Saturday, October 30, 2010

"Trevor Saga 2" & Crash

(Before I get started...I'm really wanting to keep up with the "Therapy Ordeal", which I will call the "Trevor Saga"...but since it will be getting mixed in with other family things, I will try to use my titles to help keep it organized...)


Happy October 30th!


October 30th?

Perhaps it is because I have not finished my metamorphosis from "northerner" to "southern-belle", or perhaps it is because I'm super-out-of-touch with the world, but I was * tOtaLlY CoNFusEd * yesterday when people were talking about trick-or-treating tomorrow.

And Boy, I tell ya, I felt pretty ignorant when I found out that the WHOLE TOWN had a plan to MOVE HALLOWEEN...and I had no idea! Now that I know, I have looked it up online, and I see that our town and all the towns around us have posted their "official Halloween hours". Is this common?

Well, now I just have to adjust to the plan. I'm a slow adjuster. So in trying to be well-adjusted, I say "Happy Halloween".

Enough of that silly business.

We went to see Trevor's Psychiatrist this week...(and now let's just let that 8 year old has a psychiatrist. That is just contrary to all that is good and right.)...and updated him on all our plans. When I told him about our evaluation and therapy plans, he was politely skeptical. He did try to encourage me that it was good for me to care about Trevor and seek solutions for our problems...but he also tried to make sure I wasn't getting my hopes up. He fully expects that we will be back in his office with no changes at all. That's not to say that he has experience with this therapy program, and has seen discouraging things...he actually hasn't even heard of it at all. Well, I pray that our upcoming therapy will give him something new to consider.

While there, we made our get-off-the-medicine plan. I had already been giving Trevor half-doses of his meds for a week, and the Dr. said we could quit cold-turkey. So, we did! So far, so good. Trevor has been pretty goofy, but that is normal. I mean, for Trevor. That is normal for Trevor. :)

I called and scheduled our big trip to Birmingham. We will leave Nov. 28th, and do therapy from Nov. 29th to Dec. 10th. Wow. Mom was just reminding me that that means I'll be gone those days (that should be obvious, but often the obvious escapes me), and we'll get back right in the middle of Christmas season...I'll have a ton to do when I get home. Maybe I can try to get as much done as I can before we leave...

Let's see, what else?

Oh, an update on the Triops. They have lived the good life, and now they are done. Short-lived little creatures, aren't they? I guess they lived about 4 weeks...or at least one did...they've been expiring one by one for a while now.

We did enjoy watching them, though.


Our last one grew to be about 1.5 cms. He bit the dust when he had molting-malfunction.


Here's one last little story...

The other night I was in the kitchen cooking dinner, and I heard the most awful crash. Let me see if I can remember what went through my head...probably something like:

Maybe someone threw a stack of dishes down the stairs?
Maybe someone rode their bike through a window?
Maybe there was some sort of electrical explosion?

It's really amazing how fast thoughts can fly! And it's really amazing what a big noise a little glass can make.

I ran toward the crash, with Tim on my heels, and noticed William out the front window. Oh, it makes me laugh. There was William, looking up at the window, with his hands over his mouth, and his eyes as big as saucers. HOW I wish I had had my camera.


That there hole decorating our front window is about the size of my fist. "Someone" was throwing rocks...and apparently not in the right direction.


Guess we'll add "repair the window" to Tim's to-do list.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Bouncing Back...

Well, I tell you what...we have been tuckered out around here. I had no idea that our little trip to the doctor would take such a toll on our emotions! But, after several days of laying low, and having fun, we are beginning to bounce back. Or, at least we begin to think we will eventually...

Food is often we have tried to eat some good food. One night, William wanted IHOP (one of our family-favorites) so Tim got online, and found a recipe for IHOP pancakes to make at home. They turned out DELICIOUS. You can go HERE to try the recipe for yourself. (We didn't have any buttermilk, but I do keep buttermilk powder on hand in the fridge, and so we substituted that instead. I have found that when I use the powder substitute, I need to use a little less water than the box calls for.)

Trevor had a "make-a-face" pancake...

And William had a "rooty-jr." pancake...

It was ENORMOUS. And he ate it ALL.

Tim said we could call dinner IPOP...not sure if that's because "POP" cooked dinner, or because we all felt like popping...?

The next day we went out to Fall Harvest Days with the boys, Sharon and Larry, and Judson and Mary Grace. The weather was wonderful and we had a great time!

We started with the quilt exhibit. Trevor LOVED it. I should have guessed. He loves patterns. He took over 30 pictures of the quilts.

It was so fun to watch him enjoying taking pictures. Some of them were so cool. I took this one:


After the quilts we checked out the "tchi-tchins" ("chickens", per Mary Grace). I walked around with Mary Grace...I was sort of expecting her to get scared or cry. Sometimes she's not too sure about animals. We walked around, looking at different kinds of chickens...white ones, black ones, brown ones, spotted ones that looked like they had hats on their heads...and then right when we were looking at a big black rooster, it cock-a-doodle-doo-ed right at us. Mary Grace put up her hands, and gasped.


Her eyes got so big, and she held the pose so hard that she was kind of shaking. It was hilarious! I don't think she was scared...just excited. Well, after that, every time she heard a rooster call, she did that. EVERY TIME. It was SO funny.

I bet for at least 10 mins after we left that chicken tent and walked away she was still doing it. I wasn't even hearing those chickens any more, but every once in awhile she would do it again, and sure enough, I could hear a chicken. Oh, Mary Grace. That was funny.

Then, off to see the "pids" and the "don-teys".


Everytime we left one animal to see another, she would wave and call goodbye. "Doo bye, don-teys! Ha a nite day" (have a nice day).


We saw a "bibby t-ow"...

and a "diddy t-ow"...

...and a mule which she even petted. The boys were not as enthused.

Not sure what they were so interested in there...manure?

They did enjoy watching a man using an old-fashioned lathe.

They all enjoyed shucking some dried ears of corn and then putting them through some sort of corn mill...






By the look on everyone's faces, that was really serious business!

Before we left, we stopped by the pumpkin patch...

Trevor was THRILLED with his pumpkin. He calls it his pump-quash.

Today, Tim helped Trevor and William decorate their pumpkins...

Leave it to Tim to use a power tool...

However they did it, I think it worked great.

Trevor's was really too small to carve, but they still made it look cool by scraping a design in it.


Most of today I sat and worked on some more comfort food...Peanut Butter Bugles.

A couple years ago, one of the boys came home from school talking about them. Someone's mom had made them, and they were SO GOOD. Bugles, filled with peanut butter, and dipped in almond bark. It didn't sound too good to me...but they practically begged me to make them. I'm glad I did!


They ARE so good.

They will make a nice little treat to take to friends or neighbors.

To update on Trevor, I have started slowing down his meds. He already seems a little wound up. It really could be a long month. He was asking today how many days until we go to Birmingham? Hopefully we can nail that down sometime this week.

That's all for now!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Our Visit to Snider Therapy Center - the condensed version

We had an adventure yesterday.

Our oldest son, Trevor, has some "issues"...has some problems. Have you ever met someone who just seemed a little odd, or a way that you couldn't quiet put your finger on? That's how Trevor is. Each little problem, taken by itself, seems insignificant and silly. Like bumping into doorways. Or writing his "2"s backwards. Or forgetting instructions 3 seconds after hearing them. Trevor has a bundle of little problems, and over time we have grown more and more concerned with them.

We have tried different approaches: patience, discipline, diet, medicine, rewards, reminders... We have not landed on the answer to our problems. Perhaps there is none?

Trevor has been diagnosed with mild Asperger's Syndrome. He doesn't fit the profile perfectly, but it describes him better than any other diagnosis. What to do?

A new option has come to our attention. There is a place in Birmingham that treats a host of things, Asperger's included, with a non-surgical, non-medicine therapy program. So, yesterday we went to check it out, and to have Trevor evaluated. It was such a good day, and we learned so much that we didn't know about Trevor.

We learned that Trevor:

~has outstanding visual-perceptual skills
~has a very narrow field of "active" vision
~has HIGHLY sensitive hearing...I like to call it SuperSonic. He has the most sensitive hearing this doctor has ever tested.
~has good eyesight (with his glasses on, that is) but is not making good use of it, so to speak.

When you put all that together, it means that Trevor is very smart, but is highly inhibited in his performance. It was recommended that Trevor go through an intense 30 day therapy treatment, followed up by possibly a year or more of regular therapy. The doctor had high hopes of being of great assistance to Trevor, and has a VERY high success rate with children just like him.

We are pretty excited at the possibility of some relief for Trevor from all these difficulties. Trevor is more than pretty excited. He can't wait to get started.

Along with all the testing, we were able to enjoy our time away with each other and had a great day...



Our Visit to Snider Therapy Center - the expanded version

(This is the LONG version. I mean LONG and DETAILED. If you are new to this blog, you may perhaps want to read the short version of the story first...)

We had an adventure yesterday that I want to tell you about. Our family drove up to Birmingham to take Trevor to a doctor. We left home at 6:13 a.m. and pulled up in front of the doctor's office at 9:55 for our 10:15 appt. So far, so good.

On the front door, there is this picture next to the name of the facility:

Samuel brightly said, "This is the bwain doctor. This is wheh they check yoe bwain."

Oh, dear.

In we go to see this new place. It was bright and cheerful...pretty pleasant for a doctor's office. At one's first visit to a new doctor's office, there are, of course, always papers to fill out. I was pleased that the only paper they gave me to fill out was one with some questions for me to go over with Trevor. It had questions like:

~When you are reading, do the words ever blur or move on the page?

~Do you ever reread a line, or skip a line?

~Do your eyes ever water or hurt?

~Do you get tired easily when you read?

Can you tell this is not your typical doctor's office? As I tell the story, you may get more of a feel for it, but basically they use various therapies to "retrain" the brain. Well, at least that's my take on it. They say they "specialize in the field of Neuro-Visual Rehabilitation".

ANYway...I have asked Trevor those kinds of questions in the past, as prompted by the Snider Therapy website, and he has said no. So, I was a little shocked when he answered yes to many of the questions on that sheet! (You can see the questions HERE, by clicking on the School Age Child Symptom Sheet link.

Snider Therapy Center is run by a couple, Mr. Randy and Dr. Sharon Snider. They are very friendly and pleasant to be around. Mr. Snider took us back first, and did a basic vision test on Trevor, just to make sure he could see.

Then, another lady did 3 or 4 exams with Trevor. I got to sit outside the room, and observe through a window. I watched him do a letter and number reversal exam (he did poorly); a timed reading test (using numbers, not letters or words) to see how fluently he reads (which he did poorly); and a visual-perceptual test, which was very interesting.

That test was mostly shape recognition. The tech would show Trevor a page with a shape on it,

a circle

...and when he indicated he was ready, she would show him a new page with 4 shapes on it.

a circle 2

He would then have to choose the shape that matched the first page.

The shapes would get harder...

a spiral

a spiral 2

...and harder. Sometimes the shapes were on the same page, and he had to find the right shape hidden in a mess of other shapes...

a mess

There were shapes overlapping shapes, shapes of different sizes, and increasing complexities. If there were 2 pages, Trevor would look at the first page for, oh, about 2 seconds, indicate he was ready, and then look at the second page. Sometimes he would puzzle over the second page for as long as maybe a minute...sometimes between 2 and 10 seconds. He often made his choice before I could find it on the page, looking over his shoulder. There were so many pages... I would guess about 60 sets of puzzles. I was exhausted just from watching, and trying to match them myself. I had no idea how he did, but when the tech came out, she said he was very smart.

Phew! We took a 2 or 3 minute break...then we were on to the next exam.

We went back into the same room, this time with Mr. Snider (this time I was allowed to come in and watch). He tested Trevor's visual field. Or, rather, he tested to find how much of Trevor's visual field he was actually using. This was very interesting.

Now, if I hold my hand behind Trevor's head, and slowly bring it around the side to the front, it comes into his peripheral vision like you would expect...somewhere near his shoulders. HOWEVER, that doesn't mean his brain is using that information. Mr. Snider was able to plot on a paper, and show where Trevor's functional vision was. is a rough shot of what the paper looked like for one eye. He tested each eye separately.

a plot

The red line is sort of where the boundaries of Trevor's active vision lie. They ought to have been off the page. I believe it would be like if you held up your hands and made a big circle of them, and held it in front of your face, and looked through the circle.


I believe that is all that Trevor really sees. That doesn't mean that all around it is black, but just that it is not information his brain is processing. THAT might be why he trips off of curbs, crashes into doorways, and bumps into corners. HE IS NOT SEEING THEM!


Here's another little example. If you put your fist up, like so...


and stand on one foot...notice what happens. Really, for the love of Trevor, you should try it.

Okay. Now, using that same hand, open it up to an "O" shape, and hold it like a telescope over one eye, and shut the other eye. Now, try to stand on one foot again.

Surely you could stand on one foot both times, but did you notice if it was harder either time? For me, it was noticeably more difficult with the open O hand. That is because our peripheral vision is so important for balance. NO WONDER Trevor is so wobbly!

Back to the exam. Next, Mr. Snider did a hearing test on Trevor. Trevor has had hearing tests before, but I think this one was a little different. This test measured his hearing sensitivity. Trevor sat with tight-fitting headphones, and I sat behind him, watching. Mr. Snider sat across from Trevor, behind a little "booth", where we could easily see him. Whenever Trevor heard a "beep beep beep" he was supposed to raise his hand. That poor boy got quite a workout. I wonder if his arm is still tired? Mr. Snider plotted some results on a graph, and afterwards told us a little about it. Here is what we learned.

I made you this little sample graph. Ha! I'm just working from my memory, so it's not perfectly complete or accurate.

a hearing

I totally don't know what frequency all those things are...but you get the idea.

What we learn from this is that Trevor has VERY SENSITIVE hearing. Most standard hearing tests, the basic ones that just check if you CAN hear, do their check at 30 decibels. I think Mr. Snider said that often children can hear at 15 dBs. The places where Trevor's line goes up to the top of the chart peaked out at -10 dBs. Sometimes people say something is "off the chart" it is really good, or something. Well, Trevor's hearing was "off the chart" in 4 frequencies. That means, the quietest level that there was on the chart was not necessarily where Trevor could hear. Quite possibly, his hearing would have been even more sensitive than the chart showed. Mr. Snider said he has had children come in that were "off the chart" in 1 or 2 columns, but never 4, like Trevor. He has never seen a child so sensitive of hearing.


What that means is, Trevor is being bombarded with sound all the time. Mr. Snider said that the chart is a little hard to comprehend because the gap in volume between, say, 10 and 20 dBs is very great. Some sounds we hear could sound 100 times louder to Trevor. I can't even understand that. SO, Mr. Snider believes that Trevor's mind sort of shuts down his auditory center, in order to cope with all the terrible noise he hears. USUALLY children with super- sensitive hearing have frequent "melt-downs" and tantrums, because their senses are under such constant assault.


Praise God, praise God. I am in amazement that we have not had melt-downs. God is so kind to us.

And no wonder Trevor seems like he can't hear well. His mind has turned it off.

Can you believe that was not the end of the testing????

The next test was a "Brain Timing" test. Weird name. This test was basically done by clapping to a beat. Trevor wore headphones, and a round device on the palm of his hand which recorded his claps into a computer. Mr. Snider sat at a computer and Trevor stood nearby. Then a chime, or tone, sounded a slow, but steady beat in the headphones. I could hear it...if I had to guess, I would say it was one tone per second. It was rather like a metronome. All Trevor had to do was clap on the tones. Sounds easy...but...It was almost painful to watch how difficult this was for Trevor. At first, he would just clap AFTER each tone. Bum, clap...bum, clap. Mr. Snider stopped him, and tried to re-explain what Trevor was supposed to do. After working at it for maybe 30 seconds to a minute (that sounds like a short time, but at a tone-per-second, that would be 30 claps! 30 tries!), Trevor would finally make a clap ON the tone...and would keep the right rhythm for maybe 5 claps. Then he would laps off again. It was awful. Then Mr. Snider stopped him, and added a new element. Along with the tones, Trevor was going to hear other sounds. All he had to do was ignore the other sounds, and continue to clap on the tones. The tones sounded designed to throw a person off...which I'm sure they were. How can I express how difficult it was for Trevor? The look of utter concentration on his face, and the totally random, uncoordinated clapping was almost too much to bear. Honestly, I wanted to laugh! but it was also so sad, I just almost couldn't watch.

A person perfectly clapping on the tones would be zero milliseconds off the beat. Mr. Snider said that was impossible, and that at best, a person could clap maybe 6-7 milliseconds off the beat. Trevor was over 300 milliseconds off.

What did I learn? This brain-timing test reveals how a person's brain is doing at planning, organizing, staying on task, and processing. This is what the Snider Therapy Centers website says about it:

Interactive Metronome (IM) is a brain-based rehabilitation assessment and training program developed to directly improve the processing abilities that affect attention, motor planning, and sequencing. This, in turn, strengthens motor skills, including mobility and gross motor function, and many fundamental cognitive capacities such as planning, organizing, and language.

Any of that sound like it's hard for Trev? Attention; motor planning; motor skills; gross motor function; planning; organizing...uuhhhh. Yes, those are problems. These were things I already knew...but this demonstration added to my awareness of how difficult things are for Trevor.

LUNCH BREAK! All of that was 1.5 hours of our morning. No wonder we were tired.

Tim and the other two boys had been out playing, and came back and picked us up. After eating at DQ, which was Trevor's special choice, we headed back near the Therapy Center, and enjoyed feeding some geese and koi at a nearby pond.



It was so refreshing to get out in the air.


And feeding those funny animals was delightful.


The koi were really about as big as the geese, and loved the golden grahms just as much.


It was nice to tell Tim all about our long morning.


And the boys were precious.


After our refreshing break, we went back for more testing. Really, the afternoon testing felt like it went rather quickly. It was mostly a series of eye exams done by Dr. Snider. Trevor has been in glasses so long, that this was nothing very novel for us. His eye doctor in town, our good friend Joe, has done such a thorough and excellent job, that I didn't feel surprised by much. Dr. Snider was very pleased that Trevor is in bifocals already, and said his eyes both had great vision (that is, with his glasses on). She did do a couple of tests to see how well his brain is USING his vision, and how well his eyes are working together. As it turns out, it seems that Trevor's brain uses both of his eyes alternately, instead of together, which I can't remember if we have ever checked that before. But, that is something that Therapy can work to make better.

That's about all I'm going to say about that. There just wasn't much new or note-worthy. The short of it was, that Trevor IS very far-sighted, and DOES use both eyes; but that he also needs work to make his muscles stronger, and and to make his eyes work as a team.

After this, Tim came back and got Trevor, and I stayed for the "feedback" appt. Mr. Snider went over all the tests with me, and helped me understand what they all meant. Most of that I have thrown in with the blog already. I didn't explain yet about the visual-perceptual test...the one with the shapes. Mr. Snider said the average child would score in the 50th percentile, and that Trevor scored at the 99th percentile. He has VERY good visual-perceptual skills. Nice news, after all the other hard stuff.

At this Therapy Center, they have a special treatment called Sensory Learning, which they would like to see Trevor do. It is an intense, 12 day program that we would go stay in Bham for. During the program, Trevor would have 2 sessions of therapy a day for 12 consecutive days, consisting of a multi-sensory treatment. After that, Trevor may do a year or so of vision therapy, which I know little about, and will be researching!

They let Trevor come in and check out the Sensory Learning Room before we left. They have a room, which really reminded me of a spa room--perhaps not so fancy, however. There was a station in a corner with a computer and such, and a large table in the middle that almost looked like a bed. There was a pillow on it. They had Trevor lay down on the table, and they put headphones on him. The headphones play "grandma-ish" music that I'm sure has some scientific-ness to it that I don't understand. Also, there is a light box that they lowered to about 18 inches above his head. It had a violet light that gently turned on and off, that was really rather soothing. Also, they turned off the overhead light, and the room was so completely dark that I couldn't see a single thing, except the violet light. Then, while the light was going, and the music, the bed moved gently, though I have no idea how much or how fast, since is was utterly dark. They let Trevor try it for about 5 minutes. He loved it. I think it was very relaxing for him. He said he loved the violet color of the light, and it reminded him of rides at the fair. Cute.

So, that is what the treatment is! Apparently they add more colors to the light sequence as the days go on, and over time this multi-sensory stimulation helps integrate the senses. At least, that's my limited understanding.

You can click HERE if you want to link to more information:

So, how did Trevor respond to all this?

He was so excited!! Well, actually, at first he was just plain tuckered out. But, after we got home (at 9:30 p.m.) and had a snack, he really brightened up, and wanted to talk and talk about it. I told him some things that the therapy might be able to help, like not stumbling into things, and being able to concentrate better, and he liked that. I told him they might be able to help his hearing not be so sensitive, and he said, with a little chuckle, "Oh-ho...that would be SUCH a blessing." How cute is that? Poor, poor little guy. He is so excited to go get started, and wishes we could go today. I guess I'll be praying that his expectations don't get out of control, and that he won't be disappointed if things aren't ALL BETTER.

Mr. Snider said that Trevor should be off all his ADHD/OCD medicines before we get started, so I predict that we will have a few rough weeks with a highly distractable and wild child. But, I pray that it will be worth it. Dear, sweet Trevor...he has had so much forbearance with should be our joy to forbear with him.

Here are some links for those who are interested:

Snider Therapy Centers

Sensory Learning

Online form you can fill out to have evaluated by a professional to see if you might be a good candidate for Sensory Learning Therapy

Vision Therapy

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Our Fall Break

Fishing in the Canoe 8

After talking about it for over a year, we finally screwed up our courage, and took the Fam camping! In a tent! Out of town! And it was GREAT! (Are we BRAVE, or WHAT?)

Open Pond @ Conecuh

We pulled into Conecuh National Park last Sunday afternoon with just enough time to get camp set up before daylight was used up.

The Campsite 2

We had almost everything we could want for camping: lanterns, canoe, fishing poles and gear, cooking necessities, a borrowed air mattress...and a 4-man tent. We were a bit worried that the 4-man-er wouldn't cut it for our family, so we hit Wal-mart on our way out of town to pick up a bargain tent:

The New Tent

...we were SO glad we had it.

We had so much fun. Here's some shots of what we did.

William did the most fishing...

Early Fishing 1

and even caught one...

Catch and Release 1

It was a good call to NOT keep it, since it was our only catch.

Trevor did a lot of looking for bugs...
A "Fly"

and taking pictures of bugs...
A "Fly" Close Up

Samuel enjoyed picking flowers...
Flower for Mom

They all enjoyed hiking...
Brothers 2

and taking breaks from hiking...
The Naturalist 4

Drinking Fountain 4

We DIDN'T swim...No Swimming

Tim taught the boys to canoe...they loved canoeing.
Walking the Canoe 1

After some practice on the end of a rope, he let them go across the pond on their own...
Canoe Ride 6

And, yes, I know that Sam doesn't have his life jacket on all the way. I'm sure if there was a sound bite with this picture, you would hear me hollering, "Samuel, put that life jacket on!"...which he did. No one drowned. :) or was eaten.

They liked fishing from the canoe...
Fishing in the Canoe 4

Okay, I see that Sam doesn't have his life jacket on here, either. Well, we may not get the parents-of-the-year award, but that's okay. We had fun, and, again, no one was drowned or eaten.

And, on this line of thought, it comes to my mind another fun thing that we did...

We gave all the boys their VERY....OWN....
Pocket Knife 1

Pocket Knife 3

The boys were THRILLED...and we only had minor cuts here and there. Trevor said, "I can not believe you would give a knife to a Kindergartener!" I really can't either. I guess that's part of being the baby of the family.

Let's see...what else? Of course, we roasted marshmallows, and made S'mores with white chocolate chips, since regular chocolate is not a friend of ours, anymore. (Trevor has adverse reactions to it, like irritability).

Roasting Mallows 5

Roasting Mallows 6

I took about 300 pictures...
Second Morning 1

Everything was so beautiful!
Pond at Dawn 1

Oh, yes...and the boys spent hours looking for frogs...
Looking for Frogs 2

Looking for Frogs  4

...and even caught some...
Little Frog 1

Little Frog 4

There are several more pictures on our Flickr account, and if you click on any of these pictures, it should send you right there.

Hooray for camping!