Sunday, August 31, 2008

Austin started his meds yesterday and he seems to be just fine on them. I am not giving him his melatonin until I talk to the neurologist about it. He had a really hard time falling asleep last night.

He is doing pretty well overall and I'm very proud of him. Just as we always do, we are keeping him informed as appropriate with his age and ability to understand. He is asking questions, but also understands that we don't have all of the answers yet. He is taking his medicine well, and actually has been reminding me when it's time. It is a sprinkle so he has to take it on soft food. He has trouble with certain food textures, but is taking the meds on applesauce. I am so proud of him for not fighting us on this. He did ask if he can start back with practicing swallowing pills, though. We will start practicing again ASAP so he can just swallow the capsule.

We're going to have a cookout tomorrow, just the 5 of us. We need the distraction.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Yes, Austin is having seizures.

We got home from the hospital just in time for the pediatrician to call. The neurologist had already read Austin's EEG and called her with the results. Austin needs to be on a seizure med called Depakote, and we just got back from having baseline bloodwork for that medication.

We are to keep the appointment with the neurologist (a different one from the one who read today's EEG). Today's neuro recommends an MRI. The pediatrician said that for insurance purposes, the neuro will need to refer that.

I'm going to bed.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

TGI...Th?

Wow, no blog post since Sunday? I didn't realize that! Sorry! You're getting the weekly review a day early because we're doing a 4 day week this week. Austin's EEG is tomorrow and he has to be sleep-deprived. I didn't think it was worth it for anyone (student or teacher) to try to attempt school tomorrow! LOL

I'm just going to hit the highlights as I've still got a bunch of stuff to do this afternoon. And since I've learned how to use the little bullet tool on blogger (did you notice??), this will be even more fun:
  • Austin - Math Test - 100% (tried to be silly with him, called him out with a sad face and sounds to make him think he did bad but it didn't work. He said he knew he did well on the test, and I was just trying to trick him)
  • Riley - Spelling Test - 100%
  • Reece - finished all of the Level 1 Real Kids Phonics Readers, will begin level 2 next week, also surprised me today by doing 2 pages of her Explode the Code, Book 1 all by herself! She was very proud
  • History - Ancient Egypt
  • Grammar- resumed this week and both are doing much better than expected
  • Narrations - continued this week and also are much better than expected; starting oral narration very informally with Reece, all that RDI work in being declarative really transitions nicely into oral narration (also doesn't hurt for her to have been around it for the last year. I'm not sure how many other 6 year old children with autism would holler out "My turn for a narration, Mommy!" if they didn't have 2 older siblings giving narrations all the time - of course, hearing her narrate one of her own books by herself is so much more rewarding for me)
  • Science - added Madame How and Lady Why (an Ambleside suggestion) as a read-aloud, and we're really liking it! This is a narrative tale of geology.
  • Geography - Middle East, to tie in with Ancient history
My stamina is still not up to par, but I'm hoping it's the stress and lack of sleep surrounding Austin's episode at the pool. Next week we're adding back in Latin and Spanish, and Riley will begin her 'learn to type' program. Austin started typing one of his narrations this week (he narrates, I write it down, he types from my copy), and she wanted to know when she could do that, too! So I'll have her do the typing program this year to get ready!

I'll try to update about the EEG tomorrow, though I don't think we'll have any real news until we see the neurologist. But as we're only going to get 4 hours of sleep tonight, I may come home and crash first! So maybe the update won't come around until later on in the evening! :)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Weekly Review 8/18-22

Everyone seems to have settled nicely into the routine of school. We added Spelling this week, so we're about 70% of a full schedule now.

Riley was delighted to have spelling back, and she is using Rod and Staff Spelling 4. She begged me this summer to let her do R&S Spelling, and to have spelling tests. Yeah, she's nuts! LOL She got a 100% on her first spelling test of the year. She also had her first math test in Horizons 4 and got a 100% on it as well. She is reading The Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt which is a Landmark History book.

Austin had a math test this week as well, and he scored a 95%. He started lesson 3 in MUS Epsilon, and seems to really be doing well. He has not needed the fraction overlays at all yet. He is reading The Golden Goblet.

For history, we are all listening to Story of the World Ancient Times on audio CD. I am stunned to remember how much they remember from the first time through it. We started it so many years ago, and then would stop and start back up, and stop. Austin struggled so much with comprehension when we first began homeschooling, and I put so much pressure on us. I can't believe Riley remembers anything at ALL since she was so little. This makes me feel much better about the quick pace we're going to be taking these first two volumes.

I purchased the Writing With Ease book by Susan Wise Bauer, and was very interested to see how much her suggestions for grammar stage writing resemble the CM method of teaching writing. This week, for instance, I read a short selection from classic literature and then asked for narration. This method does differ by asking questions in the beginning stages to help the child learn to distinguish important information from trivial matters (an area where Austin struggles). Then they take the first sentence of their own narrations back down as dictation. The next two days are spent in copywork and dictation, and then the last day is another day of narration/dictation. We're going to spend a couple of weeks working on those skills, and then work on expanding them to longer selections, leaving out the questions and skipping straight to the narration, and then having the children read their own selections.

Reece is almost done reading the Level 1 Read Kids Phonics Readers, and she is able to complete one per day! It used to take us an entire week to read one. She is also doing Horizons Math K, after completely freaking out about MUS and declaring poor Mr. Demme "the horrible math man"! I couldn't even get the book out without her flipping out! Riley reacted the same way back when she used MUS. How odd. Reece has also been working in Explode the Code Book 1. I finished reading B is for Betsy to her, and began The Boxcar Children. She loves to be read to, which makes me so happy! She didn't used to like it at all, nor did she have the patience for it. I'm also reading her Boy of the Pyramids for a more appropriate history for her, but she does join us during the audio of SOTW.

For science, the girls are reading through volumes of the Christian Liberty Nature Readers (well, I'm reading it to Reece LOL), and Austin is reading It Couldn't Just Happen. We'll also be doing the experiments only from the Sonlight Science program that I ordered, but we haven't begun those as there are only 30-40.

For fine arts, we concentrate on one individual or topic per term (3 terms per year). Those are as follows:
  • Composer: Vivaldi (and already he is very popular with our crew! I call everyone to the table for the beginning of our day with "Spring" from The Four Seasons.)
  • Poet: Alfred Lord Tennyson (not the best choice I now realize, when you have a mom who doesn't know much about poetry. But we'll muddle through!)
  • Artist: Jan Van Eyck (he was selected because his art prints were available through Ambleside)
  • Nature Study: Insects (very appropriate for this time of year in Georgia)
This coming week we'll be adding grammar. And the week after Labor Day we'll add Latin, Spanish, and Typing for Riley, and then we'll be at our full schedule. The days are going much smoother, but I am completely wiped out by the end. I'm hoping that my stamina will build up soon!

We will only have a 4 day school week this coming week, because of Austin's EEG being on Friday morning.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Fancy Reecie

Yesterday during school, I was very busy with the big kids, which gave Reece a block of time to occupy herself. I was so surprised to find out she had converted a portion of her bedroom into a school. This school teaches "How to Be Like Reece".

My favorite part of the school was the center that taught the difference between plain and fancy. Reece is "fancy" like the heroine in her favorite story, Fancy Nancy. In this center, Reece attempts to teach us the difference between plain things and fancy things. She copied the words plain and fancy out of the Fancy Nancy book.
Shoes - the Croc on the left is a plain shoes, while the pink dress-up shoe on the right is fancy:
Hats - quite obviously, the baseball cap on the left is plain, while the princess hat on the right is fancy:
Dolls - Yellow Baby on the left is plain (poor yellow baby), while the ballerina doll on the right is fancy (even though her dress sticks up over her face):
Here is a very Fancy Reecie, sitting by her her Plain/Fancy center!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The power of a name

Me (on the phone with the pediatric neurologist, trying to schedule an appointment for Austin): My son has been referred for an appointment to see the neurologist. He had an episode of blanking out and vomiting, accompanied by memory loss, this past Friday.

Scheduler: Yes, ma'am. I just need some information. We are currently booking into 2009.

Me (cringing and thinking I'm going to have to call the developmental ped and see if they can pull strings): Ok, thank you, his name is .... (and I go on to give them the information)

Scheduler: And the referring physician's name?

Me: Dr. ____ (our developmental ped)

Scheduler: One moment please. ::puts me on hold::

New person talking to me: Ma'am, I'm sorry but the earliest I have is September 10th.

Me: 2009?

New scheduler: 2008, ma'am.



Dang.... he's good! LOL That alone is quite possibly worth all the expense of his appointments!

So that appointment is scheduled. Now we just have to wait for it to get here. And hopefully get some answers!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Austin's EEG is scheduled for next Friday (the 29th) at the local Children's hospital. He has to be sleep-deprived (no more than 4 hours of sleep the night before), and he can't have any sugar or caffeine for 24 hours before the test.

I got a list of pediatric neurologists from his developmental ped late this afternoon, and will try to call them tomorrow.

It feels good to be doing something towards getting some answers! But I have to admit, I'm not sure whether I want it to be a seizure or not. In one way, it would be a definitive answer. But seizures? Wow, that's something very scary and big. But if it's not a seizure, we won't know what caused the episode at the pool. And that's scary, too!

Not sure what to pray for.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Appointment scheduled

Austin has an appointment with his ped at 3 this afternoon. I'll update when we get back!

Once I know more from the ped, I'll call the developmental ped if I still feel it's necessary. Any referrals have to come from the regular ped, as the developmental ped doesn't take or deal with health insurance in any way.

Just got home...

The ped wants Austin to have an EEG, and she also wants him to see a neurologist. We'll make both of those appointments this week, though she warned the neurologist will be a long wait. I'm going to call our developmental ped tomorrow and see if he can get us in faster.

The ped thinks it was either an absence seizure or something like heat stroke. She said that if it had been a concussion that would render him still not able to remember the event 72 hours later, he wouldn't have been able to get out of the pool.

I don't know what to make of it. I would really just like to know what caused it, so I can make sure it doesn't happen again. It doesn't sound like it's going to be as easy as that.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Update on Austin

Austin seems to be doing just fine! He hasn't had any further episodes, and has been doing some of his normal activities under careful supervision. The ER doctor had told dh there was no reason to restrict physical activity, but Doctor Mom disagrees.

So they went to ball practice yesterday, but Austin only played a short while. And apparently he played very well. The boys on the team were anxious to hear about the ambulance ride and ER visit!

Right now, Austin is mowing the neighbor's front lawn. They recently had a baby, and yesterday they called to ask him to mow it for pay (twice as much as we pay him for our entire lawn! LOL). Dh is out there with him to make sure that he's OK, and because I said he had to be out there to watch him because I'm still concerned. We've been married long enough that dh has to realize this is not something worth fighting me over. ::Smooches to my sweetie when he reads this::

I'm still calling the doctors tomorrow, though. I'm not sure what they might say, but it will make me feel better to cover all the bases. I don't know how I'm ever going to be able to sleep again. Or if I'll feel comfortable going to the pool anymore.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Emergency Room visit

We had a really frightening afternoon here. I wasn't sure if I should post it here, but since most of my friends read my blog, I figured it would be easiest to write it all out rather than calling/emailing everyone.

We spent the afternoon at the pool with some friends. We'd been there for about 3.5 hours and it was almost time to go home. I was going down the waterslides, and I'd done this about 3 times when I came up out of the waterslide pool to find Austin standing on the side of the pool deck. He had something on his mouth, looked like he'd "hocked a loogie" and didn't wipe it off. I told him to wipe his mouth, and he didn't respond. I said it again, and he didn't even look at me. I said, "Austin!" and he still didn't respond.

I started to walk him toward the bathroom, calling his name all the while and he wasn't responding. We got about halfway to the bathrooms and he threw up all over himself. I rushed him to the trash can, and by this time he wasn't able to stand up on his own. I kept calling his name and trying to get him to look at me, but he didn't look at me and he didn't seem to be focusing on anything at all. He still had the vomit on his face, and those of you who know Austin personally know that he would never let this happen if he were aware. I turned Austin to face me, holding him up, and his pupils were tiny like pin dots. The lifeguard came over again, and I told him to call 9-1-1.

One of the friends we were with at the pool had brought me her bottle of water to try to clean Austin up with. I just flung the water in Austin's face, and he said "Reece stop it!" I was relieved that he had said something. He still wasn't able to hold his weight. I was yelling his name over and over, and after another minute or two he said, "I'm here." I asked him what was going on and he said, "I hit my head on the pool." So I'm thinking concussion. I tried to look at his eyes again, but he was closing them. I said, "Nope, we're walking." and I started walking back and forth with him trying to talk to him about the game last night. He wasn't responding.

The lifeguard and the person I assume is the pool manager came over and said we should get Austin inside. So we went inside and sat him down. He was starting to talk by now and I asked him if he hit his head and he said, "No." We moved him to a place where he could lean back on something, and then the paramedics arrived. Austin was talking quite a bit by now, and they asked if I wanted him checked out still. DUH!! So we went to the ambulance. (My friends were taking care of the girls for me, getting them dressed and ready to go... thank God for them!) In the ambulance Austin was saying he was fine, and they started taking vitals. They asked him what day it was and he replied "March 23" (Riley's birthday). Then they asked him what he had done before we went swimming today and he said "Nothing much... just hung out" (We had done school!). They asked me if I would expect him to reply correctly (I had told the paramedics about his Aspergers) and I said "YES!" so they asked me which hospital I wanted him transported to.

It was the hardest thing in the world to have to leave him in that ambulance and follow behind with the girls, but we were at a pool that was quite far from home and there was nobody else who had a vehicle big enough for my 2 girls to go with them. I called Russ to meet us at the ER.

When I arrived at the ER, the ambulance hadn't yet arrived which freaked me out. The receptionist was very unhelpful and said that it happens all the time. Um, not to me. She was getting ready to get a big piece of my already freaked out mama mind when a nurse came and asked me who I was looking for. When I told her she said that he had just arrived. So the mean receptionist lady was off the hook.

Back in the ER, folks were very nice! This was a peds ER at the local hospital (but ironically not the closest hospital because in my panicked self, I forgot there was a hospital with peds ER twice as close as the one I chose). When I saw Austin he was in the room and was very embarrassed to be there. I was relieved to see that he seemed to be back to his regular self.

I'll spare the play-by-play from the ER, but he had an EKG and a chest xray and some blood work and everything came back normal. The doctor thinks that he had a neurological reaction to vomiting that involves the vagal nerve, which makes the person disoriented. I really don't know what to think about that diagnosis, because he was not responsive to me before he threw up. He was released to go home, which he was very happy about. I am planning to call our ped on Monday, as well as our developmental specialist, to see if they feel we need to follow-up.

I have truly never been so frightened in my entire life. Austin seems to be just fine now. He has no memory of throwing up, or anything after I told him I was going to go down the waterslides. He remembers playing with the girls, and then being inside sitting with his back to the wall. I don't know if he did hit his head, because there was no bump or any indication that he hit his head. I guess we won't ever know what caused this, which is really scary to me.

Go hug your kids... things can happen so quickly.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

What do you do when your school work is done?

You build a campsite, of course:
Then you roast a marshmallow over the campfire:
Then you "eat" the "marshmallow":
Scroll down for another post showcasing my girls' creativity!

Creativity

I've got to get some lunch for the kids, but I wanted to share a few pictures to show the projects the girls have been working on recently! It's so nice to see that a non-crafty mom can really raise two very crafty daughters! I just gave them the boxes that our school books arrived in, a pair of kitchen shears, and lots of tape! Voila, houses for Polly Pocket and her friends!



Monday, August 11, 2008

Not Back to School Party

We had a huge group today at the Not Back to School Party! The kids had a really nice time!


I told Reece tonight that it was time for bed, and she got upset with me. I said, "Well it's a school night and you need to get your rest." She stomped her foot, crossed her arms, and declared, "The Not Back to School party is a LIE!"

::shaking head::

Friday, August 08, 2008

Weekly Review 8/6-8/8

I wasn't sure I was actually going to resume the weekly reviews this school year. I think that's less a reaction to the notion of weekly reviews, and more a commentary on the difficulties we're facing here at the BPA. I won't bore you with the details. As in everything that has to do with life in general, and autism and homeschooling in particular, you find yourself having really good times and then really challenging times. We're in one of those challenging times. Unfortunately, this time, it seems to have struck ALL of us at once, which is quite, well, rotten.

Anyway, as we always do, we began our year very lightly. Reading, math, a little history and geography... that was the extent of our days. We took the summer off for the first time, and I knew that it was going to be hard to get everyone back into the swing of things, not to mention that everyone is in a challenging place.

Austin has done the best of all, and he recognizes this within himself. He is proud and excited!

Riley hasn't had a good first week, but that's absolutely related to HER challenging time, and she does not recognize that.

Reece... well, today was better. We'll leave it at that!

I asked everyone what their favorite thing was about this week and here are the responses:

Austin - math (Math U See Epsilon)

Riley - math (that made me do a double-take because she hates math, but I gave her some control in her math choice this year and she chose Horizons Math 4, so maybe having the input has helped.)

Reece - "you reading the book about Betsy to me" (she seems to LOVE this story!)

Baseball practice starts tomorrow, and dance classes start a week from Monday. Riley was given a scholarship from her dance studio which will enable her to continue in all 3 of her classes! She was going to have to drop 2 of them because of rising costs of food and gas putting a huge dent in our budget. I am so thrilled that she will get to continue! She enjoys dancing so much! Reece had decided earlier in the summer that she wanted to only continue with ballet. She didn't like the noise in tap, and though she could start jazz this year, it makes for a really long time for her to concentrate. Choir will start a week from Sunday, but Reece won't be going back to that right now. She told me that "It's just too much for me!" which cracked me up completely! It's probably for the best right now anyway! She can always start later, like she did last year.

Next week is a 4-day week, with Monday being our annual Not Back to School Party. The kids are really looking forward to it!

Hope your weekend is relaxing!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

First Day of School

Today is our first day of the new school year. Here are the traditional "First Day of School" pictures.

Reece, K/1st:

Riley, 4th:

Austin, 6th:

The Student Body of the Black Pearl Academy:

Monday, August 04, 2008

Satisfied

I finished Breaking Dawn on Saturday evening. I had read from 10-2, and then again from 4-9 reading, in addition to those early morning hours I mentioned before. So it took me about 14 hours total to complete the book, which is pretty slow for me! LOL

I promise to be spoiler-free, so let me just say that this book satisfied me! :)

And yes, I did start reading it again yesterday, but I won't have the uninterrupted hours to read this time so it will take longer to re-read. I'm enjoying picking up on things the 2nd time through that I hadn't really paid attention to before. Stephenie Meyer does that a lot in her writing, and I enjoy it!

I hope everyone enjoys Breaking Dawn as much as I did! What an enjoyable end to a series!

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Breaking Dawn at midnight

As you may have read somewhere already, yesterday was the release party for Breaking Dawn, the 4th book in the Twilight saga. You won't find any spoilers here, so feel free to read on! :)

My friend Sherry and I went to a midnight release party, and we wore our shirts that we had made for the occasion. They read: Please feed the kids. I'm reading Twilight again! Here we are getting read to head out!
And here were are with our wristbands, granting us #19 and #20 in line to pick up our books at midnight!
Now we're standing in line, about 10 minutes before the big release!
The books are RIGHT THERE... so close, yet so far away!
We have our books!!! WOOOHOOO!! We paid and left by 12:02 and I was home by 12:22.

Here is a video of the countdown to midnight... it's loud!!
video

I'm doing pretty good about going slowly. I stayed up until about 5 AM reading, which I hadn't planned on. I just couldn't put it down!!! I had to, though, because my eyes weren't focusing correctly anymore! LOL I'm loving the book, so far, as I knew I would! I already can't wait to read it again!

Speaking of reading... it's time I got back to it! :)

Friday, August 01, 2008

#19

That's my wristband number for the midnight release party for Breaking Dawn tonight!! I got to the store about 15 minutes before they opened. I was anticipating another line like last year's Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows line. I arrived at 9:10 and was #177!! I was relieved to see that the line was short!

I can't believe I will have the book in a mere 13 hours, 20 minutes! I'll post pictures of the event over the weekend when I have time. I'm going to do my very best not to rush through like I did with Harry Potter 7! I am a fast reader, though, so it will be a challenge!