Monday, March 28, 2011

Longvida Curcumin Update

We started K on Longvida Curcumin (LC) in mid December. Within a week, I really thought I noticed a difference in her speech & in fact my husband & even my older dd's commented on the same thing.  The kids ( & probably my husband :) ! ) had no idea that LC is supposed to help with speech. We recently ran out of LC and K went a few weeks without it. I did not notice any regression during that time, however I am seeing another jump in her speech, again within a week of starting her back on it. I am very critical of new things & try to only use natural products that I feel are safe.  Rarely do I think a new product or supplement has noticeable benefits, but I am very excited about the results I am seeing. Again, the rest of the family is also commenting on K's speech.  The other day she said to me:  "I get in truck, go to town."  - 7 words!  I love the fact that she is using all the little words in this sentence too, not just the important ones.

Here is a link, but like everything - do your own research first and check with your child's doctor to determine if it is right for your child.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Exciting announcement from Brillkids!

I have been talking with KL over at Brillkids about giving a discount to kids with special needs. I am very excited to announce that he has generously offered to give discounts ranging from 30% all the way up to 100% off!  The discount is available to Brillkids forum members who have been posting on the forum for at least a month and have a child with a disability.

Unlike the regular sponsorship program, the special needs discount is not based on parental income.

Here link to their forum.  Remember to join now & start posting so you can apply for their discount in a month:


Here is a previous post that I did to explain more details about the Little Reader program:

Here is my review of the Little Math program:

Here is a link to a form where you can fill out the necessary  information. Make sure you include the fact that your child has a disability, state the nature of that disability, and include a scanned copy of a note from a medical professional or therapist and remember to get started posting on the forum!

BrillKids sponsorship

UPDATE: So far everyone I Have talked to who has applied for this discount has gotten a VERY generous discount on both Little Reader & Little Math!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Other reading programs

There are various other reading programs that we haven't tried. Some that I can think of off hand are:

Monki See Monki Do -

e Reading Pro (formerly known as Out of the Box reading) -

Preschool Prep Company has a series of DVD's, books, etc. -

If anyone has tried these and would like to share, please leave a comment about your experiences.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Will you pray for Kirill?

This is a copy of Christie's post over at T-cubed: 3 boys, twins, & Trisomy 21. Please feel free to pass this on.

Will you pray for Kirill?

The Davis family (Greg and Tesney and their oldest son) love Kirill VERY, VERY MUCH. They are adopting him from an Eastern European country and are in the fight for his life right now. The judge in his region of his country denied them their adoption plea. They are appealing the decision.

The reason?

"socially unadaptable" with reasoning that an institution (just like where Alexander is now) made him unworthy of a family. The judge did not have the wherewithal to stand up for Kirill against the prosecutor in the court that day, March 17th. They left him, heartbroken but steadfast in their faith in God and with love in their hearts for the woman that denied their baby a home.

They have asked for prayers for the judge, who has said she will not fight an appeal, and prayers for all involved in court during the appeal. They want to bring Kirill home, they love him. THEY LOVE HIM DEARLY.

Please. I beg you. PRAY. PRAY. PRAY. His life depends on it, he is WORTHY. All of the children we are fighting for ARE WORTHY.

Please re-post this, share this. Please do not slander the judge or this situation. Is it horrible? Yes, in my opinion it is. Is it wrong? In my opinion, yes it is. But slandering her or this situation will not help Kirill. PRAYERS will. COMPASSION will.

Thank you.

BrillKid's Little Reader program

This really is my favorite of all of the early reading programs that I have found. Little Reader is the only  program that has grown with K from the time she read her first words until now and is still growing with her.

Little Reader is a computer based program which allows a parent to customize it to suit their child.  You can choose between available pictures or add your own.  Fonts can be changed or set to display randomly.  You can even record your own voice if you wish. Little Reader has a set curriculum, or you can choose between thousands of files that are available. I am so impressed with the versatility of this program. Now.........time for my confession...........I have not utilized this program even close to the full extent that is possible.  There are two main reasons for this.  1. Lots of computer problems! and 2. To repeat what I said earlier, you really need to teach your child in the way that suits them best. When she was younger, K really didn't seem to learn as well with a TV or  computer screen  she seemed to learn best with a flashcard - and she insisted it had a picture on it. In fact, it has only been in the last 6 months that she willingly reads a flashcard without a picture. Having said that, Little Reader has still been a huge time saver for me. The vast majority of her flashcards are from Little Reader and thanks to all of those great features, I can customize the flashcards. I could never have kept up to her if I had to make all of her cards myself. To be honest, I probably still don't really keep up to her! I have a hard enough time keeping up when all I had to do was print and laminate! It would have taken endless hours to source all of the pictures, then make and laminate the cards. I have so much respect for the moms and dads who had to do it this way! Thankfully, now that K is doing well with reading, she seems to learn just as quickly from a computer or TV screen as with flashcards. As soon as I get my new computer rather than having to borrow my husband's work computer or my kid's iPad, we'll get back at it again!

Update as of Aug/2011: Other than doing a set of "Fleschcards" (phonics flashcards based on Rudolph Flesch's book & created by Larry Sanger), we are solely using LittleReader.  K is picking up new words more quickly than ever & it is so much easier for me now.  A Little Reader weekly program takes literally a few minutes to set up - a far cry from the time it took to do a 45 word per week program with laminated flashcards!
BrillKids also has a math program called Little Math. Look forward to some blog posts about our experiences with it soon!


UPDATE: BrillKids is now giving a discount to parents of children with Special Needs.  Click on this link for more info:
  Exciting Announcement From BrillKids

Thursday, March 24, 2011


Starfall is a great phonics based Internet computer  program. I like that this program is interactive.  All of my kids have played and enjoyed this program at one time as our school sometimes allows kids to play on it as a treat if they are done their school work. It starts with ABC's and continues to increase in difficulty. I really feel that while younger kids will learn some things from this program, it is better for teaching older kids. I'm starting to experiment with teaching phonics using a sight word approach, but still think that phonics taught in the traditional way needs to be taught to 5 or 6 year olds who have a longer working memory.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

How to Teach Your Baby to Read

How to Teach your Baby to Read is one of a number of books written by Glenn Doman of IAHP (Institutes for Achievement of Human Potential) and is co authored by his daughter Janet. It was this organization that first started teaching children with Down syndrome and other brain injured children to read.  This was the first early reading resource I found, and a many of the ideas we use came from this book. Even when using other programs, I often use methods from this book rather than what is suggested by the particular program. Some of these ideas include fast flashing, using huge flashcards with red lettering to make the words easier to read and more visually appealing and most importantly, that teaching your child must always be done joyfully. This book goes step by step through the process of creating a reading program for your child. I would highly recommend reading this book even if you choose to use an already made program. It is often available at local libraries or can be bought at the IAHP bookstore at the link below, or on Amazon.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Learning Program

This is another great program that is offered free of charge for kids with DS by the down Syndrome Foundation of Orange County. It can be downloaded to your computer and printed off. This program was also great for helping K to learn various concepts such as  colours and shapes.  This program has books with many of the main words having flashcards and a matching picture card as well.  They even have a page of activity suggestions to go along with some stories.

The pictures are mostly quite a good quality. Many are photos, and even the drawings are easy to understand. Their books range from single words to short sentences.  Because K was able to easily able to read smaller print by the time we started using this program, we changed the settings on our printer to print many of these books out with 2 pages on each of card stock to make a smaller book.

The one minor problem we had with this series is that a number of these stories start with the words  " I see".  K started saying "I see" whenever we read any story for a while. We started reading other stories and she eventually started paying more attention and reading the words properly. I doubt this would happen for every child though.

Thank you to the Down Syndrome Association of Orange County for creating such a great free resource.

Here is a link to the page where you can register to access the free materials:

Down Syndrome Association of Orange County 

See and Learn

This is a program created by Downs Ed. This organization has both a UK and a US division. See and Learn can either be purchased and mailed to you or can be downloaded and printed on your home computer free of charge. 

This program has various components.  They have picture cards and matching word cards. One of the activities is to match the word to the picture on the template.  They also have books starting with one word per page, increasing in difficulty to short sentences such as "Emma is eating an apple". 

I really like this program. The pictures are very clear and concise and the words and stories are quite relevant and interesting to most kids. 

The one part of this program that we chose not to implement was the matching. We were concerned that it was a form of testing and were careful to avoid pressuring our daughter to perform. This method also seems so much slower than the fast flash method we use, ( & I don't have enough time in the day as it is!), so we just stuck with just fast flashing.   We did really enjoy the materials, just in our own way.  K still likes to pick up the books and read them for fun.  

This program is still under development and they are adding new sections as they are ready. At the present time there just wasn't enough reading materials to keep my daughter occupied for long. I wish it had been a  little further along in it's development when my daughter started learning sight words. 

I really appreciate everything that Downs Ed is doing for people with Down syndrome.  The reading program is really only a small part of it. 

Here is a link to the Downs Ed site's home page, where you can click on a link to either download or puchase the program.  Check out all of their wonderful articles which you are there too.

Thursday, March 17, 2011


This program is computer based & I acquired it when it was available for free download back in January. This previously $250 program is now being offered on DVD for $25 at the time of this blog post, which still seems pretty reasonable to me. We've only just started, but there seems to be quite a bit of material to keep kids learning for quite a while, so hopefully you wouldn't have to keep shelling more money out for other programs. In my opinion this program is better for kids who are starting a little bit later - maybe closer to school age? K enjoys it, but really she seems to enjoy any early reading program we have tried! I think it is more enjoyable for her because she already has a basic knowledge of letters & letter sounds. Personally, I find it very boring & very repetitive! One thing I do like though is that it encourages interaction in various ways such as having the child point out different letters on the screen. There are also worksheets to print off that go with the lessons, although K has so far refused to do any of them! The stubborn gene is on the 21st chromosome right? This may be something some kids would enjoy though & would help with fine motor & preprinting skills. You can also download samples for free to try it out.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Your Baby Can Read

Time is so short around here lately that my early reading program reviews are going to be fairly short. Maybe I'll revisit this topic when I have more time, but for now, here is my next review.

Your Baby can Read - or YBCR for short, is a popular early reading program. It is advertised on TV & I've heard people mention even buying it at Wal Mart. The fact that it is so readily available may appeal to some people. This program is fairly expensive, however I was fortunate to find several of their DVDs & books at my local Down syndrome association library. This program involves watching a video & reading the books on a daily schedule. I've never been one to stick closely to a schedule, & K was already reading a number of words before we tried this program so we disregarded the schedule. Actually, I'm not even sure that I agree with using a schedule anyways. Unless your child is very enthusiastic, you have to be careful not to push reading just because it is in the schedule or your child may decide they don't want to read at all. K really enjoyed this program & learned new words quickly. As with all programs we have used, we spent time with her while she watched the DVD & read the books to her often. I liked the pictures used in their books. They are very clear, concise & dont have a lot of background to distract from the subject of the picture. It is also great that they separate the picture from the word by hiding the picture under a flap. After you read the word, you lift the flap to reveal the word - there is nothingnto distract the child from looking at the word. I also think it is really good that they use different fonts. K went through a stage where she had trouble reading words that weren't a standard font & their program adresses this concern. The videos are also a fairly modern which makes it more enjoyable for mom & dad too:)! YBCR is a good program, but again, I think the price is a little high for the number of words your child can learn.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Love & Learning

This is the first commercial reading program that we used with K.  We did use some huge, home made flashcards first, but because K was less than a year old, & we did not test her it was hard to tell if she was learning them or not.  At the time, Love & Learning was the only early reading program I had heard of.  It is designed specifically for kids with Down syndrome.  I ordered the first 2 kits & we started showing them to K.  She really enjoyed the DVD's & videos, & as you can see from the videos in an earlier blog post, she did learn to read the words in this program.  The videos are somewhat outdated, but K didn't mind & was quite excited about watching them.  One thing that I don't like is that the pictures in the book are not very clear & concise -  I prefer to use a very accurate picture rather than a sketch on my flashcards.  I do appreciate that there is a word on one page & a picture on the next.  This helps babies & young children to focus on the word only & not be distracted by the picture.  My biggest complaint is the cost of the program.  For the number of words it teaches, it is a fair amount of money.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Early Reading Programs

My next set of posts will be on the early reading programs that I have tried - & we've tried most of them! LOL!  Most of them will be in random order, but I'm saving my favorite for last, so wait for it before you go buy a program!  Please keep in mind that every child learns differently & therefore what works best for my child may not be the best choice for yours.  Consider your child's learning style & personal preferences before you make your choice.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

What we did then - What we do now Part 2

The other big recent change we have made is that K started a neurodevelopmental program with ICAN last fall.  We had created our own program for her until then, but really felt an evaluation and a program made specifically for her would be even more beneficial.  I won't talk about the details of her program because it is developed specifically for K, but we are pleased with her new program.  I think the biggest changes we have noticed has been a very definite increase in her memory - up one full digit span ( Mom's assessment only) in only 4 months!

What we did then - What we do now Part 1

We have made a few changes in the last 6 months.  Until last fall, for supplements,  K was getting a regular children's multi vitamin, fish oil, vitamin D, vitamin C, probiotics - I think that's all!   Occasionally she would get a elderberry & zinc combination & echinacea when she had a cold.  All of her supplements were health food store quality. What you see in most of these videos she accomplished while getting the above vitamins only, & a good diet ( lots of organics)  - without TNI.  It is comforting for me to know that my daughter can learn so well without anything else although I do know that many people consider TNI to be more for the long term benefits.

Having said that, we have decided to try some additional supplements in the last 6 months.  We added them all gradually.  K is getting Nutrivene D Daily supplement, Nutrivene Night Time formula, Ginkgo Biloba & Longvida Curcumin.  The only thing that I think made a noticeable difference is the Longvida Curcumin.  K's language seemed to take a sudden jump when we started it. However, we ran out a couple of weeks ago, & this week the whole family has commented on a sudden jump in her speech, so who knows?   The new order of curcumin should arrive soon -  I'll update if I see any new changes once she is back on it again. 

I have to admit that I had been hoping to see more short term results.  I am honestly undecided as to whether or not we will continue long term. I have talked to other parents though, who were impressed with the changes  in their kids on TNI, but I believe that because each child is an individual, certain things work for one that might not work for another.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Where do I start?

I am finding it very frustrating to figure out where to start with all of the information I want to talk about as well as to figure out how to organize it all. Please bear with me if some of the posts are coming out a little jumbled in order. I will try label them all so they can be easily found in by searching.

In other news, my Grandpa passed away last night. He went for coffee with a friend, got into the vehicle, buckled up,and in the few seconds it took his friend to get back to his side of the vehicle,he was gone. We are very thankful and feel blessed that he lived a good long life and went quickly with no suffering. I will be gone most of the next week, so I'm not sure if I will be near a computer & blogging much or not, but will be back next week and get back to the questions I have been asked and add some information on some of the different early reading programs available.

Thanks everyone

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Have you pledged to stop using the "R" word yet?

There is only about 1/2 hour left of Mar 2/11.  I had planned to post this a lot earlier, but am just getting home after a much longer day than it was supposed to be, so I'll make this short.  Today is the day to "spread the word to end the word", but it needs to be done every day.  Check out the link below to take the pledge & for more info, & if you haven't already (which I'm sure most of you have) - Stop using the "R" word!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


It happened tonight, of those moments where as a parent of a child with Down syndrome ( or other special needs, I'm sure) you are ecstatic about a new skill that has suddenly emerged, yet all the while dreading the consequences. Tonight I spelled to my older girls that I was looking for my P. H. O. N. E. ( it's an iPhone & K loves to play games on it) Immediately K said "Where your phone Mommy?" and in that moment it happened. I now see the end of being able to spell out words like C.A.N.D.Y.,or say "I. C. E. Cream, or other variations of words we don't want K to know that we are speaking of. I knew it would come, I knew I would be one proud Momma,........ but she's only 3, I'm supposed to be able to spell things a little longer!........Thanks for letting me share yet another big brag:)!