Tag Archives: ADHD

Best invention ever…

3 Jul

Best invention ever…

Originally uploaded by CleverGirlBek

I never thought of myself as the sort to wear earplugs. I am the sentry of our home… I am the one who is always on alert, ears cocked for the slightest sound because the boys are pretty oblivious for the most part…

A couple of months ago we started using a dawning alarm clock (a BioBrite one) and the seller sent me a pack of ear plugs with the clock.
Because we have frequent and sudden foul weather here (and multiple tornadoes in the past couple of weeks) I would only wear one ear plug- in the ear facing “up” (I am a side sleeper) so I could drown out hubby’s snoring and obnoxiously loud breathing and maybe grab some zzzzz’s without being woken up by his nightly cocophany. That worked well as I could still hear enough with the unplugged, yet dampened by my pillow, ear so I could hear boyo through the baby monitor. But then I’d flip over and the breathing/snoring/senile moaning would have me wide awake again…

So I did some research and found The Earplug Superstore. Oh yes. Thank you oh wonderous world wide web!

While they do have excellent descriptions of all of their plugs I figured I’d try a sampling of foam plugs, like the freebies I got with that clock… So I ordered their “softest and smallest” sampler… A huge selection of fascinating colors and earplug marketing strategies… I’m not kidding. I have a pair of NASCAR “sparkplug” earplugs and another pair of Camo Plugs! Craziness!

Anyway, I also decided to try a higher end pair of earplugs…. I ordered the “SleepSoft” plugs made by Alpine. They promise a dampening of ambient noise but still allow one to hear the doorbell and children calling… They have open “ducts” to prevent “pressure” differences and they keep one from feeling cutoff.
Well, they arrived and are a miracle. It was mid afternoon when the package arrived and the grass was being chopped outside…. I went into boy’s room where he was playing music and I put in the plugs and had him speak to me… I could hear him clearly (but slightly dampened/quieter) but I could no longer hear the lawnmower or clothes dryer.
If these weren’t so durable I would have ordered the 6 pack! They are very comfortable and come with a little stick/applicator thingy as they are so flexible that you won’t get a great fit just using your fingers. They do come in a handy slider pack/container for safe and clean storage…
As far as using earplugs for ADD/ADHD, I am planning on using my giant sampler pack on the weekends when hubby is typically in charge of boy while I rush to get everything done and in some sort of order. I am so easily distractible by the slightest sound. One of my ADHD/ADD books recommended using noise cancelling ear phones but ear phones are out in our home as boyo would obsess and freak out if he didn’t get to use them and there goes any peace and quiet… So for now, for a couple of hours on Saturday morning, I will be escaping to my quiet little place to focus and maybe finish something for a change. Obviously, I would not wear earplugs while home alone with the kiddo…No way. Too risky, even if I can still hear him a little bit…Also that would be insanely rude and I try not to roll that way…
Anyway, I’m testing my “portable isolation booth” (ha ha) tomorrow morning…. Hopefully, this will increase my productivity and focus in general, so that I can finish the things that require intense focus, and have more time to spend with the boys…
I’ll update soon…

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Ch-ch-ch-changes…

26 Jun

Lots of changes happening in our little world right now…

thankfully baldguy has been asked to stay at his job for a couple more weeks to help transition one of the clients so that worry can get pushed away for more immediate concerns and changes…

Boy just does not transition well…The kid needs consistency…Yesterday I found out his teacher had been let go.  The two aides/teachers who work in his classroom are wonderful, but they are very different.  Over the past year I have been able to tell when his head teacher was out for the day by his behavior and attitude at home afterwards.  Transitions like this set him back so far.  We try to prepare and help him, but in this case he was told his beloved teacher was out on vacation last week… and Boy is home sick so far this week so I don’t even know if they have left a note in our box.   So there was no warning…No ability to help him transition by saying “see you later”… This could set him back months.  Gahhhhhhhh!

and he’s sick.  Kid on cough syrup (and they did not have any dye free cough syrup at walgreens yesterday) with a hefty dose of red dye #40.  No wonder my hair is falling out in handfulls this week.  He is crazed.  He is the kind of crazed that you see on Cops and zombie movies- hyper and lashing out, mumbling incoherently, shouting nonsense, utterly pantsless.   We see his ADHD most of the time and we have adjusted and it is only some of the time that he doesn’t self-sooth these days, but this week has been like living with an angry, illogical, drug addled strung out little man.  He is usually our family safety officer.  He will often request backup if I am plugging something in (because you always need to have a grown up buddy when doing things like that) and has frequently declared that plugging anything in must wait until daddy gets home… Yesterday, in his whirlwind he plugged the radio in by himself (during a huge thunderstorm)…This morning he found the one roll of film in our home and unwound it completely…I may completely lose my last marble in the coming weeks…

Anyway. Just home with boy trying to keep him out of trouble.  His ADHD in this sick and cough syrup addled state and my ADD (completely and utterly without the H) are extremely incompatible and frustration runs deep in both of us.

Ok. Enough of my babble. He is “watching” a CD on my TV.  He likes to watch the numbers count down.

I need to check my to do list and make sure I’m knocking things out….

In the next week or so I will be blogging about some new tools we are and will be implementing into our home to help with our rampant attention deficit issue (all three of us have it…) …

Speaking of which…Boy just hollered at me that we need to dance.

Ok. I’ll be back.

Hugs.

b

The best tool in our potty training arsenal…

12 Jun

For years (a little over 4 of them) we struggled with potty training the little guy. Yes, he has some other issues (on top of the drama that is a 4 year old boy at times) which threw a little extra zest into the challenge, but as we had never potty trained another kid this was our normal…

We did, however, amass quite the arsenal of potty paraphernalia during out journey…Most of it addressed specific issues boyo and I were having during the process, but none of them were a perfect solution.

Here were our main issues:

1. boy is blessed with my proportions. He has a long torso and short legs.

2. boy is bigger from front to back than most potties and potty seats

3. boy is fiercely independent when it comes to learning new things. he is also secretive. he will practice something, in private, until he gets it perfect to show us. We think this may be genetic, as we are big on the “do your best” thing rather than the “you have to do my version of your best and I am completely delusional and this will scar you for life” dealio. Anyway, example: he didn’t walk until 22 months (for many reasons) but when he did he just walked. He never stumbled or fell down. He just walked like he had been doing it for a year.

4. With my physical issues (arthritis and early on in his potty training history, projectile vomiting whenever I would move, and a giant tumor, pulsing with hormones, in my neck) emptying and cleaning the little floor potty was necessary, but frustrating and frequently painful and exhausting.

Eventually, we discovered that boy was still dropping a dook in his shorts and telling us, proudly, that he had crapped or wet his pants. Odd. Well, as it turns out, we were encouraging him to, in basic terms, do his business in a container and then we were dumping the goods in the big, flushing toilet and then scrubbing the “container”, he figured he would up our efficiency and just crap directly in his underpants which could then be thrown into the washing machine with some stain treating and rinsing. He decided that this system was much easier and more efficient and he didn’t have to break up his playtime as quickly to get to the “container” to drop the kids off in a timely fashion.

It was at this point that I realized we had taught him that you poop and pee in one place and then you transfer them to, basically, a garbage (that flushes)…

Boyo is very literal. I can see clearly, how our struggle went on for so long… Hindsight is 20/20

So we moved onto the Baby Bjorn potty seat, which was the only seat around that would accommodate all of the necessary little dude gear without him shifting around (and possibly wiggling the seat a bit and scaring the…well, you know… at least he was in the appropriate place for having the poo scared out of him)….

Of course, this meant that every time he had to use the potty he had to locate me, communicate with me regarding his needs (or just do a dramatic pee-pee dance and then flat out deny that he had to pee while a puddle formed around his feet) , and then we both had to venture to the bathroom, where I would lift him (remember the arthritis? Not a good match for lifting my 36lb wiggly kid)… He would then do his business and wash his hands and move on.

I did notice that he was doing better with the potty thing when he started school, but of course everyone had been chanting before he started “when he sees the other kids being big boys and big girls and using the potty he will want to as well”… So I just wrote it off as peer pressure…

One day, my genius child got the stepstool out (we rarely used it as he still couldn’t reach much even with it) and attempted to climb up onto the regular toilet by himself (I just watched and didn’t intervene as he is a “practicer” with everything). Well, a stepstool (made for kids) has a few critical flaws: the one we have (which we love for other uses) has 2 steps…If boy is on step 1 he doesn’t have enough turn-around space and does not have the leg length to just park his butt on the toilet seat… If he is on step 2 he is very high and the drop down to the toilet seat is terrifying… It definitely doesn’t help that the regular kid stepstools do not have a handrail or grip bar of some sort.. Poor kid was so scared at the top of the stool that he just stood there crying softly and shaking a bit… Pants around his ankles and he couldn’t move because his balance, at that time, was still not the greatest… Note: to this day he takes his pants completely off when he has to pee, even in public restrooms… I have a feeling it was this particular incident with the stepstool that triggered that quirk…

Anyway, I toyed with the idea of installing handicap restroom railings in his bathroom. But still the wooden, very cute, and personalized stool wasn’t the right proportion for this purpose…

Then one day… EUREKA!

When I had my spine surgery I found that even just boosting myself a little bit, to get my butt onto the bed, was torture (occasionally, I blacked out and fell over from the pain doing this)… So one of the nurses hooked me up with a metal step stool- with a higher handle on one side and a grippy surface to step on. It was a life saver for me (and later on, at home, my underused reebok step (with risers) replaced it as I had enough strength to step down without the handle)…

So I ordered one for boyo. I got mine off ebay… If you click the image above it will take you to Amazon.com and a stool similar to the one we bought (ours is apparently unavailable on Amazon at this time, it was by “Drive”, the one linked is readily available and looks to be the same or very similar). By the way, if you have a kid(or kids) or are ever planning on interacting with the pee-wee set, you might want to subscribe to parenthacks… Truly awesome stuff…

Anyway- within a week of it’s arrival we made a huge amount of progress- boy was potty trained. Most of all, it taught me, as a parent, that the key to my little guy’s success is letting him take ownership of his tasks. Helping him get to and from the potty solved some of the mess issues, but it was killing my back, and teaching him that he doesn’t have to be responsible for his bodily functions and the state of his underpants. The step stool has given him the freedom and responsibility to handle those things, and to manage his time better as it is up to him to get his butt up on that toilet before it is “too late”…

Some tips if you do get a stool like this for your kids:

Do not let little kids use the adult toilet, unsupervised… (kids can drown in 1-2” of water…) Perhaps in the beginning of using such a stool it would be wise to park it a few feet away from toilet while it is not being actively used… The legs are wide (like a bulldog) apart and rubbergripped and the stool is fairly solid…It is not easy for someone under 3.5 feet tall to move..Use your judgment, of course, you know your kid best.

Do not attempt to wipe down the grippy surface with a disposable cleaning wipe(ie clorox wipe). Cleaning wipe dingle berries will accumulate rapidly. A spritz of spray cleaner and a wipe with a microfiber cleaning cloth works wonders… If the crevices are getting dusty, try a utility/scrub brush after spraying…

And after your dear child finishes potty training and his/her legs grow long and strong enough to not need this very valuable tool, do not dispose (donate or sell) of this… This stepstool is also steady and useful in the kitchen and, as I mentioned previously, after surgery…

I hope this helps at least one parent and one kiddo….

Hugs all around…

B

No mess and low stress….Kid-made card idea…

6 Jun

Oh no!

Originally uploaded by CleverGirlBek

Here’s a recipe for frustration:

ADD/ADHD kid + ADD/ADHD mama + craft supplies + desperate need for child-made greeting card

Ok, so he drew a perfect tulip at age 16 months. Before he could walk.

He couldn’t walk until 22 months so most of the really shockingly advanced stuff happened before that momentous occasion.

Still, I like to give the various grandparent’s handmade cards….

But my kiddo who has some language, neuro, and sensory stuff going on along with ADHD has a hard time sitting still and following even very general (or specific, trust me, I have tried everything) directions usually will just wind up with a giant table full of glue (see glue tip below!) and no cards will be made… I found that the easiest way to make anything with him is to do it in 5-10 minute increments… I do realize this is not teaching him to sit still and focus for very long, but at this stage of the game we are working with smaller goals (and we don’t always reach those smaller goals, so they aren’t “too small” ….they are just right…). He also tends to only see everything as a finite whole. So this is teaching him steps and details…

Anyway, I sat him down with a marker and a stack of blank cards (by the way, if you think you are going to make a slew of kid cards, why not buy a giant box from http://www.doubleupaper.com ? They are fast and the prices are great…For the price of 6 envelope and card packs from a chain craft supply you can have over 200 sets…I keep a case in my famed plastic containers- so they stay fresh and don’t absorb any smells (my husband makes tacos once a week. I love tacos but I still want to hermetically seal everything in our home first.))

See what I mean about ADD? I need mapquest for all of my tangents…Not that it would be *that* much help… :-)

Anyway, I sat him down and had him make smiles or a “c” or “u” on each card.

He did about 10 of these before he went to town making dots and destroying the magic marker tip….

He got up and ran around for a bit and then was willing to sit down for a few to do some more… I busted out the self-adhesive googly eyes and had him put eyes on the “faces”…. He did 15 of those (good for fine motor skills and dexterity, I believe)…

The next time he sat down he drew the mouths/smiles on the extra 5….

15 cards in no time flat (if you tally all of the time together and subtract the breaks)…
and nobody became frustrated, and both of us has a huge sense of accomplishment at the end of the project…

(and the grownups loved the cards… it must have been a nice change of pace for them to be able to say “wow a smiley face” rather than wracking their brains having to figure out what kiddo had drawn as he is king of the abstract these days…)

Not really type-A at all….But I have to be… For the boy….

2 May

Magnet Board…

Originally uploaded by CleverGirlBek

This is our magnet board. I am not a neat freak. I’m nowhere near organized.  I am struggling with this, but it is helping…. *phew*
The magnets were made by me using the Make-a-Schedule software from Do2Learn.com ….
We use the magnet board to lay out boyo’s every task for the day… As he does the various things he gets to put the magnet in a little container (like a piggy bank)… At the end of the day we count them up and they count as points to be used for things on the “menu” of treats…

Right now it is broken down in a fairly detailed fashion but as he masters certain tasks that contain multiple steps they will be truncated to focus on other areas…

The Prize Menu comes from conversations with kiddo, so they really mean something to him…
He loves going to the big car wash (actually, it’s the same size as the other car washes, but that’s what he calls it…) so for 200 points he gets to go to the carwash with us… Or for 200 points we can go out for ice cream on the weekend… 200 points can also be watching a DVD movie with baldguy and me…

The magnet board/scheduling like this is not easy. Right now it and helping boy with the tasks on it are all consuming. I’m exhausted and burnt out but boyo is doing great. This is helping in a huge way with transitions- it’s like he can fight with us and totally lose his marbles, but the pictograms are irrefutable….

We are still working out the kinks… And eventually will have a more variable point system, but starting with the basics works best for us… So here we are…

Oh and the do2learn.com software is wonderful- the desktop version requires a bunch of downloads to get all of the images onto your computer (so you can use the software without a live internet connection- I do most scheduling during boyo’s therapy and they do not have wifi in that building so using it off-line is important to me… If you do order the desktop version make sure you scroll down on the get images menu- there is a “get all” option at the end- you don’t have to be a dolt like me and click them all and wait one by one… Ugh. need more sleep…)

Maybe I should put my sleep on the schedule…. :-)

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