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Monthly Archives: April 2012

Did everyone have great weather this weekend?  I did hear that we are dropping close to 30 degrees between now and next weekend. . . . ugh!  My wife and I are doing the Color Me Rad 5k on Saturday so hopefully the weather isn’t too bad.  We’ve been training for Ragnar and this looks like a fun short run to do – so excited for it!

At the base of the waterfall

Accomplishments: The beautiful weather afforded us an opportunity to get out and really have a fun filled Saturday.  We decided to spend our morning at a little park with a great waterfall just up the canyon from us.  While both boys enjoyed the picnic, Twin A really enjoyed the water and wearing his slippers (flip flops) around instead of shoes.  Twin B however. . . . .let’s just say he was a grouch for all but ten minutes of our outing.

We also got together with a few groups of friends that the boys did extremely well with – one was a good friend from college and the others were a family who live up the street from us and the mom used to be one of our helpers with the boys when we did ABA out of our house.  Being Hawaiian, we introduce a lot of adults to the boys as “Uncle” or “Aunty,” and it was so nice to see them play for an entire evening with different adults and families.

As we dropped our friend back at his hotel, it was great to hear one of the boys talk about “Uncle” and when we’d see him again. . . hopefully when he visits from Japan in August!  We went to “Aunty Pam’s” house on Sunday and the boys remembered where she lived and were so excited when we got there – that was great to see.  The evening went better than I could’ve expected.

Getting help from Mom

Opportunities: Bed time has become a fiasco.  The boys are so possessive of their mom and who gets to tucked in by mom first.  Ugh – I know the quick answer is that I should do all the bedtime routines but. . . . . let’s just say in my mind, the ‘quick’ answer in this case may not be the ‘right’ answer.  🙂

Tip of the Week: First – a congratulations to our boys’ OT who just had a baby.  Wishing her well and thank you to her colleagues who helped us with our appt this past week.  I liked this exercise – boys had a ton of fun and it was easy to do.

OT Monster Exercise for autistic kids

Great activity

I mean, what kid wouldn’t like to make a little monster, right?  While some pieces were already prepared (teeth and eyes), the boys cut everything else either by themselves or with a little help from the team.

Twin B with his "Monster"

The boys have been doing better at their drawing, pencil grip, and obviously scissors exercises.  This was just the right speed for them – took us about 15 minutes to do.  The OT’s would help with some of the cutting (turning paper for the boys, etc) but for the most part, they are getting better on their own.

Twin A hiding behind his monster.

I also had the opportunity to visit the boys school for most of a day last week – again, thank you to all those who work with our boys.  We appreciate all you do.  “Aunty Pam” worked with the boys a year ago and while we see each other almost every week, we don’t get the chance to hang out very often.  She noticed a big difference in their interactions and communication – thank you to everyone for your help and support.

 

 

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A few weeks ago, my family was featured on a Fox News UT report on Autism and the possible diagnosis changes being proposed.  Click here for the past post that has links to the video.

KUTV News Interview on Autism in Utah

Twin A - Screen clip from the interview!

Well, come to find out, one of our twins was also in a second feature from KUTV2 News in Utah.  You’ll see him throughout the clip but at 1:15 – he has a one line solo cameo.  🙂

Utah doesn’t have insurance coverage for autism so we feel incredibly grateful and fortunate that we can live here close to family and have been able to get into programs that help and support our boys.

Versatile Blogger

Look for my post coming soon!

On a separate note, thank you to All Things Boys Blog who nominated this blog for a “Versatile Blog Award.”  So look for my new post about the award and don’t forget to visit this outstanding blog.  Really cool = her posts about her boys in Hawaii recently and their adventures.  Here’s a link to one of them surfing.  Made me homesick!

Today we get back to our ‘normal routine’ of getting our boys out the door at 6:30 and our daughter at 8:30 for school.  Being that they are in different school districts,  the boys were on spring break two weeks ago and our daughter this past week, we’ve had two weeks of a somewhat ‘lenient’ schedule versus our usual.   Man it was fun having them home but now I need to get back to being productive.

Accomplishments: We dared the Discovery Gateway in downtown SLC this past week – we wanted to do something special with everyone at home and it’s been a few years since we’ve gone.  It’s honestly, a little pricey compared to other activities we do and I’m always hesitant to plunk down money when I’m not sure how the boys will do.

Discovery Gateway 1 - It's a Wunderful Life Water play

Manipulating the Water Features at Discovery Gateway - love the Michael Jordan Tongue Pose

In all honesty, we had some meltdowns and struggles.  For example, it’s hard when a young autistic kid is learning to wait his turn and other anxious little kids just come running up and jump in front of the entire crowd.  We both took one of the twins and would stay with them for most of the time and fortunately, there were other parents who were also adhering to the lines and taking turns so that was helpful.  The boys did a much better job asking politely and waiting – I was proud of them.  All in all – I think we left at the right time but we got two hours there which I thought was quite an accomplishment.

Discovery Gateway 2 - It's a Wunderful Life

Gotta love the concentration - he LOVED the water exhibits

It’s been neat to watch the kids interact more.  Since this second week my daughter was home, the boys would come home from school and we’d usually have a friend over.  Twin A absolutely worships his older sister – it’s really quite neat to see.  He’ll try and copy what he sees her doing, the way she says things, etc.  I know it drives our daughter crazy but I also think it’s good for him to pick up ‘kid phrases’ and behaviors from her.

Discovery Gateway 3 - It's a Wunderful LIfe

Admiring his creation

Twin B has really been on his Thomas kick again.  Our new thing is taking both boys to the library and letting them pick out a new Thomas DVD each week.  There’s always fights over which one we’ll watch first (drives me crazy) but I love that following the DVD, the boys will end up with a new pretend scenario for Thomas that they act out with their trains. . . . fortunately, we are moving away from the ‘crashing’ and ‘broken tracks.’  Last week, every other minute I’d hear “daddy fix the tracks please!”  That got old quickly.

Library - It's a Wunderful Life

Chillin' at the library reading Thomas Magazines

Tip of the Week: This is a continuation of last week’s Mrs. McNosh post.  I couldn’t find the copies our speech therapist gave the boys and fortunately, my wife found them.  The ‘sh’ and ‘th’ exercises have been great for the boys and we are still progressing through it.  This link (Mrs. McNosh Drawings) will bring up the pdf.  The boys loved the exercises, though one felt that Mr. McNosh looked more like a girl than a boy – pretty funny.

I’ll have my daugther draw them out and we’ll laminate them then we are good to go!  Again, there’s sentence patterns in the previous post and don’t forget a ‘clothesline’ and clothespins to hang everything – clothespins are a common site in our OT lessons so hey, kill two birds with one stone!  Have a great week!

 

I usually like to watch or read something before I review it so don’t consider this a ‘review’ but more of a “check it out” post on a movie called, “Come Hell or High Water,” its connection to Autism, and a father’s story about a son who changed as a result of the video.

Confession- I love brands and marketing.  I loved studying about companies during my MBA and that continued when I left school.  Now, I have a ‘brand’ confession to make, I love Patagonia.  Raising three kids, two with autism, leaves little in expendable income so I don’t buy anything from Patagonia but the brand is simply awesome.  The company has great product, does everything they can to lead the way in saving our environment, and has an awesome corporate culture.  I mean, what company lets their employees have ‘surf breaks.’  SERIOUSLY ?!?!?!?!?!?!?!??!?

If you want to read a great book about “falling backwards” into creating a business and trying to do what is right – read Let My People Go Surfing.  If you want to hear a great podcast from their CEO – here it is!  If you want to receive an awesome print catalog with amazing pictures and stories, subscribe to receive Patagonia’s mail catalogs.

My twins LOVE the water. I wish I had a better picture of them at the beach but here's one of them at the waterfall at Turtle Bay, HI

Now, if you want a story about the ocean and autism – check out this post from Patagonia’s Blog, “The Cleanest Line.”  The post is written by a father who grew up loving the ocean and his story about how watching the movie, “Come Hell or High Water”  transformed his autistic son from deathly afraid of water to loving the water.

The movie is a documentary about bodysurfing, it’s evolution, and it’s connection to nature.     In digging a little more on the movie, I found out there is a story in the movie about a father and son ~ the son being autistic and how the ocean has become his paradise.  I did a post earlier on Clay Marzo – a professional surfer with asbergers who was featured on ESPN among other news outlets – and this movie seems to have a similar story.

At Launiupoko, Maui

This is from a review on tumblr.com:

“The spirituality of all surf sports echoes in one scene, between a father and his son. As the young boy twists and turns in the ocean’s current, he is surrounded by its simple, natural movement and sound. He is nowhere and yet in the most powerful element on earth, using it as a healing source for his autism.”

Now imagine Beau King, a young autistic boy, who struggles through life with (autistic symptoms) constantly in tow, look directly at the camera, his body being pushed through the water by the waves, and smile. And play. And be completely in a world where autism can never exist. Life in the water is inevitably different. It is of the earth at its utmost yet it is nothing that we, as human beings, realize the earth to be. As much as we try to manipulate what life throws at us, either it be nature or the environment or even an illness, we can never understand as the earth and its elements understand. We can never harness, no matter how advanced our technology and our medicine, the feeling an autistic boy feels as he is being swept away by the sea, no other noises or feelings to bother him and nothing to overwhelm him. Just nature in its purest form. He feels the most reassured he might ever feel because his father gave him the opportunity to touch the sea and experience the world. 
All harnessed by a love of bodysurfing.” – http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/come-hell-or-high-water

 Another confession – I was one of the few blessed individuals that can say, “I grew up on Maui” and I absolutely love and miss the beach.   I watched this past summer as my boys took to the beach, daughter picked up surfing, and everything seemed to go well . . . . . except for Twin B’s experience wiping out in the kayak.  There is something special about the ocean and I’m excited to see this movie.  Enjoy ~

Happy Easter Everyone ~ I am grateful for this holiday and the special meaning it has for my family and I.  We had an outstanding week. The boys were actually on Spring Break and for the first time, I got to beat home for a week with just the boys. . .  I think things went rather well.  It was a struggle getting them to school this morning though – my poor wife.  😦

Ben and Jerry Day: Looks like the awesome Ben and Jerry’s company does a National Free Cone Day for Autism.  I couldn’t find anything definitive on their website about it but still, if you do a simple google search, you’ll find events across the country.    I’ve always loved their ice cream but the fact they’ll do this and not really boast about it is very neat and rare these days.  Thank you!

Ben & Jerry's Free Cone Day UT

Our family members who came to the Free Cone Day

When our boys’ school asked for volunteers for the Ben and Jerry Ice Cream Day, my wife and I decided it would be fun to also take the kids to help.  We posted it on Facebook and were so happy to see a number of friends and family members come.  What an awesome support group – THANK YOU for all you do for our family!

Ben and Jerry's Free Ice Cream Day 2

Taking a break from passing out flyers

The boys really got into the activities, especially Twin B.  He’d run up to people and yell “STOP” and tell them they needed to get free ice cream and give them a flyer.  It was really fun to watch them and for the most part, see how kind and responsive most of the shoppers were.  Some would walk away to avoid the boys. . . . . .how could you say no to them and to free ice cream?  Too funny.

I thought the boys would throw a fit and want more ice cream but I think they got a kick out of the entire experience – especially handing out the flyeres.   The picture above is towards the end – Twin A was a bit bummed some people didn’t take his flyer so decided to take a break.  I am so glad we took the kids – it turned out fantastic.

Light it Up Blue: We participated in our own little way with Light it Up Blue and the other families / organizations across the world.  I’m collecting pictures of friends / family closeby that have decided to Light it Up Blue as well and will post them in a future post.  If you have some, send them to me!

Getting our Light It Up Blue Bulbs and Home Depot

Getting our Light It Up Blue Bulbs and Home Depot

The picture above is one of my favorites of Twin B. . . . it’s funny how we can get a great picture of one but the other. . . . .well. . . . .  Anyway, the boys made the trek with me THREE TIMES to Home Depot. . . .I forgot my wallet the first time at home and then the second time, left it in the car.  Ugh.

Light It Up Blue

Lighting it Up Blue at our mansion

The boys are so proud of their light bulbs and I love that my daughter thinks it’s great as well.  We had a neighbor come knocking the other day and Twin B chatted on about his blue light bulb and how cool it is.

Tip of the Week:  I don’t want to skip it again this week but I can’t find the copies I was going to scan and post as a pdf.  Anyway, the boys recent speech lesson was a great one – we used the book Mrs. McNosh Hangs Up Her Wash.  The link goes to amazon.com and the book is very affordable.  The lesson was great because there’s a number of household items that are used, thus increasing vocabulary.  Also, there’s ample usage of the “sh” and “th” sounds that I know my boys are struggling with.

Speech Therapy - Mrs. McNosh Activity

Speech Therapy - Mrs. McNosh Activity

The pdf I will post (hopefully next week) will be of the pictures used in the activity above.  Our speech therapist had a clothesline and on one end, Mr. McNosh and the other, Mrs. McNosh.  She had the boys pin each item on there and say, “Mr. McNosh is hanging up HIS TV.”  She was getting them to differentiate when and how to use “his” and “her,” work with clothespins (a fave of our OT), use more “sh” and “th” sounds and also increase vocab.  Great activity.

Sporting our Local Motion Tee's

Sporting our Local Motion Tee's

On our last trip to Hawaii, we found matching Local Motion Tee’s for the boys and I at great prices.  Anyway, glad the weather is warming up more.  I think one of the boy’s calls his Local Motion and Maui Built Shirts “Daddy Shirts.”  Have a great week!

 

OK – I usually don’t post more than twice a week so this is new for me but. . . . saw this and couldn’t pass it up!  This is from http://www.makingtimeformommy.com and the actual post can be read here.  There is an additional giveaway at the bottom of the post so make sure to visit it!

“I am a huge fan of any company that donates money to a great cause on behalf of it’s consumers so I’m really excited to share about what Lindt is doing. For the third year in a row, Lindt is partnering with Autism Speaks to raise money for Autism Awareness and it’s simple for you to be a part of it.

For every re-pin on Pinterest that Lindt gets {between now and Easter} they will be donating $10 to Autism Speaks {up to $10,000}. I know the majority of you are as Pinterest-obsessed as I am so why not raise money for a good cause while doing something that you enjoy?

All you have to do is visit their #Pin4Autism board on Pinterest and select and re-pin the Easter tradition photo that you enjoy most. Pin donations are limited to one per person but you can maximize your impact by inviting friends and family to get involved by sharing about #Pin4Autism on your Facebook pages, in your Twitter feeds or anywhere else that you connect with others.

Here are the steps Lindt would like you to take:

  1. Visit our #Pin4Autism board on Pinterest
  2. Select the “Re-Pin” button on the tradition photo that you enjoy most.
  3. You can even customize the caption of the repinned image so that it includes your own personal message. Just make sure to keep the #Pin4Autism hashtag along with the donation text within caption to ensure that your donation is included.  Example Caption (bolded portion must remain): “Egg decorating is my favorite Easter tradition!    [I just donated 10 dollars to the Autism cause by pinning this photo.  Learn how you can #Pin4Autism too by clicking on the image above.]”
  4. Select “Pin It”
  5. You’ve donated!

Want to help even more? Recreate one of the Lindt inspired projects {could be a recipe or craft} that incorporates Lindt products on Lindt’s Pinterest page  and email Lindt and include the image or link to your creation, along with the subject line:  #Pin4Autism Donation.  The amazing folks over at Lindt will donate $25.00 to Autism Speaks in return”


I had a really neat experience that left a profound impact on me ~ the other week at church, we got a request for volunteers to help with an evening for special needs individuals and a number of us signed up.  We were asked to be ‘dads’ for these daughters whose parents couldn’t be in attendance and based on the lessons in Ephesians about the “Armor of God,” we’d all help our ‘daughters’ make their own ‘armor’ and participate in a fashion show.

What a fun activity

I was so impressed by the real dads who were there and their relationship with their daughters.  Also, while our little group only came for this past week’s activity, there were a number of volunteers who are there weekly for the special needs groups – all on their own free time, asking nothing back for their service.  Many of them were young women (probably 40 in attendance), who are juniors and seniors at three of the local high schools. These girls rock ~ they were so supportive of their special needs partners, and were so genuine with their desire to help these girls have a great evening.

To all the dads and individuals who were there ~ thank you so much for your example, service, and allowing me to participate on the limited scale that I did.  Our little volunteer group of dads came to help for an evening, and we all left appreciative of the opportunity to go. . . . . what a special night.

Living Planet Aquarium, Salt Lake City Utah

Hanging out at the acquarium

Accomplishments: Twin A went with his classmates on a fieldtrip to the Living Planet Aquarium.  We contemplated pulling his brother out of school to go as well but realized that they need to have their own time and activities once in awhile.  He LOVED the aquarium – jellyfish in particular.  Since both my wife and I went, it was fun to have 1-1 time with Twin A just by ourselves.  However, it was also great to see him and some of his classmates run around together.  I was also very impressed that he knew one of the other teachers was sick and kept asking about her and this week, has wanted to bring her treats.

On an unfortunate note, my mother-in-law’s kitty passed away.  She’s been around technically, longer than I have in the family and the past week has been hard for my wife and her mom.  The kids and I were home one night before kitty was put down and we were talking about kitty and how we needed to make sure Tutu (grandma) is ok.  So, Tutu was picking the boys up at school the next day and one of the teachers said that Twin B had told them about kitty and how sad Tutu was so they wanted to offer their condolences.  Nice of the teachers.  On that same note,  I was impressed Twin B remembered what was going on in Tutu’s life and that it would be a tough time for her.  Way kool.

The Living Planet Sandy Utah

Tip of the Week: We had a way kool lesson for speech last week but I need to scan the pictures we used.  Great for differentiation from “he” and “she” and working on “sh” and “th” sounds .  I know the boys need this lesson and it’s given my wife and I a ton of ideas for our nightly drills before we go to sleep.  I’ll scan the pictures and send them on next week.

My boys LOVE their iPad and I’m so grateful we were able to get one for them.  Tip of the week comes from a great post that features a number of apps that are on discount for Light it Up Blue.  Here’s a link from a great blog resource I came across.  Have a great week!