Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Not Your Typical Child Tuesday #7

Again, to all of you that follow my FB page, thanks for being so supportive and hanging on while my family went through this stressful time. It's not over yet but, at least we have respite for a couple of months! Anyway, I can't think of better way to kick back into blog mode than another "Not Your Typical Child Tuesday"! :)

If you couldn't guess by last weeks post, I am going to talk about Tourette Syndrome today. If you think you know all about it and it's not in your life, then you don't know a thing! For example, the stereotypical misconception of TS is that you have coprolalia (yelling curse words) is actually rare in people with TS and that the percentage of people with coprolalia is something like LESS than 10%?! Did you also know that even though when TV shows or news shows mention TS, we typically think of adults but, that a majority of people with TS are children?!

Tourette Syndrome affects something between 1 and 10 students per 1000. Which sounds like pretty good odds your child or family won't have it but, since my son has been diagnosed, I actually see a lot of people that I can honestly say would fit the diagnostic criteria for having TS and they don't know they have it! TS can be so mild that a varying amount of adults have had it a majority of their life and not know it nor have their 'tics' get fully noticed by family or the public or they get misdiagnosed even. In fact, most females with TS will often get diagnosed with OCD!

TS affects boys 3x more often than girls and is prevalent in the Caucasian population versus any other. There are some genetic components as well in developing TS. It has been known to run in families but, a lot of the time, it appears for no reason. There are certain familial traits that often seem to be present in families though that many a researcher finds interesting when TS finally manifests. For example, OCD is hugely prevalent in families of a child with TS. Though again, it's not always that way but, a large enough number of things like this seem to happen and it has caught researchers' attention. Another main focus is the dopamine and serotonin levels and receptors in the brain. The theories go that either the receptors are hypersensitive or that the person with TS over or under produces those chemicals in the brain. They have even found that mutations involving the SLITRK1 gene have been identified in a small number of people with Tourette syndrome. SLITRK is responsible for providing instructions for making a protein that is active in the brain. They believe that the SLITRK1 protein might plays a role in the development of nerve cells, including the growth of specialized extensions (axons and dendrites) that allow each nerve cell to communicate with nearby cells. It is unclear how mutations in the SLITRK1 gene can lead to this disorder.

So, what do we take from this? TS is a neurobiological disorder that usually presents with tics. Tics being involuntary, rapid, repetitive movements or vocal outburts. Tics will wax and wane but, be present for at least one year. Tics often change and go away or change and reappear. For example, they may have a blinking tic that stays with them and a sniffing tic that changes to a humming, etc. Some tics reappear intermittently and others may only appear once. There is no rhyme or reason for it. Tics vary from person to person in severity and duration. Some kids may have days, weeks or months with no outright noticeable tics, while others will never have a tic free day. Some kiddos may have severe enough TS on an upswing that they cannot walk, talk, or eat normal! For some other kiddos that severity of tics may be an everyday thing!

Children with TS typically have a normal range of IQs, meaning just like the normal nuero-typical children, they have a normal intelligence and some have high IQs. They are in every way as normal as your son, your daughter or you neighbor's children. They may have other issues though, called comorbid disorders, like ADHD, OCD, Sensory Processing Disorder, ODD, Asperger's, etc. It is these accompanying disorders that often times gives the child some trouble, be it with school, attention, behavior, etc. To make matters worse, children and adults with TS often times have episodes we as parents typically call rages. These are never pleasant for anyone involved. They often times on an upswing or if their TS is severe, are exhausted by their constant body motion and it's painful. As a parent, there is nothing more painful than to watch on in helplessness.

There is so much more to say on TS but, I will save it for another post! :)

Thanks again for joining me for another Not Your Typical Child Tuesday and thanks again for hanging with me while we went through this difficult time in our family. Your support was seriously amazing!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Not Your Typical Child #6

This Not Your Typical Child Tuesday is another one that is personal to our home. Probably THE most personal one for me to share yet. Mainly because of the HUGE misconceptions associated with this disorder and the obstacles that my son will have to overcome. It is the one thing that still feels very raw on a bad day, as many a mother of a child with TS will agree. Today begins a month long awareness campaign for Tourette Syndrome Awareness in the U.S. So today, we begin to tackle Tourette Syndrome.

I can't really talk about Tourette Syndrome without introducing you to one of the loves of my life, my son DW. So, instead of giving you the stone cold facts and statistics, I will show you the personal side to TS in my life today. Please take a moment and get to know my son.

Here's his little brother's video he helped make dedicated to his big brother: 


Before you judge, before you joke, make sure you know what you're talking about first. These are just two of the faces affected by TS. There are millions more faces just like this affected by it. Take some time this month to get to know more about TS and destroy the myths and stigma that surrounds it.

Thanks for joining me again for another Not Your Typical Child Tuesday!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Favorite Blog Friday #5

This week's favorite blog Friday is, The Morristribe!

Welcome to one of the most enthusiastic blogs I've come across when it comes to teaching and learning to homestead. One of the things I do when I come across a new blog is read their "About" page. What struck me about Kelly's page:
It wasn’t until 18 years ago that I made the correlation between “time” and “stuff”.  To acquire more “stuff”, you must continually give up parts of your “life”.  Almost overnight, my enthusiasm about my career and  current way of life began to diminish.

She's absolutely right of course. This began her transformation into a one income family and a new way of life. What I love most about her blog, is she's more than willing to share what she's learned with her readers in order to make their lives a little simpler.

Her series on How to Get Started Homesteading, is a great place to start for beginners. It covers things from getting to know your farming community, how to get good soil, to easy crops to grow and composting! She often times has a great series like the ones on homesteading. She recently had one of my favorites from any blog, on the Depression. It was a reminder of all that my grandparents had been through and why I do what I do for my family.

She even has articles on how to be a bit more self sufficient and even some on getting out of debt. If none of these interest you, Kelly has a ton of great things in the recipe department. Here is the link to her recipe section. She even has some really good posts on stuff that has to do with kids. Which includes things like motivating your kiddos, how to make chores more fun and even a little something on "the talk"! She even has a video series for the newbies, called A Year on Homestead.
Together, she sells them for only $9.99 or individually for between $2.99 - $4.99. So, it's not going to break the bank if you want to buy them all at once or one at a time!

Another bonus that Kelly does is her Homesteader Blog Carnival. A great linky party that showcases everyone's best in homesteading and sustainable living.

There are so many great things on Kelly's blog that I honestly don't know where to begin! She has giveaways regularly and on her FB page, shares all of these goodies plus a little bit more! So, grab a glass of your favorite summer time beverage (it's almost 90 degrees here today!) and give Kelly's blog a minute or ten! :)

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Crocheted Luggage Tags

I'm one of those weird people that can have all sorts of friends. An eclectic mix really from rednecks to very posh and proper people. Though I will admit that none of them really hang out together but, they all still speak to me and why is beyond me sometimes. I'm a goofy chic and well, sometimes have not a lot in common with them but, got to love people who love you! :)

Anyway, I have friends that have a lifestyle nothing like mine like this family friend and his extended family who travel the world offering medical help to various countries, not missionaries or part of a doctor group. My doctor even, not part of a bigger group, takes yearly trips to Sudan to help out there. They just do it on their own out of the goodness of their hearts. Which makes them good people in my book.

I don't have the money to do something so neat but, my family helps these guys out in any way that we can and one of the ways I'm going to share with you now. As I've mentioned before, I'm not the crocheter in the family so, the directions I share come from my mom. So, if you've got a question, by all means ask and I'll ask her to clarify! :)

This photo does not show the colors correctly for some reason but, the left one is a teal color, the middle is black and the right is blue. There is also a red, orange, yellow and green one not pictured here. 

Why luggage tags? Well, these people who travel to different countries love them because a) they are original and you won't see them often. So, you can find these easier in a crowded airport. Another reason, b) you can color code your luggage! One color is medical supplies, one color is your son's, one is yours, and another color maybe your father's, etc. This way, you don't have to go through every single suitcase to figure out what is where!

1 - 6oz. skein o worsted weight yarn (Makes 20 tags)
Size G crochet hook
Metal key chain rings

So, here goes transcription of the luggage tag directions: 
Leaving approximately 3" tail, chain 12.
Single crochet (sc) in the second chain from hook and each chain around putting 3sc in the last chain stitch.
Continue sc in chain around to beginning.
Slip stitch in the first sc, chain 12.
Lay metal ring on the last 2 chain.
2 sc in 2nd chain fro hook (going through the center of key ring and down into chain stitch, picking up your yarn to complete sc by bringing it through both the chain stitch and the key ring, then finish sc)
2 sc in third chain as previously done.
Then, sc in remaining chain stitches.
Slip stitch in previous slip stitch of main body, joining both pieces securely.
Sc around, sc up side to top of side.
Chain 1 and turn. Sc in each, sc down side, 3sc corner, sc across bottom.
sc in corner, sc back up other side.
Slip stitch to fasten and leaving approximately 21/2 - 3 inch tail. Cut yarn.
Weave the tail back in to hide.

Remember, she translated these from memory and had no official pattern to work with. She is known for just making up crotched patterns! Though I do know if you "google" crochetedd luggage tags, you find a bunch. I think this is a great idea in general though, how easy it would be to keep family members luggage separate and how easy to find your luggage amongst the sea of other bags out there!

It's just a neat idea that you can use for tons of other things besides your airplane luggage. You can use it for things like a day out at the zoo to tell the difference among your children's lunch pails, or what bags have the goodies and what has the extra pull ups, clothes and medicines, etc. The applications for things like this are really unending and extremely helpful.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Not Your Typical Child Tuesday #5

Today's Not Your Typical Child Tuesday is about children with APD or Auditory Processing Disorder.

What is APD? APD is a neurological condition that affect the area of the brain or central nervous system that processes the spoken language. It's basically responsible for not only auditory information but, memory, attention and language, among other things that are also controlled by this region of the brain. This can make it difficult for a kiddo to filter out background noise or to understand what is being spoken to them,  not have the best short term memory, and good attention. It is often mistaken for ADHD! Most importantly, you'll find that they have rather good hearing.

While those with ADHD may not listen well and have a difficulty in understanding or remembering verbal information given, their actual neurological processing of the verbal input is still intact. It is the ADHD affecting the ability to follow direction. Not a neurological issue affecting the child.

There was an excerpt from a news video that showed how APD affects some people. I wrote it down so that I could express to family friends what my little guys' problem might sound like to him and here is the transcript: Laddle Rat Rotten Hut: Once pawn term, dare worsted  laddle gull hoe lift wetter murder inner laddle cortage. Honor itch offer lodge dock florist. 
This translates to : Little Red Riding Hood: Once upon a time, there was a little girl who lived with her mother in a little cottage.....

So, what does this mean per say? It means that for example, when I call my son's name a dozen or more times and he doesn't answer. He's not being mean or stubborn or bad! It means that if there is a TV or radio on or too many kids or the wind is even too loud, I have to get in front of him and often times touch him to let him know he's being spoken to. He cannot pick my voice out or anyone else's for that matter from the background noise. In our home it meant that "elephant" really means elephant and ambulance or that "I fry" was french fry for a couple of years now. It means in the case of my nephew that "a dog supervision" is understood as "adult supervision". It means that even though I show my son something, I understand that he may not recall it a whole 30 seconds later!  In class they my have trouble understanding what they're hearing or simply have trouble hearing with the noise of other kiddos in class. They may be distracted by every little sound or sounds that you or I may not really even hear because, we've learned to process it, as background noise!
Basically for our household, it means that just because my child uses a word and even pronounces it correctly, it is understood by me that a) this may or may not be the object he is referring to. b) That he may not always have the right word or be able to communicate properly at all times, especially when he's excited or angry. c) That even though I tell him the name of something, even a dozen times in a minute, he may not recall a single thing and or even come close to being able to say it d) he may not be able to tell where sound is coming from, i.e. if he hears noise above him, he may think it's come from in front of him and e) that I will often have to stop doing everything and get in front of him (almost always touch him) to convey that I am talking to him.

Signs of APD? Does your child mishear a word or phrase often? Or have trouble following directions? Do they seem to not hear you when background noise is around? Do they have difficulty remembering what you've just told them or have an issue using the right word or finding the right word to use period? There are a hundred different things to go by but, they can also be present in another disorder or two. The best way to check is to work with an experienced ST or SLP (speech language pathologist) and an audiologist. Together than can tell you whether your child might have it. APD is not typically diagnosed before the age of 7 years old but, if your child shows some pronounced signs of APD, like my little guy does, most SLPs will work with your child because the earlier you start therapy for it, the better off your child will be. Here is a GREAT article that goes further in depth on the signs and symptoms.

What causes APD? No one really knows. There are a few regression disorders where it is automatically recognized but, in general for most kiddos, though there are many theories, there is no known reason why they have it.

Support: There are a lot of great places online to find support if you or loved one have APD. There is the Auditory Processing Disorder Network and even a FANTASTIC page on FB if that is where you're comfortable called, Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) Support. It is a "closed group" and you must ask to join but, they are some incredible people in there, teens with APD, parents of children with APD and an adult or two with APD! Super supportive people with some great deal of experience and ideas to share. They made a HUGE difference in our lives without speech therapy!
If you're just up to reading about APD, there are some great blogs or posts on the subject, like this one over at Life 360. Or this one on ways to help improve your child's memory. The NY Times even had an article on it when Rosie O'Donnell began to educate the world on it. Here's an article on suggestions for helping an older kiddo with APD. Here is a fantastic blog post from an adult, on having APD. If the internet is not your thing, one of the most recommended books out there for APD is The Sound of Hope.

There is also another great book called When the Brain Can't Hear.
With a lot of work with a speech therapist and some work at home, these kids can make huge strides! So, be patient and don't give up hope! They'll come into their own and still become some amazing people!

Thanks for joining me on another Not Your Typical Child Tuesday! Now back to your regularly scheduled program....