Wednesday, April 16, 2014

What's on Our iPad? iPractice Verbs

As many of you know, I have a daughter with Apraxia.  We love to review many speech therapy apps to help other kids like Paige & parents like me to know which apps are out there & which apps are helpful.  


iPractice Verbs


From the iTunes store:

iPractice Verbs is an app developed to help children learn and practice basic English verbs in a variety of levels (word, phrase, sentence) and tense forms (present, present progressive & past tense). iPractice Verbs was designed by a licensed and certified Speech-Language Pathologist to serve as a tool for children with language delays and as a tool for children and adults learning English as a second language.

This app contains over 158 regular & irregular verbs in the present, present progressive, and past tense with corresponding high quality images and audio (totaling to over 1000 stimuli). Practicing verbs and verb tenses has never been so easy or intuitive.

::: Features ::::
  • Contains regular and irregular verbs
  • 158 verbs at the word, phrase & sentence level
  • It includes present, present progressive & past tense options
  • Voice recording available
  • Built-in audio for all verbs
  • Compatible with the Therapy Report Center
  • Multi-player
  • Track correct & incorrect response
  • Players are advanced manually to give user flexibility
  • Generate certificates
  • Built-in homework sheets
  • Print, email or export results
  • Built-in reward system with prizes
  • Backup and restore data via iTunes file sharing

iPractice Verbs is one of the many good quality Smarty Ears Apps.  In fact, I think it's Smarty Ear's best kept secret! 

I'll walk you through the app.


When you first start the app, you have 2 options for activities, you can select either the 'flashcard' mode or the 'find it' mode. 


Once you select either, you'll have the option to narrow your selection of verbs to work on. 


The flashcard mode has a lot of variety!  You can pick which tense you'd like, and if you'd like it in a word, phrase or sentence.  In my mind, apps with variety = an app that will grow with my child. 






The find it mode is a multiple choice game.  This activity was designed to help students practice the techniques of listening in a variety of situations (e.g., focusing attention, reflecting, interpreting, analyzing, responding to messages).


I love that they added some extra fun into this app with their power cards.  The power cards will help motivate the child to keep going. 


My favorite part as a parent is that this app has built in homework sheets and certificates... something I have never seen before! 






And because this is such a great app, I'd love to share it with one lucky winner!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Read even more about this app here.
See more Smarty Ears apps here.
Read other app reviews & see more app giveaways here.


Tell me... what's your favorite app on your iPad?



*This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may get a small commission if you decided to purchase anything from that link.  Clicking on the link will in no way make you pay more, in fact, I love to look for the best prices to save you as much money as possible!  I only recommend products & companies that I use & love myself, so I know you will be in good hands.  Thank you!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Let's Talk Tuesday - Getting Involved With Your Special Needs Communities

http://www.trustmeimamom.com/search/label/Let%27s%20Talk%20Tuesday
Let's Talk Tuesday is a bi-weekly series with ideas & resources for promoting healthy speech development for your children (of any ability), but especially those with Apraxia, Autism, speech disorders or late talkers.  I am not a speech therapist, but I am a mom of child with Apraxia.  I share these ideas in hopes that they will help someone else.  You can view all of the Let's Talk Tuesday posts here.  

If you have a story or an idea that you would like to share, please click here for more information.

If you would like to sponsor the Let's Talk Tuesday Series, click here or contact me for more information. 

...........................................................

I think it's extremely important to surround yourself in a community when your child is diagnosed with a special need.  It provides the support, friendship & understanding you can't get anywhere else.  Here are 3 ways to get involved with other families who have similar situations as yours.




Go to or organize a walk
There are many organizations who hold annual walks for kids with that diagnosis.  There are Autism Walks, Down Syndrome Walks, Apraxia Walks and many others!  If you don't see one in your area, you can organize your own!   It can be as small or as large as you want it to be.

Helpful Hint: You can find organization tips here.

Join or start a Facebook page
I've joined several Facebook pages for Apraxia, Sensory Processing Disorder and other diagnosis pages.  It's so nice to be able to ask questions to those who have been where you are & to read other's questions.  I've learned a lot by looking through other Apraxia Moms' questions - things I never would have learned anywhere else!

Helpful Hint: When you're a part of the Facebook Group, there's a search bar where you can search for previously posted comments and questions.  This can come in handy if you have a question, but aren't sure if it's already been asked.

If there isn't a page you want, you can create one!  Sometimes it's also helpful to create local diagnosis pages.  For example, I created the Utah Apraxia Families page because I wanted to surround myself with local Apraxia families.  It's also been beneficial to talk to them about different school districts in the area and get references to local speech therapists.  

Helpful Hint:  If you're starting your own local support group on Facebook, check out this page for more info.  

Local Support Groups
Ask your doctors or therapists for any local support groups.  You can also ask them to give your contact information to another family they work with in a similar situation as you are in.  Chances are, that family wants to reach out to other families, too!

Helpful Hint: You can create Mommy Cards for your therapist to give to the family.  I've found them very useful! 

No doubt you'll benefit from surrounding yourself and your children around others who understand your situation.  I've loved meeting other Apraxia families!  It's been great to get Paige around some other kids with Apraxia as well.

Do you have any other tips on getting involved with your special needs community?  Tell us below!  

Disclosure:  This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.  I will receive a small commission from anything purchased through these links, but you will in no way be charged extra from purchasing through these links.  Thank you! 

Monday, April 7, 2014

Big News! Utah is having an Apraxia Walk!

This year we are holding the 2014 Walk for Children with Apraxia of Speech in North Salt Lake City on Saturday, June 7th. 



Last year was my first year going, but it was so nice to meet other families going through the same thing.  I also really loved seeing everyone on our team come to show Paige they love her.  It really meant a lot to me! 

If you live in Utah & have a child with Apraxia, I'd love to see you there!  You can start your own team, or you're welcome to join Team Paige

 




 

 For all of the details, click here.

Friday, April 4, 2014

What My Special Needs Toddler Has Taught Me About Facing Challenges - Faith Filled Mommy Moments



Faith Filled Mommy Moments is a safe place for moms of any religion to share their experiences on how their faith &/or beliefs helped them through a moment in motherhood. Because Heaven knows I need all the inspiration I can get!  I will be accepting Guest Posters for the majority of this series & have some awesome moms lined up for you!  I'm hoping this series will inspire other moms, help them draw nearer to their beliefs (whatever they are), & unite us all together.  If you are interested in sharing one of your stories in a post on this series, email me at michelle@trustmeimamom.com for more information.


My daughter has been diagnosed with Apraxia & Sensory Processing Disorder.  Although I realize there are many more severe special needs, she definitely has them. 

For any of you who know a child with special needs, you know they are amazing.  Now, I'm not necessarily saying they are automatically qualified into superhero status just for having these special needs, but I do think they deserve a little credit for going through everything they have to go through.

Usually, they go through these challenges with such an amazing spirit. 

It's inspiring! 

Paige (my 4 year old) has an extra hard time with her speech.  You don't realize how much you talk (or how important it is) until a loved one has a hard time speaking clearly.  Paige has to work really, really hard for people to understand her.  Although she's made tremendous improvement in the past year (her pediatrician was almost in tears at her 4 year check up because she was so impressed and proud of Paige), she still has a long road ahead of her.  This might be something that affects her for the rest of her life.
I can't imagine how frustrating it would be to not be understood, not even by your own mom

I get frustrated just when I'm in the other room & my husband can't hear one sentence of mine. 
Imagine you can't tell anyone what you want to eat.  You can only sign that you want to eat.  Imagine you can't tell anyone what show you want to watch on TV.  You can only point to the TV.  Imagine you can't tell someone your tummy hurts.  You can only... well, there's no way she could have communicated that to me when she was younger.  Imagine you want to make a friend, but you can't talk in a way they understand.  You can only smile at them and hope they give you plenty of time and attention to figure out what you want. 

Now imagine this is your life.  Day after day. 

That would be an incredibly hard & lonely life.  To be honest, I am sure I'm only pointing out a small portion of Apraxia's challenges. 

Despite these trials (and many more), Paige always seems to have such a happy spirit about her.  


She's amazing & teaches me daily to be better.  I'd love to share what she teaches me about how to handle life's trials with you. 

She rarely gets frustrated with herself and others.
(even though she would have been justified many times)
People often don't understand her, or try very hard to understand her.  This is something I would get frustrated with.  She's patient with them & if she needs help, she turns to me to translate.  Same goes for when her body doesn't work the way she wants it to.  She's usually very patient with herself.  When I'm not feeling my best (AKA in the middle of a trial), I find it very hard to be patient with others.  That's usually when I snap or say something I later regret.  I need to remember to try to be more patient with others.  As far as being patient with myself, well... we are our own worst critics.  So I love her example on being patient with herself. 

She turns to the Lord when she needs to for help with what she can't do on her own.  
She knows that God is there for her, so when she needs help, she prays.   (read here for an inspiring story about her praying)  I love the faith she has. 

She gets creative in how to solve her problems/communicate.
Paige has always been great at communicating, just not necessarily verbally.  She finds creative ways to communicate & let others know what she wants to tell them.  I think it's often hard when we're in the middle of a trial to be open minded & creative, but if we let ourselves be open to other ways to solve our problem, we will come out on top more times than not. 

She laughs at herself when her body won't work the way she wants it to.
Paige's occupational therapist pointed out to me that kids with similar motor control challenges as Paige often make their mistakes into something silly.  This totally made sense to me because Paige used to be as serious as can be, but in the past year or so, she's become more silly & it's usually when she's trying to control her body, but it doesn't always work the way she wants it to.   Having a good sense of humor and a positive attitude can make or break you in a hard time.

She accepts her challenges & makes the most of them.
Paige knows she has a hard time with certain things.  She does a great job making the most of what she's been given in life.  She has a positive attitude, is patient with the situations she faces & still loves herself & those around her.  

I love Paige for teaching me so much.  I want to follow her example & use these tips each day as I face different challenges and trials.

Tell me!  What has your child taught you about challenges??  Let's learn from each other's littles!  

Linked up to Fellowship Fridays, Love That Max, How Do You Do It? Parenting Link Up, LDS Link-up Party & The Homemaking Party

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Even a Child Can Make a BIG Difference in Someone's Life

This past weekend, I was able to watch a Women's Conference with my mom, some other family and friends.  It was a really neat and uplifting conference.

One of the things they spoke about that touched me the most was serving others (surprised?).

My favorite quote was by Bonnie Oscarson, after she told a story about a mom and daughter serving a neighbor who had Multiple Sclerosis.  She said, "even a child can make a big difference in someone's life."  [Re-tweet this]


You can watch her whole talk here.

I just wanted to share it because I know it can be true.  Children have such a beautiful spirit about them and they can help in a way that no one else can.  This is one of the many reasons why I started the Mommy & Me Monthly Service Challenge, so that we can help our kids have many opportunities to help others. 

I want to know...
How has a child made a difference in your life?  Tell me in the comments!  



Speaking of conference... another similar conference is this weekend (basically a continuation of the Women's Conference, but it's for any one, not just women).  This is a conference that my church puts on to uplift people from around the world.  You're welcome to watch it here with me!

Here's a highlight about it.

 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Why Your Special Needs Mom Friend Might Be... 'One of THOSE Moms'

I know you have a special needs mom friend.

And I bet you like her, but you're not super close to her, right?  Maybe you feel like she never makes time for you or cancels on you. 

Or maybe you know of a special needs mom & you have no desire to be her friend, well, because she's one of those mom. 

Am I right?

Well, if you're not a special needs mom, you might be wondering, 'what's the big deal with being a special needs mom?' or maybe, 'why is she like THAT?!'

My goal with this post is to clarify a bit on why we (special needs moms) might seem a little off sometimes.

*Disclaimer: I'm not saying special needs moms are either good people or bad people, I'm just hoping to bridge the gap & help everyone understand each other.  


We're busy... really busy!
We spend countless hours at doctors appointments, working with therapists, doing therapy homework with our kids and even just scheduling our appointments.  (no joke, I scheduled 9 appointments for my daughter today)

We are exhausted.  
Emotionally. Physically. Mentally. Etc.
We try to meet everyone of our kid's needs & then spend every possible time with our husbands, so we stay up way too late & wake up way too early.  Besides that, we're trying to keep up with our (extremely busy) sensory seeking children & their busy schedules (see above). 

Our brains are on overdrive 24/7.
This is my personal experience, but I'd bet money that most special needs moms feel similar:  Paige "talks" so fast all day long.  She has a hard time slowing down (in speech & every other aspect in her life).  Add that to an already hard to understand 4 year old with Apraxia & that equals Mooshy Brain Syndrome.

Ever heard of it?

I wish I could say I made it up, but my brain literally diagnosed itself with it months ago.  Nope.  Years ago.

In all reality, though, my brain has trained itself to be constantly on "alert to Paige" at every waking hour.  I have to be ready at a "word's" notice to pay attention to her & try (extra hard) to understand whatever it is she's saying.  It's mentally exhausting. 

We've gone through heartbreaks that are unexplainable.  
Watching your child go through any challenge is hard - that includes special needs diagnosis, symptoms & challenges.  You can read about the day my mommy heart broke here.  I'd go into more detail, but like I said, it is unexplainable.

We can't stop thinking about the diagnosis.
Even though our child's special needs do not define them, our lives still revolve around the diagnosis.  And sometimes it's all we can think about.  

We live a tight schedule for our sakes & our kids' sakes.
Our kids have busy schedules (see below) with lots of therapies, appointments & homework from those appointments.  Besides that, we want to give them a childhood, too.   If we don't schedule it all in, it won't happen, whether that's time for ourselves, play dates for our kids, at home mommy speech therapy,a girls night out, or anything else. 

We need to get out more.  Seriously.
In some cases, we're stuck in the house or doctors offices way more than we should be.  We're with our kids constantly (because finding a babysitter is a whole other post).

It might seem like we're making a mountain out of a mole hill, but chances are, we're not... usually.
It might seem like we're constantly having to stick up for our kids.  Some people don't understand what they (or we) are going through, so if we get offended or make a big deal out of something, please don't take it personally.  We're constantly in 'mamma bear mode' so we can protect our kiddos.  Sometimes it's hard to change out of 'protective mamma bear mode' into 'relax & have fun mode'. 

We appreciate the small things - including small gestures from you!
We appreciate hearing our child say, "I love you" more than we ever thought we would.  We appreciate that phone call from a friend (because it might have been days that we've spoken to an adult outside of our family, doctors or therapists).  We appreciate silence, but we appreciate our kids swearing (because they are talking!).   We appreciate being able to zone out and watch TV uninterrupted because we don't have to use our brain (see Mooshy Brain Syndrome above). 

We are overwhelmed.
There's NO way we can get everything done in the day.  (see below)

We can't figure out how to balance our schedules.
Paige's schedule right now consists of preschool twice a week (with special needs services provided), speech therapy once a week, occupational therapy once a week  & physical therapy once every other week.  On top of her busy schedule, we have homework from each of those appointments, I have to try to fit in time to clean the house, make dinner, pay one on one attention to both of my girls, go grocery shopping, arrange play dates and let my daughter have as normal of a childhood as possible.  I still have no idea how to make it all work.

We get excited about silly little things.
For example, I just found out I won a weighted blanket from Topsy Turvy & Comfort Weighted Blankets and I'm beyond excited.... who gets excited about a blanket for their kid?!  I guess I do.  :)

Money is tight for us.
All of these therapies cost money & add up very quickly.  Often we are able to get grants, but sometimes we can't afford to give our kids all of the help they need... not even with help from the insurance.

Every aspect of our life is affected by the diagnosis.
From walking up stairs, to brushing teeth, to eating, to talking, to sitting still, etc.  That's why it's constantly on our mind (see above).

We've earned half a degree just in experience.
I like to joke (well... half joke) that I've earned half a degree in speech therapy because even though I didn't go to school for it, I've lived it 24/7 for years.  Pretty soon I'll be able to add half a degree in occupational therapy & physical therapy, too! 

We want the best for our children.
No explanation needed.

We're doing the best we can. 
No explanation needed.


Do any of these things sound familiar?


I know we're not perfect... we're far from perfect parents, friends & people.  We have a lot going on in our lives, but we don't forget about you.  We think of our friends often & wish we could get together more.  

It might seem like we're worlds away from you, but I'd be willing to bet we're all a lot more similar than you thought we were.

We're all just trying to be the best mom we can - to be the best mom we know how to be.  

*Disclaimer: I'm not saying special needs moms are either good people or bad people, I'm just hoping to bridge the gap & help everyone understand each other.    


If you liked this, you might also like:
Speech Therapist Recommended Books and Toys

serve-with-kids

Linked up to Dream Team Tuesday Link Share, Fellowship Fridays, Love That Max, The Homemaking Party, How Do You Do It? Parenting Link Up, LDS Link Up Party.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Sunday's Sharing Service #2

The Monthly Service Challenge for February (last month) was '14'.  It was kind of a unique challenge, but you can read all of the details about it here.  ***

Each month I ask for anyone to email me back with their stories about how they served so I can share them here.  I want this to be a community of moms who share their ideas & have a place to find even more ideas on how to serve with your kids.  

Often, serving is the last thing on our busy minds, but I hope that by sharing these ideas, it can help us all to realize we can serve with our children.

And don't forget... even the most simple acts of kindness can make the most difference! 

So, today, I'd love to share these stories/ideas with you about how some other creative momma's were able to serve with their kiddos.


"We made Valentines for Hospice patients and also postcards to mail to terminally ill children.
We made to postcards out of cereal boxes and we just wrote and drew on the blank side. Cheap and easy."

-Sonya

---------------

"I've been having the kids help me year round with Operation Christmas Child. We talk about how there are different families, and different countries, and different circumstances. We make things, buy things, and donate things to this wonderful ministry. During the summer months we'll also be volunteering in the church's garden which sends food to the local food pantry.
 

There are two pics are of the boys and the shoe boxes we sent this year and one of them and 2 other boys pulling up a cabbage plant in the church garden. 

For Operation Christmas Child (OCC) I was thinking of measuring how much the boys grew year-to-year by measuring their height in shoe boxes. The OCC shoe boxes has allowed us to talk about kids in different places as well as DO things for them. They spend some of their "church" money on items to include in the shoe boxes. We also like to craft and sometimes we'll make things for the shoe boxes. Finally, it is a geography lesson. I had bar codes on the boxes so I know where they ended up. I was able to show the boys information about the Philipines, Senegal, and the Ukraine. I'm the chair for Mission Outreach in my church and my focus this year is on involving young families. I figure if an outreach opportunity is easy enough for our youngest members to do then it is easy enough for anyone to do."
-Jen

--------------- 

"Totally unplanned service - we went on a hike during spring break and my kiddos commented on how much litter there was and decided to pick it up (even found a discarded plastic bag to use to collect). We are also planning on doing some SPRING surprises for our neighbors (several of which are widows). We are planning on making some seed bombs as part of the surprise."
-Anonymous

---------------

Lastly, Sarah wrote 2 beautiful posts full of 14 (total) great ideas on how she served with her 3 young kids (including twins!).  You can read them here and here.


I love getting these emails each month & reading the stories!  You ladies all have some great ideas & inspire me!  Thank you!

Want to join in the fun?!  
Join our Monthly Service Challenge below!


So... I'm dying to know!  What are some ways you've served with your kids? 

Linked up to LDS Link-up Party.
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