Candles 4 Times 1 Candles 4 times 2Every year, birthdays have been a torture.  John never wanted to unwrap anything, blow out anything, or sing anything.

So, to encourage you to persevere with your interventions, 9 was our magic number.

Wanted to sing (joyously).  Wanted to blow out the candles (over and over.  We lit them 4 times.)

John was huffing and puffing so hard, moving his head more than he was moving his lungs.

Almost caught his hair on fire (more than once).

Wouldn’t eat the cake (no sugar, so no loss there), and we didn’t bother to wrap the gifts!

So forget the wrapping.  Just get candles & matches.  We even used the left-over cake from Saxton’s birthday. (Mom dug it out of the freezer—we had low expectations.)

There was spit and wax everywhere.   It was glorious.

So, never give up.

Peace be with us,


Where Are My Teeth?

John brushes his teeth by moving his body—NOT the brush.brushing teeth

To know where the brush is, it’s a 2-fisted grip.

He moves his whole body to find the brush.  The brush just stands there.

He is very good at chewing the brush.  That is mastered.  It is utterly pulverized.

Ah, but actually using the bristles?  Not yet.

Maybe some day.

How does tooth brushing, with all that oral defensiveness, work at your house?

Peace be with us,


Are My Lips Moving?

2015-09-06 10.14.33I am watching John read, 20-minutes a day, required homework:

I see his lips move, his finger move (tracking the words in the line), and then I see him swallow.  When he swallows, he stops moving his lips and finger temporarily.  Then, back to things moving.

So, it would seem, his moving parts are really part of his reading process.  He’s not reading completely in his head, statue-like.  He’s got body parts involved in his reading.    So, try letting your children move (anything, really) when they read.

Sometimes I hear him talking to himself.   (Not that long ago, John had no words we all could hear.  Now he’s talking to himself.)

Please let this encourage you, to keep stretching and challenging your smaller loved ones.

Try uphone timersing the timer on your phone.   When John cheats on his reading (and he does!), I stop the timer and call him on it.  He hates that.

It turns out turning on and off the phone timer is a big-deal tool for John to self-regulate himself.  It’s free, and he is in charge of running it.

Maybe these ideas will help you.

Peace be with us,


Breathe In, Breathe Out

2015-09-16 16.00.30John couldn’t blow out the2015-09-16 16.21.11 birthday candles on 2015-09-16 16.14.22a cake.  For years.

So, for him, breath control to KNOW if he was actually breathing in and out was tricky.

(“If I don’t know where my body is in space, maybe I don’t know where my breathe is, and humming is a way I zone out or try to find something that I don’t know where it is.”)

So, we named it (humming), and then limited it–gave it boundaries.  Can’t hum in the classroom!   So, for school and home, “Instead of humming, I can …..”)

Instead of hummingAll well and good, if you know how to “breathe in and out”.  John didn’t know this.  He accidentally does it all the time, but purposefully knowing—-no.

Here are photos of Rosemary Slade, O.T.R., helping John to figure out how to “breathe in” and then to “breathe out”.

Hope this can give you some ideas to try yourself.

Peace be with us,


Out of Balance

Slide1I have recently gotten too focused on intervention improvement at the expense of joy-of-the-moment.

I try to mask my strain, but my kids feel it and reflect it in their actions and lives.

You may skew to the other direction.

See the heart?   It is supposed to be divided equally—half of my everything doing all I can, and half loving as we are right now.

John has two occupational therapists (both are O.T.R.s), and they know a lot.  I have leaned a bit heavily on them for help, and they have generously contributed great peace to me with their ideas.

So, thanks to Alma Liotta and Rosemary Slade.

I share with you my mom vulnerability and regret.  I hope to encourage you to seek “extra” help from good, wise people, even if it isn’t exactly their niche.

If we don’t ask, no one knows.  It is in the showing of our sadness, our seeking, our imperfections, our vulnerabilities, that lets others help us.   To get back to this balance:Heart

Move! Move! Move!

2015-09-22 07.52.40You gotti9 BB Summer 2015a love an occupational therapist who will haul around an upright backboard just to play hallway hoops with a kid.

Thanks to Alma Liotta, O.T.R. for her years of service to John.

Oh, how he loves playing basketball!  This grin is for his (first ever) team photo shoot.

He has come a long way—his first scrimmage with i9Sports was so overwhelming that John just laid down on the court.  Mid-game.

With each experience, he builds a better database of what to do and how to do it.  Body position for offense and defense is his current robust challenge.  He mimes the coach’s, “Move! Move! Move!”, and for all the clumsy joy, Mom cries.

How about log rolling races?  John can’t roll in the grass in a straight lirolling racesne.   He has friends he can model after, and tries to catch them.   But, really, he is still learning where his body is in space due to out-of-whack proprioceptive and vestibular senses.

Keep our kids moving.  Whatever it takes.  Crossing mid-line, building balance, having physical fun that most of us take utterly for granted.

Peace be with us,



It Always Goes Back to the Game

Here is John getting tested.  (In times past, the misery in the room was huge from sensory wars.  It was full-body wrestling for John and Mom.)

We call this 2015-09-09 13.45.01“The Headphones Game”.

And there are other games:2015-09-09 13.26.29

“The Blood Pressure Game”, “The Balance Game”,

“The Don’t Make Mommy Cry Game”,

“The Getting Poop in the Toilet Game”,2015-09-09 13.42.28

and my all-time-favorite, the “I Think I Will Try That” Game.

Hope some of these work for you.




2015-09-09 13.38.02

Apparently Not Afraid of Sea Water Down the Hatch

So John is slower to join in social gatherings, slower to figure it all out.

Because he doesn’t know what to do yet.  Fear of the unknown.

So, he will also be scared of the waist-high Galveston ocean water, the 1st time out into it, during daylight.

The 2nd time out, at night, with some time to figure it all out, he seemed fearless.  (No way I would be laying down in that mess in the dark.)IMG_5851

Sensory adjustment is overcoming FEAR.

Once our kids get something figured out, they can overcome their fear.IMG_5852

So please accept this encouragement to keep stretching all the neural pathways yet-to-be in your child.

Same with John: Once he decided he “wanted to try that”, he was ready.

Keep asking, “Do you want to try that?”

Peace be with us,


Torn Heart?

John has once again outstmarted me. torn heart 2

In two restaurants during our recent vacation trip to Galveston, John tested me past my good-natured mom endurance.

Sometimes, when he senses a weakness (in public!), he tries to get away with stuff that he knows is not the plan.

Twice, two different days, I found myself saying some jibberish like, “you can decide to sit here nicely like you know how to do, or we can go outside and I will give you five swats…..”.

(Yeah, right, Mom!  That will be great moments in intervention parenting.)

Once we got home, and the subject of good choices came up, John looked me dead in the eye and said something about “getting 100 swats”.

So back to the teachable moment of me saying how sad Mom was in the restaurants, that “you tested me to see if you could get away with stuff, to see if I still loved you enough to keep the same rules”….

It was a stalemate.

He changed the subject.

And, by the way, that divided-in-half heart represents the advice I received long ago from Alma Liotta, OTR, “Take half of your heart, your energy, your everything and do all you can for your child.   Then, take the other half and love him just as he is.”   

Peace be with us,


Got Siblings? Got Friends? Got Cousins?

Do you have other kids in the family?  We also use school buddies, cousins, and nice kids wherever we go.

I validate to those children their kindness and good heart.

I thank them for teaching “a younger brother”.

I demonstrateIMG_5830 IMG_20150904_151314077 2015-07-27 10.16.58 to  them what speech delay is by grabbing my own tongue to slow it down—-and I try to talk like that.

I tell the parents and the school what good choices they are raising.

Reciprocal play (my turn, your turn), joint-attention (let’s play together), and sharing in each other’s joy builds social neural pathways for our kids.

Here are some examples, in case you “want to try that”.  It is a free intervention.  The payoff can be huge.

Peace be with us,




So That’s What Your Everything Feels Like (TED – Chris Milk)

empathyYou have heard of virtual reality, right?  How about that as a tool to help communicate and thus improve learning differences?

“Inside The Box” (Time, August 17, 2015), in an article about virtual reality (VR), talks about Jeremy Bailenson’s (founder of Stanford’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab) vision of VR as an empathy machine, and Chris Milk’s (music-video director, artist) extensive work in the arena.

As Chris Milk says, “There’s something about sitting on the same ground someone else is sitting on that changes the way your brain registers their humanity”.   Here is Chris Milk’s TED Talk: “The Ultimate Empathy Machine”

So, what if VR could be used to help communicate what it feels like to have the wide spectrum of learning differences, sensory overload and cognitive overload?

And what could we all do together to help ease those areas we do not directly know of?

So we reach out to them, thank them, and ask to be part of their research.

Peace to us all,


(P.S.  Thanks to PowerPoint for access to this image.)