Friday, April 5, 2019

spring break 2019

I’ve been trying to figure out for awhile how to write this up.  Because it is absolutely blog worthy and I know I haven’t written lately. (That’s by design, actually, with Dominic becoming more and more aware, I don’t want to ever have him say I overshared about something that he wanted private) 




This year I did something very different. I took the entire week of Dominic’s Spring Break off work and made plans to PLAY with Dominic.  I engaged a few available adult friends who were available and I think that was part of why I succeeded – I didn’t have to be personally 1000% hypervigilant the entire time.  Which, if I’m alone in a social situation with Dominic, I am.


So.  Spring Break, Day 1.  That was also Daddy’s day off work, so we did a birthday Redo. (he was sick this year on his birthday).  We went to the movies and saw How to Train Your Dragon, Followed by lunch at Tucano’s.  For those of you unaware of Tucano’s, its an all you can eat Brazilian place with a HUGE salad bar, gluten free rolls (naturally, not specially – they are made from Tapioca flour). This picture is of Dominic’s 4th plate from the salad bar. 


Day 2 we decided to go for a Hike at the park near the house, and followed that up with meeting a close friend for lunch and a Visit to the Wolf Sanctuary up near Divide.  Dominic is still, 2 weeks later, howling and talking about wolves and foxes.  He had the BEST time. 

 Day 3 was “catch up around the house and do appointments” day.  So we didn’t do anything terribly exciting, tho I did get his paperwork signed to switch him from CNA hours to IHSS hours (which will essentially double or more the hours that are authorized for his support) and got the form signed for handicap placards based upon the elopement risk (hedging my bets regarding high school situation – if we have to transport him, we need to be able to always pick up / drop off at the same spot and handicap placards are the best option I could come up with to ensure that happened)

Day 4, we drove North.  We met another friend for lunch at Red Robin in North Denver where Dominic inhaled 4 baskets of fries to her amusement and then we went to the butterfly pavilion in Broomfield.  It took a bit of time for Dominic to get past being scared (the butterflies are loose in a room like a rain forest.  They totally dive bomb you. He was FREAKED), but by our 4th rotation between the tarantula’s and the fish area, he was really enjoying himself.  

 Day 5 was a low key day because we were both a bit overdone and it snowed.


Then Saturday we went to see the new live action Dumbo.  That was a very weird movie.  They actually got what I call the LSD scene from the original animated one to happen with live action and somehow ended up releasing the elephants to the wild from the circus at the end. It was super odd. 


So.. why it was such a big deal is this. It’s the first week that I can remember legitimately ENJOYING hanging out with Dominic and doing stuff –watching how much he enjoyed himself (him actually enjoying himself!!).  A big part was that for the 2 places that I knew would be crowded and chaotic, I enlisted adult assistance from people who are close enough friends to not be remotely phased by Dominic’s quirks (one is even a retired teacher who subs sped classes these days).  So it wasn’t just me being hyper alert and trying to make sure that he didn’t break anything, didn’t run off, didn’t hurt himself, followed directions, etc.  I could sit back and enjoy watching him knowing that there was also a second set of eyes on him too.  Most people get to enjoy playing with their kids from about the time they become verbal and less dependent upon parents.  Dominic’s only just now coming into that time.  Its been a long time coming and I’m excited enough about how spring break went that I’m considering taking time off work this summer and doing more!!

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Practicing reading ...

Dominic loves the iPad.  A lot.  So we have a new rule - in order to get to play wth the iPad at home, he has to read a box of sight words (and their sentences) to a parent. 

The first day we did this he was really mad at me.  

The second day he asked for the iPad, I told him he has to do his words and he didn’t want to. So he didn’t get the iPad. 

The third day he didn’t even ask for the iPad

Today - day 4 - instead of asking for the iPad, he brought me a box of sight words.  So here are 2 videos of him practicing  reading.   I wish I could find more meaningful to him flash cards as this is agonizingly boring for him but we are getting there !!!!

Friday, September 21, 2018

Signature!!! We have a signature!!!

And this means we have achieved one of the major occupational Therapy goals I had - he needed a signature!  And what’s cool is he did the first one without a model.  I made him do a second for video .....

Monday, September 17, 2018

Epic Mic Drop - a review of 'How to End the Autism Epidemic'

Just when you think that you know all there is to know about the rise in Autism diagnoses, the underlying issues behind it, the politics of the Vaccine court, and whats coming – JB Handley comes out with a book that turns your knowledge on its head.  I was given the opportunity to read a review copy of  ‘How to End the Autism Epidemic’ a few weeks ago, and I spent labor day doing just that.  It is riveting, and from someone who lives it day in and day out, that’s huge. I normally steer away from this kind of book because it causes overload.

JB’s sentence in the introduction is really his purpose for the book; “I know that autism is preventable and recoverable, but we’ll never end this epidemic until we reckon with the lies and obfuscation that enable it”. This book shines a light on those lies that we keep hearing, and anyone who reads it with even a sliver of an open mind will come away from its reading with a far broader understanding of how we got to this situation and what we have to do to move on.

The lies we have all been told that JB discusses and with evidence discards in section one include:
-        Autism has always been there, we just called it something else
-        The Science is Settled
-        Media, Big Pharma, and the CDC are trustable and ethical

In the second section, now that we’ve put to rest the lies above, JB gets into the flurry of biological studies that have been published in peer reviewed publications since 2004.  These studies, when taken together as a big picture, show that we know, and HAVE KNOWN since at least that early that its an “immune activation event” in the brain that causes autism.  (And after all, isn’t “immune activation” the whole point of vaccines???).   JB presents the *on record* testimony of multiple, well respected, vaccine scientists who work for the government in speaking at vaccine court trials.  This was the biggest revelation for me – They knew.  They knew from BEFORE Dominic regressed.  He didn’t have to regress.   I was very angry when I finished this section. 

There is a legal battle happening right now, in civil court, which JB spends a goods amount of time discussing.  It may change everything because those experts above – they testified FOR the injured child.   And the government knows it.

JB wraps the book up with a plan to help recover these kids. He offers a roadmap that I, as someone who has lived recovery work for a decade now, agree with wholeheartedly.  Oh, and for the record – he isn’t antivaccine. He’s pro-safety.  The conclusion of his book recommends esentially keeping the vaccine schedule that was in place  before 1986 (the year that pharmaceutical industries had all liability for vaccine injury removed)

JB and I are friends in the way that only parents who have lived in a similar  hell can be.  Our boys actually seem pretty similar, they have both used the same tools in recovery.   A few times a year, JB and I compare notes and generally realize that we are doing the same thing again.   I am very proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with JB, and the plethora of other parents who KNOW what we saw in our kids and are working hard  to both give our kids the chance to have lives AND make sure that other kids don't have to go through this too. .   

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Bemer!!! Bemer!!! And School!!

We have now had Bemer Sessions 3 and 4, school has started, and we are ROCKING and Rolling.

so - feedback on the Bemer sessions:  thusfar is we are very pleased. Usually when we start to see improvements, they are pretty gradual.   here's a sampling of the cool moments since

From Occupational Therapist, Jonny:

And from his teacher:

Also from his teacher - When I picked Dominic up early yesterday for an orthodontist appointment (one of the best he's ever had, i might add), Math is going very well..  Last year, he required a literal hand to hold (asnd he needed that from Courtney when the summer started).  She gave him a work sheet with 6 problems on it, and told him to go do i t. It took him 15ish minutes to focus on doing it, but there was a moment when he yelled across the room "two plus three is five!!!!".  She said to him "good, now do the rest"  and he did.  What she noticed was that if 12 probnlems are on the paper, he can't focus on them. I reminded her about the convergence insufficiency and suggested that perhaps he literally couldn't see that many of them.  She's going to try making them bigger.

From speech therapy on Monday of this week - His visual processing speed is much faster.  Sarah is now laying out 3 sight words in a bit of a sentence and most of the time he's immediately identifying them. 

We are seeing much more frequent attempts at sentences.  All i'm having to do is cue the first word, and he's getting simple, but full, sentences out.

Last night's OT with Alex at home was cooking.  He made bacon wrapped chicken and GFCF brownies and got it all done in 40 minutes. He's following directions much better.  Alex noticed a change from TONS of scripting on Friday to almost no talking at all on Wednesday.  This is probably because he'd had his braces adjusted and was likely sore.  We'll watch it tho. 

I am ridiculously pleased with how the Bemer treatments are helping Dominic. If you're local to Colorado springs and interested in trying for yourself,  the chiropractor who offers it is doing free initial appointments in September.  If you'd like to meet him and talk to him about it,  now is the time.  Its not ever going to be cheaper than free.  He is Dr Jerry Guevara at 719-344-8057.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Documenting Bemer # 2

Dominic - without asking - made himself a lemonade electrolyte drink to go with his lunch.  They are in the supplement Cubbard so totally out of sight. 

And he is verbal stimming like mad right now.  I am so hoping it’s the precursor to more speech attempts.   

He was very verbal about being very grossed out by Kumar’s drooling In the car  on the way to the groomer ....

During evening occupational therapy today, Dominic cut their entire dinner. He made smothered chicken thighs, green beans, and gluten-free pasta. All of those things he made in under 45 minutes with Alex. He then was able to do all of the putting food into the oven, all of the Pasta water draining, etc. without requiring oven mitts. This is significant because he has been terrified of the oven and pans and has wanted to be fully loved up even to come within a few inches of the stove. Big change.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Documenting / bemer session 2

- no noticeable stimming the next day when we did the Ioncleanse right after the bemer treatment. 

- verb usage is continuing and has generalized

- Jonny was blown away at Dominic actually saying “my turn” during a game at occupational therapy

- as we were leaving OT, Dominic had a very focused interaction with my friend Jayme and her baby boy.   He gave the baby a high five, said hello, was totally connected.  Jayme - with whom we have done many things - looked at me behind his back and mouthed “what just happened!?!?!”  Then requested the chiropractor’s information for her oldest, Dominic’s friend Kane.  

Next session Friday.  I have added an electrolyte drink now daily because he sauna’s every night, does the Ioncleanse a few times a week and now is doing Bemer twice a week and that’s a hellova detox stack.  

Monday, August 13, 2018

More documenting / bemer session 1

One of the things that has been super hard for Dominic is to produce sentences with verbs and nouns in them.   I swear we have been cueing every word for years

So ... Sunday Dominic watched fox and the hound approximately 37 times.  He came upstairs at one point at said “fox, hurt”.  I started the process of cueing with “the....” and he said “the fox is hurt”

He repeated it several time and then generalized it to “the fox is home”.  He did this again in front of his speech therapist, Sarah, this morning.  

Tonight will be Bemer session #2, which I will follow immediately with a footbath to see if that helps the stimming 

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Documenting / bemer session 1

I have had a friend encouraging us to try bemer sessions on Dominic for months if not years.  We now have an opportunity to do so, 2x a week and Dominic’s first session was last night.  Bemer sessions are highly anti inflammatory.  We put the sensors around his head for brain inflammation. 

I immediately noticed a shift in compliance - he earned a trip to target for laying still and quiet with the session and I told him he had to pick a toy under $10.  He wanted something that was $40 and when I told him no, he didn’t argue. He found something else. 

Then last night it took a LONG time to get him to bed.  His appetite was down (it took almost 2 hours and he didn’t finish his favorite dinner - pizza), and he fought bedtime til almost 9 which for him is very late

His morning he had occupational therapy.  His therapist was nearly 20minutes early and I was still in the shower.  Dominic let her in and was completely compliant about starting therapy.  This is unusual. Usually we have to badger him to get him to start working.   The beginning of the session he was very verbal and communicated well.  Midway through, he started stimming pretty hard which for him looks like biting his forearm while maniacally laughing.

The increase in stimming is actually not surprising to me as a result to anti inflammatory treatment.  I am going to give him a footbath today and will report back on th  results.  

So for results from a first session, I am pleased and cautiously optimistic.  

 Random picture from it on Wednesday’s ot session where he made brownies - because where else would you store the whisk so as to not lose the yummy goodness?

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

The frogs.

Most of you know that Daddy is a yoga teacher.  Many years ago, he was given  this set of frogs, and they've been out since.  Dominic has ignored them. 

Last night, I was attempting to corral him for bed (like the Dr Who Jammies?) and he went into the guest room (where the frogs live. I caught up with him and found this. 

So of course, I got the frogs out for him to try all 3 poses:

Looks like we need to work on his flexibility.....

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Renaissance faire and incredibles 2

We decided to have a Family Play day yesterday.  We went to breakfast, the Renaissance faire (opening weekend!) and to see the Incredibles 2.

We started at our favorite little breakfast diner, Gunther Toody's.  Dominic ate his breakfast, demonstrated good knife skills for the first time ever, then ate 2/3 of my breakfast and half of Daddy's.

Then we made our way up the road to the Renaissance faire's opening day and spent about 4 hours wandering around...

family selfie!

Elephant on his arm

all done.  He washed it off when he went to the bathroom a few hours later.... 

Happiness is riding an elephant

annual cuddle with the crane....

And of course, riding the Camel

Petting zoo... the Zebu's are tiny cows with shoulder humps.  

annual fountain pic....

So we came home and cooled off for a little bit then headed to the movies.  Dominic has been anxiously awaiting Incredibles 2 for MONTHS and he LOVED it. He loved it so much that after we got home and i was putting him to bed, he INITIATED a conversation. I got him to do it again for the camera, but guys... HE INITIATED  IT!!!!

Monday, June 11, 2018

Whooops!!! a giant catch up post

So the last thing i shared was that Dominic was cooking with his OT Alyssa, the beginning of May.

Oh my have we been busy...

- 2 weeks after that post, Alyssa moved to Texas and We got a new OT, Miss A, who I need to ask if I can post about and Dominic seems to be handling the transition beautifully.

- School ended. 7th grade is a wrap. He made A's and C's, which baffles me because he is most assuredly academically way behind, but I pay more attention to him than the numbers.   He had a choir concert the end of the year in which we captured him ACTUALLY singing.  He has been attempting to sing along with his movies a lot recently too.

note the super chill teenage pose his teacher got a picture of between sets...

- After said concert we took him out for chicken wings for a special dinner.  He ate 30, along with a pile of fries.  We are going to go broke getting him through teenagerhood.

- our Kama has had a rough spring - in late April he got bitten on the tail by a spider (we suspect recluse), and after 3 weeks of antibiotics and bandages we had to have half of his tail amputated because it had gotten necrotic.  After a full 6 weeks in bandages, we got them off on Friday. Dominic has been keeping a close eye to make sure that Kama doesn't chew on it, and has been saying "its all better now"

- We have gotten 1 week and 1 day into our summer schedule.  Miss Courtney, Dominic's favorite camp counselor from last summer, is being his companion (because he's too old for a nanny) and they have been super busy.  His weekdays go like this:
1. Before Breakfast:  Clean the duck pond and feed the ducks
2. Make his own breakfast (this involves only reheating egg cups and making oatmeal)
3. Do chores (2 out of the following list each day, we have a chart: pick up dog poop, take out                       the trash, vacuum, sweep, wash the windows)

4. Walk a dog (we do this to settle him before the next)
5.  Academics (they are doing math, reading and practicing cursive each day.  The workbook                    they are using right now is a 1st grade level, and i'm so proud that he's actually getting                         it)

 6. Make his own lunch (last week it was clean out leftovers from the freezer week and there                          were a lot of random sandwiches)
7.   Go do an outside activity - I got them memberships to The Swimmery and the Zoo and they've                  also gone to the trampoline place.  I expect the pool and zoo to be the standbys but that
             they will do other stuff too.

I am so pleased at how well its going. I knew the first week would be rough, but its actually been better than I expected.  The funny part of this is that Thursday (so day 4 of this experiment), Dominic literally turned the whiteboard with his schedule around so that he didn't have to do it.  Spoiler - we turned it back around.

- He's started doing this weird "Me want" phrasing. I was annoyed by it and worried that it was a regression (we've been trying for "I want" for along time) until I mentioned it to Miss Sarah, our speech therapist and she pointed out that is a developmental stage that toddlers go through as they learn to talk.  That makes me excited that he's filling in a developmental hole there. :)  She told me this morning that he has been super focused the last 3-4 weeks for her, which coincides with adding this particular homeopathic blend our Chiropractor recommends (he gets kids off ritialin with it).  While D has NEVER been on RItalin, increased focus was super nice.  Contemplating reintroducing coffee to him for the same reason.....

- Speaking of the chiropractor.... The change that started when we added the VoxxLife technology, where Dominic didn't scream / complain during an adjustment has held.  Every appointment now, Dominic goes back alone (WOW), and is completely compliant. Doc is just blown away.

- we are about 14 months into braces and we have accomplished our primary objective - which was to make room in his mouth for all his teeth.  We are at the point where everything else is gravy and we are about to start trying to fix his underbite.

- Over Memorial day weekend, we had a duck (same one that had a kidney infection last fall and antibiotics) start breathing weird.  The only vet in town that takes waterfowl was closed, of course, so all i could do was home remedies.  I think she couldn't handle the heat due to her kidney stuff.  Anyway, she did this for a few days and ended up dying.  What was remarkable is that Dominic came inside after putting the ducks in their house for bed and told "Duck.... dead?"  I didn't actually know he understood the concept of death.

In a moment that is totally the harbringer of teenagerhood.... note the manchild tweezing his unibrow.... i was in the bedroom loosely supervising shower and it was too quiet....

Wednesday, May 2, 2018


For a little bit of background, Mondays are our scheduled occupational therapy cooking days for which I prepare a relatively simple recipe, by the ingredients, and get the kitchen ready. Wednesday’s are supposed to be our focus on fine motor where Dominic practices his hand writing turn taking via playing games and etc. This is how our afternoon has gone:

Alyssa our OT came over and asked Dominic if he would like to play game with her. Dominic looked at her and with his funny little accent said “Cook”.

Alyssa asked him what he would like to cook. Dominic responded by saying egg cups. No egg cups require me to actually have purchased some fresh vegetables, and made sure that the ducks had given us enough eggs to make this happen and I literally had made a batch of them last night. So instead i rummaged through the pantry and found some
Gluten free pasta sauce and a cake mix.  They are currently multitasking