Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

It’s that time of year again, Christmas Eve.. The Kiddo and I are maintaining cheer even though a very important part of our family is missing. We are spending some time each day talking about the meaning of the day and focusing on the things that we do have, rather then the things we do not.

Before the Man left on his trip we went and saw some reindeer, the Kiddo read the ‘info’ signs to the Man.

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After that we went and saw Santa, The kiddo did the usual stuff getting a candy cane and telling him what he wanted (no idea what he said). He even had the opportunity to ask him questions (like why he uses Reindeer to pull his sleigh and not a different animal). Once that was done we had his Santa pictures taken in a very unique way.

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The experience is one of the best memories I have for this year. When the Man gets home from training we will be going back to the same studio to have family pictures taken, they were very creative and great at getting the kiddo to smile and laugh.

Can you figure out who the man in the beard is?

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My ending thought is this, from my heart to yours:

May you celebrate this beautiful season with joy in your home, peace in your world, and love in your heart!

May the New Year bring you everything you wish for....prosperity, happiness, joy and good health.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Oh Christmas tree

The other week we took the Kiddo to the Festival of Trees, it is pretty much a tradition to go every year now and he really enjoys it. I took a few pictures of his favorites.

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When we got home we spent some time decorating his cardboard tree for school..

12-4-2011 chances cardboard tree

A few days later we even got around to decorating our own Christmas tree…

12-10-2011 our tree

The Kiddo and I are both looking forward to Christmas. The Man wont be here but we are planning to set up Skype video chat so that he can still be part of the day.

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And for those of you checking your mail boxes... Christmas cards are going to be late this year. I haven't had the motivation and rather then stressing about it I've decided to do New Years cards instead.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Responsibility

I must admit I am a little surprised about the lack of responsibility shown by so many parents regarding their children and school. I hold the Kiddo home when he has a temperature, and occasionally he misses *part* of a day when he has doctors appointments. When his teacher gives me his missed classwork I sit him down and have him finish it that day to be turned in the next. I thought this was the way it was supposed to be done, you teach your kids that not going to school isn’t an option unless there’s a significant reason for it. More important you teach your kids that the work they do in school is their responsibility and that being sick doesn’t give them a free ride.

I have that mini rant going through my head this week because of the note the Kiddos teacher sent home on Monday. In the note Mrs. H pointed out that there are a lot of kids who are constantly tardy or absent and that when this happens it negatively impacts their learning. She reminded us (the parents) that if a child misses class work they are required to finish it during recesses until it is finished. Then she requested the parents of the kids who are missing the most school to ‘volunteer’ their time during recess to help the kids finish their work so that she has more time to finish the things she needs to get done during that time. I think it was a note full of awesomeness, this teacher is not afraid to call out the slacker parents! Nor is she afraid to remind them that they are teaching their kids bad habits and irresponsibility. I doubt it will actually help, it isn’t like she can force the parents to come in, but I think it’s a great try.

Speaking of responsibility… This past month the Kiddo has been taking his dog out for her first potty trip as well as her afternoon trips. I find myself only taking her out when it is far to cold for him, or it is dark. He is proud that he is taking care of her on his own and he runs back inside beaming with excitement when she actually goes for him. Once it finally snows it will be my full time job again, but until then I have a responsible and adorable little helper (even if he is crazy wearing shorts when it is so cold out!).

11-26-2011 taking his dog out (1)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Brain Scan #2 (mine)

Several posts ago I shared the results of the Kiddos quantitative eeg. I thought it was an extremely interesting process and was fascinated by the results. Most insurance doesn’t cover the testing or the analysis so we were lucky to get it done and being able to ‘see’ how his brain is working still seems like a rather special treat.

So because our insurance does cover the scan and because most people that know me would tell you that the Kiddo gets his ADHD from me I thought about having it done myself… The thing is I am functional; I use alarms, calendars, notes and lists and I get everything done that needs doing. Very rarely does anything big fall through cracks. This being the case most people would question going through the diagnosis process. I have one brother who is as fascinated by the idea as I am, I have another that pretty much told me I was an idiot for being willing to let that ‘condition’ be officially diagnosed and put on my record.

Personally I do not see ADHD as a negative thing I believe that if it can be controlled then it can actually be beneficial. Being able to think and do multiple things at once means that you respond better under pressure. Crisis situations are easier to deal with because if one part of your brain locks down the other parts still work to solve the problem. If you can control the negatives (prioritizing and distractibility) then you can actually be a higher functioning individual then those without AHDH. It is all in how you view it, use it, and control it!

So I had my brain scanned. The QEEG itself was an interesting process, as I mentioned with the Kiddo they place a cap with electrodes onto your head. The electrodes measure your brain waves, you can see them jump when you blink or move. Once I was hooked up I had sit still with my eyes closed for 10 minutes (the tech ended up having to put cotton balls over my eyes to help them stay still). Once that was done I was supposed to sit as quietly as I could with my eyes OPEN for ten minutes (with as little blinking as possible). Having my eyes open was the hardest part but somehow I made it through.

Once the test was done I was sent home, I didn’t receive the analysis for two weeks. I wondered if my form of ADHD was the same as the Kiddos. I wondered if I even had ADHD, I mean I was fairly certain I did but what if I didn’t? Finally two weeks passed and it was time for the results…

The doc discussed the difference between beta waves, and theta waves; if I remember correctly theta waves are the ones that indicate daydreaming or random thought (v.s. focused thought). He pulled out a graph and showed it to me. It shows the ratio levels between theta and beta waves. There’s a dotted line there in the middle that indicates what the normal ratio would be, slightly above that line is another solid line which is where they “begin diagnosis of ADHD”, generally plus or minus a bit.

Theta graph

Then he went all the way to the top of the paper and wrote a number (circled here in yellow). I’ll admit I started laughing, no WAY doc!! He grinned at my reaction, yep my theta wave measurements were so high I’m not even on the chart. He told me that the level really doesn’t matter, it’s somewhat like being pregnant you either are or you aren’t… still I can’t help but chuckle, I mean good gosh off the chart?? yeesh!!

The most interesting part of the whole process was finding out that I am polar opposite from the Kiddo. He has a type of ADHD that only 5% of cases have (overactive brain). I have the type that 90% of cases have. Basically while he is sitting there trying to watch twelve tv channels at once, I’ve quickly flipping through them one at a time… I suppose the good news is that I do go back through the channels so I tend to finish my thoughts and tasks, it’s just done in a disjointed scattered fashion.

The two scan results next to each other are equally fascinating. Remember blue indicates under activity, green is average, and red is over activity. The first picture is the Kiddos results, I boxed in the important part that shows his high over activity in the Beta range. The second picture is my results, again I boxed in the important part to show the high activity in the Theta range.

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The lower pictures have something to do with neuron movement. I’m not perfectly clear on the meaning but I believe that since he is over active Beta his are fewer but mine are moving so fast because they are related to Theta. If I knew more about neurology I’d understand better, mostly it’s just fun to see the differences between the two types and how they show up.

I suppose the biggest thing I learned through this is why I am doing so much better in school now (online classes) vs when I was in a physical classroom. With online home schooling I can get up and wander, get distracted and refocus myself … without missing out on information or losing points. Even with the final exams, which are timed three hour multiple choice tests, I can wander out and come back (so long as I monitor the clock to ensure I have enough time left to finish). I have found that I do my best schooling when the Kiddo is home because I have that one extra thing to pay attention too. It really does explain a lot!

The doc DID prescribe medication for me to try if I wanted. It IS a stimulant and it could cause me to have mood swings, excessive fatigue, and lack of appetite. I did fill the script but I haven’t decided yet if I want to take them. The key thought is that using medication to control the ADHD for one month doesn’t mean I would have to continue to use it after that point. Mostly I filled the script because I think it would be interesting to see how it feels to have normal focus; knowing what I “can do” could drive me to try to do better without medication.

At the very least through all of this I was able to have an interesting experience. Think about it how many parents can say they’ve seen how their child's brain functions and been able to compare it to their own? It’s just one more tool for me to use to help my child learn and grow. Very cool!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

What’s new

It has been a busy past couple weeks and my motivation for blogging has been non existent. I’d like to fill you in on everything that has happened; this process will probably take a couple entries :)

The Kiddo’s sinus infection is back, this time with a friend (ear infection). Normally he is a pretty healthy kid so the amount of time he has spent sick this winter is astounding to me. I hope the antibiotics kick it all the way out this time and he manages to stay healthy for Christmas.

Last month we put the Kiddo into hapkido lessons at the community center. We thought he might enjoy learning and we have read a lot about martial arts helping develop focus (not to mention coordination and stamina).

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He does seem to enjoy the classes but he says they are too long. I think his ‘problem’ is that the class is a mix of all age and ability levels so there is a lot of standing around waiting while the instructor works with the older kids. Hopefully he will get better at waiting and learn more patience. I think we are going to skip having him go this month and start him again in January, by then hopefully he will be healthy again and we also should be able to buy him a uniform.

On the school front the Kiddos class had their Thanksgiving program. His float turned out super cute and I am very proud of him for how creative he was with putting it together. He drew a picture of what he wanted and then we figured out together how to do it, I was leery about gluing toys to a float but he demanded we do it so that it would ‘look right’.

11-20-2011 if I can Float

His floats title was “if I can read I can fly”. He says that being able to read well is what will give him the ability to do anything he wants to do, he can build robots (to be his friends) or airplanes (to fly to Arizona) or even rocket packs for his feet so he can fly (like Astro Boy has).

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I wish I had gotten better quality pictures. The kids pulled their floats through the hallway at school and then put on the program in their classroom. The Kiddo read his intro (he was so nervous) and then the kids presented their floats and sang several songs. It was really a cute program and he loved getting to do it.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Tired Friday

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The Kiddo woke up this morning feeling a little under the weather. He crawled into my lap and curled up on my shoulder and then randomly he said “mom, when do we get to go to Arizona again?” I asked him why he would ask that and he said he really wanted to go visit and see all his friends. I told him that maybe we would see about going sometime after Christmas. He said “do we have enough monies?” I guess the realities of things we want costing money have finally sunk in for him, I think that is a good and bad thing …

Anyway he said his stomach was upset but not throw up bad (come to think of it I can’t even remember the last time he was that type of sick). He only had a low grade temp (99.7) so I sent him to school anyway but I warned his teacher and am keeping my phone close by just in case. Here’s to hoping he feels better by lunchtime and makes it through the day.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Smarty Pants

The Kiddo is a smarty pants, you knew that already though (because I brag about him often). His parent teacher conference last week went well, his teacher Mrs. H told us that she has seen some improvement since we started giving him the ADHD medication. I am glad to hear that because I haven’t seen much at home! Still I’m not seeing side affect either so I’m pleased.

Anyway Mrs. H explained that she has placed the Kiddo on reading level N (which I gather in on par with third grade). She says in reality he is above that but she is stopping him there until he can get better with his creative writing. Which I am okay with, N books are actual REAL books for him to read but they still have enough pictures to help hold his interest. As for the creative writing it’s suffering because his handwriting is so poor. We discussed that as well, I asked her to please look into possible school help with that because I do not know what else to do (I’ve been having him write daily at home and there has been no improvement). She is letting him use pencil grips to help keep his fingers positioned correctly and hopefully that will help as well.

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I have a lot of appreciation for Mrs. H, she makes an effort to make sure the Kiddo knows that even while she’s nagging him and pushing him to do better she also knows he is smart and she likes him. He responds well to that type of approach, he hates being in ‘trouble’ and she has a way of keeping him happy while making him try harder. She says when she ‘reminds’ him to work in class he turns around with a grin and says “yes Mrs. H” before getting back to work, she says the way he does it makes her want to go hug him he is so cute. Gotta love an adorable smarty pants!

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted any videos and I thought I might put a few with this blog. The Kiddo needs to work on identifying coins and adding them together. First I made him a wall chart so he can reference it (for the next week or so anyway) then I have him practice daily. Of course I’m not one to let him go unchallenged so I’ve made a game of it. He picks at least four coins from a box filled with pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters.

11-15-2011 adding money (1)11-15-2011 adding money (2)

Then he lines them up highest to lowest, and then he adds them together. For the game I’ve had to teach him to carry, and we’ve talked about how he doesn’t have to ‘count add’ two of the same coin (one/two/three/etc) instead he can use skip counting (e.g. with nickels - five/ten/fifteen). He took that concept and ran with it the other day, and I almost fell off the chair!

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In class next week the kids are going to be putting on a small Thanksgiving program. They are building shoe box floats for a parade (he is still working on his so I’ll blog and post pictures once it is finished) . After the parade the kids will sing a couple songs and read some of their creative writing to the audience. Because the Kiddo reads so well Mrs. H has chosen him to be the narrator. He has been practicing every day, the video is of him reading his “part”… note that it is only the second or third time he has read it so I’m pretty proud of him and by next Tuesday I'm pretty sure he will have it memorized...

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

snow

Earlier this month we had our first ‘real’ snow. The kiddo was dressed and ready to go as soon as breakfast was finished.

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I stuck around out there with him for a bit but then I got cold .. AND smart.

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I realized that we live on the first floor now and that means we have a ‘yard’ in front where he can play while I watch through the window!! Makes him throwing snowballs at me so much more fun!!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

scans and waves

What do you do when your child's Kindergarten teacher complains that he doesn’t pay attention or complete work. When she says repeatedly that he will fail first grade unless YOU (the parent) can figure out a way to help him fix it? Well first you talk to your pediatrician, and then you and the teacher fill out a Conner's form. As my regular readers know we did that last spring, we filled out ours as honestly as we could. The Kiddo’s teacher filled hers out far more conservatively then we expected from how she had been talking. The pediatrician said that our scores showed he was probably ADHD, but the teachers scores showed that he was not. Long story short we ended up doing nothing and hoping his attention problems were due to maturity and nothing else.

Skip to this fall - First grade and a month into the school year when the Kiddos teacher pulled me aside and mentioned that he was having trouble focusing on his work in class. More importantly he could not seem to follow multi step directions and she was concerned. We were one step ahead of her, already concerned ourselves due to the mid term grade report. Our genius child had mostly 4’s, which are (from what I understand) like a super A+ (meets and EXCEEDS expectations), except for handwriting (a warning flag for ADHD) and aside from respecting adults (which he does) he was marked with ‘needs improvement’ in every single ‘social skills’ area (another ADHD flag).

So we did what any super paranoid parents would do. We found an attention disorders specialist who had the capability of testing the Kiddo in a way that was as far from the subjective questionnaire form as we could get. On the 25th of October we took the Kiddo in and had his brain mapped. The Kiddo loved it! He said it was like being Xavier hooked up to Cerebro.

10-25-2011 Quantitative EEG

The following week we had his short term memory tested as well. I didn’t take a picture of that one but basically it was a computer game. The computer told him a number, he repeated it. Then it told him two words, he repeated those. So on and so forth up to 4 or five words. There was “remember where the dots are on the screen and then point to them” games, and remember the last word in a sentence games. I think he had a good time taking that test too.

We received the memory results directly after the test and while he does seem to have a few small issues his scores fall into the ‘average’ range so the doctor thinks they are not something to be concerned about.

We also received the analysis of the Quantitative EEG, it confirmed what we suspected and the Kiddo does have ADHD.

There are several recognized ‘types’ of ADHD and surprisingly his is not inattentive (which would have been my guess). No in his usual “has to be different” way the Kiddo didn’t settle on the average run of the mill type. .. . Instead he has the “only five percent of cases are this type” form…

AD/HD: The theta-beta ratio of 2.86 is normal for age. However, there is significant increased beta relative power compared to controls of the same age and sex. This finding is seen in a subset of individuals who do have ADHD, but may also be present with anxiety or sleep disorder. It is often referred to as “ the too busy brain”.

Chance-QEEGThe over active mind isn’t unusual, but the fact that it comes without the hyperactivity is. I ‘boxed’ in the beta waves section so you can see how overactive his mind is (blue is low activity, green is average, yellow is slightly high, and red is the highest). I underlined sleep disorder because I thought it was interesting; the Kiddo has always been an insomniac and extremely active sleeper I suppose now we know why. Honestly it’s pretty confusing to me but the Man says he understands it so that’s good enough for me …

He has been prescribed Strattera. It is a non stimulant (no hyperactivity means no stimulant) but scary side affects abound (as they do with any medication). He started taking it last Thursday and we hope to see some sort of improvement by the end of this week. So far he has reacted well to it and we haven’t seen any negative physical or emotional side affects. I am hopeful this will remain the case because he has always been ‘the norm’ with medications, responding appropriately with no issues. Soon we should have our amazing perfect highly intelligent child suddenly able to focus… I’m a little excited to see what he can achieve.

10-26-2011 ready for school

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Ghost Man

Anybody: What are you going to be for Halloween this year?

Kiddo: I’m going to be my very own superhero, one that I made up… Ghost Man. I have a cape and a utility belt, and my superpower is that I can turn invisible so that the bad guys can’t get me.

10-31-2011 school ready ghost man (3)10-31-2011 ready for the school parade (2)

What he forgets to tell people is that he also has his very own superhero team. The members include the Man and myself plus most of his aunts and uncles. He’s named us the Naturals and the way he sees it if anything bad happens or he needs help figuring something out all he has to do is call one of us and we’ll help him solve his problem.

His back story to go with his costume character made this years Halloween so much fun. I love that it was unique to him and that he was the ONLY ghost man walking around.

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(Ready to go trick or treating)

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(We started by going around the nearby shopping center with his friend T)

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(After that we hit Grandma’s neighborhood)

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(He said this was his favorite, he loves walking house to house. He was so funny, as soon as he said thank you and turned around he’d run back to us shouting “I got another TREAT!! Lets go to the next house!”

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(Mean as we are we made him wait till he got home to go through his candy. We were nice enough to let him pick one piece to eat before bed though. He picked the sweet tarts.

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I loved this Halloween. The weather was great and he was happy the entire time. I think for him it ranks as one of the best days ever this year. I can’t wait until next year, I really get a kick out of making his costume and I love watching his joy in the holiday.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Adrenal Insufficient United

Lately I have been crusading, if you're on my facebook page you've probably already noticed. More then half of my posts this past week have been reminders for my friends to sign a petition and pass it along to their friends. Why?

Here's the deal, if the Kiddo was ever in an accident and I was not nearby or alert then the responding medical personnel would have NO clue how to keep him alive. In addition even if by some miracle they knew how they wouldn't be able to anyway because the emergency injection that he would need is not one they carry. I had grudgingly almost accepted that there isn't any real way to change this... except that there is, a group of women started an organization Adrenal Insufficiency United and a petition that will hopefully help to create a change in responder protocols. If you haven't signed the petition yet please do, all we want is training and the correct shot to be carried.

One of the groups creators was interviews by her local radio station recently. The podcast is eye opening, and eerily familiar. It's her story, but it's also ours. The only difference is that kiddo's AI stems from his Pit not his adrenals, it's called panhypopituitarism but the symptoms and crisis issues are all the same.

She mentions in her interview that the University of New Mexico has an AI training program for ems. I went and looked it up, it's nothing I didn't already know but if any of you wanted more information feel free to go give it a look.

I have printed out flyers to have the Kiddo's teacher send out asking for signatures, I handed some to the apartment complex office and even sent some with a friend to her church.

The group has made contact with the Secretaries office of the US Department of Health and Human Services in D.C. Right now the petition is up to 1300 signatures. Listen to the podcast to see why our request wont cost much and makes sense, then sign the petition and pass it along.

Every signature we can get strengthens our cause...

oooo pumpkin!

In preparation for Halloween last week on Thursday we went and picked up a couple pumpkins.

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Usually I’m far to lazy to do this type of stuff but the thing is the Kiddo’s best friend T and his brother go every year to get a couple and carve them. Of course that means T’s mom asked us to go and voila, jack-o-lantern motivation :)

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I have to admit it was a really good time. The kids ran around like hooligans, I took a dozen great pictures and we came home with two big pumpkins to carve up. The kiddo helped draw the pattern on them and then I did the carving.

10-27-2011 carved pumpkins (4)10-27-2011 carved pumpkins (2)

The Kiddo is really proud of the finished product, he thinks they are the funniest scary pumpkins because they are “eating eyeballs”. Yeah, that’d be my kiddo.

Thoughts...

Thoughts Become Things; Choose The Good Ones.