Me and my kiddo

Me and my kiddo

Friday, November 12, 2010

Happy Husband

I have a very contented husband :)  He's working on thrilling stuff.  He's comfy and enjoying desk deliveries of tea, coffee, goodies.  He can video chat with his buddies / co-workers whenever needed.  He's still fighting a nagging cough, but hard work on interesting stuff is good medicine for making him happy.  So, first week of working from home was a full success!

Other things to share:
• awesome poem
• History Through Art FREE lectures continue!  This is great fun for elementary grade kids :)  
• This week's Objectivist Round Up

Cute antics:
• responding to Andrew's comment, "You may be getting better at chess than I am." with, "Then we might as well play a game!"
• after reading about how Sauron "lacked" only the ring to gain full power again, he asked us to explain what lack meant and then he commented "He wants to un-lack it!"
• comments from Lord of the Rings Clue:
"Suppose Galadriel was a bad guy carrying an axe in Rohan."
"I've never seen Sauron with arrows in his backpack."
"Suppose Sauron is guilty of sneakily holding a battering ram on his head in Hobbiton."
• Now, the Lord of the Rings Clue is slipping into our regular Clue game.  Just put on your imagination cap and picture each bit of this suggestion from my kiddo, "I suggest Colonel Mustard took one huge revolver, big as a battering ram, in the ballroom."  (Hmmm, under such a weight did he waltz or perhaps tango?  Such actions would certainly give away the identity of the murderer!)

Awww, my happy reader sound asleep with a book on the chest.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Imperative vs. Experience Sharing Communication

I just wanted to note this article that highlights the difference between imperative and experience sharing communication.  Basically, imperative communication is a direction or question.  Experience sharing communication is commenting in an inviting way, but it does not demand a response.  While the article is from an Autism source, I think balancing these forms of communication is a challenge most parents face when speaking with children.  I certainly remember that it took conscious effort for me to modify my communication.

I was wondering why it is so easy to fall into this directive communication pattern with kids and I think it is because we are used to deciding their actions at first.  While we can use experience sharing communication with infants, they are not going to respond in kind.  You can say, "I heard the tire pop and I was so surprised.  Then, I felt sad because I knew we would miss the party."  It's wonderful to get into the habit of experience sharing communication, but the infant will just shriek with surprise and the young toddler will probably just cry about missing the party.  It's much easier to tell an infant what you're doing and to direct your toddler with what you want.  But, children are always learning and experience sharing communication offers kids the chance to learn (and model) this more rich and respectful communication.

I've found experience sharing communication to be a powerful tool in helping me enjoy parenting my son more.  It's so much more pleasant to weight our conversations on this more interactive side and to literally share our life experiences with each other.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Key Article On Perspective Taking

I've shared this article with my son's teachers and special education team because I think it so nails the key issues that I see with my kiddo.

This is the most relevant part for me because I find these challenges consistently describe him:

Impaired Interactive Perspective Takers (IIPT)

The impaired interactive perspective taker (IIPT) is the student who looks like everyone else at school, at least initially. The IIPT students have solid to advanced cognitive skills with solid language development. They have a lot of information about the world and will comment openly about their areas of interest. Socially they are very interested in pursuing peer relationships and they understand the “superficial social rules,” meaning they are aware that there is an underlying rule-based system that helps to negotiate social situations. They can tell you the more concrete social rules “stand in line,”, “say please,”, “don’t interrupt,” however, they have a great deal of difficulty perceiving how those rules apply to them. They have poor self-awareness. They are far less aware of the more subtle or sophisticated rules or non-verbal signals that help to mitigate social relationships as students’ age. While these students may appear “normal” on the outside, there are differences in how they process and respond to the more socially abstract information. It is not uncommon for younger students with IIPT to turn in their peers for breaking rules on the playground, while not being aware that the act of turning in a peer breaks a far greater social rule. Their struggles with social interpretation and abstraction become more evident as they age given the increasing complexity of social interaction and academic interpretation.
They are called “impaired interactive perspective takers” because their greatest deficits become apparent at the moment of interaction with their peers. Adults are far more flexible in accommodating to a single-minded conversation, but peers are unrelenting in their requirements that interactions be reciprocal. Peer based interaction requires not only the formulation of thoughts one might wish to communicate, but also persistent monitoring of how others might be interpreting or responding to the message so that the message can be adjusted as needed to meet the needs of the communicative partner. This is a social executive function task...
...In addition to the social challenges (which often lighten up a bit in high school), as these bright students go to college some of their greatest challenges will come from their failure to seek assistance or clarification, and from their organizational/problem solving weaknesses. While we might describe these folks as having a “mild” disability, given their many academic or cognitive strengths, actually due to their difficulties learning the complex skills of functioning as adults, their deficits are not at all mild. Many parents call my clinic to seek assistance for a 20 or 30-year-old child with IIPT who has not developed skills for independence with regard to life and work skills.
This group has the greatest likelihood for full adult independence, however, they may be slower than their neurotypical peers at achieving it. As they get older they also become more keenly aware that they are not able to process social information quickly and efficiently. This can be a source of great frustration that does not calm just because they are getting older.

Even if these folks make the choice to live with fewer opportunities for social interaction, they desire to be able to function in groups and to have close friends. They are generally terrific, friendly people with a good sense of humor when they feel comfortable."
I think it will be especially helpful for me to work on these areas where kids, who have had challenges similar to my son's, have found difficulties as they grow.  Of course, my kiddo is unique, but I love to take advantage of knowledge and strategies that others have discovered! :)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Not so wobbly

A crazy, hectic week, but... things are coming together!  The moving idea isn't quite so new and startling.  I've had the juggling challenge this week of getting ready for a massive garage sale and keeping the house in some semblance of order for prospective buyers.  Lots of hot and sweaty days hefting boxing and sorting through piles of junk, um, valuable stuff I mean :)  It's amazing how your perspective changes when you want to de-clutter!  

Other things to share:
Brilliant guy lays out some key economic issues!

Cute antics:
• climbing up, past where he was supposed to, at children's therapy center, jumping into the pillows, and then:
Therapist- I was scared.  Were you scared?
Cameron- No. It was a great acrobat performance!
• chucking his glasses in the sink (A bit of a surprise for me when I came across them under a plate while loading the dishwasher.)
• recommending bad chess moves, "Want to trade a queen for a pawn?"
• declaring gleefullly, "I got kentucky!" (loving a new iPhone game where he stacks the states) 
Me: You're my little boy.
Cameron: I'm nobody's little boy.  Yes, I am an orphan you know.
Me: Oh?  What happened to Daddy and me?
Cameron: You died in a car crash.  Luckily, I had a rope tied on so I didn't die.
(????  Well, I'm doing pretty well for a walking corpse!)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Objectivist Round Up

Welcome to the November 4, 2010 edition of the Objectivist Round Up.  This is the first week of my husband working away from home and I came across this quote on loneliness.  I have been too busy to get really lonely between preparing for a garage sale, keeping our home in a semblance of order for potential buyers, and parenting my son.  I found this quote an elegant presentation of why lonliness occurs and one value friends offer.


The thinking child is not antisocial (he is, in fact, the only type of child fit for social relationships). When he develops his first values and conscious convictions, particularly as he approaches adolescence, he feels an intense desire to share them with a friend who would understand him; if frustrated, he feels an acute sense of loneliness. (Loneliness is specifically the experience of this type of child—or adult; it is the experience of those who have something to offer. The emotion that drives conformists to “belong,” is not loneliness, but fear—the fear of intellectual independence and responsibility. The thinking child seeks equals; the conformist seeks protectors.)
 “The Comprachicos,” Ayn Rand

Here's to sharing that value with each other via this week's Objectivist Round Up!

Burgess Laughlin presents Rauf's mysticism in "What's Right with Islam ..." posted at The Main Event, saying, "This, the second of three posts in a series, examines the role of mysticism in Imam Rauf's book, _What's Right with Islam is What's Right with America: A New Vision for Muslims in the West_. The puzzle to be solved is why Imam Rauf does not advocate for mysticism in a popular book addressed to Jews, Christians, Muslims, and even "secular" New Agers. The answer is more disturbing than advocacy."

Edward Cline presents Watersheds of Anger posted at The Rule of Reason, saying, "For the past two weeks I have been embroiled in a fight to either regain the publication rights to my Sparrowhawk series of novels from the publisher, MacAdam/Cage Publishing in San Francisco, or to be compensated per contract for the sales of that series. I am awaiting the consequences of a breach of contract and rescission notice recently and justly served on that publisher by an attorney for nonpayment of royalties and delinquent royalty statements. I have been engaged in this conflict for three years. The breach of contract notice is just the latest episode in this unwelcome and mentally exhausting adventure."

C.W. presents The Attraction of Free Medical Care: Egalitarianism posted at Krazy Economy, saying, "Why do people in countries with socialized medicine revolt against the poor care and poor conditions? Why isn't the issue of care a primary concern with supporters of socialized medicine? It is the ethics. It is always the ethics. It is egalitarianism."

Aditya Pawar presents The Right to Petition Government for Redress of Grievances, Part IV posted at Axiom, saying, "Fourth installment in the Right to Petition series of blogposts."

Aditya Pawar presents The Right to Petition Government for Redress of Grievances, Part V posted at Axiom, saying, "Fifth installment in the Right to Petition series."

Rachel Miner presents Autism Conference: Generalizable Tid Bits posted at The Playful Spirit, saying, "I share some generally useful tips that I gleaned from attending a full day Autism conference."

Trey Givens presents The Price of Free Speech posted at Trey Givens, saying, "Hsieh Hairgate spawned what I think is a pithy observation toward all these people who bemoan what they call the price of free speech. I want to make sure everyone has their feet on the ground regarding the actual price of free speech."

Jared Rhoads presents A Republican voter, if you can keep me posted at The Lucidicus Project, saying, "My message to conservatives is that I've given them a Republican voter... if they can keep me."

Diana Hsieh presents NoodleCast #41: Live Rationally Selfish Webcast posted at NoodleFood, saying, "I've officially begun a weekly live webcast for practical ethics questions. Don't forget to submit and vote on questions for the next installment, again on Sunday morning."

Ari Armstrong presents Don't 'Privatize' Social Security, Phase It Out posted at Free Colorado, saying, "What often passes for "privatizing" Social Security really isn't privatizing it at all. Phase it out instead."

Martin Lindeskog presents GOT TEA PARTY ON NOVEMBER 2? | EGO posted at EGO.

Paul Hsieh presents PJM OpEd: "GOP: Dance With The One Who Brung You" posted at NoodleFood, saying, "In my latest PajamasMedia OpEd, I explain that I voted for the Republicans because I want limited government and fiscal responsibility -- *not* the social conservative agenda."

Jeff Montgomery presents Partial Non-Defeat! posted at Fun With Gravity, saying, "This is a quick response to the election results."

Jeff Montgomery presents Green To Falcon 4-Park Run posted at Fun With Gravity, saying, "Recently I did a long run where I connected several scenic Denver parks. Photos included."

Kelly Valenzuela presents You Work for Uncle Sam Now posted at Mother of Exiles, saying, "Guest blogger, Santiago Valenzuela, comments on the E-Verify program."

Kelly Valenzuela presents The Visa God posted at Mother of Exiles, saying, "Yes, there is a "visa god" in India."

Kirk presents Life: Capitalism's Motive Power posted at A is A, saying, "An article that investigates what the real motive power behind capitalism is."

Michael Labeit presents Defending Rich People posted at Michael Labeit at

Rational Jenn presents More About Halloween posted at Rational Jenn, saying, "As we headed into Election Week, I got to practice my persuasive skills with a smaller elected body--our homeowner's association. And when I was unsuccessful, we engaged in a bit of civil disobedience. Good practice for the bigger challenges!"

Roberto Sarrionandia presents Tuition Cap Increase is Not Enough posted at Roberto Sarrionandia, saying, "Why caps on UK tuition fees are not the "fair" option"

David Lewis presents long-distance relationships suck posted at david in real life, saying, "Have you ever chatted up that cutie on facebook, emailed that hottie on, or maybe you were like me and decided to get brave on David Veksler's Then, you find out your "perfect someone" lives so, so far away. What do you do?"

Miranda Barzey presents Figure Modeling: Your Questions Answered posted at Building Atlantis, saying, "What I've learned so far modeling for the art community in Atlanta."

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of objectivist round up using our carnival submission form.
Past posts and future hosts can be found on our
blog carnival index page

Monday, November 1, 2010

Autism Conference: Generalizable Tid Bits

I had the pleasure to attend a full day conference entitled: Supporting Children with High Functioning Autism and Aspergers Syndrome in the Elementary Setting (K-5th).

It was so cool to go to a conference center and sit down in front of a TV and join 18 other sites from across the state calling in to listen to this material.  All the sites could interact with the presenter too, asking questions directly which the other sites could here.  It was very cool!  

The screen showed presenter / slides / books and it showed whomever was  asking a question.  I had this nice room to myself except for a few hours in the middle.

I figured I would share the generalizable tid-bits from my notes:

• Kids will often say "I don't want to" when "I don't know how to start" is the problem.

• Consequences: 
-Don't think punishment, think of a better way for them to communicate the need and offer that alternative.
 - All behavior is communication.  When dealing with an undesirable behavior, add the word "need".  "Why does (child) NEED to do (challenging behavior) to get "their" way?"
•Thought filter-  The idea that any thought is OK, but it is filtered by thinking before action.  You can do a neat activity by showing kids making coffee in a pot with and without a filter.

• Develop a personalized 5 point scale for your child.
- One axis: 1(calm) to 5(meltdown)
- Columns for each topic:
It looks like
It feels like
"I can try to calm down by"
I need the adults near me to"
(This can be a great activity for parents/teachers to do too.)

Finally, I took away a slew of useful tips for my kiddo's recess challenges and this great way of describing one of his key challenges with adults:
-High functioning kids with Autism LOOK typical, but it is vital to understand the neurological disorder and to work at root causes when dealing with their behavior.  They are often *deceptively verbal* because they have a huge gap in their ability to take perspectives.  This manifests in numerous ways, but is particularly problematic in classrooms where, if they think something, they automatically think that you know what they are thinking.

My kiddo has made so much progress in these areas, but he still struggles and it was great to have the forum for asking questions, discovering resources, and... enjoying the bonus of save myself 5 hours of driving because of this awesome technology!
(Taken last week) My kiddo developed pretend play two years late (typical for kids on the Autism spectrum), but he's doing pretty darn well now!   I just love his enthusiasm  :)