Posted in Autism Spectrum Disorder, Just for fun, Letters, My Life My Way, parenting, Sensory Processing Disorder, Special Needs Kids

Military Wants My Special Needs Son

Dear Selective Service Person;

I received your letter requiring my son DJ register for Selective Service. As a deep patriot, I must inform you – you don’t want that boy!  As great as America’s military is, they are not prepared for my little weapon of mass destruction. DJ has many strengths, but he’s a little quirky.  Do you really want an enlistee who even Santa gives the side-eye? IMG_0038

There are things he could do such as train bomb-sniffing dogs.  Got some out-of-control dragons?  He’s your man!  But not horses!  He prefers riding them backward and wonders why it doesn’t work out.  Not to mention, the helmet messes up his hair.

 

His flair for disguises is a definite asset.  Hugh Hefner and Phil Robertson never looked better.

 

As evident in his massive medical file, he holds up well under torture.

 

Waterboarding ain’t nothing but a thang.

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He has a problem with loud noises, though.  They scare him and hurt his ears.  So, unless you want him standing in the middle of the battlefield covering his ears some adaptations are needed.  Put a silencer on guns, artillery shells, tanks, grenades, pretty much everything you have; including drill sergeants.  I hear they get a bit out of hand.

 

Considering how much trouble DJ gets into at home, putting him in uniform in another country increases the chances of an international incident.  He has a knack for getting into questionable if not downright compromising situations.  Gambling, document shredding, and literally caught with his pants down are only a few of his transgressions.

 

DJ aspires to be the world’s greatest social media influencer.  Therefore, he requests his uniform have more of the NASCAR I’m promoting something vibe rather than the camo I’ve come to kill you feel.  He thinks it works better for his brand.  He suggests his uniform have patches for Culvers, UK basketball, Pizza Hut, UK basketball, Coke, UK basketball, Bath & Body Works, UK basketball, Ricky T’s Bar & Grille … well, you see where this is going.

 

Though DJ is a true warrior at heart and a Superhero even The Avengers envy, I must exert my guardianship authority over him and reject your offer of war.  Alas, the world is just not ready for my DJ.  (sigh)  But don’t despair, his brother Dalton is all signed up and ready to go.  Good luck with that!

 

 

 

Sorry not that sorry,

Joan Graves

Posted in Autism Spectrum Disorder, Education, Just for fun, parenting, Sensory Processing Disorder, Special Needs Kids

Feel the Sensory in Halloween

Science has proven that a multi-sensory environment improves brain function, language, social interaction, coordination and much more. Just as you arrange your food intake for maximum nutritional benefits, the same should be done for your sensory diet. The majority of us can exist in a day and get enough input to all of our senses to keep us balanced without having to actively search for ways to increase one sense or the other.

Individuals with sensory processing disorders, are on the autism spectrum or have other special needs, lack sufficient sensory input. The lack of an incomplete sensory diet can wreak havoc throughout our physical, emotional and intellectual state. With millions of  nerve endings sending messages to the brain about even the smallest tactile (touch) sense it is extremely easy to have a few crossed wires. Most of us can sift through the multitude of tactile stimulation without giving it much thought. Those with processing difficulty cannot. They either perceive too much stimulation or not enough.

Regardless of whether it’s a child with an over or under sensitive tactile system all children can benefit from a little tactile processing practice.  Halloween is the perfect time introduce your child to a sensory bin. The bin can be filled with sand, rice, water, flour, shaving cream, and even jello. Just go with the substance that your child will tolerate delving their hands into.

To keep the project affordable I purchased my bin and the contents at my local Dollar Tree. You can use any size or shape container you prefer. Mine is rectangular with a lid so I can safely store it away for reuse later. I filled the bin with rice then buried some plastic treat bag items in it.

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The goal is to have the child blindfolded, close their eyes or turn their head as they dig into the bin for the items you request. You want them to work on the sense of touch alone. Show your child an item then have them sift through the contents of the bin to find it.  I recommend having a couple of items that are easily identified. The ping pong eyeballs are easily recognized as are the tiny skull rings. Allowing the child to either start with one of the easy items or switch to them after missing an item or retrieving one that was particularly difficult gives them a much-needed confidence boost.

Only do as much as your child can tolerate. We want to push them a bit beyond their comfort zone but not to the point of a meltdown or where the activity isn’t enjoyable.  The more fun they have they less they care about the therapeutic aspect. As always, forget about the mess and enjoy the bonding time between you and your special one. Happy feel-o-ween everyone!

Posted in Just for fun, My Life My Way, parenting, Sensory Processing Disorder, Special Needs Kids

Snaps of Halloween

This is the time of year when everyone wants to know how DJ and I manage all the Halloween mania.  As parents know, October can be tough on special needs kids. Uncomfortable costumes, sensory overload and an innate fear of overly excited children can combine to create disaster.  So, I thought I’d share a few pictures of how we cope with the madness.

Our biggest rule?  We never wear more of a costume than he can tolerate.

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Sometimes it’s just better, not to mention cheaper, to make your own costume.  DJ loved learning about Native Americans and making his own costume.  Prior to that, when his legs were too weak for walking some colored posterboard and creativity turned his wagon into Thomas the Tank Engine.

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We practice before the big night. Whether he needs a signal to say the noise has become unbearable or if he just needs to get accustomed to what he’s wearing, practice makes perfect.

 

When we go to the pumpkin farm we go to a small, less busy one and on an off day.  That filters out some of what my sensory boy finds intolerable and helps him branch out to new sensory adventure.

 

But in the end, if watching is a better option than actual participation, that’s okay.

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You won’t get there overnight.  Just take baby steps, introduce the easiest new activities first and don’t get frustrated.  Our kids may be a little quirky and off-beat but never hopeless.

 

 

Posted in Just for fun, This N That

I Am Not Joan Graves

Have you ever Googled yourself? You, know, just typed your name in the Google search engine to see what pops up. As a writer, I’m hoping some rave review about my writing or a masterpiece I’ve written appears at the top of the page.

So, imagine my surprise when the first thing that pops up reads; “Meet the reason movies suck – Joan Graves.” I’m like, “Wait, WHAT?!” I don’t make movie suck…. do I? No, of course not. I’ve done a lot of things in my life but I’m pretty sure making movies suck is not one of them. Turns out the person responsible for rating movies is named Joan Graves. And apparently some people are not very fond of her.

I’ve spent the last few years doing everything possible to get my name to appear at the top in the Google search and get rid of the “reason movies suck” mantra. My first thought was to buy my domain name. Nope! Not happening. Some third party person has bought JoanGraves.com. And they are not even using it! Crazy people with my name. I think they bought it and are holding it hostage in hopes the other Joan Graves will pay them an obscene amount of money to get it. Well, to them I say, “Hello! It’s no working. You’ve had it for four years now. No one is going to buy it from you. Let my name go!”

Though older than me, the other Joan Graves appears to be in fine health so looks like I’m going to have to resign myself to being number two. Man, I hate that! I can’t stand being second. So, I’d like to point out that you can help me rise to number one by Googling me and hitting on MY name, not HERS. Yes, I’m that kinda girl and hopefully you are that bored.  So, to clarify, this is me.

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This is not.

JoanGraves