We are steadily approaching the end of school here. This means standardized testing for all the kids, sans one; meaning a change in schedules (which does not bode well for attitudes in the house). Half the kids are in person and the others are still virtual, meaning scheduling for the testing… and rearranging any medical appointments we already had scheduled months in advance. Not to mention finals.

Oh yeah, I forgot we had an EF-0 hit our neighborhood. That required some cleanup, some of it urgently. (Trees down, broke one of the fences so the dogs found a way out. Fun times.)

Genetic tests, month long cardiac monitors, MRIs, OH MY!

The joy of getting all the testing done so you can wait what seems like an eternity for the results to come in.

In the meantime:

Books:

I’ll write about some books that have saved my hide over the years, and might help you as well. I’m going to do 2 serious books and a fun one. So please keep reading.

Kids in the Syndrome Mix of ADHD, LD, Autism Spectrum, Tourette’s, Anxiety, and More!

Besides the fact the cover reminds me of a pop art Sea of Colors print of the Beatles, the book is very helpful. The book is written as if you were going to family counseling to seek help in how to interact appropriately with special needs kiddos. The first two chapters include check lists and very real scenarios relating to diagnosis and treatment of said child. (I keep saying child because the book says child. But if you have an adult with any of these syndromes, I’m sure it would help to address them as well.)

Each chapter relating to the disorders are broken down into:

○Intro

○The definition: including symptoms, and breakdowns of the disorder.

○Real life symptoms – how it affects life so you can see issues they may be going through.

○Co-morbidities and family problems: other disorders linked and how this may affect your family.

○Statistics

○Treatments: not only including medications and therapies, but ideas for 504s and IEPs. OMG, a huge help when you are advocating for your own kid, or when they are old enough to advocate for themselves.

Some chapters may have additional fluff, but the main breakdown is as above.

Sea of Colors – The Beatles… I digress

Ideas for 504s and IEPs.

I cannot stress this enough.

The syndromes and disorders covered are:

ADHDAttention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
LDSpecific Learning Disorders
ASDAutism Spectrum Disorder
ASD Level 1Asperger’s Syndrome (This one is a nice throw in since the ASD is all thrown together and they consider Asperger’s obsolete.
Anxiety and OCDAnxiety and Obsessive – Compulsive Disorders
SID or SPDSensory Integration Dysfunction/Sensory Processing Disorder
TSTics and Tourette Syndrome
Depression
Bipolar Disorder
ODDOppositional Defiant Disorder and Intermittent Explosive Disorder
CAPDsCentral Auditory Processing Disorders

There’s an additional chapter on medications, a behavioral checklist, a quiz on executive functions, and dealing with insomnia. I used sticky tabs to mark what the kids had so I could quick refer to it, color coded them as well per kid. Hubs and I laughed because we ended up marking almost the entire book. ~sigh~. Whether you are a parent or a professional, I would recommend this book.

Geek Mom

I received this book from my MIL as a gift a few years back. It has tips for surviving modern kids, keeping them safe, and projects. If you or your kids are nerdy/geeky, this is an excellent book.

Chapter breakdown:

Chapter 1 Secret Identities: An Introduction to Imagination

This chapter further breaks down as it talks about superheroes, creating secret lairs, party ideas, cosplay, comic books, treasure hunts, steam punk, and conventions.

Chapter 2 Elementary, My dear watson: A child’s natural sense of curiosity will lead the way into learning

This chapter has surprisingly been a life saver during COVID. It talks about building a home learning center for homework or home schooling. It also talks about cartography (map making, our favorite is pirate maps), mazes, an intro to horror stories, time travel – family trees, role-playing, music lessons (like how there is a lot of classical influence in Rock and Roll. One of my favorites, not listed in the book, is Desire by Gary Hoey).

Chapter 3 resistance is futile: multitasking mothers are at the forefront of the digital revolution

This chapter is dedicated to video games. It discuses how they are beneficial to children (the right games, of course and in moderation). It talks about classic games vs new games, playing online and how to be safe online. TBH, I glanced over this chapter because it isn’t an issue for us. My hubs and I are both digitally savvy, but I see so many kids that are running free and getting into trouble on the net. I do recommend this.

In addition to board gaming, we also have a lot of video games. We use them in addition to therapy, as well. I have had some requests to cover them so I will be doing the digital library in addition to our board games. Please let me know if you have any requests or anything in particular you are looking for.

Chapter 4 inquiring minds want to know: bringing science home for our kids and ourselves

There are so many cool experiments in this chapter from sound wave experiments to lava lamps. Rocks, geodes, gardening, space! (I could use help with gardening…)

I think I found my next cross stitch.
Chapter 5 food wizardry: the geeky family about the kitchen
All Hobbit Meals by Charlie Nagelhout

This entire chapter is about food. If you have special diets, you can probably skip this chapter or try to modify the recipes. But if you are game, it includes a hobbit feast for one of their many meals. (If your kids are anything like half of mine, they eat like Hobbits).

Of course Hobbit food isn’t all there is, there’s fusion food like dessert pizza, sourdough bread (before it was cool), Tetris cake and Chess cupcakes, cephalopods… fudge Mt Olympus, essential seasoning, a spot on tea, and an ode to Julia Child and Alton Brown. Should your child like making chemistry in the kitchen, I can do another segment on cookbooks for kids if requested.

Chapter 6 Make it Sew! and other geek crafts: taking traditional crafts into new galaxies

This chapter gives a brief history lesson on handicrafts and then jumps right into the fun. It gives instructions on sewing a felt monster, crocheting an amigurumi… being, tie dye, DIY battery light up sculptures, painting with light, using electronic components into accessories and beading designs (I have some dangly earrings made out of resistors, they look so cool), and an mini abacus. It even tells you how to read an abacus. I wonder if you would have to remove it for all the standardized testing.

Two Picard jokes in the same section. I was set up.

All in all, the book offers some fun ideas to get kids (or parents) involved. It’s a fun read and it’s fun in practice as well.

Married with Special Needs Children

This is the last book I am reviewing in this post, and a very important one, even if it sounds like a spinoff of a 90’s sitcom. The data for divorce with special needs children is all over the map; unsurprisingly, it depends on the type of disability and the severity. There are rumors that the divorce rate is 80%, but this is false. The highest rate is among those families with severely disabled children, Down’s Syndrome, and Autism Spectrum Disorder, hovering at around 10% more than other families in their demographic. When I say this, this means the average rate of divorce in the US for civilians is around 2.9 (a major low), so a family with special needs kids of the above would have a 12.9 rate of divorce approx. Mind you, there are career choices that affect divorce rates. If you want to look at these, they are fascinating, but also disturbing.

There are suspicions that the higher the stress the job is, the higher the rate of divorce, and in some cases, add in the pay rate (or lack there of) and the rate goes up further. An excellent example of this is EMS: Firefighters make decent money and can have high stress during calls. They have a divorce rate of 30%. Where as Fire Inspectors (I’m assuming like Fire Marshals) have a rate at 39%, more money, but a lot more paperwork and government involvement. EMTs and Paramedics are at a rate of 41.6%. If they work for a private ambulance company, they spend their entire shift in their ambulance and wait for their next call. Some shifts they are so busy, they don’t have time to do their charting until the end of their shift. They often are on calls for backup with police (most police professions were surprisingly under 40%). Where as “Ambulance Drivers” that aren’t EMTs (other than MTP or Medical Transportation companies, I don’t think they exist anymore), their pay is barely above min wage, they are basically glorified taxis but with ill clients, and the divorce rate is 46.3%. 911 Dispatchers win with a divorce rate of 46.6%. Their pay is pretty good, but the constant phone calls and stress… Those who have jobs where an individual travels a lot has a high rate of divorce, likely due to a lack of connection or fears of infidelity (or flat out infidelity).

I digress… take the percentage of a career and add 10% for the special needs kiddo. Some of the rates can be alarming.

This book helps with co-parenting strategies. This is a common problem with parents and entire families with special needs kiddos. It helps find ways reigniting the romance you may have let fizzle while making your child your priority during the diagnosis phase. There is nothing wrong with this and it doesn’t make either of you a bad spouse, you were being an excellent parent, and now it is time to focus on you. Speaking of you, do you have healthy coping strategies? Are you taking care of yourself?

This book is also amazing in the fact that it is the first book I have read that talks about keeping your marriage together, but it also talks about second marriages and blended families. So many books I have read made me feel judged because it kept talking about the biological parent. This book is so inclusive, you can tell it is written by professionals that have experience handling special needs families of different types.

It’s not just about relationships, it does talk about having alone time, childcare issues, community resources and support outside of the family (because not everyone has familial support).

I wish I could say more or add quotes about this book. I read it years ago during a hospital stay with one of the kids. It’s been on my list of books to buy since then.

And thus ends probably my most boring post so far. I do apologize. I hope you find these books useful. You can always check them out at your local library (librarians have a really low rate of divorce, btw). School will be out in a couple of weeks, then we will hopefully have a schedule of entertaining games ahead of us. Until then, take care.

1 Comment »

  1. I forgot to mention I finally got the new computer up and running. Funny thing is, when the company sent the second computer, they forgot the hard drive AGAIN. We gave up and just purchased one. Took me several days to set up and I got a new video program I thoroughly like and got to test out with Thing 2’s band concert. Busy busy busy.

    Like

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