Nathan is Hebrew and means "gift from God" - we couldn't have been more blessed than to have been chosen as his parents!

Thank you for keeping up-to-date with Nathan. We hope you visit often and enjoy experiencing our son's journey as much as we do. Please feel free to leave comments.

We love hearing from everyone!!!!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Nathan's First Easter Egg Hunt!

We had such a great time at Nathan's first Easter Egg hunt today, hosted by Aunt Sandy! It was really thoughtful of her to put all this together for the kids (big and little). They were treated to lots of eggs filled with fun kid stuff, a delicious lunch and cupcakes. She even invited the Easter Bunny!!! Can you believe it? With Easter only a week away, he made time to come visit the kids! Aunt Sandy must have some pull!

I took lots of pictures!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Happy 70th Birthday Noni (and other fun stuff)!!

Nathan's Noni celebrated her 70th birthday on Wednesday, and the kids decided it would be fun to make her their very own birthday cards! Noni is the bedrock of the family and there isn't a day that goes by that she isn't brightening up someones day. She is pure goodness, an angel on earth and we're blessed to have her in our lives. We have a very special gift for her and are so excited to give it to her! We're taking her to brunch on Sunday at the Cheesecake Factory and we'll give it to her then. I'll let you know after she opens it.

I took a few snap shots of the card making process (of course)!

We also recently discovered a really nice children's park right around the corner from our house ~ it's in walking distance. Nathan went down a huge slide all by himself! I actually couldn't believe how brave he was. He also began learning how to climb a ladder. The tire swing was another story. He hated it! :-)

We've just been invited to a family Easter Egg hunt tomorrow! Nathan's first!! I can't wait to see him with the Easter Bunny and hunting for eggs. It's so fun being parents! It's like being a kid all over again!

Nathan has received his very first birthday party invitation from a little friend at school!!!

It brought tears to my eyes when I saw he'd been invited! When you have a child with special needs you often wonder if they'll get to share in those experiences. I've often wondered, will parents invite him because he's different? As a mom, I hoped this wasn't going to be the case. This invitation means so much to our family. I get choked up just writing about it. I'm saving this invitation in Nathan's keepsakes.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Symbol Based Learning

A few weekends ago, I took a class at the Down Syndrome Aim High Resource Center to learn how to use a symbol based learning program called Boardmaker. I don't have a full grasp on all the educational and communication benefits but this software is super cool! You use pictures and words to enhance learning activities. Let me give you an example.

This first picture is a song book that I created for Nathan ~ they're his favorite songs: Row, Row, Row Your Boat, Old McDonald, Itsy Bitsy Spider and Wheels on the Bus. They are attached to the inside of the folder by velcro.

When it comes time to sing, Nathan gets to pick the song he'd like to sing based on the pictures. Once he chooses the song, I velcro it on the front of the folder with the visual cue to sing the song.
If Nathan chooses the Wheels on the Bus, I've also created this fun visual enhancement where he can also choose the order of the words in the song. As he hands them to me, I sing about what it is. So for instance, if he gives me the "horn" picture, I sing about the horn going "beep beep beep." It's that simple. He will eventually learn what each picture means by what I'm singing to him.

If he chose to sing Old McDonald, I made a farm with all the animals!! He can choose the animal and I'll sing accordingly. He'll eventually learn what each animal in a really fun way.
Just as an aside, this stuff takes a very long time to make! It took me most of the day to make these few pieces. You have to create them on the computer, print them, cut them and then laminate them, cut them again and then velcro them all! :-)

There are so many uses for this software including making calendars, schedules, writing social stories, which are actually stories that help your child with difficult behaviors or any situation.
I would recommend this software to anyone and if you're interested your local group may have it. I recently discovered that Nathan's preschool uses it too!
At the seminar, there were lots of examples on how to use this type of program with actual books to help with all sorts of educational activities, like rhyming or homophones (when two words sound alike but are different) and even when teaching children what the beginning, middle and end of a story is. The ideas are really endless and there are lots of websites with examples to help you. I also came across some Youtube videos on how to use the software.

Here are a few other ideas that were presented at the seminar. Most of these will be very useful when Nathan gets a little older.