Many Hats Mommy

live the Power of One


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Marshmallow Fun!

Today I’m going to share some ideas of what you can do with marshmallows–cheap, easy fun to help over the summer! For those of us whose children have sensory-seeking or sensory-avoidance, marshmallows offer a sensory exercise. Working with mini marshmallows helps fine motor skills. The second activity also gives kids time to sharpen planning/organizing skills, while the third activity provides social skills practice in a comfortable setting. Continue reading

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My Life Inside a DVD

Back in the middle of winter we got sick. First Dr. J went down fast, followed by Meatball. They traded back and forth, then Mommy’s system could fight no longer, and she lost the battle, too.

What do you do when you have pretty sick children and then a sick Mommy? Continue reading


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School’s In Session!

As most people are winding down their school year, we are about to start again. I started in January, and due to Meatball’s sleep pattern changes (aka no more naps) and the boys starting to pretend together (a much-needed skill for Dr. J) and life in general, it kind of fizzled out. During that time I have been trying to get a handle on what it is I really want to do. Dr. J is already reading small words and has a bundle of words memorized.

Dr. J thrives on schedule and has been begging for school. It makes him happy. Continue reading


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>Easy (and inexpensive) Holiday Craft

>This past Friday was my oldest son’s Christmas party at his developmental delay preschool room. Family was invited, so my youngest, my mom, and I all attended. The kids did this project which incorporates a lot of sensory items, but is is SUPER easy and SUPER cheap! In fact, most of you probably already have all the necessary materials. You could adapt this to any season or any design you want to make, so think beyond Christmas and all the ways you can use this with your children.

Before I get into the details, I have to share an AHA! moment (to be trendy). My son’s teacher had copy box lids and plastic serving trays with sides for each child. The paper went inside there, and this contained the mess. Genius! If you don’t have copy boxes sitting around your house, I know your local dollar store probably has serving trays. You could even take your children with you and let them each pick out a different color or design and then have their very own special project space!

Materials:
Paper
White rice
Food coloring
Writing utensil for creating design
White glue
Rubbermaid-type containers with lids (smaller works better for little hands)
Bowl for glue
Paintbrush for glue
Box lid or serving tray for workspace

Directions:
1. Draw outline design on paper for younger children, or let older children draw theirs. We made candy canes with large stripes. You want something with large space, not too complex, so you’ll be able to see the design when done.
2. Place white rice in container and add some food coloring. Snap lid on. Let child shake, shake, SHAKE! This makes the rice change color. You could even sing a song and use the shaking as an instrument.
3. Paint the outline with white glue. Cover the ENTIRE design inside, as this will hold the colored rice on.
4. Use rice to fill in design. For example, we made green rice and red rice and filled in the stripes of the candy cane.
5. Hold up and let extra rice fall into tray. Place somewhere safe to dry.


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A Tale of Two Children, Part Two

If you did not get a chance to read my post a couple of days ago, you might want to stop here and read “A Tale of Two Children.” Thank you to those who participated in the “discussion” and left your comments. The descriptions of the two children are taken from actual observations in two preschool classrooms. They both describe one child–my son Joshua.

Child One is Joshua when he was in a regular preschool classroom. In the same observation report, it was noted that the door to the classroom was open but the noise from the hallway did not affect the classroom. The first time I read that, I thought, “Unless you’re Josh. How do they know it doesn’t affect the classroom?”  Josh’s first preschool classroom had a great teacher and assistant for 12-16 children. For Joshua, it was too loud, too many children, and too uncertain.

Child Two is Joshua in his new Early Childhood Developmentally Delayed (ECDD) preschool room. There is one teacher, two assistants, and currently 5 students. They use some things from the TEACCH materials and also use visual schedules.  His teacher cannot believe he was ever aggressive. There have been only two times in 8 weeks that he has not participated in class (and earned the consequences) whereas it was a daily, perhaps hourly occurrence in the other classroom. I am in awe of Mrs. Ritchie. I brag about her all of the time.  Josh has even started being more social and reaching out to other people. I think some of it is due to his increased comfort and reduced stress related to school.

It may not seem like much to you, but I was crying almost every day during the 7 weeks Josh was in the other classroom. I was in physical pain from dealing with his increased tantrums and carrying a tantruming child to his bed. Noah was the recipient of Joshua’s aggression at home. It was far past regular sibling issues. Our home is so much happier now, and I thank God for Josh’s new classroom, many, many times.

Some people may have read the observations and thought Josh was just a brat, a child who only would be happy if he got his way. Thanks to the kindness and help of the special education staff, we have seen how putting Josh in a quiter, more structured environment with adults who have experience dealing with children on the autism spectrum can completely change a child’s life.If you’d like to see Josh in his classroom, you can follow this link (shirts–green, green/grey strip and brown/blue stripe) and this link.

Maybe this little exercise will help us all realize that sometimes children have reasons for their behavior other than just being bratty. Maybe not. For Josh it was lack of structure and overstimulation.

Thank you for taking the time to read my son’s story.