Prize Pack Details -- What You Can Win!

With the 30/30 SPD Fundraiser starting this Friday, I have had lots of inquiries about just what the PRICE PACKS will be.  So, without further delay -- Tell 'em what they can win Bob!


How to Win: The grand prize pack will be awarded to the person who raises the most money in the month of October, from now until midnight PST on the 31st of October. In order to get credit for a donation that does not come directly from your PayPal account, your name and email address must be listed in the “Message to Merchant” space on the donation form.

What is in it? The Grand Prize Pack will contain a LARGE assortment of sensory-friendly items. The value of this prize pack? PRICELESS. Ok, I hate it when people say that too – the total value is over $500. Here’s the breakdown (please note I reserve the right to substitute equal prizes of equal value at my discretion).

Custom Made Weighted blanket from Dream Catchers valued at up to $267
Subscription to SI Focus Magazine
Autographed copy of Sensational Kids by Dr. Lucy Jane Miller Director of the SPD Foundation
Autographed copy of a Growing an In-Sync Child from bestselling author Carol Kranowitz and Joye Newman
Autographed copy of My Brother Charlie from Holly Robinson-Peete and her daughter Ryan Elizabeth
DVD Sensory Processing Disorder Master Class by Drs. Brock and Fernette Eide and Lindsey Biel OTR/L
Model Me Kids DVD
28 Instant Songames CD
Large Bilbo
Chewlery necklace
Fuzzy Alien key chain
Glee Gum assorted mini-packs
and maybe MORE.

30/30 Event Kicks Off Friday!

Hartley’s Life With 3 Boys is holding a one of a kind event showcasing the stories of 30 Families parenting a child with SPD in 30 days.  This event is designed to not only help spread awareness of Sensory Processing Disorder, but to raise money for the SPD Foundation’s 30th Anniversary.

With a new ‘sensational story’ posted every day through the month of October, including a never-before-published story from Dr. Lucy Jane Miller that will move you to tears, as well as the inspiring stories of other SPD advocates and authors such as Chynna Laird and Terri Mauro, and an emotional story told through the poetry of Jennie Linthorst, among the many other families just like me and you, these stories showcase what it is really like to raise a child with SPD and how increased support and funding is so desperately needed. This event will spotlight the struggles and successes every SPD family faces on their SPD journey; from ‘ah ha’ moments, to finding help through Occupational Therapy, these families are on the front lines of this disorder every day.

And helping them is easy.

Click on the “ChipIn” widget on the right navigation bar. It will take you to PayPal where you can make a donation in any amount you choose.  If you want to promote this event on your blog -- you can put the ChipIn widget there too -- just click the word 'copy' on the widget up top there on the right to get the code for your site  ------------->

In an effort to encourage everyone to donate generously, prizes will be awarded to the person(s) raising the most money each week and there will be a HUGE PRIZE PACKAGE for the person who raises the most money during the month. Also, if you raise $250 you will automatically win a prize! So rally your friends and family, and have them donate under your name – all you have to do is ask them to leave your family’s name and email address in the comments of their donation – and you are entered to win!  Also, there will be prizes awarded through random drawing for those who donate any amount, just click, donate and you're entered.  Your generosity is greatly appreciated!

And trust me, the prizes are fantastic! Here are some of the things you can win:

SPD Blog Carnival -- Sensational Siblings

It is that time again! Please join the SPD Blog Carnival by posting your link below -- our theme for September is "Sensational Siblings".

Let us know about your 'other' kid(s)!  How do they handle having a sibling with challenges?  Have you found a great way to include them, teach them, bond with them?  How do they connect with their siblings?  Did they do something AWESOME and you just want to brag?  Let us know!  If your child is an only child, please feel free to blog about sibling issues in a different way -- write about a sibling book, or a SibShops class near you, or about your choice to only have one child and how it was influenced by your child’s needs, BE CREATIVE!

This is an amazing way to take the best of the best from the SPD Blogging Community every month, and publish it in one location -- kind of like having a monthly 'magazine' that people can come to and read. Everyone of you that reads this (even you lurkers!) can participate -- you DO NOT have to be part of the SPD Blogger Network to participate in the carnival. (But, if you blog about SPD, please consider joining because we would love to have you!)

I also encourage you to check out the other links posted here -- explore other blogs and learn more about what the SPD journey is like for families all over -- we have many new SPDBN members to learn from!

If you have any questions, feel free to email me.

Please share this post on your Facebook and on Twitter -- and any where else you can reach more SPD parents!

Now link up!

Sensory Friendly Halloween Guide

I know it is a little early for Halloween -- but trust me, regardless of whether or not you are thinking of it, your kids are.  And, my blog is going to be dedicated to the 30 SPD Stories in 30 Days for the entire month of October, so now is the time to post this! 

Halloween is another one of those holidays that requires special planning when it comes to having a kiddo with SPD. Technically, I can’t think of many holidays that don’t require some kind of planning on my part…maybe Veteran’s Day? (Actually, that is a NO, because my father served in Vietnam and my boys are concerned that we honor him appropriately, so I don’t even get to take that holiday off. Ugh.)

All of that aside, my kids love Halloween. Which has made me start to like it too. : )  So much so, that we already have their costumes for this year -- they are in the box still right here in my office, just DYING to be tried on.  But, I say it is too early to take the chance they will ruin them (I am mean like that), so I am forced to use a photo from last Halloween.  I am SHOCKED at how much older they look!  I know, kids grow up, but in the chaos of my life, I must have missed it. 

But, my kiddos really do LOVE Halloween!  I don’t think it is just the candy (especially since we don’t eat it, but I’ll get to that in a minute), I think it is being up past bedtime, running around with their friends in the dark while pretending to be, this year, a Clone (from Star Wars, Nick), an Army Solider (Gabriel) and...well...Matt says he is wearing Lightning McQueen again, but we'll see.

This guide is aimed at those of us who actually want to have a Halloween, similar (not exactly) to the one we grew up loving. There are obviously better ways to handle sensory overload if your child can't do this (example being go to a friend's house so out of the way no one will ring their doorbell).

That said, here is what we do to make sure that Halloween is a success for everyone at our house.

Asperger's Diagnosis (or not)

Matthew is undergoing his evaluation for Asperger’s. The ADOS, the Wissler Intelligence Test for Preschoolers (that just sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? Intelligence tests for preschoolers…) and an attention test (can’t seem to remember the acronym for that one). We started last Friday, and we will have two more testing Fridays followed by a ‘review of the results’ early October.

There’s the official news.

So, we go into the psychologist’s office two Fridays ago – me and my hubby Jeff -- to meet with her and tell her all about our darling son.

We both immediately like the new psychologist – we aren’t seeing Gabriel’s Psychiatrist or Pediatric Neurologist because the wait is TOO DAMN LONG – and liking the new psychologist is a great start for both of us.

We get to the conversation about attention. I say, "Matthew doesn’t have a very good attention span for things that others choose." Like his teacher. Or me. "When we give him something he finds less than intriguing, then he leaves." Most likely going to practice coupling his trains so he can shunt some more jobi wood to the new rescue center or some other Thomas-themed activity. BUT, I add, that this is a skill that he has shown growth in during the last school year. During those six months, he has learned to participate in all of the school activities (none of which are coupling or shunting) and happily transitions from one to the other (by ‘happily’ I mean with an adult helping him to read his personal visual schedule and then with only two or three verbal reminders; happily).

Jeff quickly disagrees with me.

He claims this is not an attention issue. He says that because Matthew is getting better at this type of thing (paying attention to less-than-interesting things) he is showing an increase in TOLERANCE. Arguably, by my husband, a much more useful skill in real life.

You see, in Jeff's view, Matthew doesn’t have an attention problem, he has a tolerance problem. And in life, you always have to be tolerant of things you are less than facinated by. Like school lessons or wife droning on and on about topics that do not include cellphones, football or Star Wars.

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, people.

The psychologist showed great attention tolerance while Jeff said his piece, then we moved on.

You Know You're Teaching an SPD Kiddo When . . .

I still get comments on the "You Know When..." lists of mine, so I thought I would post one for the teachers out there--

All of those men and women who have spent the last few weeks getting to know our darling kiddos as students in their class.

You Know You're Teaching an SPD Kiddo When...(a list for teachers and all of us who watch our kids struggle in school)

1. He chews his pencil, both the eraser and the lead, all day long.

2. He can’t seem to stay seated for over 30 seconds.

3. He constantly wants to get a “drink” but really he is just playing in the sink.

4. During circle time he sits virtually on top of the kid next to him.

5. You have to remind him that he cannot touch the hair of the girl next to him—no matter how cool it looks.

6. You implement Handwriting Without Tears program the first day — because you can’t read anything he writes.

7. He wears the same pair of Soft sweatpants (made to look like jeans) every single day.

8. He is the only one in class standing at his desk.

9. He BLURTS out the answers to every question, and talks all through story time.

10. At recess he climbs on the very TIP TOP of the jungle gym, where he is NOT allow.

11. He spends more time under the table than sitting at it.

12. He lit up when he saw the ball pit in the resource room.

13. He refuses to eat in the cafeteria on “Sloppy Joe Day” because it smells awful.

14. The collar, the sleeves, and a strange place directly in the center of his shirt are all dripping with spit from being chewed on all day.

15. Everyone around him gets a HUGE bear hug, whether they like it or not.

Siblings, Seahawks and The Schneiders

Wondering about the title? 

Well, this story really starts about three weeks ago. So let's start there.

My husband Jeff’s birthday was coming, on August 25th, and I knew the one thing he wanted:  Football Tickets. And not just any ticket – no – he wanted to see the Kansas City Chiefs when they came to play at Quest Field against the Seattle Seahawks for the first time in nearly a decade. And by ‘tickets’ I mean tickets close enough to the field that Jeff can yell at the players and feel truly involved in the game. Last time we went, long before kids, he was yelling at the Chief's bench (I am sure they loved him for this…) and as a player named Snoop Minnis came off the field, Jeff yelled, “HEY SNOOP! You’re under-rated in Madden!” Which apparently Snoop appreciated and agreed with, because Jeff got a giant grin and a wave from him. Making every penny we’d spent on the tickets, well worth it.

Yes, these kind of tickets aren’t cheap. Nope. Not cheap. Close to $200 a piece. Which means, this is not a family event. It is a Mommy-Daddy event.

Which broke Nick’s heart.

You see, Nick loves football. LOVES football the way little boys love their dad. And since this little boy has a dad that loves football they spend their Sundays perched in front of the TV AND on the football field where Jeff has coached Nick’s flag football team for the last 4 seasons. Nick knows Jeff loves football – and it is something they have always shared. So, naturally, this little boy wanted to share that game with his dad. And he couldn’t.

Which broke Jeff’s heart. And mine.

But the reality is that we don’t always get what we want. I don’t have $1000 to spend just for tickets to take all of my kids to a professional football game. Plain and simple. Add to that Gabriel and Matt would NOT FOR THE LIFE OF THEM be able to sit through that much chaos and noise, let alone sustain interest in the actual game, it didn’t make sense to buy tickets for the kids. We talked about just buying Nick one, but really felt like we couldn’t justify taking JUST Nick to a game. Gabe would have his feelings hurt. Matt probably wouldn’t care, but Gabe, he would know.

That’s So Cliché! -- Guest post by Alysia

That’s So Cliché!
Guest Post by Alysia special needs mom and blogger at Try Defying Gravity

When Hartley told me she was looking for a guest post about siblings, I knew this was right up my alley. I have three boys: Gerry is eight, Howie is four and Lewis is almost two. Howie has sensory processing disorder and autism spectrum disorder. I deal with sibling issues 24/7 and sometimes it feels like we are constantly walking on eggshells as we try to figure out how to best interact as a family unit.

I have learned quite a bit from teachers, doctors and occupational therapists about how to approach our son’s issues and help his brothers better understand how he interprets the world around him. Recently I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how to best share our experiences. For some reason, I keep coming back to the word “cliché”. Clearly, there’s nothing cliché or stereotypical about our kids with SPD – in fact, the only predictable thing about the disorder is that it is so unpredictable. Every kid with SPD is different. And every family dealing with children with SPD is different.

In spite of all this, I thought it would be an interesting to take some common clichés and expressions and see how it applies to siblings of kids with SPD. I’m no expert, but this is what has worked so far for our family:

1) Nip it in the bud. A few months after my son’s autism diagnosis, the whole family was playing in the front yard. My husband was kicking a ball to Howie and I was chasing the baby around. My oldest was sitting quietly, looking sad. When I asked him what was wrong, he said “I bet no one would notice if I ran away into the woods and never came back. I wish I lived in a different family.” Gulp. It was clear that in our attempt to jump in feet first to help Howie we had neglected to think about how it was affecting our oldest son. It took this moment for him to feel so left out that he was finally able to tell us. It was heartbreaking.

School Starts Successfully!

I can't believe it is finally here.  We finally started school.  All three of them.  And aside from the total logistical nightmare of transporting three kids to three different schools, not to mention the picking them up and being home in time to get the bus chaos, we made it.  We made it!


This is the first year in the history of being Gabe's mom that I am not stressed.  Thank god.  School is just one of those things, that every year, no matter how well laid the plans are, we seem to get off track.  Not this year.  As you all know, Gabriel is at a private therapeutic day school that caters to children of various abilities.  Which means that this year, I don't have to worry about accommodations or IEPs.  I can worry about other things (ha!), like anger management, frustration tolerance, and social skills.  And know that this school, is teaching those things too.  Yay!

Gabe came home the first day covered in something green -- all over his shirt sleeves and up onto his chest.  His nails were caked in something white like clay, and he was grinning ear to ear.  Why?  It was a sience experiment about making the color green.  Then, he quickly announced that he was taking Baking Class!  But, just so you know, they don't start cooking until next week.  I mean, after all, this is the first week of school. 

I also got Gabe back into private speech therapy -- definitely a draw back of his private school is no therapy offerings.  His private speech therapist, (shameless plug), Liz Chapdelaine is amazing.  I can't wait to get him going with some heavy duty speech again. 

Dinner with a "3C Kid"

I do know why we thought that going out to dinner at a real sit down restaurant was a good idea; I was bored.  You see, we spent all day Saturday at home cooped up in the house because the weather was rainy and miserable.  We did a ton; spent two hours on a game of Star Wars Monopoly, an hour building and playing GeoTrax, way too long watching TV and we had snacked on everything in the house -- so it wasn't like we hadn't done anything, but I was super bored.  Me.  I was bored.

So my hubby suggested we all go out to dinner and that we invite my parents to meet us.

We agreed on the Olive Garden, half way between our house and my parent's house, and off we went.

I was nervous.  I mean, we DON'T take the boys to restaurants all together.  Nick only eats peanut butter (really) and Matthew isn't much better (Matt doesn't even eat fast food except the occasional chicken nugget at McDonald's -- so this is a challenge).

Add to that it is 6pm at night when we decide this, and that Gabe is accustomed to eating at exactly 6pm (he is obsessed with food in the literal sense), so he would have to wait, most likely in a crowded restaurant, stay calm while I entertained Matthew to keep him in his seat.

I looked up the menu online and it said that the Olive Garden serves Pizza.  Sold.  Nick and Matt could at least order that -- whether or not they ate it is an entirely different story.

So, we were off to the Olive Garden.

And the challenges started in the over-crowded waiting room during our 20+ minute wait.

I had prepped all three with the iPhone app from Model Me Kids that shows the boy going to dinner and 'waiting calmly' for his food while driving there in the van (my hubby drove, I turned around backwards and played the app for them; didn't want you to think I was doing both).  They boys all nodded in agreement and when asked how they were supposed to wait, they echoed the short clip by saying "Calmly." 

While waiting for our table, we were given one of those buzzers -- that doesn't actually buzz -- but lights up when your table is ready. We were two feet from the reception desk, but nonetheless, we got the buzzer.

And Nick and Gabe could NOT take turns holding it.

They were insistent on keeping it (*cough* Gabe), and my mom and dad were doing an awesome job (as usual) making it into a game of sorts so that there weren't any meltdowns.

But Gabe was feeling inflexible on the matter.

At Nick's suggestion, I turned the buzzer over in Gabe's hand so the part that lights up would be visible, which didn't go well -- It was met with grunting and Gabe dropping to the ground in protest.

Sensational Links

Sensational Links for 9/3/10 (Back to School)

Kaelan's Not So Good Day at School from ASD dad Gavin Bollard at Life With Aspergers:  Gavin talks about the awful day his 10 year old had at school -- from a fight on the playground to losing the lollipop it took 1-year of points to earn. 

School Visit ... Check by SPD mom Jennifer at When Your Senses Don't Make Sense:  A post we can all relate to -- visiting the new classroom before the start of school -- with a happy ending.

Buses, Bullies, Academics and Asperger's by ASD mom (x2) StatMama at StaticVox:  Continued bullying of her young daughter Reese on the school bus. 

R-E-S-P-E-C-T Find Out What it Means to Me! by SPD mom Patty O at Pancakes Gone Awry:  A great post about gaining the respect of one her students when she was a teacher.

Hope your kids are all finding sucess at school already,

FTF: Sick and Tired by Amy Sheridan

Here is September's First Things First article, which was written by Amy Sheridan who is the mom to a son with Asperger's and blogs at Asperger Ninja.

For more information about First Things First click here. There is also a list of the previous First Things First articles under the "Interviews, Guest Posts & FTF" tab at the top -- with the obvious title of "First Things First Articles".


Sick and Tired, How a Single Mother of a Special Needs Child Deals with Sudden Illness

As parents, we always worry if our children get sick. That’s part of our job. We are

prepared before they are even born, having been told countless stories by our parents, friends who have children and sometimes, complete strangers who are more than happy to spin the tales of their children’s maladies.

But, no one ever truly prepares you for the time when YOU get sick. There is no chapter in the Parents Handbook that tells you how to prevent or be ready for the time that you need to be taken care of. That’s usually not an option. Moms, Dads and caregivers are certainly known for working when they are under the weather, but there may come a time when you have to actually go to the hospital. In most of these incidents, the other parent will take care of the child (or children) while the other parent is ill. But what if you don’t have that choice?

I’m a single mother of my son, Nathan, who has Asperger’s. When I was married, and a trip to the ER was necessary, my husband did the honors and took care of our child while I convalesced. I had been lucky for the past few years, not having any major illnesses that would put me down for the count. This one, however, came quite out of nowhere.