drive, the county can provide transportation to work or appointments. After he ages out of the teen services and is expected to be more independent, he can get help paying for medication or therapy appointments, and he can have a job coach and help with finding living arrangements, if needed. Although we consider it our primary responsibility to build these skills, DS is delayed in some areas, and sometimes he can learn better from someone outside the family.
  6. DS15 was just diagnosed this year, and the psychologist told me that she frequently gets cases where teens have a long list of other diagnoses but not autism, and she said it seems to her that practitioners sometimes tiptoe around, looking at things symptom by symptom, and are reluctant to make a bigger diagnosis. She did run the ADOS on him for the first time, and he did score in the diagnostic range. The ADOS is subjective, so having someone else run it might end up with a different result, especially if he was on the line. I think the psych told me that she needed a score of 7 to diagnose. If you know the score that your son received, that might help you get a picture of how close to the border he scored. The diagnosis did not change anything that DS deals with, of course. But it can qualify him for additional services, and as he approaches adulthood, we wanted to make sure that he has assistance other than from us as parents to launch into adulthood. DS has what also could seem like selective mutism. He is chatty at home (about his interests) and with friends (he has finally developed some friends at school, though they don't socialize otherwise). But around other adults, he reverts to yes/no answers and says as little as possible. We are specifically worried about that with regard to employment. DS qualifies for services through our county. But the most helpful thing so far is that he qualified for vocational rehabilitation services through our state. Our state has a job training program for teens at risk. This last summer, DS took a month long training course in job skills, and they also visited various job sites to see what teens can do at work. Next summer, he will be provided with an actual paying job for five weeks, in a small group with other teens and a job coach. If he does well at that, the summer that he is 17, a job coach will help him find and apply for his own job. Services like that are so worth having the diagnosis, for us. Also, his tendency to go silent is something that we are working on from several angles. He gets speech therapy at school, but it's not enough to address all of his communication needs, so we are planning to have him do some private work, as well. DS also hates therapy, because he has to talk. But we recently found him a counselor who has experience working with those on the spectrum. This guy says that he considers bonding with the therapist to be 80% of what results in a good outcome. That is exactly what DS needed, and he is actually talking some to this counselor each week. It's still hard to get him to talk, but they are working on it. DS has hated and rejected therapy before, so I was very nervous about trying again. I did not want to add to his negative impressions of accepting outside help. But so far, so good. Having the diagnosis to help explain what is going on is helpful, in that people who are experienced at working with those on the spectrum will have knowledge of techniques and an understanding of how to connect that a general psych may lack. I felt the same as you, that I didn't want to be chasing a diagnosis, and we put off getting a second opinion for five years. But I'm glad we did it. You may want to contact your county board of disabilities to see what they need to qualify him for services. And someone there should be able to tell you how to connect with other programs through the state. We've found that it can be hard to figure out what kind of things are out there to provide help, and sometimes you just have to start with one person and ask them for suggestions. (That first person for us was the special ed coordinator at DS's school.)
  7. It is tricky, because students can refuse to use 504 accommodations (or IEP accommodations, for that matter). So there does need to be some buy-in on his part. The big thing that perhaps he would agree to is having extra time to complete assignments. The benefit would be that if he misses a due date and would normally get a zero, he has the chance to turn the assignment in the next day (or whenever the extended time would allow). That could cut down on the number of 0s significantly. He would still need to turn things in, though. If the problem is that he really does not care and refuses to do the work, having extra time wouldn't help. If the problem is that he is forgetting to do the work and forgetting to turn it in, that accommodation should help. And it wouldn't make him stick out among his classmates in any way. None of them would have to know that he was allowed to turn in work late but still get credit. Sometimes kids don't want accommodations, because they don't want to be different, but it wouldn't matter in this case.
  8. I hosted our adult church Sunday school group last month. I passed around a sign up sheet with the categories of side dishes or dessert, and people just put their names, not what they would bring. I made a few things myself, just so that we would be sure to have a full selection of items, and things still went wrong. I made mac 'n cheese, and someone else brought some, as well. I just left my batch in the oven and didn't bring it out. Out of the three people who agreed to bring desserts, two told me that they weren't coming after all, on the day of the event, so I scrambled to put a cobbler in the oven (I had some frozen blackberries). Everyone enjoyed the food, but it was stressful for me. The next time, I will either make it a snacks and desserts only event, so that it won't matter if major food groups are not represented, or I will ask people to list exactly what they are bringing.
  9. And I would guess, coming from public school, that she has not seen anything close to that complexity of word problems in her past studies. If you are committed to using this math approach, you may need to back up to the prealgebra level and build the required skills first.
  10. I may be the only one to think this, but I think that math problem example is extremely hard. In addition to math skills, it's requiring a huge amount of logical thinking, plus being able to think through the problem by talking it through in your head with words, in addition to numbers. Yes, I realize that algebra requires logical thinking and word problems. But DS14 is taking algebra now in 8th grade (public school), and he is not getting anything similar to that assigned to him. Word problems, yes. Problems that look like that example, no. Perhaps, even if your daughter is ready for algebra, Paige, she is not ready for that particular approach, and you might try a different math program. Sometimes the logic skills just aren't that advanced yet, even if the math skills are at algebra level. Honestly, I think that DD17, who is in precalculus, would struggle to to that math problem (logic is not her strong suit). I am not criticizing that math program, because I am sure there are plenty of students who are ready for that kind of approach when they hit algebra. But there are also students who are not ready for word problems that are that complex, and that's okay. But it means that a curricula that includes complex word problems is going to be frustrating.
  11. DD14 had absolutely beautiful handwriting when she was 6 and 7. She could easily have won a handwriting contest. But she was carefully drawing the letters and not truly writing the words. By third grade, her handwriting was an illegible scrawl, because she could not think about the shape of the letters at the same time as she could process the sounds of the letters/words.
  12. Storygirl


    You've Got Mail True Grit (2010) Men in Black Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey, Jr. series) We Bought a Zoo Miss Congeniality Legally Blonde Gravity Kate and Leopold The Holiday American President Dave About Time Speed Oceans 11 and sequels Apollo 13 Hidden Figures The Martian Marshall Truman Show League of Their Own Seabiscuit Life of Pi Mama Mia Anything with Meryl Streep or Tom Hanks Julie and Julia City Slickers Saving Mr. Banks Lord of the Rings Anything Marvel (If you haven't seen any, I'd start with Iron Man or Captain America or Thor) I have a list on my phone of things that I would watch with my teens, or things that I've seen that my husband has not, that I think he'd like. These are some of the titles on that list.
  13. It sounds like it could be ADHD to me. The lack of focus wouldn't be due to a skill gap, in my opinion. The issue we've had with getting DD14 a diagnosis is that her teachers think she is doing great, and they don't indicate issues when they fill out the teacher forms for the pediatrician to diagnose. Do you think that you would be able to get enough input for someone to diagnose your daughter? In the meantime, would she listen to audio versions of the texts while doing her reading? That might help with the pacing. Would she be willing to use a timer while she works? Not to get her to race to finish things. But if she heard a ding every 7 or 10 minutes, perhaps it could serve as a little reminder to get back on task, if her mind has wandered. I was listening to the online autism summit this week, and one of the speakers suggested doing this and making a hash mark on a chart with each ring of the timer, just to record "on task" or "off task." Some students can be motivated to increase their time on task, if they are kind of competing with themselves to improve.
  14. When DD17 got a part-time job, we opened an account for her at the same credit union where we bank. We were able to link her account to ours online, so that we can move money easily from our account to hers, if needed. She did get a checking account, because that is what her debit card is linked to, but she also has a savings account. I think her paycheck goes into her savings account, but she can move some money easily to checking if needed. She has written a couple of checks for things, but I think only one or two over the time she has had her account. We opened savings accounts for our three younger teens this summer. They don't have jobs yet and don't need debit cards, so we didn't add checking accounts for them yet. We are planning to have DD17 open a Roth IRA through the credit union, as well, but we have not done it yet. Her contributions will not be very significant, but we think it's good for her to start young. We may match her contributions ourselves in some way, to give her a head start on her long-term savings.
  15. It sounds promising, Dawn!!!! A shorter commute would make a big difference -- I hope you get it!
  16. You may be aware of this, but you can change your Fastpasses on the app on your cell phone. We did this a lot when we were there. Sometimes we would have a 3:00 FP and walk by the attraction at 2:15 and see that there was no wait, so we would walk in. Then we could switch the FP to a different attraction. Have fun!
  17. I agree that math and language arts (including writing and literature) should happen daily. Perhaps you can switch to doing science for fall semester and history for spring semester (or vice versa). And do the same for art and music, although if he practices an instrument, that should be daily. How is his reading comprehension? My son has a similar list of issues (plus ASD), and reading comprehension issues have a big impact on what he is able to do academically. He could not do well with a heavy load of reading and needs to learn via other methods. I think it's good to consider not only what your son is saying about the books and make some adjustments, but also think about WHY it's hard for him. Even if Life of Fred is working for him, I would think about switching to a math curricula that is not based on reading. I would think about making science less book heavy. Watch science videos. Do hands-on experiments. I don't know if you are have a particular subject he is learning for science this year, or if he is just meant to learn by reading science books of various sorts. It sounds like he is doing about two hours of schoolwork total? You mention that you want to increase that, but he is resistant. I think it's normal for a 12 year old to resist the idea of more work, and that you may need to make some changes anyway. Does he have a cooperative attitude? Perhaps you can think about the structure of your day and whether it is working effectively for him, or not. Kids with EF and attention issues do need some different kinds of support. Also, you mention inattention and EF but not ADHD. I don't know what kind of evaluations you have have had, but I'm wondering if there may be some underlying things going on that haven't been identified yet.
  18. DH was an athlete as a student and had a ton of trophies. I think we finally threw them out, but they may be hiding in a box in the basement. DD17 has some from dance competitions, and we've talked about her disposing of them before she goes to college. We did use one as a white elephant gift years ago. It was a "last place" bowling trophy. Who gives a trophy for last place? LOL. The person who got it in the gift exchange loved it, because she said she had never earned a trophy and had always wanted one.
  19. Kathy Dow-Burger It was really helpful for me to here her explain connections between language and EF and Theory of Mind and problem solving.
  20. There are some states that require all students to take either the SAT or ACT during their junior year, whether they are college bound or not. Our state requires one or the other, and most schools choose to administer the ACT to all students. One article I read said that 20 states contract with the ACT for this purpose. I imagine that some of the reduced scoring may be related to these newer state guidelines. It is sad to see the statistics for the lower scores, but I think that looking at statistics for one test doesn't necessarily paint the full picture. My opinion about testing scores has changed, since I've had children of my own -- one of whom tests lower (average) but is an A student in school, and two who have learning disabilities that affect standardized test scoring in a way that doesn't reflect their complete abilities. With that said, I would love to see American students performing better over all, and I think there are some major problems within the education system.
  21. On Monday, we had DS15's annual IEP meeting, which was important and took up quite a bit of time in preparation. Since then, I've accomplished very little, and I've also been feeling gloomy, due to the weather and time changes. Today I need to perk up and get a few things done. ✔️Run dishwasher Put clean dishes away Vacuum down the stairs and on first floor ✔️Finish grocery list and do shopping ✔️Wash towels Appointment for DS after school Reschedule an appointment for DD that we forgot to go to on Monday. Sigh Bible study tonight, but I'm way behind and have completed less than half of the book. Decide whether to drop and start again when they start a new book, or keep going. Library books due and one on hold to pick up.
  22. We were on Royal Caribbean Anthem of the Seas, which is one of their larger ships, and I think it (or another similar ship) might suit your family's needs. They have a large recreation area that has space for playing video games, playing ping pong or air hockey, or just hanging out. A large open area in the middle was sometimes used for bumper cars and other times for basketball or dodge ball. Sometimes activities were age restricted, and you had to show a wristband to prove you are a teen, but the rest of the time, anyone could go and use that space. The Anthem also has three pools-- one indoor, one outdoor, and one adults only. Oh, I think a kiddy pool, too. There is place where you can get pizza almost any time, there is a hot dog stand, and there are some fun shows (some that are free still require advance registration). You can pay for extras, such as time on the wave boards. The casino is down in the basement area, and we never saw it, though we knew it was there. My teens really enjoyed the ship. You can make dinner reservations for a set time or just show up at a restaurant or the buffet. They do have restaurants where you can pay to eat extra fancy meals, but we didn't bother and didn't feel we missed out by eating the free food. RC has a private island and just renovated it to include a waterpark. You do have to pay extra to enter the waterpark, but the beach there was really nice (the waterpark was not open yet when we were there, but we probably would not have paid extra for it). On that trip, we didn't pay for any excursions or extra food. I did buy the soda package just for myself, because I don't drink coffee and need the caffeine, but otherwise, we paid for no drinks. We don't drink alcohol, and you could get ice tea, coffee, flavored waters, and lemonade for free any time, and there was free juice at breakfast. So we had to pay for being on the ship, the airfare, one night at a hotel the night before, and transportation to and from the airport. Plus the gratuities for room steward and wait staff, which was automatically billed to our account (there is a predetermined, recommended amount, but you could give extra if desired). The gratuities add up, but the staff works hard. If you don't have them yet, you would all need passports. I think a cruise might be a nice choice for your young adults, if you pick the right ship. Some ships are easier to navigate around and have more interesting things for young adults to do, than others. I have not booked through AAA. We have used an online travel agent sometimes, because they can provide some perks not available if you order directly from the cruiseline. Usually (or maybe always), travel agents cannot offer a lower price, but they can sometimes add on things like room credit or free meals in the upscale restaurants. You could get a quote from AAA and also get a quote for buying directly from the cruiseline and compare. Prices in general do vary, depending on how far in advance the voyage is booked, the location and amenities of the room selection, and how full the ship is (if they have a lot of empty rooms close to the sail date, the prices may drop).
  23. I thought this was interesting in a relevant way. Sometimes getting into trouble is what turns a person's life around for the better.
  24. The Bronze Bow is Lexile 760. I agree that historical fiction can contain a lot of extra things to understand, versus realistic contemporary fiction or even fantasy or dystopian books, such as The Hunger Games. In books that are set in an imaginary future, the author knows that she has to set the scene and explain the background for all readers, so those things will be built in to the story. But for historical fiction, authors may assume the readers have background knowledge that they do not. And it can be hard to imagine what life use to be like.
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