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

Cook.

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 

🤓

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Well, cool



Yesterday evening during occupational therapy, Dominic was incredibly productive. First he did the chores that I had asked him to do before she arrived – including picking up the dog poop outside and folding his laundry. Then they came upstairs to work on fine motor and Dominic got really excited to make dinner. Only Wednesday is not dinner night. Monday is. So Dominic decided that he wanted to make the gluten-free dairy free macaroni and cheese as a reinforcer for doing his handwriting practice. He wrote his name in cursive six times, doing pretty well, and then he made himself dinner.   (The upper left is his model)





When I texted his classroom teacher to let her know that we have graduated from tracing a hayu later to do his cursive name to choosing just a model, she sent me the following link and asked if we’d seen it. Turns out the news was it Dominic’s school and he was on tv!


And then she and I had this conversation - we had told her that if state testing caused any undue stress I would
Immediately come sign the form exempting him:




Monday, April 23, 2018

When imaginary friends come to visit ....


When I was pregnant with Dominic, I joined my due date club at Mothering.com, and followed several of those ladies over to the less politically correct group, MamaDrama.  We posted there for a long time, those ladies got me through Dominic's regression and our new reality.  And not a one of them lived near me.

When Facebook came along and killed off the message boards, we moved ourselves to facebook and continue to share our daily lives with each other.  Many of us have special needs kids in a variety of flavors.  We support each other through life - we've done virtual birthday parties, baby showers, and funerals.  We've evolved far past an online group of random women - we are a community.

So when my friend Jenn told me she wanted to bring her 17 year old son Ben (spectrum, epilepsy, violence, aggression) to visit for a weekend, I had zero hesitation and cleared my schedule.  They spent this last weekend - a CLASSIC Colorado spring weather weekend - in town and we had a lovely time.

I want to point out a couple of things first...

- that all those folks who say that individuals with Autism don't want friends - is in both of our cases, very wrong.
- at different parts of the weekend, both Jenn and I noted how nice it was to be spending time with people who "got" our kids quirks and weren't phased.


We started the weekend on Friday, meeting Ben and Jenn at their hotel for swimming....


Obligatory Mom Selfie


The Boys hit it off really well and were frolicking pretty quickly after meeting each other.  Ben is much more Verbal than Dominic, so that helped. 


These folks are from Atlanta, so they were... nonplussed that Saturday we had enough snow to go sledding.  So we went sledding... (refer back to my statement about Classic Colorado spring weather)






Then, after a purposeful break time to allow both boys some breathing space,  we went back to the hotel and swam again before dinner, which is when I learned exactly how much Shepherds pie 2 teenage boys can inhale.  (Hint: ALOT)

Sunday dawned beautifully - as only Colorado can in the spring.  Sunny skies, and warm air.... So we did one more swim in the morning and went to Garden of the Gods after lunch.   By this swim, Dominic and Ben were BEST FRIENDS.






I always start showing out of towners Garden of the Gods from the scenic overlook, because of how amazing the view is,. and how big the rocks are up close comparatively.

A Random stranger took this picture. I'm rather pleased with it... 

First MIGHTY EAGLE post of the day...


The remainder of these we snapped as we followed the boys through the park... I'm super pleased at how well behaved Dominic was, how interactive and accepting of a peer, and how much fun we had.




















And there we have a double mighty eagle!


There were a couple of conflicts between them over the weekend, so it wasn't perfect.  BUT - none of those conflicts required more than the moms negotiating a compromise.  It felt... oddly normal. We don't get that very often. 

In the end, the verdict is that the weekend was a raging success and we have a standing invitation to visit them in Atlanta.  And they've lost their status of "Imaginary friends"














Monday, April 16, 2018

For the #whatjusthappened files

Monday remains the day that during home based OT, Doninic makes dinner.  There are a handful of easy recipes we're rotating around with the goal of teaching method, safety, and ease in the kitchen.

One of those recipes is egg cups. You take any combo of veggies/meats, put in a muffin cup, top with beaten egg and bake into a little hand sized frittatta.  We love them around here.  Tonight, Alyssa stood back and didn't say a word, letting Dominic just make them.  He got the steps way out of order, but the end product is delicious, and i'm eating it as I type

Of 10 steps, Dominic needed minimal verbal curing on  5 of them.  Mostly around the stove and safety.

What blew Alyssa's mind is that he didn't wander off at all the entire time.  His focus was laser.  Turns out all the chatting was distracting him.  Here we thought we were giving direction. Ooops.  What blew my mind is that after he got the egg cups in the oven he asked to cook asparagus and pasta.

Alyssa and I are officially impressed and suprised.

We're bouncing around ideas for helping increase his independence WHILE working on reading without giving him an easy way out.  Thinking maybe TYPED, large instructions with a picture of each step a la pioneer woman.  Would love any ideas / already made resources.....


Sunday, April 15, 2018

The fun stuff....


 

I know I’m having a hard time keeping this blog up to date but there’re multiple reasons for that. Being too busy isn’t one of them.  Enjoying watching Dominic blossom and just doing stuff with him are.  Today I wanted to share a couple of stories about last week because they are really cool examples of the things we’re starting to see as we peel more layers back and his speech (and subsequently personality) emerge more and more.





 

Kama

Backstory – very early – 4am -  Thursday morning, I woke up to the sounds of a dog crying. I thought it was Kumar who sleeps in his crate crying to be let out to go to the bathroom, so I staggered out of bed and opened his crate.  He looked at me with a very confused look on his face.  I went back to bed, assuming I had dreamed it, not even thinking about Kama because while Kama sleeps on his own bed in our walk in closet, he has access to go in and out as needed so that made no sense.  Fast forward to right around dinner time Thursday evening and I was petting Kama.  I petted all the way down his tail and he cried.  It was obvious he was in pain.  A closer examination determined that his tail was very inflamed and he’d been licking it. I didn’t see any blood or broken skin but the level of tenderness was concerning enough that I called our vet, talked about a couple of options and ended up giving him a doggie anti-inflammatory we had left over and made an appointment for Friday morning in case he still needed it. At this point I didn’t have any idea what could be wrong.  After a vet visit, xray to determine that his tail was NOT broken, professional exam, we theorize that he got bitten by a spider in the night and that’s why I heard him cry.  They shaved his tail to determine that there’s a place of more localized swelling.  So he’s got a big bandage on it, antibiotics (a lot. Like a gram 2x a day) in case it was a brown recluse and more anti inflammatories.  We go back for a bandage change next week.  Also, we own a 72lb poodle.  

 

Point of the story – Dominic got off the bus on Friday after school and his first words were “Kama, feeling better???” and he proceeded to love all over Kama.  Super sweet.   And showing concern, cognition, memory, and appropriate behavior.  Plus – empathy. 





 

Eggs

Backstory – Ya’ll know that for a long time Dominic’s breakfast was 3 fried eggs and a bowl of oatmeal. I taught him how to cook his eggs fried before I taught him how to cook them scrambled and these days he prefers scrambled eggs with grated manchego (sheeps milk cheese, which he CAN have)

 

Point of the story – Saturday morning Dominic was plugging along getting his breakfast together.  He got out 3 duck eggs, washed them, and proceeded to crack them into a hot skillet.  I just watched, assuming he’d decided he wanted fried eggs.  No more than 2 minutes later he turned to me with a look of absolute horror on his face –  and said “Mommy, SCRAMBLED??”  He realized he had forgotten a step and panicked a little bit. He got to learn how to scramble them in the pan instead of whipping them first.   

 




 

Chores and teenagerhood

We are continuing them, and every day there is SOMETHING that Dominic does around the house.  It ranges from picking up dog poop, to taking out the trash, to folding his laundry, to vacuuming.  What is hilarious to me is that every single thing I ask of him is met with a drawn out NOOOOOOOOOOOOO.  And then 10 minutes later he goes and does it.   Its such a glimpse into a typical teenager’s response that it makes my breath catch every time.  The other typical teenager thing we’re seeing *every* morning is that he wants to lounge on the couch in his pajamas watching videos (he’s totally figured out how to get to Netflix and amazon on our tv.  Better than we have), and does NOT want to get dressed.  I get up at 5:30am most mornings to walk on my treadmill which is right by the aforementioned sofa and every time I say “Dominic, go get dressed”, I get the “NOOOOOOOOO” in response.  Until I tell him I’m going to take care of the ducks without him. That gets him moving.

 

 

And all of these are bookended with the knowledge that we have a long way to go – as evidenced by his toy choice from Target today. Granted, he is playing with them entirely appropriately …..

 

 



Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Down Time

This is different.

About 2 weeks ago, on a Sunday afternoon, I realized that I had some downtime.   Let me say that again – I had no housework pending, no food to prepare, no requirements of me. I had exercised, fed everyone, supervised Dominic’s current chore list, and I had nothing that needed me immediately.  So I put together the new hammock swing that had been sitting in the garage for weeks waiting for us to have the time to set it up.

Since that point I’ve been aware, nearly every day, that there was at least one moment during which I had nothing pressing that I needed to do.

For YEARS, I’ve described taking care of Dominic as requiring the same level of supervision and support as a toddler.  You know how a toddler needs either assistance doing tasks or just plain can’t do tasks or is specifically unsafe doing tasks… that’s how Dominic’s competency has been until very recently.  Since January, these are the things that have CHANGED in our daily life, and I was doing ALL of the below before.

Dominic now:
- Takes care of the ducks 100% independently. This means letting them out in the morning, getting them food and water, and gathering eggs, and fluffing the bedding. It means exercising them during the day (letting them out and chasing them)  It means putting them to bed at night.  I actually went out to make sure that he’d done it right this morning because we didn’t hear the water running, and sure enough he’d gotten everything right.

- Takes care of the feeding the dogs every morning

- Picks up all the dog poop (Seriously, I haven’t had to do this in probably 2 months and he does it fully independently, several times a week). I WAS spending about half an hour every weekend just on this task.

-  Folds all his own laundry (we just toss it in his own basket and he takes care of it).  Granted, he then crams it into the drawers so it doesn’t STAY folded, but one step at a time.

- Vacuums.  He particularly enjoys using the hose attachment and will spend an hour on his hands and knees vacuuming.

- cooks his own breakfast (scrambled eggs) and cooks 1 dinner a week (with his OT, but we’re getting ready to try to generalize this skill)

- Gathers the trash and takes it out several times a week

The chores that we are working on learning and he will do with verbal cues from me are cleaning the toilet, sweeping the floor, preparing his lunch for the next day,  and washing the windows.

The sheer load that him doing all of this has taken off my shoulders is, in hindsight, way heavier than I realized I was carrying. I really was doing all the things for him that you do for a toddler aged child, and I didn’t realize until I had a few hours to set up a swing how foreign it was to have downtime. 

I had to send Dominic to his room Sunday night because he and Kumar were playing really rough and that was the only way I could stop the cycle.  What I don’t want is Kumar to bite Dominic in play, because Dominic pushes him that way.  So I sent him to his room at 5:45 and he actually stayed.  Rod went down to send him up for dinner and found him, arms crossed, legs up, with crocodile tears.  He wasn’t locked in, the doors were closed and he was told to spend some time calming down. And he did. 

We were talking last night after Dominic went to bed that it feels like he is now catching up some.  It feels like he’s maturing in a lot of different avenues. He is certainly talking much more clearly, and attempting conversations more frequently.  He’s able to sit and do first grade math. He’s able to identify a great portion of his sight words….

So, you say, what has changed. Why are we seeing this sudden progress?   Well, these are the things we’ve done since January
-        Trialed the androgen reducing protocol. This will be something we cycle in and out, I think. Purely based upon my intuition on how to manage it.  We’re finishing up the last bottles of supplements and will wait 3-6 months before adding them back.
-        Added Liovi and we are dosing per muscle testing each day. Its fluxuating, from 2-4oz per day.  We started at 2 drops and worked up to 4oz, then we’ve been able to back down.  I suspect that we will continue to fluxuate on how much he needs. This is such a strong probiotic that folks are seeing cognitive gains from it alone
-        Maintained our anti inflammatory protocol and mixed it up. Over the years we’ve used PEApure and of course CBD, and now he is muscle testing for both together. So we’re using both together right now.  PEApure crosses the blood brain barrier, so its interesting to me that after a solid 8 months on Prime My Body CBD, he’s now testing for it.  I suspect that it’s a layers of the onion thing.
-        Maintained and increased detox.  Dominic has a 15 minute infrared sauna every night and still does the IonCleanse by AMD footbaths 2-4 times a week. Once summer starts and he’s in the pool, he will cleanse every day that he’s in the pool.
-        Added neurological balancing technology from VoxxLife.  In all the years I’ve worked to heal Dominic’s brain, I’ve never seen anything work like these socks. (and insoles).  2 days into wearing them and he was asking WH questions in school.  We are now 6 weeks into wearing them. I have received reports of a presentation at their conference in Vegas last weekend where they shared brain scans before and after putting the technology on their body. When wearing technology, the entire brain lights up.  As soon as I see the slide presentation on youtube, I’ll share. I so hope it gets there.  To be able to improve brain processing without adding to the body load for excretion is revolutionary.  The immediate improvements of balance, swelling reduction, and stamina positively pale with this because think of what it can do for alzheimers, parkinsons, TBI’s….


All of these together are changing our life, for the better, so quickly. Its very exciting and offers a spark of hope.  I don't know yet if I dare fan that spark.... but while I think about it i'm going ton build the bookshelf that we bought from lowes over the weekend.  Because I'll have some downtimes.