Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Resources For Dyslexia and Anxiety

I love this BOY...every BIT of him!

I'm learning.

Always learning.

It doesn't stop after you finish school.

Or have your last kid.

Seasons change.

Kid's change.

Needs change.

Life...always changing.

After Zeke was diagnosed with Dyslexia and Anxiety (along with sensory and processing issues) everything made sense!  I had so much more patience with him while teaching him in school.

When Josh and I finally made the decision to put Zeke in school I had a complete and total peace about it...but when I got this text from his special resources teacher I was overjoyed!

I saw the first-hand proof that Zeke is exactly where he needs to be to THRIVE!

I've had several mom's approach me asking for information on what we are doing to help him with his anxiety and dyslexia, so I thought I'd link a few of our favorite resources and tips that I've gotten from other teachers and parents that have been a huge help for us!  A HUGE thanks to all of you who are walking this road with us and praying for Zeke (and us:).

Oil - we have a friend who introduced us to doTERRA.  She gave us a sample of this sleepy-time blend.  It is pretty pricy if you buy it directly from the internet so we have actually opted for another brand, which is only a fraction of the cost, but has almost the same ingredients and honestly seems to have the same effect:) We use it on all the kids every night.  They actually ask to "do oil" every night:)  Josh typically does the oil ritual, but when he is out at night time they are stuck with mom, ha!  It is a soothing aroma blend that is supposed to help the kids calm down and sleep.  When Josh applies it to the first foot he prays over each kid, and then on the second foot, they pray.  It has become a sweet, sweet time for all of us.  The added benefit is one-on-one quality time, heart-to-heart time with Christ and physical touch.

No-dairy - we have been working really hard to cut out dairy, and boy can we tell a difference.  The same friend who told us about the oil also told us about trying to cut out dairy.  We have substituted his cheeses, yogurt and milk with goat, almond and soy products.  The effects are obvious.  He is more even-keeled, calm, compliant, less emotional and typically more obedient.

No artificial flavorings and dyes - I've been reading labels and opting for the foods with natural ingredients for preserving and cutting out the foods with all those artificial flavorings and dyes.  We are also watching sugar intake.

Apps on iPad - we have found several helpful apps on the iPad.  All of the ones we have gotten are FREE and work on letter recognition and formation.  I also use them with Cai and Alethia!  Zeke is still struggling with writing the letters, even though he can now recognize letters A-K and consistently say the sounds they make.  He can write his name, and a handful of default letters like "B", "a", "s", "P" and "k".
The three apps I recommend are:
Little Writer
I Can Write

School - Zeke's school has an EXCELLENT special resources department.  I've heard some horror stories about children and the IEP's they have been assigned to, but thankfully that isn't the case with us.  He typically spends about 3 hours in his specialty classes.  Zeke is learning to really love school and we are seeing substantial progress!

Cozy Couch - I've written about our cozy couch on here before.  After school Zeke is really wired up, I'm guessing from sitting still for so long at school.  He also gets really fidgety when he is concentrating really hard for an extended amount of time.  So as soon as he walks in the door we grab him a snack and he "gets" to go sit and decompress on the cozy couch for a while.  He comes out a different kid!

No wrestling right before bed - Zeke LOVES to wrestle, but it gets him really riled up.  We've noticed that the bedtime routine goes much more smoothly if the wrestling matches occur around dinner time.

Preparing for transitions WAY in advance - this is important for most kids, but for a child dealing with anxiety it is a NECESSITY!  If Josh isn't going to be home tomorrow night we try to tell him at breakfast the day before. If our typical Sunday morning routine is going to be different, we lay out the series of events that will take place so he's not caught off guard.

Being proactive with potential triggers - being in tune with the things that typically trigger "freak-outs" is monumental.  A few of Zeke's triggers are: days with different schedules, places with lots of people, lack of adequate sleep, diet, rooms without windows, not being able to "pack his stuff" when we have to leave the house.

Think Positive - teaching him to think on the positive, not just on the things that go wrong.  For instance, read this post about his outlook on a typical day when sometimes just one or two things go wrong.

Therapy - Zeke has gone to some therapy sessions with an excellent psychologist to help him deal and cope with his anxiety.  Anxiety isn't something that will just eventually go away, especially when it is genetic like his (and mine).  It is something that we have to learn to live with and find ways to thrive.

Finding the things that they are good at and capitalizing on them will help you get through each episode.  Patience, understanding and constantly being creative and finding support from family and friends (and an occasional cry in the quiet of your closet) are key when parenting a child with special needs, no matter WHAT their needs are:)
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