Friday, January 27, 2012


Nate spent the first 3 of his "real" school years at Strongsville Early Learning Preschool.  WOW is all I can say about the progress he made during those 3 years.  Nate started at SELP when he was 3 years old.  He was inattentive and unfocused.  He didn't know his colors, shapes, numbers or letters (because of his inability to focus).  We were soooo nervous about him starting preschool, until we met "Mystery".  

I'm not going to call her by name in this blog, but I will say that "Mystery" is THE BEST TEACHER IN THE ENTIRE WORLD.  Our little nickname started as a play on words with her name, and ended up turning into our term of endearment for her.  We don't have a clue how she tamed our beast, and it is a total mystery as to how she worked her magic with Nate and taught him so much in so little time.  Matt and I always say that if we ever winw the lottery, we would pay her hundreds of thousands of dollars, buy her a new house, and pay for her kids' college, all she would have to do is be Nate's teacher until he is 18.  That's how much we love her. 

"Mystery"--let's see, amazing, wonderful, terrific, fabulous- there isn't a word that is powerful enough to describe her.  She's been my go-to person for advice, questions, confidence boosters, strategies and so many other things.  She started out as Nate's teacher, and ended up as my friend.

I remember the first time I met "Mystery" was at preschool orientation.  I was so nervous about leaving my baby with a stranger, but my mind was changed in an instant.  From the moment she met Nate, she had some kind of wonderful control over him.  She's a "Nate Whisperer".  The first 2 years at SELP, Nate was in a class of 4; there was a teacher (Mystery) and 2 teacher's aides.  Who could ask for a better situation?  I knew that Nate would be getting the attention and guidance that he needed in order to succeed in school.  

Nate's first and second years at SELP were super.  "Mystery" was always in touch with us through email, phone calls, and conferences.  We were constantly being updated on his progress and were able to see his progress in the numerous videos she took of him in the classroom.  "Mystery" was able to take a child who couldn't sit still for more than 2 minutes, and turn him into a child who has developed a passion for learning and love of school.  We were completely amazed when he started exceeding his IEP goals, and delighted when we had to rewrite his IEP in the middle of the year to create higher level goals.  

The third year that Nate was at SELP, was the best year for all of us.  His school day was lengthened, so instead of going to school for about 10 hours a week, he started an extended day program which entailed 20 hours of school a week.  Nate was awesome, awesome, awesome!  He started spending time in another classroom, interacting with "typical peers", he was attending, focusing, and learning!  Nate started recognizing his colors, shapes, numbers, and ABC's.  He started doing puzzles on the iPad, cutting, coloring, and WRITING HIS NAME!!!  

We still have a lot of progress to make when it comes to learning, but the foundation has been set, and we owe it all to "Mystery".

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Magic Microphone

About 3 years ago, we bought Nate this "Magic Microphone" to possibly encourage him to talk/make new noises.  He had absolutely zero interest in it, and would throw it across the room when we would attempt to bring it out.  The Magic Mic is a plastic microphone that creates an echo when you talk into it.  Great for karaoke, and wonderful for prompting speech

A few days ago, I was playing with Evan and the Magic Microphone and he absolutely loved it.  I thought, maybe we should try it out on Nate again since last time he had absolutely no interest whatsoever in talking into the mic.  The fam. was sitting on the floor in the basement and we had just gotten done wrestling/tickling.  I thought it was the perfect opportunity since Nate does best with things like this after getting some sensory input.  I decided to use Evan as a role model.  Here's how things went down:

(Talking into the Magic Microphone)

Me: Mama
Matt: Mama
Evan: Mama

Awesome, clapping and cheering.  Nate is kinda interested.

Me: Dada
Matt: Dada
Evan: Dada

More clapping and cheering.  Nate getting more interested.

Me: Mama
Matt: Mama
Evan: Mama
Nate: Baba (that's how he says Mama)

Clapping and cheering because even if the right words were wrong, he at least tried.

Me: Dada
Matt: Dada
Evan: Dada
Nate: Dada!!!!

OMG OMG OMG OMG, NATE SAID DADA!!!  I haven't heard that sweet sweet word come out of my big boy's mouth in years and years.  It was the sweetest sound I've heard in a very long time.  After our celebrating and clapping ended, I actually realized what this meant.  Nate has the capability to form the "D" sound.  The happy tears started flowing and I almost lost it.

We have been experimenting with different sounds and the Magic Mic all week, and Nate has been making some great sounds into the microphone.  Today he said 2 words for Matt that we haven't heard in at least 6 months.  I'm so proud of him, and he has absolutely no idea why.  He's working so hard and accomplishing so much.  I guess it really is a "Magic Microphone" after all.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Sunday, January 15, 2012


Yes, I said it.  I.  HATE.  HATE.  HATE.  BEDTIME.

I used to love bedtime.  From the time Nate was 7 weeks old, he's been sleeping 12+ hours a night.  We never really had to have him cry it out, rock him to sleep, or pat/rub his back to get him to go to sleep.  We've been lucky.  Until now.

In the past, if Nate wasn't tired, he would play quietly in his room until he finally fell asleep.  This is completely different.  It started a few weeks back.  Nate simply didn't want to go to sleep.  I don't know if he just wasn't tired, or he was being a typical kid who stalls during bedtime.  First it was a him having to go to the bathroom, then he wanted a glass of water, then he wanted one of us to lay with him.  Enough was enough, we left his room and went downstairs to watch some TV.  For 2 hours, we could hear Nate jumping around his room, screaming, and playing.  After the first 30 minutes of this, I went upstairs to check on him.  Ugh--Nate was naked, his bed was pushed into the middle of the room, his bookshelf had been turned on it's side, and his coat rack had been ripped off the wall.  SERIOUSLY!?!?!?  I cleaned things up and told him to get in bed.  90 more minutes of this and he finally fell asleep.  I hate bedtime.

This is what we have been dealing with on a nightly basis, and it completely SUCKS.  We have cleaned up his carpet numerous times (use your own imagination), rehung posters, remade his bed, thrown away broken hangers, replaced the heater vent cover (yup, the heater vent cover).  We've dressed and redressed this little monster, we have cleaned up a turned over bookshelf (which no longer resides in his room), put more Shout on his rug than I'd like to think about, cleaned up socks, underwear, hats, gloves, shoes, and toys.  I feel like I go up and down the stairs more times from 7:30-11PM then I do all day.  I hate bedtime.

Is this payback for being so good about going to sleep for the past 6 1/2 years?  Is he going through a phase (which he cycles in and out of every 2-3 months or so)?  Are we going to have to deal with this for eternity?  Can I put him back in his crib????  AAAAHHHH!!!!

This is what bedtime looks like in my house--

Pretty fun, huh?


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

I'm Nervous

I'm really nervous and apprehensive about sharing such a big part of my life with the public.  The past 6 1/2 years have been rough for my family, and I don't know if they are going to get any better.  There is so much I want to write about, and all my thoughts are so overwhelming right now.  I guess to make things clear, I'll start with Nathan's diagnosis.

APRAXIA--It's not a word you hear often.  Speech delay, speech impediment, stutter, lisp...all common speech issues.  It figures that out of all of these, my son is dealing with the hardest to overcome.  

Nathan's primary diagnosis is Childhood Apraxia of Speech. Apraxia is a disconnect between what Nate's brain is thinking, and what he can actually say.  It is a motor planning problem that affects not only his speech, but his fine and gross motor movements as well.  

An easy way to put it is like this.  Nathan wants to tell me something...he's thinking "Mom, I want to go downstairs"  here's how it sounds "Ba, cooch" His brain knows exactly what he wants to say, but isn't able to form the tiny muscle movements in his tongue, lips, and jaw to get the words out properly.  He has all of the right words, but they are so very wrong.

Because he has fine and gross motor planning problems as well, Nate has difficulty writing, coloring, tracing, zipping, tying, and buttoning.  All the things that a "normal" 6 1/2 year old should be able to do.

The delays Nate has in speech make it very hard for him to communicate with others.  He understands exactly what is being said, and what is going on.  He wants to associate and play with kids his age, but the speech barrier is so difficult to overcome.  Because of his differences, he tends to play alone.  Knowing he's the "oddball" makes my heart break into a million pieces.  

I cry each and every day over my son.  Sometimes my tears are big and heavy, others they are short and quick.  Although I wish things were different and easier for him, I wouldn't trade him for the world. 

For more information on Childhood Apraxia, please visit

Please Stop Reading...

This blog is meant to be an outlet for me.  So here's a word of warning...

1.  If you will be offended by my use of foul language--Please Stop Reading....

2.  If you will be offended because I'm venting about having a special needs child--Please Stop Reading...

3.  Having a special needs child is difficult enough without criticism from the peanut gallery, so if you feel like you have any negative comments to leave me--Please Stop Reading...

4.  If you are going to judge me because of some of the decisions I have made as a parent--Please Stop Reading...

5.  If you know that I absolutely LOVE my child with all of my heart, if you want to know what goes on in my daily life, and if you are curious about Nate and his disability--Please Continue Reading...

**It is sometimes very hard for me to talk about Nate to other people.  This blog is meant to help me work through the issues I have with his disability and my feelings towards it.  My posts are true and from the heart.  Please keep that in mind while visiting my blog.  Thank you!**