Hmm…

I can not believe it is already week 6 of this module. Time is flying by. Counting this week, there are 3 left until the module ends. Then onto 2 more MEd core classes until December. May..I see you…after that 3 more classes to go. Not so bad. So basically if you are counting in semesters, I have 1 more to go. At Post University, I am in the Accelerated degree program which is half the time..and yeah so what are you majoring in?

Hey..do I get some of my student loans lowered if I mention my school again? Just taking a little break here then it is back to work and by work I mean..studying, planning, teaching, caring for my family, LEARNING, tweeting -@Loorducation http://www.twitter.com/loorducation, developing my brand- http://www.facebook.com/loorducation and more. It is all worth it. At this point I think they should just skip the Masters Degree and give me my Ed.D or PhD- I will take either one.ima,kninioges

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My Boy: part 7

So..It is summer time and my son has been improving so much. He still flaps his hands out of excitement but no where near as much as he used to do it. I remember seeing him flap his hands all the time and now it is like that trait is dwindling. He still stims but it is like it is decreasing all the time. But…when he is really excited the hands go up and they get close to his face and I see passion, intensity and the future in his eyes.

So, over this summer he was in Mom school as he would say. everyday we would work on fine motor skills, gross motor skills, writing practice, numbers and letters in Spanish- the thing is going over numbers and letters with him is just practice. He recognizes all capital and lower case letters and has been doing that for years. Even so he still loves when I hand make him a learning sheet of Mommy letters who are trying to find their baby letters.

I would have him draw and practice as if he was in school. I wanted him to perfect his skills to the best of his ability so in that way he rocks when he enters Kindergarten. We made flubber and used lots of sensory items. I could see the improvement as the weeks passed by. He was getting it. His shapes were becoming more precise and his figures were resembling the typical stick figure. With each day I could see that it was the best choice that we could make as a family.

We did many special activities and took trips to the beach, park, library and playgrounds where he was able to explore. He loves nature and we made every attempt for each activity to be as educational as we can. And his symptoms started to improve more. He is gaining control of his fine motor skills. We also decide to put him in a karate class. Best idea ever. He loves it. He is learning to focus. Although at times he loves to make faces in the mirror and get out of line and be silly but he is doing it. He is preforming in front of his peers. He loves being a Tiny Tiger and thinks by now he should have a black belt. He just started at the end of July…

My son can read so as I was teaching him Spanish I tried something out and tested him and he reads in Spanish too. I write the word and he can read it which is excellent and a great way to learn a language by doing it all at once. So I bet if you meet him he would tell you he is a ninja karate master that can read and speak in Spanish. He is great. He still writes with both his left hand and write hand but that does not matter. He is learning to write and enjoying it. He is definitely not the same boy who has been diagnosed with Autism two years ago… He has been eating healthy and has been in a loving and nurturing environment. He has learned that autism is a super ability and not a disability. He has been improving and has had all of his vaccines.He is getting better and remember I told you that is what the neurologist said.

(stay tuned for part 8)

My Boy: part 6

Ok..so we were at the summer of Pre Kindergarten, the two months off before starting Kindergarten and it was my time to teach my son. I mean, I have always painted, colored, wrote, played, drew..(you get it) with him but I resigned from my job as lead pre – kindergarten teacher to prepare my son for his new educational journey. I would not have changed it for the world. I loved being in my classroom- teaching, reading,,everything, the children but I was on a mission. Myself still being a full time M.Ed. student realized more than ever that my son, who was diagnosed with Autism 2 years ago, needed to learn and establish ways that he would be able to fully function in a classroom setting that was going to be different from pre K, different than what he has been use to, different friends, different teachers and different routine.

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So..Let me back track a minute. We had a PPT meeting three days before school ended. They were planning and going to revise his IEP. My son was still not registered for Kindergarten because we were waiting on a lottery. He attended a Magnet Public School and the only way to stay there for Kindergarten and beyond is to apply and children are randomly chosen. He was like 44 on the waiting list which meant 43 others had to cancel and blahh  So, my husband and I were against sending him to our neighborhood school up the street. No way in the world did we want him to go there. We expressed these concerns at the PPT meeting. Under no circumstances was my son going to attend that school. First of all, just stop right there- no, he is not going. Our son has special needs and he would just fall through the crack at that school. We have witnessed the mannerisms before and especially after school. My son needed more. He deserved more. We are his advocates and are going to get what he needs.

His special education teacher gave us the name and number of the lady in charge of the Autism program for the public school system where we live. She told us to call her and that she would help us find a solution whatever it may be- control transfer- anything and we were willing to do so.

So after a couple days, I called this lady. No answer. Called again, no answer. So my husband and I went down to the BOE at City Hall and asked for her. She was not there but at a school. We went to that school. She was there and we went into her office and explained Jorge’s story to see what she could do for us. You know, he has autism but he sure is awesome. He can read. He can communicate, look at him. He just needs more than what that regular school can offer. She jotted down some info and said let her work on it and she will get back to us. After 2 weeks there was no answer..hey wait a minute!! School is going to start soon. So we go to the BOE at City Hall, She was not there. She was on vacation so I asked about Ms. Matera (you remember? my professor from my BS Child Studies program and that was at the first ever PPT meeting- she is the supervisor/principal of a school nearby and I just know she is experienced with Autism and all that great stuff..) The secretary told us she was at the school, so we went. She let us in the office and was happy to see us. We explained our situations and concerns. She saw Jorge, She was impressed and amazed as he chose a book and sat down to start reading. She agreed that he does not need to go to the neighborhood school. Oh yeah..I forgot to mention, before this other lady went on vacation, she had left us a voice mail on Friday afternoon saying that there was nothing else to do and that he must attend the neighborhood school. So that is what sparked us to make a visit. We were not taking no for an answer. There has to be something better and there was.

Still, no IEP in hand and it is almost starting of the new school year, we have this impromptu meeting with Ms. Matera. She was very concerned and spoke to us about the options of 2 schools who have great ASD programs but there would be no bus, control transfer, lots of paper work, another visit (or more) to city Hall but we did not care. So she asked us to give her about a week to gather info and contact people etc. She was determined to help us and she did.

In ONE day, she returned our call and said she has great news.. Jorge is able to attend a school which has a great ASD program. He would be in a classroom with a few other ASD children but would also be mainstreamed into a typical Kindergarten class. There were professionals at the school certified in ASD education. There would be one teacher, who has a Master in Special Education and two other professionals in the room and they would be with him at all times. All the paperwork was set and if we agreed the secretaries from his former school would send all the information and we would not have to do anything but wait for the first day of school. I was excited and to top it all off, Jorge is able to take the school bus. How amazing is that. The bus would pick him up right in front of our home. This made it all so much better. He loves school buses. I was the nervous one…

This is what he will look forward to..

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So we were all set. We just were waiting to start the first day of Kindergarten at a brand new school to start but all along we have been learning through the summer at Mommy school and continued to do so.

Summer was fun and educational and we will share with you all what we worked on.

What we have learned is….

(stay tuned for part 7)

http://www.facebook.com/loorducation

My Boy: part 5

So, it is the second year of pre kindergarten. Jorge is talking some more and through his speech and occupational therapies alongside specialized instruction, he is improving. Now when you ask him his name he will tell you what his name is. So some time passes and he is talking more. Now he is responding to sentences with a few words and out of nowhere he starts talking in complete sentences. It is just like a spark went off and now he is able to answer questions and exchange sentences with peers and teachers. He is becoming more social and is liking the new interactions with friends whereas mostly before he would parallel play.

Going back to when he was 1.5 and on…A long time ago, I had my son watching Your Baby Can Read program. After sometime time he would say the words on the screen along with the children on TV. So as a test, I would write some words on flashcards and he would say them to me. I rearranged the order and he would still say them. He was reading words. I was amazed. He would also read environmental print and so on. 

Although he was still using pull ups, my son could read. I mean, this little guy just started to use his speech effectively and he was reading. I realized he was able to really read when he was at the school where I was teaching and he had a short story about a firefighter, complete with pictures, and he read all four pages. He loves books. He reads from front cover to back cover of all types of books.Before even entering Kindergarten. Before the summer before Kindergarten. 

The love, support and dedication alongside good quality early childhood education..is vital!!! 

I was amazed so from there…..

He just picked up book after book and developed even more his love of reading. Many of my preschoolers who could write their names and use their fine and gross motor skills more accurately then my son would not be able to recognize all the letters of the alphabet let alone distinguish between upper and lower cases. Jorge could not yet write his name but he could read. He was reading to some of the children in my pre k class. He would become so happy that he would stim and keep stimming. That does not matter..my son is amazing. In fact, I fell in love with his stimming and one day I even asked him why he does it and he told me it makes him happy. ; )

So is this it…Could autism be his super ability? He is empathetic, he reads, he loves and he is wise beyond his years. He is compassionate, cares for all animals and all living things. He is curious and now he asks many questions a day- sometimes the hard ones that Einstein probably could not even answer..

I did Sudoku almost  everyday while I was pregnant several puzzles a day, I read to him inside the womb all the time..could this have helped bring out his super ability? He does not have a disability, he is able and so willing to do things. Autism in not a life sentence. In fact, remember what started it all in part 1 of this blog series….my son’s neurologist says that his symptoms seem to be decreasing..his symptoms of autism are not as prominent as the visit before hand. If the same neurologist never diagnosed my son with ASD (middle range) he would say Jorge does not even have autism….nature and nurture?

Note- my son was just four years old at the time of this. He has been fascinated with numbers and letters since he was a baby. Even then, he did not speak he knew the entire alphabet, both lower and upper cases as well as numbers 1-10.

So Jorge keeps reading and talking and asking questions and more questions…..but he is talking. He is able to communicate. Now he thinks he is a karate master. A boy ninja who had an amazing summer before entering the big Kindergarten…he would tell you he was at Mom school during that time. You see, I took that summer off from teaching my pre kindergarteners to dedicate it to my son… more about that soon..
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(stay tuned for part 6)

Comments and Questions are always welcome.

http://www.autismspeaks.org

Lots of information about autism on that site but it is always best to get to know a child and their family. Baht is when we can start putting the pieces to the puzzle together.

Connect with me on twitter- @Loorducation

http://www.twitter.com/loorducation

http://www.facebook.com/loorducation – (early childhood education)

http://www.facebook.com/danielle.loor – (personal)

 

 

My Boy: part 4

We are up to the part where we are at the first school meeting to decide which services my son is eligible for. At this meeting was my husband and I, my son’s teacher, an OT therapist, school psychologist, a board of education consultant and Ms Matera, my former teacher who is the supervisor at another school in the area that specializes in educating and servicing children with special needs…  (After the meting we talked, it was so nice to finally meet her face to face. We talked about how I found out about my son during her class. It was very touching.)

Let’s just refresh, at this point in time my son is a little over three years old. He just started his first year of pre kindergarten and has a new diagnosis of autism. They would also call is PDD- pervasive developmental disorder. Anyhow, at this time he is not yet talking and is still in diapers / pull ups. He does not feed himself yet, stims a lot, is attached to things and lines up toys and items. He has meltdowns and all that other stuff. He has had several ear infections which leads to surgery to remove adenoids and place tubes in his ears but we will get to that..

So we are at this meeting, the first PPT meeting and we talked for a while about my son and what he likes to do, what he can actually do and so on. It was decided that he is eligible for speech therapy and occupational therapy but first he would have to go to the board of education center to be assessed and “tested” on certain things like focusing, climbing and walking and what he is able to do with toys. Time passes we attend this assessment and the lady assures of from what she has witnessed that he will be getting speech and occupational therapies at school. He will also be receiving specialized instruction sometimes outside of the regular pre k class. 

Time goes on and he starts receiving his therapies ta school, it is still early in the school year but he still takes off his shoes, although not as much as before. We are just waiting on him to talk and become social. Time passes and this means more therapies and schooling and improvement. Jorge starts responding to questions with one or two words. He is also able to play with others and stack some blocks.

He is not yet speaking in sentences, his ears hurt..another ear infection and that is when we take him to the doctor again. His ENT suggested it is time to put the tubes in his ears. He assured us that he would be hearing better and as a result his speech would get better because he would be hearing clearly. So we took him to the hospital that day in March and after a half an hour he was out of surgery. Poor baby in pain. When we got home he laid down for a bit and was ready to go back to school on Monday.
He went back to school without any problem. He was happy to be back. With a couple of weeks, things started changing. Everyone at the school was noticing his hearing was better. His speech therapist commented on the change he was seeing in our son. It was amazing. He had another hearing test and indeed he was hearing better. He was starting to form words. He was putting two words together. He was not just pointing at things and mumbling but now he can at least say a few words. The speech therapist had a year end goal of being able to say his name when asked and asking the teacher for help by name. He would usually say his name was Mrs. Hardy when someone asked him and he would call all boys Michael.
Time passed and he was improving here and there. Summer came about. He was not receiving OT and Speech from the Board of Education during the summer but through our insurance we were taking him to speech therapy at a rehab center twice a week each for a half an hour session. Throughout the summer he would show improvements in speech and hearing. the summer rolled by fast and before we knew it, the second year of pre kindergarten was upon us. He was now 4 years old and ready for school again. He was going to be in the same classroom with the same teachers and therapists. This was great because it was his routine and it did not change. But there were MANY great changes during this school year….
(stay tuned for part 5)
Comments and Questions are always welcome!!! Thank you.

My Boy: part 3

Ok, so now there is a short time before pre kindergarten starts and my son has been to his primary doctor, ENT, audiologist and then sent to Yale for an MRI and to Bridgeport Hospital for an EKG. It is a lot for a 3 year old to go through but he did and with a smile too. Thank God the results came back wonderful and everything was normal. Anyways, what is normal? 

So, back and forth, here and there waiting etc. It was the first day of school and when we brought our son to the classroom, we told his teacher that he has autism. I was like what is she going to say, what is she going to do..etc. so she told us nicely that she was going to talk to “some people” in charge of “something” (I do not remember that part but it was some people from the BOE). I felt good after talking with her.

We let the teacher know that he really did not talk, he has a brand new diagnosis of autism and that we were their to be the voice for our son and I knew that she was there to help us. 

Now, as we were leaving the classroom, my son sat there playing and the teacher was next to him. I was still there peeking through the window. I remember seeing him take off his sneakers..then I fled yep. This was because I did not warn them that he absolutely does not like to have shoes on at all. So when the day ended they let me know what I already knew, he kept taking his shoes off- all day. For the first year of his life he never wore shoes. He even got baptized with socks only. I did not want to leave him. I wanted to stay with him but I wanted him also to experience socialization.

Ok, so anyhow he was at school now. Even though he could not express himself or let you know his name the teacher and the para professional fell in love with him. They were great. Since he still was not potty trained at the time, they assisted him in the rest room.

Some weeks had passed and we finally got a PPT meeting and this is where we met with the professionals and teachers to talk about our son and to see what services he was eligible for. 

At that meeting was Ms. Matera, my former professor from my Teaching the Exceptional Child class..the one where I put the pieces together and realized my son was showing signs of autism. What a small world…you see I never met her face to face before since that was an online class. So there we were..

God is working here as He has been all along……

(stay tuned for part 4)

So what happened at this meeting was…

My Boy: part 2

Okay, this is part 2..go ahead and read part 1 if you have not done so already..

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So, on August 9, 2011, we take my son to the doctor for his 3 year annual visit. I already had my questions in mind for the doctor. I was there with a diagnosis and did not actually want her to confirm it, but I just knew. I mean he was showing all the signs and symptoms of Autism and I was advancing more in my Teaching the Exceptional Child class – it was all right there in front of me. The stimming, flapping, running, not hearing, not talking. He was still in diapers at the time and was in diapers /pull ups until he was 4.5 years old.

Okay, so we enter the office and you know the doctor asks how your child has been in the last year. And there I go, “Dr. Small, my son has autism, I mean I think,  you know, this is what he does and this is what is happening…..”

As she takes out that white note pad, she is jotting down something as I am telling her all of the ASD signs…so then she hands me the note and it says Autism Spectrum Disorder- pending other evaluations such as audiologist, neurologist etc. She told me and was just nodding her head as I was telling her that I think my son is deaf and so on…

Clarification but still at that moment my heart was broken for my son and I went home to call my husband..and he came home from work. I cried for a day but we searched and kept moving forward looking for answers.

Okay so he has a speech delay and the audiologist says he was not hearing at the right decibels but he was not deaf but only hearing 20 percent..I do not exactly remember but anyway as a baby he had many ear infections. So after that we took him to an ENT maybe about a week later, he had water in his ears and was not hearing well and that is part of the reason he was not speaking- part..you see as he was showing all signs of ASD.

It was going on the end of August and my son was about to start his first year of pre kindergarten..I was worried because he could not talk. He could not tell you his name but we kept our faith as early childhood education is vital. Also his primary doctor said because of his diagnosis he would be eligible for therapies provided by the Board of Education. Okay so that is great.

We moved fast, we took him to a neurologist, and after intense screening, this doctor said he has Autism Spectrum Disorder and is in the middle range of the scale. At that time my son could not stack blocks or follow the directions from the doctor…

The neurologist was saying that maybe he could be having seizures because the way that my son would stop things and intensely focus for about 20 to 30 seconds at a time and also because of the movements he would make due to excitement etc. So from there we were sent to have EKG and MRI done…all of this within a few weeks before he was about to enter school. Exciting, school- pre K- I love it!!! And going through of all of this deepened my passion as I just knew that education is my field.

No one was going to stop us. Our son needs advocates. If he could not talk at the time, we indeed are going to be his voice.So what are we to do with all of this???

(stay tuned for part 3)

Comments and Questions are always welcome ; )

Thank you!!!

 

My Boy: part 1

This was my FaceBook status a few days ago…..

2 years ago, the neurologist placed my son in the middle of the autism spectrum and yesterday, the same neurologist, said if he did not know any better he would say that my son does not have ASD as his symptoms are going away….

I received 30 likes and over 20 comments on this. I am so grateful that people took the time out to say some nice encouraging words for my son. It means a lot and is very much appreciated. For everyone that wished us well, a few seconds out of your day sending words of encouragement gives people more hope. We realize that we are all in this together.

My son was diagnosed with autism on August 9, 2011. This was a few weeks after his third birthday. He was going in for his yearly check up but this time I just knew something…..

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You see, at the time I was taking my Teaching the Exceptional Child course for my B.S. and we were focusing on Autism Spectrum Disorders. As I was learning the signs and symptoms I realized that my son was a match for nearly all of them. He was not talking. He may have said a few words here and there but that was it. He would have to hold onto toys and would get anxiety if one happened to fall out of his hands. He was afraid of loud noises and would cover his ears. Actually, my husband and I used to think he was deaf because he would not respond to us calling his name. I would literally scream out his name and he would not even budge. He would line up toys and other objects…I thought this was so cute being this was our first child and we just had no idea. He would play with toys but in some sort of way that did not seem natural, but yet again I just thought that was okay. He never really waved bye bye and when he did he would have his hands towards himself, as if he was saying bye bye to himself. I loved that so much, my baby saying bye bye. I did not know but as I was studying, I gained the knowledge I needed to bring my questions and diagnosis to the doctor.

Oh yeah, this too – he would run back and forth and would not stop, at the same time he was flapping his hands. I still did not know but all of this was coming back to me when I was studying ASD and it triggered my memory. I love my son so much and everyone would ask why he did not talk and that he should be talking and I just thought it is because he is bilingual and it just takes longer for children with two languages to process the information. In the back of my mind I would ask myself why isn’t my son talking. Here I see children younger than he is talking in complete sentences. That is my baby boy and I love him, he will talk.

So my son is not talking yet and when he wants something he will just point- only sometimes. Usually, he would just grab my hand and utter some sounds as I would see what he needed. Usually it was a snack, kids love snacks and boy did I know he wanted that cookie because that smile was worth a thousand words even though he could not tell me. 

He would grasp little things and hold onto them with intensity. I just looked at him in awe. I love my son and look how engrossed he is with a tiny button, pen cap, a part to a toy- whatever it was, no matter how tiny, he was focused and wanted it. He had to hold it. That thing needed to be in his hands and if he lost it, he would have anxiety that was until we could find it again.. 

So, he was not hitting benchmarks and he could not hold a fork or spoon properly to feed himself but that is my son and I so love him. By the way, he said birthday cake after seeing a decoration at his party, I was amazed. That cute little pause between those words..amazing. I felt so proud of my boy. He would hum really loudly for more than 30 seconds at a time sometimes and he would run and spin in circles. He was not afraid of danger or falling.

Going back to August 9, 2011, my father in law and I brought him to the doctor and that is when……

(please stay tuned for part 2)

Ok so let me say this, 

Core Classes for B.S. in Child Studies and…

Right now, I am in the process of taking my 5th and 6th MEd courses simultaneously. I have already completed 12 Masters credits and when October comes around, I will have completed 18 Masters credit which is a total of 6 classes. In October I will be taking on 2 more classes that will last until December and by the end of the year, I would have 24 Masters credits or a total of 8 MEd courses. My expected graduation date is May 2014.

The following classes were the core classes that I have taken to obtain my Bachelor of Science Degree in Child Studies  (early childhood education). They have prepared the building blocks to my Masters of Education Program where my concentration is in Teaching and Learning. 

Learning Theory

Language Development in Children

Abnormal Psychology

Child Development

Statistics

Capstone Field Experience

Observation, Assessment and Individualization

Curriculum Approaches

Practicum III

CHS254:Health, Safety and Nutrtion

Math, Science and Technology in the ECE Classroom

Social Studies in the ECE Classroom

Children’s Literacy and Language

Foundations of Early Childhood Education

Emergent Literacy

Teaching The Exceptional Child

MEd courses so far:

Differentiated Instruction

Diversity in 21st Century Education

Cognitive Science of Teaching and Learning

Measurement and Metrics

Digital Mediated Teaching and Learning

Future of Education

Do you have a MEd? What were your core classes?

I know some school slightly vary on courses and titles of the courses.

Are you thinking of obtaining your MEd?

Ask me any questions. Feel free to contact me.