Find Out What Jen Finds

My journey on the spectrum of life … and the lessons I learn along the way …
You are currently browsing all posts tagged with behaviour

about Nutrition: Happy kids behave

  • January 31, 2014 3:56 am

The Younger is an angry elf.

And if he didn’t eat every 2 hours, he is HANGRY!


I crumble when I think about the hormonal teen years being more difficult than these so-called “fun years while they are young” that I’m suppose to be enjoying. Our relationship was suffering and my heart was breaking. I was really really really really hoping and praying that Year 8 would bring some sort of emotional growth spurt. When 8 1/2 came and went and there was NO IMPROVEMENT (in fact, it got WORSE!!), I knew something was not natural and I needed to do something different before I went insane.

In praying for guidance for teaching styles and therapy routes for The Elder, I discovered the wonderful site by Dianne Craft: Solutions for dyslexia, dysgraphia, and struggling learners. Hands down the best program for him. Separate post on that blessing to come. But the miracle on topic here is her lecture on the Biology of Behavior. Described The Younger TO.A.TEE.

I purchased most of her store in late November and it arrived in December and I was completely overwhelmed!! I thought that starting with The Elder was a higher priority because he was getting farther and farther behind academically. The plan was to get The Elder started and then I could focus on The Younger starting the new year. Not sure that was a wise choice.

The power struggles and mood swings were so rampant that I’m sad to say that I just did not enjoy the Christmas season this year. I usually don’t mind that our extended families are all over the US/World because it was just a magical time to spend with the kids. This year…we did NOTHING outside of church activities. We barely even did school. No cookies. No gingerbread houses. We did decorate, but I sort of just gave them the stuff and was like, “Here. Go decorate.” I was mentally and emotionally spent trying to walk on the eggshells. I listened to so many audiobooks (mmmm, headphones…) and did a lot of yarning to go off to my happy place, at the sacrifice of spending quality Christmasy time with my family. Boo. Well, we did make a birthday cake for Jesus. Yay. At least we remembered the reason for the season.

Well…I listened to the Biology of Behavior lecture Christmas night after the kids were in bed, went out the next day and purchased the bare minimum to just get started and started the program THAT NIGHT.

Today is exactly 5 weeks later.

I like to call it Nutritional therapy, because calling it Behavioral therapy makes me sad. Every week, we add a new supplement for 8 weeks. Then we are supposed to continue for 3 months. I’m not sure if it’s a total of 3 months or 3 month of taking the whole she-bang. I need to email Dianne to find out for sure.

The third week we “detoxed” from sugars. I say “we” not to be royal, but because I have been doing it with him as recommended by Dianne Craft. I say “detoxed” because although we’ve been strict on cutting his carbs (just recently adding in organic brown rice and a dab of organic ketchup for his meats), he can eat fruit with protein (e.g. apples and sun-butter, plain yogurt with strawberries) and he does get “one dessert a day” which can be anything from a DumDum to a cookie to a scoop of ice cream. But he has gotten to where he doesn’t crave sweets like he used to. In fact, he has gone 2 days in a row without a dessert.

True, I have seen some improvements in the frequency of his angry moments, even in the first week. Then he needed less help recovering from his outbursts. Then he was making choices to prevent meltdowns. Then he just was just not melting down.


The Elder is behaving better, too, although he’s on a Lite Version of the program. They are getting along and playing TOGETHER like best friends. The Hound Dog even senses it (maybe a chemical change she can sniff??). She is less jittery around The Younger, and THANK THE GOOD LORD has stopped barking at him incessantly!!

Tomorrow we start week 6 and as I was setting up the new chart to add the next supplement into our routine, I look at my SMILING boy who is fetching The Hound Dog some water for her bowl.

M: How has your week been with the new supplement?
Y: Good.
M: Have you felt any different?
Y: Happier…… Let’s go cuddle.

Move over Hangry….Now there’s something Happier!


(10 points if you can name that commercial reference)

about Excuses: Reasons to Celebrate!

  • May 24, 2010 9:52 pm

I recently started a list on my phone called ‘Phrases that totally worked.’ I add to it whenever something surprisingly effective comes out of my mouth for the first time without my having a whole lot of forethought. Most are in the Parenting category. When I see it has ‘worked,’ I often go through shock & awe, and then pat myself on the back and pray it works the next time. Here is my favorite so far:

“Stop making excuses and follow my directions.”

This resulted in immediate compliance with NO lingering foul mood. I know! I had to inconspicuously pick my jaw off the floor and replace the ‘I’ve Had It’ adult-whine posture with a more confident ‘That’s Right…I’m the Boss…and I Totally Plan to Say Smart Stuff Like that all the Time cause I’m Smart and all’ stance.

I realized The Elder had reached a developmental milestone!

“…children master a variety of alternative strategies for resolving conflict. They can cajole the adversary, use bargaining, suggest compromise or cooperation (like turn-taking), and redirect conflict through humor.”

The School Years: Psychosocial Development – Social Problem-Solving Skills. The Developing Person Through The Life Span – (Berger)

So what’s the big deal? All 1st graders have mastered the art of manipulation, right? Yes! It’s ‘normal’! Yay! I haven’t decided if I’m more excited about his being developmentally on track or about his finally catching up with his nonverbal abilities!

For so long The Elder didnt say anything longer than 2-3 word phrases and only when prompted (and re-prompted). If he needed to initiate communication, it was physical and completely unrelated to his desire or need. For example, instead of pointing to a drink if he was thirsty, he would strip naked or throw his glasses across the room. It was as if he was fed up that no one was attending to his mental request after repeatedly thinking it. ‘Come on, people! If I’ve telepathically tried to connect with you once, I’ve done it a thousand times. It goes in my ear and out your ear! What do I have to do to get heard around here? Sheesh.’

When he was finally verbal, I heavily relied on listening to everything he would say in order to fully understand his triggers. And after some super-sleuthing, it would often fill in the gaps of why past meltdowns occurred. It was fascinating to finally learn the Reasons for his behaviors.

“How children think is as important as what they know.”

The School Years: Cognitive Development – The Legacy of Piaget. The Developing Person Through The Life Span – (Berger)

His Reasons were always literal (raw is more accurate) and logical (tho not obviously connected). While the former is to be expected, his logic far surpasses his age level. When he was 3 he tested beyond Kindergarten (he actually beat the test because it ran out of questions). At 4, his age equivalence was 11 years, 9 months. Because of this, I think there were a lot of unfair expectations for him to be more pragmatically mature. That discrepancy has been hard to parent, especially before awareness, but I imagine it is even harder to have.

Because of early intervention and inclusion, I think that gap is closing as he practices conversational skills. I noticed that his barrage of Reasons became Excuses when I, The Mom, couldn’t find an underlying connection between his words, body language, and past experiences. The usual and oh-so-confusing ‘complacent’ or ‘defiant’ reactions would then be displayed with integrity.

Do you know how freeing that feels? My brain gets to put the magnifying glass down more often…at least until adolescence…knock on wood…

Parenting with Aspergers

  • March 4, 2008 8:46 pm

I came across this post. I wanted to post an excerpt here. It is good to be aware of this, for me with The Dxd Hub, but also for my blogfriends who have adult spectrum suspects in their lives. (that sounds devious…MUAHAAAA!)

The Asperger’s profile

Your partner may have Asperger’s syndrome if he (or she) has most or all of the following traits. Does he . . .

  1. Have difficulty interpreting body language and facial expressions?

  2. Have difficulty understanding jokes, metaphor and sarcasm because he takes everything in a very literal way?

  3. Struggle to maintain friendships?

  4. Become withdrawn and seem to be uninterested in others, appearing aloof?

  5. Have poor social awareness and find it hard to imagine how his behaviour impacts on other people?

  6. Love routines and get very upset if these are broken?

  7. Have an intense and all-consuming special interest or hobby?

  8. Have sensory difficulties? Is he oversensitive to touch or smell or noise or to a particular taste (people with Asperger’s have a very limited diet). In some cases, there can be an undeveloped sense.

Adapted from the National Autistic Society website:

So now I am digesting. And researching, again, and came across this list from a Conference in 2005 given by Dr Tony Attwood:

The Parent with Asperger’s Syndrome

• Knowledge of normal childhood abilities and the parental role.
• Perfectionism.
• Regimentation.
• Anger.
• Abuse.

Child’s Perception
• Lack of affection, understanding and support. (Aloof).
• Criticism not compliments.
• Embarrassment in public.
• Fear of the parent’s mood and not to antagonize.
• Fear of the ‘cold’ touch of affection.
• Disagreements between parents.
• Parent has a monologue on their own problems.
• Intolerance of noise and friendships.
• Egocentric priorities.
• Favoritism.
• Feeling a nuisance.
• Desire to leave home or move inter-state or abroad.

Child’s Reaction
• Seeking affection and approval.
• Hatred.
• Escape using imagination, solitude, alternative family.
• Choice of partner.

• Recognizing the disorder in a parent.
• Resolving past issues.
• Explaining the person to other family members.

Number one, I wanted to journal on this because I need to be aware of the potential effect having a parent with ASD can have on my own children.

Number two, I wanted my siblings to reflect on how we grew up and the perspective we had of my parents. I have given both parents lots of resources and they have bought books themselves to educated themselves in regards to The Elder and his ASD. I debated on whether or not I should even air this laundry out on my blog, but a few months ago, one of my parents said this to me, “I don’t know….maybe I have Aspergers too.” It was a statement that I haven’t forgotten and have made observations on my many trips home to SC. After reading this article…I wonder myself. Not that it would make a difference now that I’m an adult and not even in the same state as my parents…but it sure would explain some things and would also make some things easier to forgive.