A Tale of Two Children

Here’s another interactive post today. What do you see?

Child One:
–pushes other children when they get too close
–sat along the wall, failed to participate, and did not engage in the group activity
–asked by teacher to participate, refused, said no, doesn’t want to
–instructed to go to red table, goes to blue table and refuses to move to correct table
–ignores request to clean up toys, runs around room, continues to play

Child Two:
–actively engaged with the class activities
–followed all directions
–handled transitions well
–demonstrated appropriate play with toys and play dough
–handled proximity to other students well

When you’re ready, click here to read the rest about these two kids.

Chocolate Mousse to Soothe the Soul

Well, I cannot believe that Noah turned down chocolate mousse! I made it for two reasons–1) I’ve been craving some quality chocolate ice cream for a couple of weeks, and 2) Noah’s doctor wants me to do my best to fatten him up. So, I made the filling for my chocolate mousse pie. It is SO easy, and I had the cream on hand because of Noah. HE DIDN’T WANT IT! He liked it on the beater and asked for more, but then when I offered him a spoonful, he said no. I think he expected it to look more like the chocolate pudding he’s used to. It’s thicker and darker. I thought for sure after he got it in his mouth he’d beg for more, but alas! 

That’s ok. Mommy will eat it! I am experimenting by freezing two sensible portions for the next time I need chocolate ice cream. Hopefully it won’t be tonight!

If you use Nestle semi-sweet or EnjoyLife chocolate chips, this will be gluten free.

Chocolate Mousse–Enough to fill a pie shell or make individual servings to your liking, from a pie recipe inside one of Betty Crocker’s chocolate cookbooks.

1 3/4 c. heavy whipping cream, divided
1 c. chocolate chips
1 tsp. vanilla

In a microwave safe bowl, melt 1/4 c. cream and chocolate chips in 30 sec to 1 minute increments. Stir each time. When melted, let cool 20 minutes. Beat 1 1/2 c. cream until forming stiff peaks. Stir vanilla into chocolate mixture. Gently fold into whipped cream. Pour into pie shell or glasses. Enjoy!

Do You Hear How They Hear?

Were you more aware of the things you hear yesterday? If you didn’t read  my post yesterday, take a moment to stop typing and try to see how many things you hear.

Some of you heard the television, a heater, a humming, etc. For most of us, our nervous system is able to filter what is important and should be in the background. Even to the point of not even hearing it unless we try. We don’t really notice the sound of the refrigerator unless it’s the only thing around us. The computer humming doesn’t bug us.

What would life be like if all of those noises had equal force upon your senses? Someone is talking to you, and the refrigerator is competition to their voice. Your ears are constantly bombarded with noises you want to hear and noises you don’t really like. Everything has the same intensity. Actually, it is often intensified. That’s what life is like for a lot of children on the autism spectrum and people with sensory integration problems.

I was reminded of that the other night when I was watching a DVD about strategies for helping Josh. The speaker’s point was that children’s “self-stimulatory” [aka stimming] behaviors have a purpose. Most of the time it is to help them cope with all of the sensory information screaming at them at once. I didn’t even bring our other senses into the picture. Imagine the same hearing issues, and add that the lights hurt your eyes, or someone is trying to touch you and it makes you want to scream.

So, when you see an autistic child do repetitive behaviors, she may be trying to cope with all of the input her brain can’t handle at once. It helps her block out things that are bothering her, just like we are able to do normally.

This reminds us that, once again, perhaps we should put ourselves in someone else’s shoes for a minute. Even myself. I need constant reminding.

Will you join my #SPD experiment? via jennyherman.com

Stop. Listen. What’s that Sound?

Now, before I even start, I know there are some of you out there that won’t even know the song I’m talking about. That’s ok. You just make me feel old. The rest of you–do you remember when the muppets did the skit with the hunter and the animals hiding and singing the, “Stop, listen. [or children?] What’s that sound? Everybody look what’s going round [down?]” And they’d hide in their holes until the hunters were gone. Are you chuckling? Do you remember?

OK. So, I really do want you to stop and listen. Please take a moment to stop typing, stop talking, and listen to the sounds around you. Then leave a comment about what you hear. I’ll come back later and tell you more of what I’m thinking.

Want to hide veggies in #brownies? Click now! via jennyherman.com

Don’t Tell Brownies

Ever since I started reading and using Jessica Seinfeld’s cookbook Deceptively Delicious and learned how easy it is to sneakily fortify treats with extra nutrients, I have a really hard time making a regular recipe, especially a treat, without boosting the nutrition in some way. When your kids don’t eat much anyway, why not make the most of what they DO eat?

If you’re not on a gluten free diet, just use regular flour. These fudgy brownies smelled HEAVENLY while they were baking!

Jenny’s Version of the Basic Brownie Recipe (Gluten and Casein Free)
3 large eggs
1/2 c. sugar
3/4 c. brown sugar (believe it or not, I reduced the total sugar by 1/2 cup!)
1 c. oil of your choice
1/4 c. pureed sweet potato
1/4 c. pureed spinach
2 t. vanilla
1/4 c. gluten free flour blend (or 1/2 c. GF flour blend and skip next two flours)
1/8 c. quinoa flour
1/8 c. coconut flour, sifted
1/4 c. ground flax seed meal
1 1/4 c. cocoa, sifted
1/2 t. salt
Optional: chopped nuts and/or Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Spray 8 inch square pan for thicker brownies, 13×9 for thin brownies. Whisk eggs until fluffy and light yellow. Add both sugars and whisk some more. Add purees and mix again. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Pour batter into greased pan and bake. Check with toothpick. Bake 45 minutes for small pan, about 20 minutes or more for large pan.  COOL BEFORE SERVING IF HIDING A GREEN VEGGIE!

Now, here’s the trick. If you don’t have spinach puree, so what! The cool thing about cocoa and tomato is you can hide JUST ABOUT ANYTHING in them! So, why not puree some blueberries or carrots or yellow squash or, well, you get the idea. I’m telling you, your kids won’t know they’re eating veggies! Neither will your husband. That is, if you share the brownies.