Wednesday, January 31, 2007


Ok, so I skipped last week, I feel bad, but not bad enough to appraise that I needed to go back and do the entire post again. You see I didn't forget to write my post, the blogspot server just decided to give up on me the minute I was about to publish. Ugh!! Talk about horrible appraising - the computer system should have appraised that that was not a good moment to fail me. So lesson learned: save as you go along or type it somewhere else and post it into blogger once you're ready to post...

So appraisal according to the Merriam Webster dictionary means:
1 : to set a value on : estimate the amount of
2 : to evaluate the worth, significance, or status of; especially : to give an expert judgment of the value or merit of

A few ways that we appraise daily:

  • What's more important: Waiting at a red light until it turns green or turning right on red because there are no cars coming . Perhaps if you have cars honking from behind you, you may appraise the importance of turning sooner as more important or if you are running late for work/school.
  • What's more important: Finishing your homework or wasting time searching the web (that was for you duct tape girl - although I must say it was a good find)
  • What's more important: Flushing the toilet like you are supposed to after using it or waiting because you might wake your sister up? (A wonderful appraisal moment by a client of ours not too long ago)
  • What's more important: Going deeper with this blog post or spending time with my family after being gone all day?

On that note, I must finish up this post and get my girls ready for bed. I think I appraised that one well. There are many times during the day that we must appraise what is the most important thing at the moment. In the morning it's probably more about getting out the door on time than making sure that the car is warmed up or that the kid's hair is perfect. On the way to work/school it's probably more important to take a different route than to arrive 15 minutes late because a car accident is in the way of the normal route. You get the idea.

Unfortunately those with autism struggle with knowing how to appropriately appraise a situation. Often times we see that a toy, fan, light switch, telling a certain story, reading/flipping through a book, watching a show etc... are more important than the person they are with. It's important for us to slow thing down and help them realize what is most important in their surrounding so they are able to appraise situations better in their future (not that we are always right with our appriasal or the way we respond to our appraisal: i.e.: I kow it's more important to be with my kids right now, but I'm still on the computer)

Until next week (as I'm being tugged off the computer by my one year old - I'll make a good appraisal moment now),


Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Duct Tape – What’s not to love?!

I will admit to being an occasional Amazon shopper. Sometimes I just need to zone out for a minute and Amazon never fails to provide something interesting to look at. One night a few weeks ago I really didn’t want to get started on my statistics homework so I decided to take a small detour to the Amazon site. While browsing I was delighted to stumble across some books on duct tape. Duct tape was an obsession of my father’s while I was growing up (well, actually it still is to this day) as his motto was basically that anything and everything could be fixed with a little (or sometimes a lot of) duct tape. Goop (you know, that all purpose adhesive) was another frequently used item at our house…but that’s another story! Anyway, fast forward to my life now with a husband and three boys and there is still plenty of duct-taping going on at my house!

Back to my Amazon browsing…there was one book in particular that caught my eye – 30 things to make from duct tape. I was intrigued so I clicked to see what one could actually make out of duct tape. Well, it turns out quite a lot! This book was written by a high school student who came up with ways to make jewelry, purses, ties, hats, placemats….you name it – all out of duct tape! Of course my mind immediately went to what a fabulous elaboration this is on traditional uses of duct tape. Then I thought about the transformation aspect – turning one thing into another. Of course there was the sheer volume of variations that could be made on duct tape usage. And what great apprenticeship opportunities….That was it - the book had to go in my shopping cart!

This book is now residing at our office, just waiting for families to seize the vast experience-sharing opportunities that lie within it. It is a great example of taking one thing and continuing to vary, elaborate, and transform it to provide on-going experiences with your child. This is also a wonderful way to engage in flexible and creative thinking: How many different things can we fix with duct tape? How many different things can we make from duct tape? What if we use the myriad of colored duct tapes that are apparently out there in the world available for purchase (am I the only one who did not know that these existed)? What materials can be used to decorate duct tape creations (what sticks to the non-sticky side of duct tape???)– stickers? Permanent markers? Paint? The possibilities are endless – and all from one roll of tape. If you decide to embark on a duct tape journey with your child, please stop back and share your ideas and the discoveries you make together!

(In case you are curious, here is the link to the book that inspired this post)

Until next week (and happy duct-taping),

Saturday, January 27, 2007

What's HOT (Horizon's Occupational Therapy)

What beautiful eyes we have... but are they really working?
I have the great opportunity to see children with a lot of different disabilities, ranging from mild to significantly impaired. Many of these kids have vision delays that go unnoticed. Did you ever think about a child who has a difficult time reading, and couldn't figure out why? Many children have difficulty with being able to track with their eyes smoothly in different directions, crossing the mid-line (middle part of their bodies), and cannot sustain (hold) a gaze with their eyes. Some kids on the autism spectrum tend to use whole head movements (not using just their eyes), or only their peripheral (side) vision to quick spotlight what is necessary. Other children may have pupils that are too large or small, which could effect their sensitivity to light.
Visual surrounding can be overwhelming as it can seem like a big blur of colors and shapes if your eyes are not working well.
About 70% of our sensory information of what defines our world is visual. The images we see help construct settings, mood, and memory. What we can see can insulate us from harm, and envelop us with delight.
Spend a few minutes each day giving your children's and your own eyes a workout. Play eye spy games, flash light tag, volley a balloon around, go outside and explore something up close, then farther away, quickly look right and left, and try a staring contest in different directions. Think about other ways that you can exercise your eyes to achieve the full benefit of those beautiful eyes.
Sarah OT

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Communication - What's it all about?

In my job as a school speech/language pathologist I work with children with a variety of communication deficits and needs. One part of my job includes being a member of our autism spectrum disorder evaluation team. In that capacity I have been doing a good deal of testing lately.

On one particular test that I use there is a section entitled non-literal language which really looks at a child’s understanding of idioms and metaphors (such as sayings like – you are such a turtle or the sky was crying great big tear drops). The children hear these sayings in the context of a sentence or short paragraph and then are asked what these things really mean. It has been very interesting for me to see the range of not only ability to decipher these phrases, but also the range of responses I get. This obviously is an area that most of our students on the autism spectrum struggle with, but it has been very eye opening for me recently to see how children go about trying to figure out what it means. Some children are very literal and just give the exact meaning of the words. Other children try to use some thought and come up with an answer that is closer to the mark and yet others are able to interpret some phrases on not others.

I bring this up because this is directly related to the broadband communication experience in which people need to focus on all aspects of communication not just the words being said in order to accurately interpret the whole message being conveyed. How much harder is it to truly convey your meaning when speaking on the phone to someone that when talking to that person face to face. Most of the time our children on the spectrum are focusing so hard on the words that we say that they completely miss our body language, tone of voice, pitch, rate or facial expression which leads them to misinterpret our meaning. This difficulty can not only lead to frustration on their part, but on ours as well. That is why I have found it so beneficial to begin working on helping the children I work with in the schools to start interpreting non-verbal communication. I will sometimes spend an entire session without talking at all only communicating non-verbally. This is great fun and it is amazing to see what these students are really capable of.

In the upcoming weeks I plan to talk about communication a bit more and I am going to begin watching a bit more closely the non-verbal communication that takes place in my school. I think this should be an interesting study. I challenge you over the next week to try talking less and using non-verbals more. I bet you’ll be surprised with the results.

Talk to you soon,

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The Wheel's Still Spinning, But the Hamster's Dead!

I was introduced to this phrase today by a 16 year old student with Asperger’s Syndrome whom I have the pleasure of visiting periodically at his high school. He used it to comment on a situation in which there was on-going needless arguing on the part of students and staff regarding getting something done. I have been laughing about this all day whenever I think of him saying it – and I have thought of a number of potentially relevant ways to apply this:

1) How often do we try to explain, and rationalize, and explain some more to try to make our kids understand where we are coming from? We can’t just make our point and let it go without allowing ourselves to get caught up in arguments and justifications. Well…the wheel’s still spinning, but the hamster’s dead!

2) What about times when we can’t just stop something while it’s going well with our kids. No, we have to try to eek out one more minute, one more thing to do, one more push to get something accomplished. Well, the wheel’s still spinning, but the hamster’s dead!

3) Do you ever find yourself continually caught up in the same self-defeating mindset? Things aren’t ever going to get better; everything feels so hard to accomplish; there are so many things to try to tackle at once that it seems useless to try. Well, the wheel’s still spinning, but the hamster’s dead!

4) How about what we frequently do in schools – try to apply the same unproductive strategies to problems, and then wonder why the results are never any different. Well, the wheel’s still spinning, but the hamster’s dead!

If any of these scenarios applies to you, make the decision to stop running in an endless cycle that gets you nowhere fast. Jump off before it’s too late! Don’t be the dead hamster on the wheel that keeps on spinning!

Until next week,

Friday, January 19, 2007

Smiling Faces

Ok - so this week will be a little more difficult since everyone seemed to talk about something different. There was talk of active participation, self-awareness, and smiling. Smiling was an easy topic to find an appropriate quote about so I'll just stick with that one (thanks to Erin!).

It's always nice when kids come in and to see their big smiles - how can that not cheer anyone up?! Sometimes I think that adults need to smile more - they may be feeling like they are in a good mood, but why not show it! So, this quote I found is for adults - children just seeem to have more smiles in them.

"Keep a smile on your face and let your personallity be your autograph"

Thursday, January 18, 2007


One of my duties here at school each day is to wait with the kindergarten through 2nd grade children who are picked up by their parents each day. Everyday I see children’s faces light up with huge delighted smiles as their parents come to pick them up. The kids are genuinely happy to see their parents. This is emotion sharing at its best. This is one of my favorite times of the day to see the connection these children have with their mom or dad. What a great gift and it’s free!

I know that when I’m having a bad day or things just are going exactly how I want them to a smile from one of my students can just turn everything around. I love the smiles I get when we have worked really hard on something and they finally are making progress or have achieved something or when we are just having fun enjoying the activity. It makes your heart sing and you can’t help, but smile back. Just sitting here typing about smiling is making me smile.

Smiling is contagious just try it and you’ll see. The next time you are at the mall or grocery store or anywhere there are several people try smiling at some strangers. You’ll be amazed at how many people can’t help, but smile back at you. It’s a fun experiment and I love trying this out. I also like to smile at people who are looking very grumpy. It might be my smile that lightens there day a bit you never know.

So for those of you with a child on the spectrum that are part of the RDI(rt) program that may not get many smiles yet don’t lose hope they are coming.

See you next Thursday,
(Just as a side note smiling takes less muscles than frowning so try a few more smiles.)

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Self Awareness

I was going to post on appraisal today, but my thoughts were really on self awareness. This is one of the easier core deficits to understand and really the one that is the most evident in others when they are lacking this necessary trait. Self awareness is the ability to not only understand how you fit into a setting/relationship, but also the ability to understand how your actions may affect another person. As I was at the doctor's office with my daughters yesterday a little girl around the age of four decided she wanted a sucker. When her mom said no, this little girl's world fell apart. The girl started kicking and screaming and causing a huge scene. The poor mother...she couldn't leave. I really felt for her. I've been there. Anyway, thinking of self awareness, this little girl was lacking the ability not only to see how her actions were affecting how others saw her, but also how it was making other's feel. The waiting room was filled with squirming parents (most who were probably feeling bad for the mom). Her actions were making everyone in that room uncomfortable, but she couldn't see that. She wanted that sucker.

On another self awareness note, who watched American Idol last night? The first several episodes of American Idol spotlight a few of the good singers, but really we see much more of the "singers" who can't sing. Now, I know, some of these people are there to put on a show just to make it on television. I thought myself how funny it would be to walk into that room and try to sing. Oh, it'd be funny. Now aside from those who intentially do it for the lack of something better to do, there are those who really think they are good and are shocked to learn they are far from even average. Take William Hung for example. I believe he thought he was good. Now he even lacks the self awareness to realize he is the laughing stock of millions. Poor guy. Well I don't feel too bad, his lack of self awareness has profited him a lot of money.

Anyway, self awareness. Any good stories about how this is improving in your child? We love to hear the stories.

Until next week,

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Active Participation Required

This week I would like to share some things I have been thinking about in relation to active participation in the apprentice role. I have recognized in some clients recently that they have a tendency to allow themselves to be guided through activities without resistance, but they aren’t really actively participating by taking their own actions. Take, for example, a child I saw recently who “helps” with many things around the house. When they clear the table he allows mom to guide him with picking up the plates from the table and carrying them to the sink. As long as mom provides physical scaffolding the child appears to be taking his role and engaging with her and the task. However, when that physically scaffolding is lessened or removed, it is clear that the child was never actively taking on that role because now he does not continue with picking up and moving the plates. He may begin to move around the room drop to the floor, or do something else. The sense of actively moving his body to participate in the role of moving dishes was never achieved – he was simply allowing his mother to move his body so it looked like he was taking his role.

Upon further inspection, when I did this activity with him, I could tell right away that while he was allowing me to place his hands on the dishes and walk with him over to the sink, he was not exerting any physical effort to grip the plate or carry it – I could feel that his arms were floppy and he was merely giving the appearance of carrying the dish. I realized that we needed to focus on getting this child to take intentional action with his body rather than simply allow himself to be moved through the paces of activities. We started walking together while holding hands and allowed him to feel the results of his actions when he would become unintentional about what he was doing. For example, when he would lean way back while walking we would continue to hold his hand but allow him to gently fall back onto the floor instead of us putting forth the effort to pull him back into an upright position. The look on his face the first couple of times we did this was amazing – it was like he couldn’t believe that the result of his action led to him being on the ground. He clearly expected his body to be pulled back up by one of us. Over the course of one 15 minute session of walking together and allowing him to feel the results of his actions he was already more “sturdy” with his posture and did less flopping to the ground when we would stop walking. His attention to his actions was better and it was not so much work to keep him with us.

This experience again spotlighted for me the importance of children attending to and taking responsibility for their physical actions, and understanding the results of those actions, as a foundation for active role participation and apprenticeship. The parents were doing so much scaffolding for this child that he couldn’t get the feel for what would happen as a result of his actions. When we simplified what we were doing and pulled back on the degree of physical scaffolding we began to see big changes. Think about the amount of physical scaffolding you are providing your child – can s/he take an active role fairly quickly or are you doing most of the physical work? Is your child able to make intentional physical movements to accomplish things or does s/he tend to be more random with actions and wait for you to work things out? If this is an issue for you and your child, try starting out very simply and slowly and allow your child to feel the results of his/her actions; then build from there. Active engagement and participation is a critical foundation for apprenticeship!

Until next week,

Friday, January 12, 2007

RushRushRush - I don't think so!

After looking back at all the posts this past week - there seemed to be a theme throughout. So, I thought I'd try my best to find a quote that summed it all up...

There's absolutely no reason to be rushed along with the rush.

Slow down - Remember the important things - Take time to share something with your child - Create a legacy for your children - Don't try to multi-task all the time

Thursday, January 11, 2007

The Mayonnaise Jar and 2 Cups of Coffee

As I was reflecting on what Nicole wrote on Tuesday I received an e-mail from a staff member here at school that seemed to piggy back on her message of family. I thought this story would be a great one to share as part of my blog this week. I am also a very strong believer in the importance of family. For me family comes above all else. You never know how long a family member will be with you and it is so important to cherish each day – good and bad. So in the spirit of family enjoy this story.

The Mayonnaise Jar and 2 Cups of Coffee

When things in your lives seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in
a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and the 2 cups of coffee.

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front
of him. When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and
empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then
asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar.
He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between
the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They
agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of
course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar
was full. The students responded with and unanimous "yes."

The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table and
poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space
between the sand. The students laughed.

"Now," said the professor as the laughter subsided, "I want you to
recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the
important things-- your family, your children, your health, your friends and
your favorite passions-- and if everything else was lost and only they
remained, your life would still be full.

The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and
your car.

The sand is everything else-- the small stuff. "If you put the sand into the
jar first," he continued, "there is no room for the pebbles or the golf
balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the
small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to

"Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with
your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your spouse out to
dinner. Play another 18. There will always be time to clean the house and
fix the disposal. Take care of the golf balls first-- the things that really
matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand."

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the coffee
represented. The professor smiled. "I'm glad you asked.

It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem,
there's always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend."

Take time to slow down and remember the golf balls in your life.

See you next Thursday,

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Core Deficits

Last night we had parent group and our discussion was on the core deficits of autism. It's always good even as a consultant to revisit these core deficits and to constantly be thinking about how the activities and the way they are framed benefit those with ASD. Over the next several weeks I'm going to spotlight one core deficit a week and give some examples of what this looks like and how we can work on this core deficit area. Please feel free to add comments about personal experiences or other things that spark a memory for you when reading these examples. We'd especially love to hear stories about how these core deficit areas are becoming less of an obstacle in your child's life with autism.

The five core deficit areas are:
Experience Sharing
Flexible Thinking
Episodic Memory
Self Awareness

Today's focus will be on Experience Sharing:
Experience sharing is most well known in the realm of communication. 80% of our communication is used to share experiences (otherwise known as declarative language), both to share our own experiences, but also to gain from the experiences of others. With an individual on the spectrum this is quite the opposite often using communication as a means to an end, to get a need met (otherwise known as imperative or manipulative communication). It is also extremely common for those communicating with individuals with ASD to use the imperative or manipulative communication. This form of communication results in some sort of response usually quite a rote reponse and not resulting in the individual with autism to have to use their mind. Helping those with autism to use more experience sharing communication is essential to help them think about and gain something from their personal experiences, gain knowledge from other's experiences and also to think more about their own actions/responses.

The best way to encourage the use of declarative/experience sharing communication is to use this form of communication with them. Think about this scenario:
Jared, a young boy with autism, walks in the door from school and the conversations goes like this and mom is very imperative:
Mom: Hi Jared
J: Hi mom
M: How was school?
J: Fine
M: Did you have art today?
J: Yes
M: What did you do in art?
J: Made a bird house
M: Oh, did you paint it too?
J: Yes

How much did this mom gain from her son's day? Did Jared have to think at all about his day? These responses are pretty mindless. Now watch the same scenario with the experience sharing communication:

M: Hi Jared
J: Hi Mom
M: I heard you made a bird house in art today
J: Yeah
M: Oh, I bet the birds will love that house
J: I think so (with a smile on his face)
M: I wonder where we should put it
J: Hmmm, (long pause) maybe on the deck
M: Yeah, that's a good idea.

How much more was mom able to get from his day? How much easier was it to build on his original statments once the communication got going? Of course this scenario would mean knowing what was going to happen in art that day, but a little digging definately pays off!

This of course is important communication style to use with all kids. I think about my 3 year old and it's so easy as we are leaving the house to kick in imperative mode. Get your shoes on! Where's your coat? Eat your breakfast! I notice immediately when I turn into imperative mom that my children become more defiant, frustrated and they shut down. Changing my conversation style just a little suddenly makes it her idea to put her shoes on. Hmm, I wonder if you'd like to wear your boots or your brown shoes today. I've got your coat. Wow, if you don't eat soon you'll have to throw your breakfast away. Bummer! Again, think about how those simple changes suddenly make it her choice. If she chooses not to eat her breakfast that's her struggle to deal with when she's hungry at 10:00!

If you are a family that has implemented the use of declaratie language, how has increasing declarative language been helpful?

Until next week! Michelle

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

A legacy for our children

The RDI community recently lost a dear consultant colleague and friend whose sudden passing seems unreal. When things like this happen in life it causes many of us to examine our values and priorities. The "what if" questions creep to the forefront of our minds and we think about what we would cherish and place the most value on if we found out that we would be gone tomorrow. When I stop to think about what matters most it always involves my family and memories of the time spent with them. If I knew that tonight would be the last time I would read my kids a bedtime story, I would make it the best bedtime story-time we ever had. I would slow down and really enjoy that moment in time - snuggling with them to read and talk on the couch. So many times I find myself rushing through that as part of the "bedtime routine" instead of making the most of it and cherishing the time with them. I find that happens a lot - I get caught up in the busyness of life and don't take time to enjoy the small moments. But, when I stop to think about it, it's those small moments that mean the most. It's those moments that shape the hearts and minds of my children; those moments that I'll think back on and cherish when my kids are grown and out of the house; those moments that I will remember most as meaningful ones in my life.

We get so busy in the routine of living our lives that we forget to slow down and really enjoy the moments that, in the end, will matter most. I want to leave my children a legacy of time spent together doing what is most important. I don't want my legacy to be that I got a lot done in my lifetime, or that I excelled in my work, or that I took them lots of places. Those might be good things, but they are not the most important things. I want my legacy to be of time spent living well with my family - of time spent teaching, and learning, and loving together. It's unfortunate that it sometimes takes major events in our lives, or the passing of those we knew and loved, to stop and examine our priorities. But that's one way to honor their lives - to stop and prioritize our own so that we make the most of the life we have to live. What legacy are you creating with your family?

Until next week,

Monday, January 8, 2007

What's HOT (Horizons Occupational Therapy)

Ever think that you are getting a lot done by multitasking? Basically research is showing that we tend to spin our wheels in lots of directions, but not hardly accomplishing anything. Many of us start one task, before finishing another which can put a person into a warp-speed-juggling act. The idea of multitasking comes from computers, which appear to perform many functions at the same time. But this is misleading, because most computers flip back and forth between tasks-and your brain operates in much the same way. It is literally impossible to pay conscious attention to more than one thing at once, and do them all well. It really scares me that people are seen in their cars driving, putting on makeup, talking on the phone, and smoking a cigarette.
It is important in our daily lives to slow down, and to take time to wipe the mental slate clean. As multitasking occurs, our stress levels increase, and our lack of ability to perform to our potential. Take time to reboot by reflecting on the day ahead helps prime the mind. Prioritize what must get done, then make a schedule rather than a to-do list. Turn off the tv, computer, and phone. Take time to walk, exercise, focus and meditate, giving your overtaxed brain a chance to re-group.
Sarah OT

Friday, January 5, 2007

Anything? Yes, anything.

In starting a new year, it's always good to have great daily reminders and uplifting inspirational messages. By checking our blog daily, you will be able to read some really amazing things. I hope that you'll be able to join our daily ventures.

So, in this new year I have one quote for everyone to keep in mind at all times:

Anything is possible...
It may be a lot of work just to do one thing, but with a strong desire and determination there is the possibility of success - anything is possible - what do you want that to be?

Thursday, January 4, 2007


As I was sitting down at my desk this morning I remembered today was Thursday and it is my turn to blog (my days are little mixed up starting back to school on a Wednesday). I hadn't really been thinking about what I should blog on this week until I went to write down my reflections for yesterday. I received the day by day calendar for "women who do too much" for Christmas this year. Not only do I like the quotes and sayings in it, but another thing I like is it is designed for journaling on the back of each sheet. I've tried to journal in the past and always start off well and then about midway through the year I lose interest or get busy and don't do it. I've decided that I am going to make a commitment to reflecting this year and I really don't have an excuse as I am going to tear a page off the calendar each day anyway and it only takes a minute or two to write down my thoughts from the day before.

I think that journaling can be such a great way of preserving history for our children or family members in the future. It can also help to cement those episodic memories for us. What you write may not seem like a big deal at the time, but in years to come you may look back and find that what happened on a particular day really was a "big deal" in the bigger picture. So as this new year begins I encourage each of you to begin reflecting whether it be writing in a journal, on a calendar, blogging, or recording your thoughts on tape the memories you collect will be worth something in the future.

See you next week,

Wednesday, January 3, 2007


Give them an inch and they'll take a mile. I love my children, I really do, but something about the holidays makes parenting really hard. I've been reflecting on this lately. A normal evening for my kids entails eating dinner, taking a bath, watching a video, reading a few books, brushing teeth, and going to bed. With my older daughter the routine continues in her bedroom with feeding her fish, reading another book and reflecting on our day. Anyway, around the holidays and out of our routine, things become really difficult. 3 days in a row of eating junk, staying up late, opening gifts and being absolutely spoiled leads to the next three days being extreme disappointments when the presents are gone, the junk food hidden and an attempt at the "normal" bedtime routine is attempted. It's during this time that I realize the importance of the routines and schedules that we have developed for our children.

Often when my children are going through those difficult times of being more oppositional and defiant I look back and think "what happened?". Most of the time I see that things have slowly slipped, the bed time routine later, the movies longer, and the compromising happening more just to avoid the dreadful temper tantrums! Oh, had I just remained disciplined and consistant myself, my children would not be fighting so hard. I read in a book recently the importance as us as parents being disciplined. How can we expect our children to be well behaved and disciplined when we don't have the same expectations on ourselves? On that note, take time to reflect on your current schedule. Are you expecting too much of your kids, pushing them through too many activities, keeping the pacing of life way too fast? Perhaps it's time to sit back, slow down and give our kids the wonderful gift of discipline. That's one of my big goals for 2007!

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Do Something Daily

With the start of 2007 upon us, it seems a good time to refocus our efforts and make sure we are making the most of the moments we have with our children each day. A concept I have been developing with some families over the past few months involves doing at least one specific thing each day that works toward your objectives with your child. We have started to call this "Do Something Daily". It is a good reminder to get motivated to work toward your goals each day - even if you only have a few minutes. Many times we hear parents say that they aren't creative or couldn't think of something to do with their child. There are ALWAYS things to do - it's just a matter of thinking about them in the context of doing them with your child. Over the next month those of you working with one of our consultants will be learning more about this "Do Something Daily" idea and will be provided with tools for doing something, however large or small, each day. To get you started, here's an idea for today: have a picnic meal or snack - spread a blanket out on the floor, us some paper plates if you'd like, and sit down together to eat like you're having a picnic. Let's get some good momentum going early in this new year to make the most of each day as we work on remediation!

Until next week,