Tuesday, May 31, 2011

New video of K reading!

This book is quite an easy level for K, but I wanted to show her reading a new book that she has never seen before.  She is a little distracted by pictures, &  has trouble with a couple of words, but again, it is a new book. Because she doesn't show off in front of the camera while reading very often, I'll take it!  Anyways, here she is, & as always when she chooses to read in front of the camera, in jammies & with messy hair!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Fast Flashing Method

When I explain to people that we use the fast flash method to show K her cards, I don't think that people always understand quite how quickly we do them, so I thought I would put up a video of a flashcards session. It really is fast!  The 12 cards in this set took  24 seconds to show both the words & pictures.                  

There are a number of reasons for going so fast.  Here are several of them:

1. Kids learn incredibly fast - by going too slowly, kids get bored & lose interest.  If your child won't sit for flashcards, try going much faster, using a very small number of cards, & doing them in very short sessions.

2. K would never have learned enough words to be able to read books unless we went quickly.

3.  Showing the words & images quickly helps with instant recall.

Between camera & computer difficulties, & "out in the country" speed internet, it took longer than expected to get this up ( I'd promised a couple of people that I would be posting it).  Even loading the YouTube page to upload it took 15 minutes. I left my computer running from midnight last night until 9 am & only 60% had loaded.  By 65% at 10:00 this morning, it timed out & I got an error message.  Grrrrr.  I realized later that I didn't turn the title card in between the words & pics - I guess I'm out of practice because we have been doing words only for over 6 months now.  After all of the computer problems I'm having, I finally decided that I'd better just put it up as is.

We flashed through the words as fast as we could say them, then we flashed through the pictures as fast as we could say them. This video is what our typical flashcard sessions looked like. The only thing I usually do differently is to switch the title card in between the words & pictures rather than at the end like I did here - that's what I would change if I could get the other video up.

 I can't believe how grey my hair looks from this view, but here it is:)! 

We also used this method sometimes. We would show the word and read it, then flip the card over and show the picture and say it, then turn the card over again and say the word again.

K learned equally well with either method & was able to associate the word with the picture regardless of how we showed the cards.

This last video is of K flashing through & reading the cards herself.  Isn't it cute how she organizes the cards after each session?

We loosely follow the method in Glenn Doman's Book, How to Teach Your Baby to Read.  I highly recommend reading it.  Here is a link if you are interested in purchasing it:


Friday, May 27, 2011

Now this is inspiration!

This video was posted on a list serve that I am on last week. I can't believe that I almost forgot to share it here! This is truly an inspiring video:


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

K's Favorite Apps - Updated

Here is the link to the updated post:


Today's Art Project

I'm not sure where I got this idea from. Maybe my friend Emily who does such neat projects with her kids, or perhaps the No Time for Flashcards website?  Sorry, I'd love to give credit, but I just don't remember.

And........for those of you who know me and are aware of my artistic limitations - I think I cut out a pretty fine dinosaur - free handed!  Not that it is an outstanding piece of art by many people's standards, but I was pleasantly surprised at how it turned out. Maybe helping K with her neurodevelopmental exercises has been organizing my brain too!

I bought the clothes pegs to help with fine motor skills and this was a fun way to try them out. All of the other supplies that we used are pretty common in most people's craft drawers.

K was so proud of her dinosaur & showed it off to her Daddy & sisters as soon as they got home!

Celebrate for Kirill!

I am so excited to post a happy ending to Kirill's story! The judge has awarded custody to his adoptive parents. What a blessing for a little boy (& his parents) who was destined to spend the rest of his life in an institution. I can only imagine the joy his family is feeling now after all they have been through!

Here is the update on his family's blog - check out his picture there. Isn't he a cutie?:


Here is a link to my first post about Kirill's if you woukd like to read his story.


Friday, May 20, 2011

Guest Blog on Baby Sign Language!

 I'm very pleased to feature Mey from babysignlanguage.com as my first guest blogger. Mey's site has some wonderful sign language resources such as flashcards, a wall chart & even a video dictionary.  I only wish I'd had some of these resources when K was still learning sign language!

Here is Mey's guest blog:

Baby Sign Language and Children with Special Needs

Children with special needs often have trouble communicating with the outside world. This can lead to frustration which causes them to display temper tantrums, aggression, or depression. Baby Sign Language (BSL) helps these special children express themselves, in addition to helping parents communicate more effectively with their children. This is especially true for children with apraxia, Down Syndrome, mito conditions, and autism.

Verbal communication is difficult for children without special needs, and is even more so for children with special needs. One of the reasons that BSL is good for special needs children to learn is because they often have more trouble learning to communicate verbally, than children who do not have special needs. The ability to express themselves through movement however, happens sooner than the ability to do so with speech. They will be able to use movement—BSL—to express themselves in positive ways that a parent can understand; rather than through temper tantrums and aggressive actions.

Special needs children do especially well with multiple forms of stimulation. This is often because they are having difficulties in one or more areas of stimulus: verbal, auditory, or visual. BSL provides a visual aspect to learning to communicate, thus helping to “bridge the gap” and allow a child more means of creating mental connections in the brain. One of the good things about BSL is that can begin being taught from birth. While a parent will not see results, it helps the child form connections to the outside world sooner than they may have.BSL helps special needs children to develop communication, verbal, and social skills earlier. This is because it allows their brains to be introduced and stimulated earlier and in different ways; this develops and strengthens the needed connections in the brain. This mental stimulation that BSL also provides conceptual information that will enhance a special needs child’s vocabulary and communication skills.

Additionally, if started early, the pace of learning to communicate can be more gradual—that is less stress is put on the child, thus lowering levels of frustration. As the child gains more vocabulary and communication skills, they often become more confident and leading to further advances. Language helps develop intellectual thought, thus a child with special needs should also be able to develop various areas of intellect quicker than they would have without BSL. These advances and confidence help your child to be more independent and happy. 

This article was provided by babysignlanguage.com a website featuring
digital resources including a baby sign language dictionary, baby sign
language flash cards, and baby sign language wall chart 100% free. 

Monday, May 16, 2011

My Brand New Author!

K's speech therapist gave us some ideas the other day to get K to tell stories about pictures & sent us  home with some examples of action pictures.  Later, I was talking with a dear friend who is a kindergarten teacher & she logically suggested using pictures of family or familiar items & writing the story down for K to read.  Later that day, K was playing with 2 toy buses. It was a very imaginative game about one of the buses crashing over a cliff.  I happened to have my camera nearby & thought this might be a fun idea for a story .  I asked K what was happening with her buses & wrote down the story that she told me.   I did help her a little with her sentances of course, for example when she said " Bus go fast", I wrote " The bus was going too fast."

I pasted the pictures onto cardstock, put them in the page protectors & fastened them into a book.
I'm planning to do this again soon & will probably use duotangs instead.

Speech & reading practised accomplished - along with a lot of fun!

K loves her new book!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Surviving a sleep study

This is a definition of sleep apnea that I found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sleep_apnea, on Wikipedia: a sleep disorder characterized by abnormal pauses in breathing or instances of abnormally low breathing, during sleep. Each pause in breathing, called an apnea, can last from a few seconds to minutes, and may occur 5 to 30 times or more an hour.[1] Similarly, each abnormally low breathing event is called a hypopnea. Sleep apnea is diagnosed with an overnight sleep test called a polysomnogram, or "sleep study".

It is hard to say how many people with DS are affected by sleep apnea - in the research I have done, I have found statistics anywhere from 45 to  over 90 %.

There are 2 kinds of sleep studies - a level 2 which in my daughter's case involved hooking up about 30 wires all over her body, & a overnight pulse oximetry test which involves only a few wires.

Sleep studies are no fun.  My daughter has had a few, but thankfully only one level 2 sleep study.  Here are some of the things that were helpful for us:

1. 2 piece, footed pajamas to make it easier to get all of the wires in place.

2. A stretchy hat  to put in place over the  wires on her head.

3. Stretchy socks to go over her feet & any wires that are attached.

4. Favorite portable DVD player & DVDs, even if you don't have a portable DVD player, bring some DVDs anyways in case they have one there, books, iPad or similar if you have such a thing, or anything else that  will distract her.

5. Favorite quiet toys or books

6. One thing that really helps my daughter is to explain the procedure beforehand, even for kids who are quite young and may not understand it all, because often our kids understand more than we think they do, & it can't hurt to try.  I have even found photographs & made them into a little book for my dd to explain medical procedures to my daughter.

7. Favorite snacks - several different ones,  & ones that take a while to eat - this is a great time waster as much as anything. I tried to make sure dd was a little on the hungry side when we started attaching wires.

My daughter has not had to have very many procedures such as this done, but I am very fortunate that somehow she always seems to come through with great behavior when it is really needed.  She has been really good for all of her sleep studies & so patient & tolerant about hooking up all of the wires.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Links that I Promised

With my love of flashcards, it's pretty ironic, but one of my favorite early learning sites is called No Time For Flashcards. They have an extensive collection of early learning activities which are organized by age and category.


The other site is Kizclub. This site has some really neat activities that you can make & do with your child. Their flashcards aren't my favorites because the pictures are not real concise and the word is on the same side as the picture, but I really love their early learning activities.


The book that I talked about was this one & I really would recommend reading it even if you get a different program.  It really explains the fast flashing we talked about.  Fast flashing really helps with instant recall, which you could probably tell that my daughter has from how quickly she read the cards to herself. 


How to Teach Your Baby to Read can also be bought through amazon or even rented at some libraries.

The site that I printed most of my flashcards from was BrillKids & the program was little reader.  This first link is to their free flashcards (you can also try this program out for free):


The second link is to another page on my blog where you can find out about BrillKids special needs discount - I talked to someone recently who applied & she got both the math & reading program for free, so it would be worth checking out.


One more really good resource that I forgot to mention is the local Down syndrome association library.  They have lots of resources including Love & Learning, Your Baby Can Read, some of the materials from DownsEd & lots of other great stuff. 


I just want to say a quick thank you to the ladies at the parent group that I spoke to the other day about my experiences in teaching my daughter to read. I really enjoyed talking to you, although I wish my daughter would have read that story in a little louder voice than a whisper! LOL! That's my girl - someone has to keep me on my toes! I promised you some of the other links that we talked about - I'll post them shortly.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Circus Flashcards

Some good friends have invited us to go to the circus with them. K  has never been before, although I think we may have borrowed a library book about the circus once.  Often with new concepts we talk to K about them using word cards, so last night I checked on Little Reader & found several circus files.  We downloaded & printed out a set in time for our trip.  This is what I love about BrillKids & Little Reader - they seem to have flashcard on just about everything!

Happy Mother's Day!

I have an extremely busy day today, so this is just a quick note to say Happy Mother's Day to all of my online friends!  Hope you have a wonderful day and are as incredibly blessed as I am!

I was spoiled today of course!  The girls made me breakfast & everyone presented me with their lovely, thoughtful gifts!  K was so incredibly proud of the heart pillow she & Daddy made at preschool.  She helped me open the wrapping, read the words to me & made sure I knew how to snuggle with it! The necklace (it is hard to see, but it is sitting on the pillow) was a well planned surprise.  My husband & all of the kids were involved in keeping Mom busy while the they shopped for this.

For a wonderful post on Mother's Day, check out this link to see Lily's mom's blog post & all of the adorable pictures:


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Grocery store grumblings:)!

Back when I trusted that the food on grocery store shelves was healthy, I used to enjoy shopping.  Now I just find it stressful.  I read labels carefully, but I feel like I always have to be one step ahead.  As much as possible I only buy the raw ingredients, but there are times when that isn't possible.  A couple of years ago I got a few friends together and formed a sort of  organization that allows us to order from a health food wholesaler.  That takes care of most of our dry & canned goods, soaps, shampoos etc. but not any fresh items we need.  We live in a very small town & the closest organic foods type grocery store is 2.5  hours away. I shop there when possible, but it's a long way to go just for groceries, so I find myself going to the regular grocery store far more often than I like.  I am usually able to pick apart practically everything in my grocery cart & I hate that.  The milk is pasteurized, the fruit is probably sprayed with chemicals, the meat has probably been fed chemical & who knows how it was processed................I could go on & on. 

I really feel that it is important that my daughter has a healthy diet.  Her extra chromosome already has her body working harder than most, so why make it work harder to get rid of garbage in her diet too?  So I continue to read labels & try to educate myself on healthy choices.

Here is a link to an article that my brother sent me today. It is entitled  "How food manufacturers trick consumers with deceptive ingredients lists".   There are some good tips on how to shop for food & not be tricked into buying something unhealthy.

Here is the link:

Happy shopping:)!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Neurodevelopmental Organizations

We have been doing a home program with K since she was A few months old. Shortly after she turned 3, we were fortunate to be able to take K for an evaluation through ICAN and have a program set up for her. I feel K did fairly well with our homemade program, but I am really pleased to finally take her to a neurodevelopmentalist (ND) because her program is now so specific to her. There are so many areas that we can now work on that I was either unaware of, or had no idea how to address. I have been sharing details of our home program, however I will not share any details of the program she has now as it is designed specifically for K and may not be beneficial to another child.

Here are some links to the ND organizations that I am aware of and like always, I appreciate your comments and extra information, so if you know of some others, please leave a comment.

ICAN - International Christian Association of Neurodevelopmentalists -


The institutes for achievement of human potential -


National Association for child development -