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Raising Chickens and Special Needs Kids - Page 11

post #101 of 463
Originally Posted by Calebs Chicks View Post

OH my! She is cute! And hysterical to boot! Lol! My Caleb thought for years the toilet was a marvelous contraption to flush odd things down! We referred to it as the magic wishing well for he just enjoys pouring my liquid soap down it to make it bubble on occasion when I'm! ūüėú

Thankfully my daughter has never found the toilet fun.  She does have a problem tearing off a few pieces of toilet paper when it's on the roller.  We have pulled out ENTIRE rolls at a time.  We keep the TP roll off the hanger, if she has to hold it as she tears it, she is better able to control the quantity.


She spends half her time at her fathers house.  Either he feeds her only on paper plates, or he cleans up after her IMMEDIATELY.  If my daughter gets snacks in a bowl, we need to fish the bowl out of the trash can after she is finished.  We lost SO MUCH silverware, couldn't figure out where it was going, until one day we found forks and spoons at the bottom of the trash bag.  Now we check the trash bag before it goes out to the outside bin.  


Fun stuff!!

Mom to a BEAUTIFUL little girl, 1 dog, 2 cats, LOTS of fish and an ever growing chicken flock.  Laying hens - 3 RIR, 3 BSL, 3 EE, 2 Delaware, 2 BR and 1 backyard EE mix.  6 wk old babies - 1 NHR, 1 BO (Maybe a Roo), 1 Dominique, 1 BA, 5 EE girls, and 1 EE boy.  Breeding silkies 3 white hens, 1 blue/grey hen, 1 black roo.  Tiny chicks too many to count.
Mom to a BEAUTIFUL little girl, 1 dog, 2 cats, LOTS of fish and an ever growing chicken flock.  Laying hens - 3 RIR, 3 BSL, 3 EE, 2 Delaware, 2 BR and 1 backyard EE mix.  6 wk old babies - 1 NHR, 1 BO (Maybe a Roo), 1 Dominique, 1 BA, 5 EE girls, and 1 EE boy.  Breeding silkies 3 white hens, 1 blue/grey hen, 1 black roo.  Tiny chicks too many to count.
post #102 of 463
Thread Starter 



Well, it's my thread and I can hijack it if I want to!  Kendra had a huge day today.  This was her first time in the gait trainer besides just practicing in the house with it. In the house she usually sits in it, not cooperating and getting fussy. But today we gave her a little of those wide open spaces and she took full advantage!! I know it's a little long, but think about how long it was for HER!  Before this clip, she had already walked from the house, down the sidewalk to the corner, and across and quite a ways down the street.  Then she had to walk all the way back!  I'm so proud of her I could just bust!!  We now return you to chickens, but expect to see this video plastered all over BYC today!! 


post #103 of 463
Get it Kendra!! Woot!! She is a absolute doll, and tickled herself to death!! Loved hearing her make her excited/happy noises! You must be so proud Blooie! celebrate.gif
post #104 of 463

Wow, GREAT job Kendra!!  What a great day!   

Mom to a BEAUTIFUL little girl, 1 dog, 2 cats, LOTS of fish and an ever growing chicken flock.  Laying hens - 3 RIR, 3 BSL, 3 EE, 2 Delaware, 2 BR and 1 backyard EE mix.  6 wk old babies - 1 NHR, 1 BO (Maybe a Roo), 1 Dominique, 1 BA, 5 EE girls, and 1 EE boy.  Breeding silkies 3 white hens, 1 blue/grey hen, 1 black roo.  Tiny chicks too many to count.
Mom to a BEAUTIFUL little girl, 1 dog, 2 cats, LOTS of fish and an ever growing chicken flock.  Laying hens - 3 RIR, 3 BSL, 3 EE, 2 Delaware, 2 BR and 1 backyard EE mix.  6 wk old babies - 1 NHR, 1 BO (Maybe a Roo), 1 Dominique, 1 BA, 5 EE girls, and 1 EE boy.  Breeding silkies 3 white hens, 1 blue/grey hen, 1 black roo.  Tiny chicks too many to count.
post #105 of 463
Thread Starter 

Oh, you have no idea!!  She was enjoying herself immensely, and so were Cindi and I.  Cindi has been part of this family since Katie was only 14 months old, and she's now 10.  So we have a really easy relationship.  She listens to us, but the biggest thing she does for us is tell us to use our intuition, because we haven't been wrong yet!  That makes us so willing to think way beyond that pesky box.  When Kendra was born we were so happy to get her as our physical therapist.

For instance. one of the things with Katie's autism was eye contact.  We couldn't encourage her to make any eye contact, so it was hard for her to know when we were talking to her.  One day she and I were playing on the floor with her Dora the Explorer Colorforms. (remember those?  A board with little things that you just put on there and they stayed so you could make stories?) Katie was looking at where she'd put Dora - in the apple tree.  Then still looking down, she said "apple".  I asked her if she wanted to quit playing and go get an apple for a snack and she said yes.  Well, I grabbed that little Dora figure and stuck it on my glasses.  Then I told her, "Katie, if you want an apple, you need to ask Dora." and I tapped on my glasses.  She looked up, giggled, and never took her eyes off Dora while she said "Snack time, apple."  She got whirled around all the way to the kitchen and she got her apple.  Then I told her to tell Dora "thank you" and she did it!  From that day on, I always had a little Colorform something stuck on the lower part of one of my lenses.  It was so successful that now the therapists there are using the same thing.  And that's the kind of thinking that our wonderful Cindi encourages now when we are working with Kendra.


Katie was easier.  She liked to watch Wonder Pets, Dora, shows like that.  She loved Tinkerbelle.  She even looked exactly like Tinkerbelle, and I mean exactly!!  But Kendra doesn't watch videos. She doesn't watch kids's shows, cartoons, stuff on the iPad...she isn't interested one little bit.  So it's hard to use little tips like that for her - she has no clue who Dora is, or any of the characters from Frozen, (thank goodness!) She doesn't care about Mickey Mouse.  She is a very physical little girl and that's what she wants to moving and doing something all the time.  She can't be bothered to sit and watch or interact with things like that. You have to nail her down to get her to focus that long. 

That's part of what Cindi does with her...keeps her doing things that do hold her interest.  The other therapists then build on that with words.  She's getting better with the she has a couple of games that she likes to play, but not for long.  Cindi says her little mind can focus on either motor skills or verbalization, but not both at the same time.  Scattered Learning, I think she called it. She knows lots and lots of things - words and phrases. She just choses not to use them in conversation right now because that's not where her head is. That doesn't mean that Kendra won't be able to do both, and probably before much longer at the rate she's going. She knows hundreds of words and what they mean.  But just like some people have to stop a task to talk if you ask a question and others can keep right on working and never lose their place in the conversation and the job they're doing, Kendra has to stop moving to listen, and she's not there yet.


Um, have I ever mentioned how much I love those little girls, and how much they've added to our lives?  (I know, ad naseum!)  :lau

post #106 of 463


Edited by Cynthia12 - 4/9/16 at 10:43pm
Wonderful family, very understanding husband when it comes to chickens, dogs, birds, one big Golden Retriever, and thankful to the Lord for all!
Wonderful family, very understanding husband when it comes to chickens, dogs, birds, one big Golden Retriever, and thankful to the Lord for all!
post #107 of 463

Oh SHOOT!  I thought I had posted in here last week... and seems I didn't manage to hit the stinking post button before closing out the browser!  Anyhow, welcome Jessimom and Calebs Chicks!  Funny how we name ourselves for our kiddos huh?  


So - much like you all, I have some AWESOME Special person news to share!  :)  YAY!  

So you don't have to go back and read about me, I'll give you a fill in as I go here.  Last year they had closed our school that's across the road from us, and shipped my kids on a bus for the first time ever to a different school.  My little Katie is high functioning on the spectrum (PDD-NOS).  So, new school, riding a bus, new teacher, new principle, tons of new kids, new Speech Therapist, removed her PT, widdled her OT down to just occasional, AND they gave her a new Aide (despite the fact that her aide for the past few years was IN the same new school).  First week in, the principle MOVED her classroom to a different teacher from the one she had been assigned to (assigned to by the people who had known her so very well).  Things didn't start out good at all... and they never got better.  She started having a LOT of issues that I thought we were done with.  She hated math, and started shutting down at the thought of it.  3/4 through the school year and she had not learned one thing in Math!  So I pulled her out and started homeschooling.


So - start of this school year, it often felt like it was going to be impossible and I've been so scared the entire time.  She started out a year and a half behind in math, because half the stuff she learned in 1st grade she'd lost over that horrible year in 2nd at the new school.  But, we kept going.  I asked her what she'd like me to teach her the most and she told me, "teach me why math is so hard."  :(  I told her "No, baby.  I'll do better than that!  I'll teach you how math can be EASY!"  It was a struggle... we'd do maybe 3 math problems and as soon as she didn't know the answers immediately, she'd shut down!  We worked and worked - more on HOW to make math work than actually doing math problems.  Well, lately I've been seeing this little girl actually doing more and more and getting it!  So, my big hoorah is that I sat her down the other day to take a placement test.  SHE DID THREE PARTS of the test (about 25 minutes in one sitting) while I was making her lunch.  I heard her in here talking to herself while I was in the Kitchen.  She didn't even ask me for help!  Usually when I give her a little quiz, she insists she doesn't know how and asks for help on every problem.  BUT SHE DID IT ON HER OWN!  Now, she's got a lot more to go though, and she placed somewhere around a 2nd grade level... but SHE DID MATH ON HER OWN!!!!!!


Oh - and pull-ups ... I'm not buying them anymore!  


That's right folks, a year of homeschool and my sweetie pie is using the toilet regularly enough that we don't need pull ups - she's far more confident in herself, and she's no longer afraid of math!  I'm so proud of my peanut!  Let me tell you, when you're the teacher and the mom, you really question yourself way more than when you're just the mom!  I've got no one to blame but myself now.  I know without a shadow of a doubt that homeschooling her was the best decision I ever made.  I wonder sometimes if the school had stayed open where she'd be, but I can't change that.  I'm so proud of her... and myself because this is NOT easy and we're doing IT!  YAY!


Funny - all that doesn't seem like a big deal to those with typical kids, but I know that you all know how huge it is!  Thanks for the platform to shout my excitement ladies!  You all rock!

post #108 of 463
Wow! That is awesome! I wish I had happy news in regards to my son, but sounds like I am where you were at the beginning of your "adventure". I am pulling my son out of his school on Monday, as he has regressed so badly since our move back to this area that it's doing more harm than good. I have to re- potty train him, and as for learning- forget it. He is very intelligent, but non verbal, and ALL sensory over load. Also has a past of abuse by a previous teacher whom is now in prison( yes; it was that bad) so add PTSD on top of his Autism. Needless to say- I have had enough! I am taking matters into my own hands and home schooling him.
So glad to hear of your success and her accomplishment! Did my heart good this morning! God Bless! big_smile.png
post #109 of 463
Blooie- What do you use as a reward system for Kendra? And Katie? My Caleb is "interested" by very little due to his overwhelming sensory system. I was super encouraged upon learning of your time with the chickens and Katie as far as empathy. Caleb makes great eye contact now, but empathy needs work. Love how you implemented the love and comfort of routine into chores and learning for Katie too! OFCOURSE they don't view them as chores! I have had Caleb help me water my small container herb garden with the big watering can, and now he does it unassisted except for turning on and off the hose. So- I can already see how to implement this into chicken keeping. Yay!!
post #110 of 463
Thread Starter 

@mekidsmom Moms do know best!!  I know you are floating on Cloud 9 right now, and Katie is the big winner in all of it. Your pride in her accomplishments comes shining through in your post - but don't forget to pat yourself on the back at the same time!   Is it my imagination or is that light bulb a whole lot brighter when it turns on over our kids' heads? And getting out of the Pull Ups is huge!!  I can only dream of the day when we aren't using Good Nights on Kendra.  This upcoming surgery will help with that!  


This post is about to get very long,and I'm sorry but there's no other way to address a very good question.


@Calebs Chicks We didn't do much for "rewards" in the usual sense of the word.  Oh, I know that people gush over the benefits of rewards, and what I'm about to say went contrary to what the girls' therapists and her mom thought as well.  They like the traditional "rewards" thing but I have a different way of looking at it, and remember that I have NO professional expertise in the physiology and the psychology of Autism. But the way I look at it, we already know that our kids' brains are wired so differently than most.  The point of all we do when we're working with them is to untangle those straighten them so they make the fastest possible connections with the least sidetracking and disruption.  Does that make any sense?  


Their wiring is more like a cluster of wires rather than orderly rows.  So let's say I start giving Kendra a treat every time she does something well.  That connection becomes the straight one - action.....response.....reward.  And we do this over and over again with everything from looking into our eyes for 10 seconds longer than last time or overcoming a huge fear and moving forward. Well, then that day finally comes when they are out in the big world and they have to perform a task without a reward at the end.  What happens to that nice neat connection?  It's didn't go the way it has always gone.  We either end up with a meltdown or a shutdown. They simply don't understand that a "nice job, Caleb" is sometimes as good as it's going to get, and there is no trip to McDonald's for their hard work.  Non-autistic or non-mentally challenged kids can handle this transition because they weren't rewarded for absolutely everything they did.  Sometimes there was a reward at the end, but most often times not. They understood early the personal satisfaction in a job well done, and were allowed to understand consequences for something they did wrong.


We tend to think that our special needs kids need more than our approval and a big hug, a shared smile, or all of the above, and in a many ways they do. What we found worked the best with Katie was her penny jars.  Two pint Mason jars, one with a smiley face drawn on it and one with a sad face on it. She and I sat at the table and counted out 100 pennies.  They went into a Zip lock bowl between the jars. Both were, of course, up on top of the fridge so she couldn't reach them and do any doctoring!     Did she complete a tough project?  Then we'd get her jar and the "bank" down and let her put a penny in. So far sounds like the typical rewards system, right?  Well, here's the beauty of this one.  She never knew when a penny would go into her good jar.  


So if she was sitting on the floor coloring quietly, she'd suddenly hear "plink" and one of us would say something like, "With you being so nice and calm I was able to finish dishes."  She wasn't called in from what she was doing, interrupting what her mind was focusing on.  I used to just love to see the whole thing work. "Plink", look over and she'd still be doing what she had been doing, but with a new smile on her face.  She wasn't TOLD to be good and stay out of the way so I could finish dishes....SHE chose to do that.  No big fuss, no fanfare, none of that fol-de-rol. Just action...response....reward - but done our way.  She learned that if she'd be a little patient I'd be finished with whatever I was doing and then it would be her time.  And she learned to calm herself down!


Ever have Katie or Caleb decide she/he wants your undivided attention right NOW?  Yeah, it can get so ugly that they GET that attention just to, well, frankly, shut them up.  There, I said it!  It's no less "normal" to get frustrated and want your disabled child to back off for ten minutes than it is for the mother of any other toddler or child to feel those things.  But we're made to feel guilty because our little one is "special" and we took off the kid gloves for a minute or two.   Well, maybe so, but living in a family and then going out into society requires us to teach them at least some control. That's what the penny jar does.  Out of control behavior?  First we'd look for an actual reason....step on a Lego? Break a crayon?  That kind of thing. If the problem could be solved without giving in to the tantrum, calmly and quickly, we could then remind her that we don't mind helping her but she needs to ask and sometimes wait a minute. And we'd wait to fix that problem until she either asked or indicated what she needed. But Katie was also very skilled in suddenly breaking into this God-awful screech, flapping and rocking rather than telling us what was wrong. Most often nothing was wrong - her brain was just firing in response to some stimuli we couldn't pick up on.  


So we gave her some other stimuli to focus on.  We'd get down the "Oops" penny jar, and wait for that lull where she'd have to take a breath. In that moment, right where she could hear or see us, a penny went into the "Oops' jar.  (We NEVER called it the "sad jar" or the "bad jar", mind you.)  At first I was discouraged.  It didn't seem to stop anything. I swore sometimes she'd act out just to see us go through the hassle of getting it down and putting that penny in because the focus, negative or not, was still on her. But we knew she got it when she'd hear the jar shake and she'd struggle to get herself under control before a penny went in. By the way, even if she did regain control, the penny went in. She had to learn that the behavior should never have happened in the first place and there were consequences.  But as soon as she was under control, she saw us put a penny in the good jar. And they don't have to be able to talk for this system to work.  Katie didn't start talking until she was a little over 3 years old, and by then the pennies were already in play.


So what makes this different?  Because at the end of the time when the Ziplock container bank was out of pennies, we didn't take her for an ice cream or let her buy a toy with the money.  We had another, bigger bank.  She got to count and then put all those pennies from her good jar into her big bank at the end of the time.  In the beginning, while she got the hang of it and we learned to be consistent, we let her put them in at the end of each week.  Took about 3 weeks and we were able to back it off to 2 weeks, did that a couple of times, then it was a month. But whenever we did the pennies, we let her take all the pennies from the "oops" jar and put them back in the ziplock.  I was stunned how fast she figured out that the pennies for good behavior she could keep forever, but the pennies in the "Oops" jar were just because she made a little mistake and she could always start over with them.  THAT was key - she could always start fresh! We never did do anything as a reward with those pennies.  Instead though the years we've added to the big bank, just change here and there, sometimes a dollar or two, but now that bank has nothing to do with Katie's behavior.  It's just there - something that we all dump change into.  I don't know yet what we'll do with it's pretty doggone full at this point, but you can bet it'll be something for the grandkids - all of them. And Katie will have made another contribution to the well being of the family. 


Will this work with Caleb and Katie?  Quite simply, I don't know.  We started doing this when Katie still wasn't talking or focusing on us much, so it wasn't a rousing success in the beginning. It  took us all some time.  She had to learn what it meant - if she helped Gramma or managed to complete a task, she got a good penny. If she was just being calm and quiet, she'd get a good penny. Just not all the time....that was more a discretionary thing on my part.  But meltdowns, tantrums, refusing to cooperate...those were "oopses".  We had to learn to be consistent even when it looked like we were getting nowhere.  We also had to learn to take it outside the home.  I'd stick 2 or 3 of "her" pennies in my pocket.  When we got to where we going, I'd crouch to her level and remind her that I had her pennies in my pocket and if she was good in the store or wherever I'd let her take them out of my pocket and put them in her jar when we got home.  I'd give her a warning, "There will be no whining, no crying, and no pouting in here."  Then we'd go in.  If she looked like she was going to get off track, I'd jingle those pennies and give her a little frown. If she was being very good, I'd also jingle the pennies but with a big smile on my face.

Sadly Katie's mom has a different idea of what constitutes "rewards"....hence Katie now weighing 140 pounds at 10 years old.  She  couldn't stick to the penny thing and turned back to what she knew as a child...sweets if you're sad will cheer you up, if you got an "A" it would be your reward, if you're mad here, have a candy bar and calm down.  Yeah, and without understanding that food can be more of a comfort thing to kids with autism, like head banging or flapping, simply because it's another sense that the child can use to override over-stimulation in the environment, I'm afraid that will forever be Katie's "norm". It's not the taste or the tummy satisfaction that makes food rewards so harmful (in my opinion, mind you)  to the long term success of our kids, it's the oral comfort.  Remember that in the beginning of Katie's life I had her here from 8 in the morning until 7:30 at night, 6 days a week, so I had the opportunity to fully implement the penny system and keep it going.

Right now we haven't found anything that has worked with Kendra, but her issues are so much deeper than Katie's high functioning autism.  I'd be lying to say otherwise.  We know she likes M&Ms but that trap scares me given Katie's weight issues.  We have to pick Kendra up and carry her so much it would kill us all, not to mention her use of the wheelchair.  So far she responds well to just putting our hands on her head or upper arm and applying GENTLE pressure, not rubbing or stroking but just holding it there.  That calms her down quickly, whereas any kind of massaging seems to push her further away. So besides lots of hugs and verbal praise, we haven't found that magic key yet. 


I don't know if this helps you or not.  Caleb is not Katie and his issues are totally different, as are @mekidsmom issues with her Katie.  But you asked what I did for rewards, and I wanted to make it clear how I feel about straightening those wire connections and how I feel about rewards for our kids that use just another physical sense (taste) to elicit desired behaviors.  I firmly believe they do more harm than good.  And I'll bet you'll find that when you pull him out of school and can have full time control of how much stimulation he gets over the course of a day, he will begin to sense when he's close to his breaking point and you'll recognize it right away too, allowing you to start the calming process before he gets too far into himself.


Okay, off my soapbox now.  Whew!!  

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