Friday, May 25, 2012

Interview With Author, Bobbi Sheahan

     My friend, Bobbi Sheahan, has graciously taken the time to let me interview her for my blog, "Nathan's Voice". Many of you may already know Bobbi for her third book, What I Wish I'd Known About Raising a Child With Autism, which has spent several weeks in Amazon's Top 100 Autism Books since its publication in June 2011. Her book reviews have been published in Bookmarks Magazine. She is also a frequent and popular speaker, most recently at the Future Horizons' October Super Conference, which was keynoted by Temple Grandin, Dr. Jed Baker, and Dr. Tony Attwood. I hope you enjoy the following interview!  

Lorrie:  Please share a little about yourself with us.

Bobbi Sheahan:  Hi, Lorrie!!  It's so nice to get to chat with you and your readers!! :D  I love your blog.  I'm a mom of four, and my daughter's autism diagnosis in 2007 led to my book, What I Wish I'd Known About Raising a Child With Autism.  It was published by Future Horizons last year, and it's been thrilling to hear the feedback from parents.  Parents have told me that they've purchased a half-dozen copies for grandparents and teachers.  My co-author, Dr. Kathy DeOrnellas, helps me to explain the basics of autism in early childhood to parents, teachers, family and friends.

Lorrie:  Do you have any words of encouragement to offer parents or caregivers of individuals with autism?

Bobbi Sheahan:  You are not alone.  It's not always going to be as hard as it is at the beginning.  I think that coping with a new diagnosis is the scariest part, because there are so many unknowns.  It's helpful to think of it like being a new parent:  it gets better, and you begin to feel comfortable and confident more quickly than you might think.  Reach out! Twitter is a great place to start.  If you search the hashtag #youmightbeanautismparentIf, you'll find you are not alone.  Really, really not alone.  You'll also begin to see how funny life can be.

Lorrie:  Can you tell us how your online talk show, “Autism As They Grow” by Special Needs Talk Radio on every Wednesday evening at BlogTalkRadio*, came into existence?

Bobbi Sheahan: I was so delighted when Marianne Russo, Founder and President of The Coffee Klatch, approached me about joining her team.  She is an icon and a hero to special needs families, and Internet radio is an ideal forum for reaching out to parents. It can be hard to get out of the house and we are often too exhausted to find a support group meeting -- to say nothing of the challenges of finding childcare.  The radio show has also been an ideal way to introduce the special needs community to some really amazing guests:  Dr. Gil Tippy enlightened us about Floortime; Sara Winter told us about, a wonderful online environment for exceptional kids and their siblings; and I can't wait to interview President/CEO of the Golden Hat Foundation and Kate Winslet's co-author, Margret Ericsdottir, this week.  And that's just to name a few.

Bobbi Sheahan:  I'm also crazy about my co-host, Amalia Starr, who has so much experience and wisdom to share with special-needs families.  She's a friend I'll keep forever. Our last live broadcast will be Sunday, May 27th, and our episodes are always available on demand on the website and iTunes, so we're always just a mouse-click away when someone is feeling isolated.  

Lorrie:  What's next for you now that the show is winding down?

Bobbi Sheahan:  I'd really love to have a lazy summer with my husband and kids!!  I am doing a regular column for SI Focus Magazine, and I have a couple of articles coming out in Autism Asperger's Digest Magazine.  I have been speaking at seminars and teaching at family camps, and having a great time.  We're honored to be nominated for a Benjamin Franklin Award by the IBPA, Independent Book Publishers' Association, and we'll soon find out how that turns out. I have begun doing some freelance editing, and I love it.  Absolutely love it! And I hear that I have another book in the works...we'll see...

Lorrie:  Thank you for joining us here on "Nathan's Voice", Bobbi! We wish you the best with your recent nomination for a Benjamin Franklin Award and look forward to hearing more from you, after the summer of course! 

     In addition to the current GIVEAWAY here on "Nathan's Voice", of Bobbi's book, What I Wish I'd Known About Raising a Child With Autismyou can get 15% discount + free shipping on her book, and ANYTHING Future Horizons* sells, by using the promo code BOBBI at checkout.

     I encourage you to visit Bobbi's website, and she always loves to hear from her readers on Facebook and TwitterRead more of Bobbi Sheahan's featured guest articles on "Nathan's Voice": 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Shhh! I Have A Secret!!

     Are you wondering what I am talking about? Could it be that my sister and I love to eat at Ted's Escondido's Mexican Restaurant, especially for our birthdays each year? This year, we had lunch first and then celebrated at our normal "haunt" ....

 Courtesy of Renaissance Salon & Spa

     I really don't know why it's taken this long for me to tell anyone! It wasn't my intention to keep it a secret. It's possible that I was being selfish or that I just hadn't been ready to "share" our annual birthday celebration at the Renaissance Salon & Day Spa here in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. We always have such a fantastic time and leave feeling so relaxed, there is absolutely no reason why we shouldn't be telling everyone!!

 Courtesy of Renaissance Salon & Spa

     One of the things that we look forward to each year is the relaxing hour long body massage. This year, my sister scheduled us for the ninety minute massage, mostly to see if an additional half hour made a difference. We enjoyed the longer massage appointment and have decided to make it part of our "revised" birthday celebration each year!

                                                                   Courtesy of Renaissance Salon & Spa

     Another ritual that we indulge in during our visit to the spa is letting someone pamper us with paraffin based manicure and a relaxing foot soak with a pedicure. This year, they did our fingernails before our feet, giving our hands more time to dry before it was time to leave. 

Courtesy of Renaissance Salon & Spa

     As a parent of a child with autism, I really look forward to my birthday celebration and getting to spend it with my sister is a BONUS! The day before my sixth birthday, I was blessed with a new sister and a swing set. I had been an only child up to that point and wasn't so sure about having to share the spotlight with a new baby sister. I have come to my senses, though...I am proud to have such a wonderful sister and that we were both born as Mother's Day girls! And to be able to share our birthday is even more fabulous!!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

FREE Vision Screenings

Oklahoma Vision Development Center is hosting a FREE vision screenings for children ages 5-18 during the month of June. The screening will test eye tracking, eye teaming, visual processing and acuities. Please call 918-633-9085 to schedule your appointment today.

When?  Mondays-Fridays in June
Where? 4520 S. Harvard Ave. Ste. 100, Tulsa, OK
Why? To determine whether or not a child has a learning related vision problem

Dr. Monte Harrel's training is in development and children's vision. He has a passion for helping kids and educating parents and professionals on the options that are available for kids.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

"The Chocolate Scented Calculator"

     Two weeks ago, our elementary school had its annual Spring Book Fair. There is always a great selection of books for the children to choose from. Each class, Kindergarten up through fifth grade, is allowed to shop for books after they watch the Scholastic Book Fair video during their regularly scheduled time in the Library, if they have money.

     Scholastic also offers a wide variety of discounted books, ink pens, posters, erasers and bookmarks. This year, they added some new items. One of those items was a calculator that looks and smells just like chocolate! 

     The Library only received two dozen of this newly coveted item and it looked like they wouldn't last long with over seven hundred students whispering about it! Two of those students were my own third grade son, Nathan and his fourth grade brother, Vincent!! Their classes had already been to the Book Fair when this came in. The only reason that my boys had even seen this new item was because I had been working as 
a volunteer at the Book Fair that week. 

     I want to remind you that your computer keyboard is not protected from "drool" and your computer screen most likely does not come with a "scratch & sniff" feature! :P 

     Before you scroll down, I want to warn you..."Do NOT lick the screen!" (Please forgive me, I just couldn't resist!!) 

     If you haven't guessed by now, I have given in to my boys, who are each the proud owners of their very own "chocolate calculators". Nathan would sit around all day "sniffing" his new calculator, if I let him! When it's out in his line of sight, it is ALL he can focus on!! Nathan asked if he could take his new calculator to school and I had to explain to him that it needed to stay at home, where it would be safe. (I must sound controlling!) 

     What do YOU think?!? I think that this picture says it ALL!! 

     Remember when I told you that I had one more picture to upload and that it could be in a day or two?!? I apologize for it taking longer than what I originally planned! 

     The following pictures are of Nathan's 4th grade brother, Vincent, and his chocolate calculator. I thought that it would only be fair if both boys were able to show off their newest possession. 

     We only have five days of school until we are out for the summer and then the following week is when we will attend "Camp Noggin" for autism. It's wonderful how the smallest reminder will put the biggest smile on their face, just like that!  

     To me, a smile like the one above is one of the biggest "paychecks" that I could receive as a Mom. 

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Happy Mother's Day!

     "Happy Mother's Day!" to MOMS everywhere!! ♥ Autistic Globetrotting is featuring a treasure chest full of women sharing their stories of traveling with children on the autism spectrum. 
     Please take the time to read mine and check out the other great articles! I hope that everyone enjoys their Mother's Day weekend!!

A Magical Musical Miracle

     Last Tuesday, I accompanied Nathan and all of the third graders from our elementary school on a field trip to see and hear the Oklahoma City Philharmonic. The students rode the buses while I and the other privileged parents followed them in our own vehicles. When we arrived, they led us down to the front row! It was so awesome that we had front row seats for the performance!! I hadn't even thought of the possibility of them sitting us so close to the instruments. Nathan seemed fine with it but, if we had been given this opportunity a few years ago, we would have had to sit further away. He has always been sensitive to noises and usually tells, not asks, everyone to make it stop. We have learned to have an escape route, or at least an alternate plan to keep him happy. This was a happy miracle and a milestone in Nathan's progress!  If you happen to live in Oklahoma, know someone who does or will be vacationing in Oklahoma in the near future, please check out the facebook page for the Oklahoma City Philharmonic
     If you are visiting Nathan's Voice for the first time, I encourage you to read about how it all started by clicking here. Thank you for taking time to stop by and we look forward to getting to know you in the future! 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

How Will Nathan Handle The Change?

     Since Nathan was diagnosed four years ago, we have had the support of each of his regular education teachers and his numerous special education teachers, one of which is also his  Individualized Education Plan "IEP" case manager. She has always looked out for Nathan and made sure that nothing got in the way of his educational rights. Right after Nathan started his Kindergarten year, there was an opportunity for me to attend a free training seminar, on Autism Behavior, over a three month period but, I would only be able to do so if two educators accompanied me. This amazing woman made it possible for me to be able to attend by asking Nathan's Kindergarten Teacher to be a part of our team, laying the foundation for Nathan's future progress. 
     About two months ago, I found out that this is her last year at our school. Her family is being transferred due to her husband's line of work. Nathan doesn't know, yet. I have decided to wait until just before her last day to tell him so that he doesn't dwell on it. I will have him make her a card while explaining to him that her family is moving away. If someone this important to him had moved away two or three years ago, I would not be so confident. I have to credit her with how well Nathan handles change. She has been his "life support" the last four years and we appreciate it more than she knows. She understands that he needs to have an occasional afternoon "break" from his regular classroom schedule in order for him to handle the entire school day. 
     I may be foolish in thinking that he will accept her moving away without a "meltdown" but, I have every confidence in the investment she made towards his social behavior and academic structure. With the strong foundation that this exceptional woman has built up for Nathan, he will be able to handle almost anything in stride. Our family has seen the progress that Nathan has made due to her patience, training and dedication to working with him. Wherever she moves to, she will be an asset to any school system. Nathan and I will miss her but, we wish her and her family the best! 

Friday, May 4, 2012

Guest Post At PocketFinder

     This is Part 2 of my previous Guest Post at PocketFinder about their Personal GPS locator device. Please stop by and consider the advantages of having the technology to ensure your child's safety. I ask for YOU to vote for "Nathan's Voice", nominated in the "Top 10 Autism Blogs of 2012", by clicking the pink button to the right if you have enjoyed the kind of information that our blog brings to its readers. Thank you for your support!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Located by PocketFinder GPS

     I was recently contacted by a Representative of PocketFinder, a company that specializes in GPS location of people, pets and vehicles. After having read my guest article at Our Mom Spot, she offered me the distinct pleasure of writing a guest blog post for PocketFinder in support of Autism Awareness! I hope you will take the time to visit and read Part 1 of my guest post at PocketFinder.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

"Totally Honored To Be In Such Great Company"

     Last month, SkinnyScoop hosted a contest to show their support to all the Autism bloggers, in celebration of April being Autism Awareness Month. Anyone could nominate and vote for their favorite blog in the Top 10 Autism Blogs of 2012. I only started blogging in June 2011 and I knew that I didn't have as much experience as my fellow bloggers. Try to imagine my surprise when I was nominated by someone shortly after they read my Featured Guest Article on a online parenting community called Our Mom Spot. I anxiously watched as friends and several of my family members voted in support of my blog. I was notified earlier this evening that my blog, Nathan's Voice, when the contest ended, it had the rank of #2 in the "Top 10 Autism Blogs of 2012"!! It is a distinct and wonderful honor to be listed with such great company! After you have had a chance to browse my blog, please click the link above to check out my esteemed colleagues' blogs listed on SkinnyScoop. 
     Thank YOU again for your continued support and prayers!