After Middle School What's Next and How to Navigate Next Steps.....

If you are a parent of a special needs teen, you are probably wondering what the next steps are as the last year of middle school is in session. We are still trying to figure out what is happening behind the scenes in regards to special needs curriculum and how our son is being taught. Most  parents take this in stride and just let the teachers...teach. But what if you have a special needs autistic son whom learns things at his own pace and not in the way that is expected of him because of of his age, NOT his disability. 
  Thankfully we have an IEP meeting scheduled soon to discuss all of these aspects of his curriculum. As we are one month in already and still have a vague idea of how our son is being academically assessed or if at all. Sometimes we don't have an idea until the end of the school year or mid year because quite frankly we believe that is how public school districts want it. I can also be a devil's advocate and say maybe they don't have a choice in the matter and probably want to do more for most special needs children but their hands are tied, due to IEP compliance and/or what they are able to do within their financial means. 

  So, what's next? We are actively seeking other resources in regards to daily living skills and increasing our son's math skills because how else does one make a living as an adult if you don't know how to count and count correctly? What about social aspects in navigating who to trust and not to trust in any situation personal or otherwise? Sometimes the list seems so long and unending in how to navigate what to do next. But we keep on advocating and speaking up for our son's sake and for our sanity. Until you walk a mile in our shoes, you cannot begin to understand the day to day struggles of just making sure he does not feel 'invisible' and valued.  

Our Son's Program No Longer Exists....Now What?

We recently learned that our son's ILC classroom is GONE! Not sure what the road will be like ahead, but we are trying to pick up the pieces and find a pathway for his education and journey. Not sure what to feel, but we are definitely concerned and disappointed with how this was all handled, in regards to students who are autistic and have or need lots of academic support and accommodations. 
  At the end of the day, all that matters is that we find a way to educate our autistic teenage son the best way we know how, hopefully with the school district's guidance and options/resources available to him and us as well. Keeping our fingers crossed and hoping for the best in a situation that could have gone better. 
    Transitions. Disappointment. Hopeful outcomes and a way forward. 


Life Skills and Cooking

Home cooking when you are in a rush can be really stressful if you try to do it all yourself. But if your children are special needs, this skill is invaluable to their well being and quality of life. So you need lots of patience and time blocks when it is time to enlist them into some cooking with visuals and great pictures. So that the recipes are easy to understand and are less likely to cause any type of emergency set back. 

Safety First
The most obvious issue, especially when it comes to special needs, is safety in the kitchen.  They should always wash their hands well before engaging in any meal preparation, have an apron to protect their clothes and a work station away from any hot oven or stove. 

Be sure to have kid-safe mixing bowls and measuring cups. Also consider getting a chopper with a plunger. All they have to do is put the food under it and press down with both hands.

Teach them fun and interesting things as you cook. Kids love to explore and learn, especially special needs children or adults. You are never to old or too young to learn a cooking skill for life. 

Cook Their Favorites
Most children love pizza, pasta, burgers, meatloaf, and so on. Special needs children or adults are no different, so they can help learn how to make all of these things. Have them help you roll out the pizza dough, or make English muffins or French bread pizza. Get them to help you toss the pasta with sauce, cheese and olive oil. 

Let them roll up their sleeves to get messy with burgers and meatloaf and use the classic plastic forming shapes, so you can make them ahead of time so all you have to do is defrost them. 

For meatloaf, they will love to knead in the egg, spices, bread crumb, tomatoes and olives if you use them. At the end of the meal, have them help you make meatloaf sandwiches for the next day.

In addition to using their little chopper, special needs children/adults love using their hands, depending on where they are on the spectrum and any sensitivities they may have to textures or touch;whereas others love getting their hands into things, for instance tearing into lettuce with a salad spinner, washing the salad, and/or using the salad spinner to get all the water out. 

Every child loves desserts. Keep control of what you eat by making them at home. You can cook quick microwave cakes, or bake a pie/cookies in the oven. 

While you are in the kitchen preparing dinner, or washing up afterwards, the children can help you get a head start on the next meals of the day. Scramble some eggs. Add cheese if you wish. Cook and crumble some sausage or bacon. Put it all together into a flour tortilla and wrap in waxed paper. You will have heat and eat breakfast burritos you can even take with you as you run out the door.

Try French toast you can heat and eat on the go, or French toast sandwiches with your favorite fillings, such as ham, cheese, Nutella, peanut butter, and so on.

Brown Bag Lunches

If you and the family brown bag it every day, get a jump start by making them up the night before. Special need kids love to help, at least mine does, everyone's situation may be a little different but tweak it so that it favors who you, your family and your special needs child(ren) are. They can help with laying out the bread, adding mayo, mustard, etc. Make the sandwiches fun by letting the kids cut them with cute cookie cutters. You can eat the rest once the shapes are cut out:-). 

There are lots of ways special needs children can help in the kitchen. Start them off by skill level and be patient and ready for messes. Over time, their skills will definitely improve, until they will be a real help in the kitchen and hopefully have developed a love of healthy food as well.


Summer 2019

5 More Weeks of school until Summer...ready to Dive In:-)

We are all anticipating the start of summer, especially because there are lots of transitions and change coming our way. Our oldest will be a senior in high school, while our youngest son, who is autistic will be in eighth grade. 

We have no clue once again what summer will look like when it comes to activities and keeping him occupied, especially since there are not very many opportunities geared towards him and his skill level socially or emotionally. 

My plans are to keep him busy with workbooks, going to the park, ice cream breaks and keeping ourselves cool and comfortable. Late nights, movies, and all of the above. 

What are your plans for the summer? How do you keep your autistic or special needs child or children busy? I would love to hear your suggestions and thoughts. Until then be blessed and take it one day at a time. 


Happy 2019 Everyone!

Another year has gone by and your kids are getting bigger and maybe even more sassy, how are you handling all of this change and growth? As my mother and father would tell me, 'Parenthood is NOT for cowards'! 

As I think back on the year of 2018, our son grew by leaps and bounds emotionally, but really struggled in other areas of his development. I have a bunch of things that I would like to sell and/or give away, regarding workbooks and other educational stuff. I have not got them all put together as of yet, but once I have time, I will post it up here for you to take a gander. Thanks so much for stopping by and I will see you soon. 

We Are in a Lockdown for 4 Weeks....****SIGH***

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