Friday, November 28, 2008

What About The Leftovers?

Leftovers – lots of leftovers – turkey, gravy, yams, stuffing, green beans, rolls. One of the best things about Thanksgiving dinner is having leftovers for the next few days. One of my favorites is a hot turkey sandwich – leftover turkey piled high on leftover yeast rolls and then covered in leftover gravy. After a few days, we are driven to get creative with the leftovers, but to me, they are still just as good.

Did you know that a lot of the children in foster care, children waiting for a family to call their own, feel like leftovers? They have watched their friends and sometimes their family members get adopted, but they still wait. The feel like the leftovers that everyone has grown tired of.

But just as we get creative with our Thanksgiving leftovers, we can get creative with the children who wait for a forever family. It’s certainly not going to be easy to bring a teenager into your family, a teenager who has been rejected so many times that he will try to reject you. It’s not easy to bring the group of three siblings home to your quiet, clean house, but trust me, they won’t have much to bring with them to mess up your house. Or the child with significant disabilities that is spending her life in an institutional setting – all she wants, even if she can’t verbalize it, is to wake each morning with the knowledge that she is loved and wanted.

As National Adoption Awareness Month draws to a close, I implore you to examine your lives closely and see if there is any way possible that you can bring home a child who believes he is a leftover that no one wants.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

This is a tough year to be thankful. I’ve even stopped watching the nightly news because the continued talks about the failing economy, home foreclosures, layoffs and such depress me greatly. Yes, I am probably just sticking my head in the sand, but now, especially during the holidays, I don’t need to be depressed.

I don’t believe there is any person among us who has not been touched in some way by the grim economic situation this country is facing. But, I have to keep telling myself, and my sons because they worry also, that this is part of a cycle. Perhaps it is time for the greedy world of wants and not needs to get a wake up call. It’s hard though, especially for a child, when they haven’t experienced the full cycle before.

I do believe that as parents we need to make sure our children do not get too preoccupied and concerned with the gloom and doom. We can create lessons to be learned, but we, or at least I, don’t want to create anxiety.

So for today, let’s all find something for which we can be thankful. Be it small things or big things, I believe we can all find something. Share those things with your children, and ask them to share with you their list of thanks.

Our world, though troubled, is still a beautiful, special place to live and grow.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Special Exposure Wednesday

Two years ago, I started this blog with a story about Ashley dancing with a boy. That boy, Miles, was her first real crush, and while they attended middle school together, whenever I said his name, she would get the biggest smile on her face.

Unfortunately, Miles moved to high school this year. But last Friday, Ashley ran into Miles at a local grocery story. You can tell from the expression on her face that if he said, "Ashley, let's run away to Alaska, shoot moose, and watch turkeys being slaughtered", she would immediately start packing her rifle.

She definitely has not forgotten Miles...

Make sure to visit 5 Minutes For Special Needs to see all the other great SEW photos!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Dog Brain on Drugs

Adjusting to life with Rocky dog has been quite an adventure so far – both for the family and for Rocky. The dog which came home from the SPCA with us was calm and well-behaved. Once he figured out that we had to go to school and work 5 days a week, he was a little miffed. And he expressed his displeasure by destroying his crate – actually 3 crates – and wreaking havoc around the house.

The vet calls it extreme separation anxiety. And on Friday, Rocky was prescribed seizure medicine – Phenabarbitol – to help ‘calm’ him. The vet called in the prescription to our local pharmacy, and the pharmacist had a great laugh as she entered Rocky’s information into our family record of medicines. We are probably one of their best customers, if not the best given all the prescriptions my kids and I take. And now we have one more family member on their roles. If only my insurance prescription coverage extended to Rocky….

Rocky’s meds seem to be helping a bit. We took a couple of short trips over the weekend to see how he would handle the situation. He didn’t destroy another crate, although he did bark a lot when we left. But I was encouraged. Yesterday morning and this morning, I could almost read it in his eyes that he knew we were going for a longer time. Yesterday he barked a while, but then settled down, and he didn’t get out of his crate. This morning he barked a little longer, and I won’t know until this afternoon how he does with the whole day.

He’s such a good dog other than the separation anxiety and his strange obsession with Tickle Me Elmo, and I really hope we can work through this. If anyone has other ideas, I would love to hear them!

Monday, November 24, 2008

My Sorority Sisters

I didn’t belong to a sorority when I was in college, but I feel like I belong to one now.

I ran into one of my sorority sisters in the parking lot at Target yesterday. She, like I, was struggling to get a wheelchair out of the back of a vehicle. The slight smile on her face told me that it was just as difficult for her as it was for me.

Another sister and I connected at the restaurant where I was picking up dinner on Saturday night. Her son with Down Syndrome was very loudly telling everyone at the bar why they shouldn’t be drinking. His mom looked into my eyes, then noticed my daughter shredding all the napkins while waiting for our pickup, and a look of absolute understanding passed between us.

My sisters are everywhere – in the hair salon holding their daughters in death grips and hoping for a passable haircut – at the grocery store putting as many items back on the shelf as they take off the shelf – in the waiting room at our children’s hospital tube feeding their teenagers – and standing outside the women’s restroom trying to decide how they will help their almost-adult son with his toileting needs.

No matter what town I visit, my sisters and I recognize each other. We don’t have special handshakes or secret words or sappy songs we sing. We have our children and the unshakeable knowledge that we are not alone.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Can't We Do Better?

I attended a meeting this week at the day support facility for my oldest daughter, Jessica. Jessica is going to be 18 years old in just a couple of weeks, and after school and on school holidays she attends a program at one of our local facilities that specializes in day support for people with cognitive disabilities.

Jessica has been at this particular facility for six years, and prior to that, she spent 2 years at a similar program run by another disability-focused entity. If you do the math, you will see that she started in these programs when she was 10 years old, an age where most children of the same age are attending daycare facilities after school and during school holidays. However, because of Jessica’s aggressive tendencies, no traditional daycare facility would agree to accommodate her.

I’ve never cared for the day support programs, but as a working single parent, my options were limited. The first program Jessica attended was staffed by low-paid workers, most of whom had little to no experience in relating to people with cognitive disabilities. The facility itself was gloomy and dark, and the ‘clients’ (the name for the children who attended the program) would sit around doing little for most of the day. Homework help was nonexistent, and even though plans of care were developed for each child, they usually were not followed. The atmosphere was so depressing that I hated sending Jessica there each day. A depressing environment was definitely not what she needed.

After the first facility, Jessica moved to the only other program in our area, the one that she is currently attending. While the staff at the second program is slightly better trained, the feeling I get when walking in to the facility is not positive. The rooms are small and crowded, and the furnishings are old. The look is not what one would find in a mainstream daycare facility, but rather gives the impression that the people in charge think appearance will not matter to their ‘clients’.

Since all the ‘clients’ have significant cognitive issues, and many have significant behavior issues, I have to wonder how Jessica, and all the other children for that matter, will have positive behaviors and habits modeled. While observing during my meeting, I saw older teenaged clients being handed crayons for coloring. I saw those same clients throwing the crayons across the room. I saw Jessica trying to flirt with a boy about her same age, but her flirting led to inappropriate touching and language. The staff person merely pulled Jessica away from the boy. I saw a young man with Autism rocking back and forth and moaning. The staff person sat right next to him and did nothing. Then a young girl, probably about 13 or 14 years old, came running through the room, naked and touching herself. Many of the other clients laughed, and even one staff person laughed with them.

I have been searching for years for a program that will be a good match for Jessica, both now and in the future. So far, I have found nothing in my city. I realize that caring for and supporting children with significant challenges is not easy, but there has to be something better. Our service delivery systems are doing a rotten job, and I don’t know what to do to change it. Just today in the news, my state’s legislature announced it was going to look to cut social service programs to balance the budget. If that happens, the bad is going to get even worse, and our children and adults with cognitive disabilities will continue to have bleak futures.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Thankful Thursday

Today, I am thankful...

  • for library Saturdays. Bringing home a pile of delicious books to read is almost as good as Christmas in my eyes

  • for the little space heater I have in my bedroom. For some reason, the rest of my house can be toasty warm with the themostat set at 68 degrees, but my room is an icebox

  • that Ashley seems to be feeling much better since getting antibiotics for her ear infections

  • that Petco took back the dog crate that Rocky destroyed in his separation anxiety induced frenzy. They gave me a full refund and I applied it towards a plastic enclosed crate which we are trying for the first time today. Wonder what I will find when I get home today...?

  • that I only have to work (at my paying job) two and a half days next week. I'm so looking forward to spending time at home with the kids and eating lots of good Thanksgiving food!

  • that my sons have gotten up all the leaves in our yard. Now, if the wind would stop blowing my neighbor's leaves into our yard, the boys would be much happier.

  • that Starbucks is once again selling their Caramel Apple Spice drink. It's my once a month treat - last year, it was a once a week treat, but with the economy, know

  • for the very special time I had last Sunday with Lynnette and Brooke at the Disney Playhouse Live show

  • that I have gone an entire week now without having to take my car into the shop - knock on wood

  • for earmuffs

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Special Exposure Wednesday

Just because one is deafblind, it doesn't mean a boat ride on the ocean is any less exciting. Ashley loved the wind in her face and the taste of the salty spray on her lips. And the faster the boat went, the happier she was! She can't wait for our whale watching trip scheduled for Winter Break!

Make sure to check out all the other great pictures at 5 Minutes For Special Needs, Special Exposure Wednesday!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Joel's Card Games

One of my favorite fellow bloggers is Joel at the NTs Are Weird - An Autistic's View of the World. His intelligence, insight and positive attitude towards life and other people has really helped me view the world from someone else's eyes - someone who is diagnosed with Autism but whose shared information can be easily applied to other types of disabilities.

Joel recently wrote a post called Card Games in which he discussed the difficulties that many people with Autism experience with touch, particularly in a romantic relationship. Joel, newly engaged, shared a technique, a card game actually, that he and his fiance use to make sure their shared touches are appropriate and welcome.

Their card game is simple - both Joel and his fiance made up a deck of cards, with short descriptions of a kind of touch they would enjoy. They kept their decks separately, and exchanged them with each other when they decided they wanted to enjoy some touch with each other. One of them would draw a random card, look at it (you don’t look until then), and, without showing the other, do whatever the card says.

Quoting from Joel's blog, "For example, you might draw a card that says, “Gently stroke my hair”. So, without letting your partner know what you are doing (but they know you are going to do something they like), you are able to touch your partner - and your partner knows that whatever you do is going to be something safe, which is important for many people, such as abuse survivors. You are doing something your partner has explicitly said is safe."

I think Joel's approach is brilliant and urge you to read his post yourself. I can't wait to brainstorm some other situations in which this approach would work, especially as it applies to Ashley and others who are deafblind. Her sensory issues are also quite intense, and I am sure Joel's approach can be adapted to help her make sensory experiences more enjoyable.

Thank you, Joel. I absolutely adore your blog and all your wonderful ideas. And, congratulations on the engagement!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Smiles Galore

Last January, I wrote about a young man named Chancellor. He was 10 years old and was one of the founding children of our Dreamcatchers family support organization. Chancellor passed away on January 18th, but his zest for life lives on. He could squeeze every ounce of fun from every day, and in his honor, the Chancellor Rice Memorial Fun Fund was created.

Each year, Dreamcatchers will choose a child for a 'Day Of Fun' - a day defined completely by the chosen child. Our first recipient of this award went to the lovely Brooke.

Brooke is also 10 years old, and for her day of fun, she wanted to go to the Disney Playhouse Live show. And that is exactly what we made happen for her!! Below are some pictures from Brooke's special day yesterday...

Sure, Brooke wanted to meet the Disney characters, but don't let that shy smile fool you. She also has a thing for tall, dark handsome men. And the photographer from their local news station fit that bill!

To make things even better, after the handsome photographer stepped away, Mickey and Minnie Mouse stepped in! Brooke had a private meeting with the mice, and she kept searching on her communication device for the right words to express her surprise.

Once the show started, Brooke's eyes never left the stage. I doubt even the handsome cameraman could have competed at that point.

The joy was written all over her face!

Even as we left the show to head home, the smile never left her face and she kept looking at the character's pictures on her communication board. Was it a good day of fun for Brooke? Yep, I believe it was!

(The story of Brooke's adventure was covered on the local news station. If I can find the video, I will post it here also.)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Yet Another Adoption Tragedy

Arkansas has three times as many children needing foster care and adoption than it has available families to take them in.

But, on Tuesday, November 4th, Arkansas voters passed by a 57% majority, a proposition stating:

Section 1: Adoption and foster care of minors.
(a) A minor may not be adopted or placed in a foster home if the individual seeking to adopt or to serve as a foster parent is cohabiting with a sexual partner outside of a marriage which is valid under the constitution and laws of this state.

As stated in the New York Times:

The measure, which voters overwhelmingly approved and which prevents unmarried cohabitating couples from adopting or fostering children, won strong support from conservatives, exit polls found. The ban affects all unmarried couples but was written with the intent of preventing gay couples from raising children in Arkansas.

“We believe that the best place for a child to grow up is in a stable home with a married mother and father,” said Jerry Cox, president of Family Council Action Committee, which obtained 95,000 signatures to place the proposal on state ballots. “But we also believe in blunting a gay agenda that we see at work in other states with regard to marriage and adoption issues.”

Arkansas is not the first state with such a policy. Florida prohibits adoption by applicants who identify themselves as gay, Utah prevents unmarried cohabitated couples from adopting and Mississippi specifically bans same-sex couples from adopting.

My opinion on all this? I believe all children benefit from a loving home with parents who care. I believe children who are left floundering in a foster care system of substandard care when they could be in a stable, loving family present a tragic face for our nation which claims to care. I don’t care if the family is made up of a married couple, a single person, two men, two women, or two people of different races as long as that family is stable and loving and cares for their children. I also believe that the usage of the term "sexual partner outside of marriage" is particularly egregious because the government is put in the position of investigating the private lives of people who reside together.

The only losers in this whole situation are the children.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Thankful Thursday

Today I am thankful...

  • for friends who offer to loan you money when times are tight, but who really understand when you decline their offer

  • for a soft, knitted bed jacket - a tad old fashioned but most welcome since my bedroom is the coldest room in the house

  • for a new EGR valve and the fact that my car is no longer running 'rich' as the repair person said - of course, after paying for the new valve, I am running 'poor'

  • for auto repair shops willing to work with you on a large expense

  • for pot roast and garlic mashed potatoes on a cold autumn night

  • that I have two teenaged sons to rake up all the leaves in our yard

  • that MAKS got a lot of 'face time' on this week's Dancing With The Stars. Of course, his face wasn't what I was watching ;)

  • for my lovely niece, Melody, who today turns 20 years old!

  • that Rocky dog smells so much better after his bath last Tuesday

  • that in just a couple of days, I will be seeing Lynnette and her beautiful daughter, Brooke

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Give The Blind Kid a Knife?

I don't think so! But that doesn't mean Ashley can't have her own wonderful pumpkin. She designed this one with little Lite-Brite-like things that she pounded into the pumpkin. I think it turned out really well.

Make sure to check out all the other great pictures at 5 Minutes For Special Needs - Special Exposure Wednesday!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Thank You

In honor of Veteran's Day 2008, I want to say thank you to Grampy, Great Grampy, Dad-Dad, and all the others who have given so selflessly to ensure this life my family is enjoying.

A Proclamation by the President of the United States of America

On Veterans Day, we pay tribute to the service and sacrifice of the men and women who in defense of our freedom have bravely worn the uniform of the United States.

From the fields and forests of war-torn Europe to the jungles of Southeast Asia, from the deserts of Iraq to the mountains of Afghanistan, brave patriots have protected our Nation's ideals, rescued millions from tyranny, and helped spread freedom around the globe. America's veterans answered the call when asked to protect our Nation from some of the most brutal and ruthless tyrants, terrorists, and militaries the world has ever known. They stood tall in the face of grave danger and enabled our Nation to become the greatest force for freedom in human history. Members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard have answered a high calling to serve and have helped secure America at every turn.

Our country is forever indebted to our veterans for their quiet courage and exemplary service. We also remember and honor those who laid down their lives in freedom's defense. These brave men and women made the ultimate sacrifice for our benefit. On Veterans Day, we remember these heroes for their valor, their loyalty, and their dedication. Their selfless sacrifices continue to inspire us today as we work to advance peace and extend freedom around the world.

With respect for and in recognition of the contributions our service members have made to the cause of peace and freedom around the world, the Congress has provided (5 U.S.C. 6103(a)) that November 11 of each year shall be set aside as a legal public holiday to honor America's veterans.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim November 11, 2008, as Veterans Day and urge all Americans to observe November 9 through November 15, 2008, as National Veterans Awareness Week. I encourage all Americans to recognize the bravery and sacrifice of our veterans through ceremonies and prayers. I call upon Federal, State, and local officials to display the flag of the United States and to support and participate in patriotic activities in their communities. I invite civic and fraternal organizations, places of worship, schools, businesses, unions, and the media to support this national observance with commemorative expressions and programs.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirty-first day of October, in the year of our Lord two thousand eight, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-third.


Monday, November 10, 2008

Do Not Disturb

Today’s post is dedicated to Lynnette. She knows why…

I really had no idea how my life was going to be turned upside down when I adopted a child with significant disabilities. I thought I did, but I was wrong.

When I first brought Ashley home, my only parenting experience had come from raising my birth son as a single parent for 5 years. And, he was a pretty easy child to raise. He had some medical issues, but absolutely nothing to compare to Ashley’s medical issues. And, he was typically developing, if not advanced. My interactions with school were typical – my interactions with medical folks were typical – my battles with insurance were few – and my life was my own. All that changed the day I brought Ashley home.

As parents of a child with significant disabilities, our lives become very open books. Doctors and nurses ask very personal questions, and they ask them over and over again. School systems demand answers and test results and access to medical records. Even our friends, at least those brazen enough, ask very personal questions about our children and about our feelings and belief systems. We usually expect those things to some degree. What isn’t usually expected, or known in the beginning, is how we will lose all semblance of privacy in our own homes.

Almost all of us of who have children with significant issues will have to have in-home help at some point. That help may come in the form of nurses and/or personal care aides, and along with those people come the managers – the service facilitators who must visit periodically to ‘check up’ on things. And since all those service providers are seldom paid what they are worth, there is a lot of turnover. And that turnover means there is a constant stream of strangers into our homes.

These strangers hear our phone answering machine messages; they know when we leave dirty dishes in the sink; they hear us yell at our other children; they put away medical supplies and in the process, see that our closets and drawers are not always neat; while working in our kitchens, they see the beer in the refrigerator or the vodka in the cabinet; they know if we haven’t folded the laundry in the dryer, and in an effort to help, they fold not just our child’s clothes, but our clothes also. Just for the record, I don’t want other people folding my underwear.

They know what kind of books and magazines we read. They know the types of movies we rent. They know our tastes in food, and may even inadvertently uncover the hidden stash of candy. They may accept packages delivered for us, and in an attempt to be helpful, may open them and view the contents. They may bring our mail into the house, seeing just how many and what types of bills we receive.

In short, they are privy to almost every single aspect of our lives – not just the life of our child they are hired to assist. And I wonder, does it have to be this way? Do we have to give up our privacy just for our children to receive the services they need? Am I out in left field here, or do others have similar concerns? I would love to hear your thoughts.

Friday, November 7, 2008

You Really Don't Have to be Perfect

I mentioned yesterday that November is National Adoption Awareness Month. Although I have tried over the past two years of writing this blog to express what a profound difference adoption has made in my life, I'm still not sure I have fully explained it. And, maybe I can't. Maybe it is something you will have to experience for yourself.

Please take a couple of minutes to watch these public service announcements. They are only about 30 seconds each, and then look into your hearts and see if there might be room for a child who waits for a family to call their own.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Thankful Thursday

Today I am thankful...

  • and proud to be an American. Regardless of your political leanings, the fact that our country will have an African/American president speaks volumes. As a people, we are putting bigotry behind us, and I believe, our futures and the futures of our children will be better for that.

  • that November is National Adoption Awareness Month. Why not consider opening your homes and your hearts to a child who waits...

  • for the red and gold carpet covering all the yards in my neighborhood

  • that my state Department of Education found my school district to be in non-compliance concerning the complaint I filed the first week of this current school year. More on this in a later post....

  • that the leftover Halloween candy is almost gone

  • for friends who really understand when I open wide my heart and spill its contents

  • for a cup of cranberry green tea just before bed

  • that my car made it a whole week without the check engine light coming back on

  • for technology that can give us things like holographic reporters on election night

  • for Ashley's sweet smile when she first opens her eyes each morning

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Special Exposure Wednesday

I wrote a while back about Ashley using a Body Sox in therapy, and how she tried imitating the practice at home, even though we didn't have a Body Sox. Then, the always dazlious Marla and her beautiful daughter, Maizie, sent me a Body Sox that Maizie had but didn't like.

Needless to say, Ashley loves it, as the pictures below attest...

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Resources and Examples of Right

My friend, Jane, shared a link to a special education law blog that seems to be full of good information. I haven’t had a chance to go deeply into it yet, but I think it’s time that we had more good resources on special ed law. Peter Wright’s site is good, but competition is good also.


Along those same lines, I also found another special ed law resource a few months back. It is linked on the left side of my blog, and it also seems to be an excellent resource for parents.


As many of you know, I have written several times about my search for a church home. In the last week, one of my fellow writers at the 5 Minutes For Special Needs site also wrote on that subject, and the comments left on her blog were quite eye-opening. Seems my negative experiences have also been felt by many others. But my brother alerted me to a church that has indeed gotten it right. Check out this article about a perfect example of people loving people. I especially love the title of the article, Spontaneous Compassion.


Finally, I ran across this article about a little girl who was finally able to tell her mother that she loved her. Make sure you have some tissues close by when you read it…

Monday, November 3, 2008

Floortime - Reaching Beyond Autism?

My sixteen year old son, Corey, is diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome. While to most people he would just seem a little quirky, I do have some major concerns about some of the issues that affect him. I don’t have a problem with his obsession on certain subjects – the weather, for instance – but I do worry about his lack of social skills and his difficulties with relating to his peers. So when I ran across an article in the NY Times last week that talked about a special school for teenagers with autism spectrum disorders, I was very interested. In fact, I posted a blog on the 5 Minutes For Special Needs site about the article, and I asked readers for their opinions.

The NY Times article and several other articles I found in my research led me to believe that the teaching technique was relatively new. Readers told me otherwise. And, most readers spoke of using the technique, called DIR/Floortime, with much younger children, not teenagers. Yet the NY Times article raved about the success of using Floortime with teenagers.

So, I was still left confused and wondering if Floortime would be an approach to consider. Then I got an email that really cleared things up for me. The person who sent the email is diagnosed with Asperger’s herself, and in addition to the information in her email, she has also sent me some other articles. I’ve included the text of her email (with her permission) below, and based on her comments, I believe I will pursue Floortime as an option for Corey.

Hi. My name is 'Ekie'. I was reading 5 Minutes For Special Needs and you asked for people to tell you what they know about floortime. I was intrigued by your post because you are the mother of a teenage Aspie. I am 24 years old and I have a non-verbal LD/Aspergers syndrome.

Last year in graduate school I took a class called Introduction to Floortime and I fell totally in love with the whole idea. I now say that I am a total Floortime convert. I just love, love, LOVE it. The whole idea of it is so very right, as compared to more traditional methodologies such as ABA, applied behavior analysis. You know how adults with autism say how much they hated ABA? Well, they will not be saying this about floortime.

The basic premise of floortime is to get the child to recognize that 1, I am a human 2, you are a human also and 3, these human people are useful, kind, and fun. It works to build an emotional connection first and foremost, to get the child to *want* to please you because they get an emotional reward for it - not an external reward as with ABA. Often in the beginning this is a lot of imitation and just going with the flow, but at the same time forcing the child to interact with you. For example if the child is running around the room you might stand in the path of where they are running so they have to go around you. Or if they are lining up blocks over and over you might insert a new block that goes in a different direction. There are a lot of levels - I think they go up to 12 or even higher - and only once a child has mastered one level (and I can't remember the levels enough to explain them properly, sorry) you go on to the next, but you keep reinforcing all the old stuff they learn.

Unfortunately the Floortime/DIR (Developmental, Individual, Relationship-based) is kind of a monopoly controlled by Stanley Greenspan. Getting certified in it is a very hard process because they only do the trainings in CA. I took my course via my university. They do classes for parents and professionals, but they are mostly geared towards working with younger children.

I can't quite explain my feelings about floortime except to say that it makes me all warm and fuzzy inside, unlike ABA, which makes me feel like people are training their kids like dogs or seals are trained. Floortime is completely child-centered, and it is about using the child's strengths that they already have to teach them new things. It acknowledges the inherent dignity and abilities of all kids no matter how young.

Thank you, Ekie, for your comments!