Archive for the ‘advice/ frequently asked questions’ category

2012 in review

December 31, 2012

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,800 times in 2012. If it were a Dreamliner, it would take about 7 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Can ABA help OCD?

January 1, 2012


If you’re setting goals with your child like less frequent hand washing, less worries at bedtime, less finger biting, less need to touch door knobs etc, then ABA can be a tool in your tool box, along with the possible combo of meds, sensory integration, and psychotherapy, to help your child achieve their goals! ABA can help you set baby steps, agree on a reinforcement menu, reevaluate your goals, add or change goals, help your child self evaluate, and help you all learn tools and strategies.
My daughter suffers more from obsessions than compulsions so we work on, ” they’re looking at me” “she’s mad at me” ” her eyes are freaking me out” ” they’re laughing at me” ” I can’t do it” “it’s too hard” ” they’ll say it sucks” etc etc. So we work on overcoming fears, expressing concerns, sharing her feelings, working on anger and frustration, embarrassment and jealousy, and most of all reinforce bravery ( in teeny, tiny increments).

Empower your child now and free them from the prison of OCD!

***ABA in this article is not referring to intensive clinical trials in an office setting. It’s referring to working on goals in the child’s natural environment.

For cautionary information please see-
Donna Williams-Touette’s tics and OCD should not be mistaken for stims.

Withholding information

January 1, 2012

Sometimes life can be too much. When you have Asperger’s syndrome you’re already dealing with sensory issues, social deficits, anxiety, and loss on a daily basis so adding someone else’s problems to the mix can be more than person can handle. We make a point not to lie or fabricate information, but sometimes holding back information like a couple breaking up, a sitter moving away, or a friendship dissolving, is the best for our family. If months go by and my daughter doesn’t even notice that her sitter has gone from weekly to monthly to not at all, or we are hanging with her brother alone instead of with his girlfriend then we’ve saved her from feeling some of the drama of our life so that she can save her energy for the drama of her own. If she asks (which amazingly she often doesn’t) we tell her the facts, if she is sad or excited or anxious, we listen and work her through it and if she’s confused about human behavior then we try to help her understand without her making it about her or because of her. Sometimes, in the life of someone on the spectrum, rejection, on top of failure, on top of isolation, should not be mixed with unnecessary grieving.

The sandwich technique

December 15, 2011

Whether it has to do with teaching new skills, scheduling classes, getting through the school day or meeting new people it’s always best to sandwich the new, unfamiliar, least favorite, or even scary experience between 2 very comfortable, enjoyable, exciting, easily accomplished experiences. Better yet, sandwich your student between 2 people they really like also!
Transitions and challenges will go smoother, learning will increase, and compliance will improve.
Appetizers and dessert!!

We decided to do without periods

December 6, 2011

Delaying your period with birth control pills
If you take birth control pills, you may not need to have a monthly period. A Mayo Clinic expert offers insight on delaying your period with oral contraceptives.

By Mayo Clinic staff

Rosalina Abboud, M.D.
Are you interested in delaying your period, or perhaps stopping your period entirely? It’s possible with birth control pills. Here, Rosalina Abboud, M.D., an obstetrician and gynecologist at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn., answers common questions about delaying your period with birth control pills.

How can you use birth control pills to delay or stop your period?

A traditional pack of birth control pills contains 28 pills, but only 21 are active — containing hormones to suppress your fertility. The other seven pills are inactive. The bleeding that occurs during the week you take the inactive pills is withdrawal bleeding, which looks like a period. This is your body’s response to stopping the hormones. If you skip the inactive pills and start a new pack of active pills right away, you won’t have this withdrawal bleeding.

Keep in mind that oral contraceptives only mimic a natural menstrual cycle. The bleeding that occurs while you take the inactive pills isn’t the same as a regular period, nor is the bleeding necessary for health. This is good news if you take birth control pills and want more control over your menstrual cycle, either for personal or medical reasons.

What are the benefits of delaying your period?

Delaying your period can treat or prevent various menstrual symptoms. The option might be worth considering at any age if you have:

Heavy, prolonged, frequent or painful periods
Breast tenderness, bloating or mood swings in the seven to 10 days before your period
Headaches or other menstrual symptoms during the week you take inactive birth control pills
A physical or mental disability that makes it difficult to use sanitary napkins or tampons
Any condition worsened by menstruation, such as endometriosis, anemia, asthma, migraines or epilepsy
In addition, menstrual bleeding is sometimes simply inconvenient. You may want to postpone your period until after an important exam, athletic event, vacation or special occasion, such as your wedding or honeymoon. Delaying your period may also help you save money, since you may reduce your use of hygiene products or pain relievers, as well as save the cost of missed work or doctor visits for menstrual symptoms.

What are the side effects of delaying your period?

You may notice bleeding or spotting between periods (breakthrough bleeding) when you extend the number of days between periods. Breakthrough bleeding typically decreases within a few months, however, as your body adjusts to the new regimen.

Breakthrough bleeding is especially likely if you:

Miss a pill
Start a new medication — such as certain antibiotics — that may interfere with the contraceptive
Become ill with vomiting or diarrhea, which may impair absorption of the medication
In the meantime, continue taking the medication as directed. As long as you take the medication correctly, it’s still working as a contraceptive. If you take the pill irregularly or stop taking the pill for longer than the usual seven-day break, you risk an unplanned pregnancy.

If you routinely delay your period, it may be more difficult to tell if you’re pregnant. If you have morning sickness, breast tenderness or unusual fatigue, take a home pregnancy test or consult your doctor.

Delaying your period with birth control pills

What’s the recommended schedule for delaying your period with traditional birth control pills?

Delaying your period with 28-day birth control pills works best with pills that are monophasic — have the same amount of hormones in every pill. Your doctor might recommend a schedule such as the following:

Take active pills six weeks in a row. You’ll need to use two pill packets. Take the active pills from the first packet, discard the remaining inactive pills, and then take the active pills from the second packet. Don’t take a break between packets.
Take the inactive pills from the second packet. When you’ve taken the active pills from the second packet, you’ll have taken six weeks of active pills. Take the inactive pills from the second packet during week seven. This is when you’ll have your period. To reduce withdrawal symptoms and unscheduled bleeding, your doctor may suggest taking inactive pills for only three or four days rather than the full seven days or replacing the inactive pills with low-dose estrogen pills.
If you don’t have unpredictable bleeding or other significant side effects, you might take the active pills continuously for nine weeks in the next cycle and 12 weeks in the next. Breakthrough bleeding is common until your body becomes adjusted to this schedule. If menstrual-like bleeding occurs after taking 21 days of active pills, stop taking the active pills for three days and then restart them.

If you have persistent unpredictable bleeding or other significant side effects, consult your doctor.

Are any birth control pills specifically designed to lengthen the time between periods?

Yes. In addition to manipulating your period with the way you take 28-day birth control pills, you may opt for extended-cycle birth control pills. For example:

Seasonale. This 91-day oral contraceptive regimen is designed to give you only four periods a year. You take active pills continuously for 84 days — or 12 weeks — followed by one week of inactive pills. Your period occurs during week 13, about once every three months.
Seasonique. As with Seasonale, this 91-day oral contraceptive regimen is designed to give you only four periods a year. You take active pills for 84 days — or 12 weeks — followed by one week of pills containing a very low dose of estrogen. Your period occurs during week 13, about once every three months. Taking low-dose estrogen pills instead of inactive pills during week 13 helps reduce bleeding, bloating and other side effects sometimes associated with a hormone-free interval.
Lybrel. This extended-cycle oral contraceptive — which contains a low dose of both progesterone and estrogen — is designed to be taken continuously for one year. There are no breaks for hormone-free intervals, which means no periods. Breakthrough bleeding is likely for the first few months, however. About half the women who continue taking Lybrel after one year have no bleeding as long as they continue taking the medication.
Is it better to delay your period with 28-day birth control pills or an extended-cycle regimen?

Generally, the choice of birth control pill is up to you and your doctor. Keep in mind that you can reduce withdrawal symptoms and unscheduled bleeding by taking inactive pills for only three or four days rather than the full seven days or by replacing inactive pills with low-dose estrogen pills.

Is it safe for all women to delay menstruation?

If your doctor says it’s OK for you to take birth control pills, it’s probably safe to use oral contraceptives to delay your period — especially if you have problems associated with menstruation. Not all doctors think it’s a good idea to delay menstruation, however. Even those who support the option may not mention it unless you bring up the topic. If you want to try delaying your period, you may have to take the lead. Ask your doctor which option might work best for you.

WO00069 Sept. 21, 2010
© 1998-2011 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). All rights reserved. A single copy of these materials may be reprinted for noncommercial personal use only. “Mayo,” “Mayo Clinic,” “,” “EmbodyHealth,” “Enhance your life,” and the triple-shield Mayo Clinic logo are trademarks of Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research.

Our daily pill list

December 6, 2011



In the morning she takes-

At night she takes-
The pill
Magnesium, calcium, zinc, D
A probiotic
Omega 3
A green foods supplement
And sometimes a stool softener, chewable fiber, vit c, and a multi vit

melatonin worked for us!

August 30, 2009

Melatonin Helps Autistic Children Get To Sleep

Reuters Health – Three milligrams of melatonin at bedtime can effectively treat sleep problems in children with autistic spectrum disorder, fragile X syndrome, or both, according to a study reported in the current issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.
“Melatonin can be considered a safe and effective pharmacologic treatment in addition to behavior therapies and sleep hygiene practices for the management of sleep problems in children with autistic spectrum disorder and fragile X syndrome,” the study team concludes.
Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone, derived from the amino acid tryptophan. The hormone is important in regulating circadian rhythms, or the “sleep wake” cycle, and the reproduction cycle in mammals.
Fragile X syndrome is an inherited form of mental impairment resulting from a “fragile,” or broken site, on the X chromosome. The syndrome affects 2 to 5 percent of those with autism spectrum disorder, and symptoms of autism are common in children with fragile X.
Sleep problems are reported in up to 89 percent of children with autism and 77 percent of children with fragile X syndrome, Dr. Beth L. Goodlin-Jones, of the Medical Investigation of Neurodevelopmental Disorders (M.I.N.D.) Institute at the University of California Davis Health System in Sacramento, and colleagues note in their report.
In a 4-week study, 18 children, ranging in age from 2 to 15 years, with autistic spectrum disorder and/or fragile X syndrome received either melatonin (3 milligrams) or placebo each night for 2 weeks. The children then “crossed over” to the other treatment group for 2 weeks.
Data from 12 children who completed the study showed that treatment with melatonin was associated with significant improvements in total night sleep durations, sleep latency times and sleep-onset times.
Specifically, Goodlin-Jones and colleagues report that the average night sleep duration was 21 minutes longer with melatonin than with placebo, the sleep-onset latency was 28 minutes shorter, and the sleep-onset time was 42 minutes earlier.
“Sleep onset problems at the beginning of the night are very troublesome for children and their families,” Goodlin-Jones noted in a prepared statement accompanying the study. “Sometimes children may take one to two hours to fall asleep and often they disrupt the household during this time.”
“The results of this study,” she and her colleagues conclude, “suggest that melatonin is an effective treatment for sleep problems in children with autistic spectrum disorder and fragile X syndrome, a finding that is consistent with previous studies of children with autistic spectrum disorder and developmental disabilities.”
SOURCE: Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, April 15, 2009.

my favorite books

October 24, 2008

at the moment I’m relying on:

-the myth of laziness by mel levine

-asperger’s syndrome- by tony atwood

-the explosive child-by ross greene

-your ten-to-fourteen year old-by louise bates ames

-asperger syndrome and adolescence- by teresa bolick

-practical ideas that really work for students with asperger syndrome- by kathleen mcConnell

-just give him the whale- by paula kluth

-can i tell you about asperger syndrome?- by jude welton

-life is short -wear your party pants- by loretta laroche


the dog dilemma

October 17, 2008

we were invited to go with our neighbors to the pet shop to look for a puppy this week (which is one of our favorite things to do). the local pet shop has a great sampling of popular mixed breeds so it gives you a chance to hold them and see what they look like before you decide on the breed you want, but the prices are very high and the source is questionable so our friends were not planning to buy one that day.

Of course, we all fell in love with a puppy. it was the perfect breed, size, gender, temperament- but they wanted $1000 for it! so our neighbors cuddled and played with him and said good-bye to go home and research the breed on the Internet to find a local breeder with dogs for 1/2 that price.

well, my daughter couldn’t believe that they would let that one go. she doesn’t have a good concept of money, but she does understand that there are a lot of different things to consider when getting a pet and that they all have to fit or it’s not the right match (we bought a horse last year and researched for 6 months).

since Monday i have heard almost daily agitated complaints about why they didn’t get that puppy. “It wasn’t sick, it was perfect, it was cute, it was a good temperament!”

the only response i can give her is a prompt to help her come up with the answer herself “but what wasn’t perfect? why didn’t they buy that one?

and then she “remembers” and stops whining and says “oh, that’s right it was a thousand dollars- i hope they find one they like on the Internet”.

many times she is telling herself a story and getting upset about it and all i have to say is, “is that true” and she relaxes and says “no” (it’s much more effective than if i tried to convince her that it’s not true)

and it’s over- we move on

analyzing behavior

September 25, 2008

Behavior has always been intriguing and challenging to me as a Mom. I have a nursing background so when my boys were young I often did somewhat of a nursing care plan in order to chart behaviors and strategize ways to eliminate or replace the behavior. My husband and i even took parenting classes so that we would have the same goals and parenting techniques, understood consequences and how to apply them, both natural and logical. If all else failed we would turn to a reward system and some appropriate reinforcers and whala! three happy, loving, respectful, mature young men developed.

…and then I was blessed with a little girl with autism. Consequences didn’t make sense, communication was a huge roadblock, reasons for behaviors became allusive, and reinforcers took a lot of creativity to figure out and usually needed to be changed frequently. Along with that was the curious delema of my daughter exhibiting defiant behaviors at school that she never does at home and loving, trusting, mature behaviors at home that she doesn’t exhibit at school. Mix that with middle school,depression, lack of confidence, inconsistent communication (and academic) skills and extreme passions and you have a pretty miserable child (and school personal)

For years I’ve been asking for staff familiar with behavior analysis- looking beyond the specific behavior to what the function of the behavior is (usually power, fear of failure, to make a demand, to escape or refuse, or for self- gratification) and then finding replacement behaviors that are appropriate.

From what i can tell my daughter’s having 2-3 meltdowns a day in school where she picks some arbitrary reason for not complying with their requests (you need a snake, or my friend is mad at me), then ends up in the office on the floor and gets the aide on the verge of tears.  Three staff members take turns dealing with her (she sure knows how to get attention and control) usually without success in compliance, but some deescalation of the behavior. I’m trying to guide the team to figure out the function of the behaviors and to identify, teach and reinforce replacement behaviors, but i don’t really know how to do that myself and I know they don’t, so it goes into it’s negative cycle.

my goal- find the help we need, find the environment that has what she needs and avoids what she doesn’t 9sensory overload), find experienced staff that has seen this before, learn as much as i can about behavior, it’s function and teaching replacement behaviors, and doing what i can at home to teach the skills my daughter needs to succeed in a more uncomfortable, scary environment (how to refuse, how to request, how to compromise)

action- we have a behavioral therapist coming over next week. Continue to work with the school team, request a behavior plan update at school overseen by an autism behavior expert. Get a message and then meditate.

We have to do this for our future, for her future!


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