Monday, December 6, 2010

Moving Forward...Slowly

Today we (Cody and I) had a SIT meeting at school with all of Cody's teachers, academic advisory and the school psychologist. We are all agreed that Cody needs to be tested. Though it was made clear to me that they can not test for NLD specifically. I already knew that. That diagnoses would have to come from the medical field.

Unfortunately, I have found out that insurance companies do not cover this kind of testing past age 6! Of coarse! Doesn't that make sense? Most children would not be tested for learning disabilities until after age six. The tests can range from $1200- $1800. I do have a call to his pediatrician, who is supposed to get a referal for Cody...but I am pretty sure he is going to find out what I already know.

I guess it is just a waiting game at this point. They will start the testing in January, after winter break. Then we will have a meeting to determine if he meets the criteria for special education services. This will be the tricky part!

Other than that things have been better at home between Cody and I. I feel like I am getting to know him all over again and I am seeing him in a different light. It is good.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Non-Verbal Learning Disorder

Ever heard of it?

I thought that the first time I had heard it was a couple of weeks ago. But as I was going through past school documents, I realize that it was brought up before Cody entered Kindergarten, by Children's Hospital. How did I miss it or why did I dismiss it?

After thinking about it, I know why. What do you think of when you hear learning disorder? Do you think of a child who is reading at the age of three? How about a child who has the verbal skills of an adult? Or a child that in kindergarten tests in the above average to gifted range? How about a child who passes the Gate testing at the end of second grade. No, I don't think of learning disorder.

But there is another picture of this same child, and it is finally coming into focus. My son has spina bifida with hydrocephalus. He is physically disabled and this is made obvious by the fact that he uses a wheelchair. But if you have a simple conversation with him, it appears that his disability ends there. It seemed to me that his greatest disability was his attitude. But now I see the true disablility. The picture is coming into focus.

The arm flapping in his early years (when he became overly excited). The extreme fits that were blamed on my parenting skills. The constant verbal reminders to complete daily tasks. The seemingly rude or blunt behavior. Total disinterest in coloring or drawing. The inability to relate to his peer group. This was just in the first 5 years. To be honest it didn't raise too many red flags for me.

The report cards that have gotten worse each year since 5th grade, no matter what I grounded him from. The continued frustation and acting out. The inability to rationalize a given situation and to see anothers point of view. He is directionally challenged and unorganized. And yes, he still needs those verbal reminders to complete everyday tasks, like brushing his teeth. In school he has difficulty completing assignments and when he does, he often forgets to turn them in. He is very literal in his thinking so he does not process information in the way it was intended, which leads to misunderstanding. Due to his high verbal skills he is perceived as being lazy and unmotivated. At home he is seen as being defiant and rebellious.

So I heard this term, Non- Verbal Learning Disorder, a couple of weeks ago by someone who is associated with the Spina Bifida community. What is it? I did my research.

Non-verbal Learning Disorder is a neuropsychological disorder that has damaged the white matter on the right hemisphere, affecting the way the brain processes information. Some things are not affected, in particular, speech.
"The syndrome of nonverbal learning disabilities includes a number of specific, potentially debilitating symptoms." These have been grouped into "three major areas: neuropsychological deficits, academic deficits, and social-emotional/adaptational deficits."( Michael Roman,
This kind of damage is seen most often in individuals who have experienced some sort of traumatic brain injury, neurotube defect, or hydrocephalus.

As I was reading this (new) information, I hear a voice in the back of my mind, "Mom, I don't understand." How often had he said that to me? How often did I tell him he needed to focus more, stop goofing off, get with the program. Well, let me tell you as a parent if you DON"T listen to your kid often enough, they will stop telling you. Then what? Depression? Thoughts of suicide? Yes, all this and more.

I'm listening now. It's time to move forward. Make some changes and deal with the real disability, NLD.

To my family and ANY one else who would like to learn more about NLD, I found this site very easy to read.

Friday, November 26, 2010


Married, five kids....extremely lonely.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


...a lot has passed since my last post. Life seems busy and complicated. The children don't seem to stop growing... or stop moving, for that matter either.
Other things that have changed? Well, I started homeschooling this year. After much thought, my husband and I came to the decision that our two youngest children would do well to not be an a traditional brick and mortar classroom. Andan is doing well in a public charter homeschool program. The three oldest are currently in the same local Charter high school, which makes morning transportation less problematic. Though it seems even that may be changing soon.
I have taken up a new hobby, sewing, and have enjoyed it immensely this season.
It seems the biggest change as of late is still in progress, as we learn of valuable new information concerning Cody and the numerous struggles we have had through out the years. As we go through the steps for a medical diagnoses, I sense that I am also gearing up for a fight with the school system to ensure him success in his remaining years of school. I don't want to go into to much detail on this matter as I am still trying to accept many of my own feelings that I am having. When I have it sorted out a little more, I will share.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Sassy Blinging Babes Blog Hop

I sure am glad that I had this project done a few weeks ago. My Grandma passed away on Sunday, and life has been crazy ever since. Her memorial is tomorrow, Saturady. I am hoping by next week I will be able to do some blog hopping with my Sassy Blinging Babe friends. This is the last stop on the Blog Hop. There were some awesome creations, alerations and money saving tutorials. To start at the beginning, hop on over to Rhonda's blog and follow the trail! Happy hopping.

I decided to try and create my own sketch and then create my LO from the sketch. I don't know how Becky Fleck does it, but I found it to be very challenging. I have a feeling that (unlike construction) a sketch is drawn after the lay out is created. LOL I incorporated part of a design I saw on another lo that I thought would be
I sure am glad that I had this project done a few weeks ago. My Grandma passed away on Sunday, and life has been crazy ever since. Her memorial is tomorrow, Saturady. I am hoping by next week I will be able to do some blog hopping with my Sassy Blinging Babe friends. This is the last stop on the Blog Hop. There were some awesome creations, alerations and money saving tutorials. To start at the beginning, hop on over to Rhonda's blog and follow the trail! Happy hopping.

fun to recreate.
Here is the finished LO. Cody is about
two in these b&w's.
Thank you for looking! ;-)

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Baseball, Baking and Bathing

I never thought of making homemade pudding.
Until last night, when I wanted to make a banana
pudding pie but did not want to make another
trip to the store to buy the pudding to make it.
So went to my favorite recipe site,
I was surprised to find a very simple recipe that
I would easily be able to make into a sugar-free
dessert. It was so easy to make (and tasty too!)
that I had to make some more with Andan today.
And I am going to share the recipe with you!
Vanilla Pudding
2 cups cold milk
1/3 cup sugar
3 Tbsp corn starch
1/2 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp butter
1/4 tsp salt
In small bowl combine and mix corn starch, sugar and salt. Pour in to small pot. Add milk and whisk ingredients together.While whisking, turn stove onto medium heat and continue to whisk without boiling. When it thickens to pudding like consistency, remove from heat. Add butter and vanilla and stir. Pour into container or single serving bowls. Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes and then chill (or eat it while it's still warm! Yummm). To make this a sugar-free (diabetic) treat substitute the sugar for xylitol and unsweetened almond milk for milk. Either way super yummy. I'm sure you could make chocolate pudding by eliminating the vanilla and adding cocoa powder!
I had a lot of fun, having fun with this LO.
Isha is really into trains right now. Especially
Thomas the Train. In La Mesa is this old steam engine
that has been turned into a museum. The kids got to
climb on it, around it and under it.

Andan is playing his first year of Baseball.
He is off to a great start and has already made
a double play at third base. He caught a fly ball
and tagged the runner out at third. Mommy was
so proud (and loud).

Squeaky Clean

Did you guys hear the story two months
ago how Isha locked me out of the house
when I was washing the car. He was inside
the house and could not manage to turn the
lock in the opposite direction to unlock it.
I was unable to get into the house. Well,
ended up calling the fire department so
they could reunite mother and son.
Admittedly, I have been leery of having
a repeat and have been careful to keep
keys and son in my hands when I walk out
the front door. So when it was time to wash the
car again, I was less reluctant to allow Isha to join me.
I thought he would play on the grass while I
kept a watchful eye on him.
REALLY, I only turned away for 3 seconds!
Well, I decided to go with it. He was happy,
I could watch him, wash him and the car
all at the same time.

Friday, March 5, 2010

How Long Has It Been's been a while. Four birthdays have passed. Isha turned 2, Jared 17, Andan 6 and Justin 16. So here are some stories and photos to share (just to get you caught up).

Isha's new trike.
Momma and Isha on his 2nd Birthday.

Andan received this awesome Peacemaker Medal in his school's Peacemaker Assembly. What an awesome thing it was to see my child receive this reward! My heart was glad!

And so was he!

What a beautiful boy and an awesome photo. His dad captured this moment.

This is a Layout I created recently, of our Anniversary. We revisited Julian which is where we Honeymooned. We had an awesome day together hiking Azelia Glen Loop Trail. The trail has severely been altered by fallen trees due to recent fires and rains. We had quite an obstacle course and even thought we were off course and possibly lost at several points during the hike. I quickly metaphorically related the hike to our 3 year marriage, and as the story goes we stayed our course through many challenges and obstacles and completed the journey.

We sure did have a lot of rain for San Diego during the last couple of months. Have you ever had to contain young children indoors for days on end? If you have then you know that as soon as the sun is shinning through, you release them. So what if the backyard is a swamp? Put some old clothes on them and set them free. Don't worry they wash up well! The kids, that is. Not the clothes.

I had the honor of attending a retreat last weekend with a fun group of ladies from Sweetwater Community Church. I find God has a way with timing. He knows what you need and when you need it. I had been having some "heart" issues in the weeks prior. Heart issues are those
things that we are struggling with or dealing with at the core of our being. Those issues that you know your not handling right. It could be anger, selfishness,, bitterness , unforgiveness or any of these human traits that we seem to carry around like baggage. God had been trying to get my attention and I had been resisting Him. He would continually bring it to my attention and I continued to resist his gentle, persistent, "Julie, how about this issue." "No God, not that." In truth He just wanted me to lay it at his feet and let Him carry it. And here I find myself on this retreat. No demands of busy days and tiny voices requiring my attention and time. And in the quiet, His nudging just got stronger and stronger.
Now it is the final day of our retreat and as part of our Sunday morning service, we went off to have some time of solitude. As I sat I felt this incredible love and I finally surrendered. It felt as if I was being held in my Father's arms. And though he was correcting me he was embracing me with the love that only my Creator could give. I started to share my heart issues with Him. I started to confess and pour out my hurts and failures. He just continued to hold me in his embrace, loving me, excepting me.
As a child, I don't recall a time in my life sitting in my parents lap being disciplined yet strongly feeling their love at the same time. I'm pretty sure I would have struggled against their embrace
even if they tried. And here I am 37 years old and my Father in Heaven is allowing me to feel and experience this unconditional love like I never have before.
THIS is the same love and grace that I want my children to experience. I don't just want to be correcting them. I want them to experience and know how deeply I love them. Even in their shortcomings and their failures. I am so thankful that God finally got hold of me last weekend and I was able to rest in His arms and feel his love. It is something I am sure I will remember
I can't believe that this photo was capture. This IS the moment!