Thursday, July 23, 2020

Volunteering at "Feed The Children" Benefits NonProfit Organization & Student

Since the beginning of June, my youngest son, Nathan, and I have been volunteering 1-2 times a week at the Feed the Children Distribution Center in Oklahoma City, OK to help them send food and essentials to families across the United States. Nathan has almost finished his thirty-two hours of community service through Feed the Children that he will need to complete his Senior Capstone Project as a Senior at Southeast High School. If you live in the greater Oklahoma City area and your high school senior needs #HighSchoolCommunityServiceHours for his/her #SeniorCapstoneProject, please contact Meagan Taylor by calling (405)949-5168 to learn more about how YOU and YOUR TEENAGE SON or DAUGHTER can begin volunteering with Feed the Children to make a difference in your community and across the nation!


Wednesday, July 22, 2020

We Are Still Waiting For The Insurance to Settle Our Claim On Nate's 1st Car

For those of you who are not aware of what happened to both of our teenage sons last Wednesday, let me bring you up to speed! My husband and I spent the last six months looking hard to find our youngest son a car to drive himself back and forth to the technical school and high school this fall. We finally found a vehicle that our youngest son, Nathan, would be able to operate and proud to drive. We came up with a substantial down payment, financed the balance, and Nathan was finally able to take his 1st car home the Friday before last. It was a beautiful/handsome 2008 Automatic Ford Mustang GT until it was hit and totaled in an accident by another driver last Wednesday! The driver of the truck made a left turn into oncoming traffic in front of our slightly older son, who was driving his brother's car, deploying both front seat airbags. Both of our sons were in the new car coming back from working out at the VASA gym near our home, less than a mile from the house when the accident happened. Thankfully, neither one of our guys were injured. They were both considerably shaken up afterwards, but are both doing fine now.




I am stepping outside of my comfort zone to ask for your assistance in locating another Ford Mustang GT owned by an individual, with as low of mileage as possible, and under $10,000 in the state of Oklahoma. Nathan was becoming discouraged before we found the 2008 Silver Automatic Ford Mustang GT that we only had for five days, and I want to locate another vehicle for him as soon as possible! If you, or anyone you know, has information about a Ford Mustang GT with an automatic transmission that is available for purchase in the state of Oklahoma (preferrably by an individual), please leave a message for me in the comment section below this post. The more pictures and information that you have to share with me, as well as how I can contact the owner of the vehicle will help us make an informed decision about which car to buy. I know that this is an unusual request presented in a blog post, but this momma would like to find a replacement car for her son as quickly as I can after the insurance has settled the claim on his totaled 2008 Ford Mustang GT!

I appreciate the time that you spent reading this post and any assistance that you can provide our family in locating a replacement car for Nathan. I look forward to hearing from you in the near future if you have knowledge of such a car, multiple photos of the interior and exterior of the vehicle, and contact information for the seller. 

Thank you, again, for your time!

Respectfully,

Lorrie Servati
Creator & Author of "Nathan's Voice",
as well as Mom to Vincent & Nathan

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Just Say With Me "I Will Survive 2020" Breathing In/Out "I Will Survive 2020"

This year has been full of so many changes to which we have had to adjust our expectations. It started around Spring Break, then we were required to shelter at home and only go out if we needed to pick up necessities. Our Easter traditions were then drastically altered, just as our Mother's Day and Father's Day celebrations were during these uncertain times. High School and College Seniors across the nation experienced a much different Graduation Ceremony than students in the past. High school students, like my son Vincent, who received a virtual graduation got to hear their names announced in a YouTube video that they had to watch at home. Some high school students were lucky enough to be in a district that will be holding a delayed traditional high school graduation ceremony where they will be able to walk across the stage to receive their diplomas.

Parents began working from home while their children finished off the 2019-2020 school year online through hastily-created educational platforms designed by each school district, and have been spending their summer social distancing away from their friends. We then experienced a Memorial Day and a 4th of July that is much different than in the past, and it could be some time before we can eventually reclaim our most cherished traditions of celebrating with extended family, neighbors, coworkers, and friends. We are now supposed to send our children back to the brick-and-mortar schools wearing face masks so that they will be able to learn in a traditional educational setting. Unfortunately, their attention will be on how they look in their face masks, and not on protecting themselves from the virus that has had them isolated from their friends, dependent on technology to connect with them, and with the desire to go shopping at the mall!

It is not my intent to pass judgment on parents whether they choose to keep their children home to learn online through virtual means provided by their local school district, or to send their children back to learn in a traditional educational setting. It should be a personal decision and one that involves considering how best to protect their family's health. With some parents transitioning from their work-at-home offices back to a similar, but not the same, office workspace, it will be challenging for them to keep up with how well their children transition into the upcoming school year. School days will start and end later due to guidelines and restrictions that will allow schools to implement safe social distancing protecting their students, teachers, and support staff. Until parents find a way to coordinate these changes, it will temporarily create unexpected chaos between parent schedules, those of school-age children, and other family obligations.

We can and will survive these uncertain times. Our attitude and flexibility towards these changes will affect how well our children adjust and adapt to these changes. If we choose to accept the changes with a positive attitude and flexibility, the experience will prove to be a smooth transition for us and everyone around us. We have to identify what we do and do not have control and accept those situations in which we cannot control the outcome. It took me many years to realize my limitations when it came to how well I could control the outcome of situations. We cannot afford to waste energy and worry about something that we cannot change! 

My two teenage sons were recently in an accident. The other driver hit my son's car hard enough that both of the front airbags deployed. We had only had the car for five days, were waiting to receive the title so that we could put tags on it, had not even made the first payment on it, and the insurance company has totaled my youngest son's first vehicle. As much as I would like for the events of a few days ago to not have happened, I know that I cannot change or control every situation. Even though my sons did not get injured in the accident, they jointly experienced the destruction of a piece of machinery that could have taken their lives is something that they will each remember for a long time. I would have done anything to prevent that from happening to them!

To help my family survive what 2020 has dealt us, I am stepping outside of my comfort zone to ask for your help. It took my husband and me at least six months to locate a vehicle that our youngest son, Nathan, would be able to operate and proud to drive. Nathan was beginning to become discouraged before we found the car that we only had for five days, and I want to locate another vehicle for him as soon as possible! If you, or anyone you know, has information about a Ford Mustang GT with an automatic transmission that is available for purchase in the state of Oklahoma, please leave a message for me in the comment section below this post. The more pictures and information that you have to share with me, as well as how I can contact the owner of the vehicle will help us make an informed decision about which car to buy. I know that this is an unusual request presented in a blog post, but this momma would like to find a replacement car for her son as quickly as possible!

I appreciate the time that you spent reading this post and any assistance that you can provide our family. I look forward to hearing from you in the near future if you have knowledge of such a car, multiple photos of the interior and exterior of the vehicle, and contact information for the seller. Thank you, again, for your time!

Respectfully,

Lorrie Servati
Creator & Author of "Nathan's Voice",
as well as Mom to Vincent & Nathan

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Recognizing & Cultivating Your Superpowers As A Parent - Part 4

This is the final of four posts that originated from the Practical Parenting Tips section of an article that I wrote for an online parenting community several years ago. I have chosen the acronym FLY to wrap up this four-part series on how parents can use their superpowers to help their children. By connecting with other autism families in the community, parents are able to get the support that they need so that are prepared to help guide their children's journey through the spectrum.

Find an autism support group to receive and share with other families. There is something to be said about having other parents who have children with similar needs share and exchange information about available services and educational rights. Support groups can be an excellent resource when it comes to finding out which therapists, Special Education Case Managers, and Advocates are best qualified to meet the needs of your child.

Locate respite care for your child by asking other families about local resources. You will want to find area Respite Care Services for your child. Ask about qualifications, experience, and for references before making an informed decision about which respite care is best for your family. You have a right to be able to have some time to yourself or with your spouse but you will also want to make sure that your child is being taken care of by someone who is qualified. 

You and your family are a priority; make sure that you include family time on your schedule! It is important for your family to get together for fun and stress-free activities, but sometimes that is easier said than done!! Keep it as simple as possible, be somewhat flexible on behavior, and have FUN!!! Our favorite family activity is watching a movie together and having a snack that we enjoy. Since I wrote the original article, our family's favorite game is now "What Should You Do?" a game of consequences. We have even started creating our own questions and consequence cards!

I hope that all of the information I have shared with you will assist you in using your superpowers to help your child. The full article, Autism "How-To" Guide For Parents has so much more to offer, if you are interested! If you enjoyed reading this post, please #share it in support of #AutismAwarenessMonth. Thank you for your time and continued support of my efforts to raise #AutismAwareness throughout the year, not just in April!!

Your friend,

Lorrie

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Recognizing & Cultivating Your Superpowers As A Parent - Part 3

I am sharing the third post in a four-part series that is originally from the Practical Parenting Tips section of an article that I wrote for an online parenting community about eight years ago. I have chosen to use the acronym ENACT for this particular post. This image depicts a team comprised of female and male superheroes who are ready to use their superpowers to the people in their community. YOU and I are also superheroes, but it is not a superhero outfit or a cape that empowers us to use our superpowers for good and save the day from disaster! 

It is up to YOU to do the following:
Expand on what interests your child. What are your child's strengths and weaknesses? If your child is particularly good at something, find a way to use what he or she is interested in an good at to focus on helping him or her to make progress in other areas that need help. You can make a game of it! My child used to love Pokémon when he was younger and when he would have difficulty with something, I would use Pokémon stickers, trading cards, and other related items as a tool to help him focus and stay on task.

Negotiate the best routine for your child. Before the nationwide order to shelter at home, you may have had a routine that worked for your child and your family. That schedule was most likely turned upside-down and inside-out! Children are trying to complete school through distance learning, therapy sessions are being conducted via telehealth, and parents are working from home. It may take a while to find a routine that works best for your child, and that routine may change according to your child's needs. Be patient; the schedule will eventually find a rhythm that meets the needs of your child.

Assist your child in repetitive learning. If your child is having difficulty mastering a specific skill, you will need to find a creative way to help him or her achieve this skill. Think "outside the box" to provide your child with a simple modification to help him or her complete an activity or task that he or she might have not been able to accomplish otherwise. The best way to begin is by taking small, repetitive steps to assist your child in accomplishing his or her goals. 
Try not to overthink or complicate the process; sometimes, the simplest solution to the problem is just waiting for us to relax and find it!

Coordinate productive activities for your child. Choose a variety of activities that will provide your child with the chance to improve specific skills. For example, if your child needs improvement with motor skills, playing Hokey Pokey or Simon Says will be fun and educational. Your child may need to work on how to hold and use scissors to cut art projects out. You can plan a family collage or a special gift for someone and ask your child to help you with the project. If your child has difficulty with matching everyday objects to one another, you can cut out pictures from magazines and play a game by grouping flowers with gardens, appliances with kitchens, silverware with dining room tables, etc. Enjoy this time with your child! 

Transform behavior with positive reinforcement. I have found that my youngest child responds to frequent small rewards and praise, especially when he chooses the correct or appropriate behavior in a difficult situation. It can be a hug or a tickle preceded by verbal praise, special sticker related to something that interests him or her, a small piece of candy that he or she likes, or a short break so that they can enjoy time on their tablet or iPad. It is important to give your child an explanation of why he or she is receiving the reward. This will help your child to understand that this specific positive behavior is what you expect and appreciate.

I hope that you will use your superpowers to help your child to learn to regulate his or her superpowers. The full article, Autism "How-To" Guide For Parents offers so much more! If you enjoyed reading this post, please #share it in support of #AutismAwarenessMonth. Thank you for your time and continued support of my efforts to raise #AutismAwareness throughout the year, not just in April!!

Your friend,

Lorrie

Monday, April 20, 2020

Recognizing and Cultivating Your Superpowers As A Parent - Part 2


Tonight's post is the second in a four part series that is originally from the Practical Parenting Tips section of the article that I wrote for an online parenting community a few years ago. The acronym for this particular post is SOAR. You most likely recognize Woody and Buzz Lightyear, the heroes from the Toy Story movie series, pictured on the left soaring through the sky and high above everything to get back to their owner Andy. 

As everyday superheroes, we find various ways to rise above the obstacles that we encounter throughout our daily routine. What might work for us in one situation will not always work for us in another; incentives and consequences alike. As parents, we have to be extraordinarily creative to stay one step ahead of what we might encounter at any given moment!

You need to Search for signs of non-verbal communication that your child may be using to tell you how he or she feels. Watching your child's facial expressions, listening to the particular sounds he or she makes, and how he or she uses hand signals when tired, hungry, or frustrated will help you recognize when your child is communicating his or her needs. Your child can tell you what he or she wants or needs without saying it in words. Pay attention and you will learn to pick up on your child's non-verbal signals.

You should watch to Observe the reason behind the behavior that you want your child to stop displaying when not getting his or her way. When your child gets upset or begins to act out, it could be because he or she has been feeling misunderstood or ignored. Is acting out your child's way of trying to get your attention? Consider that your child could be frustrated with you because you are not picking up on their non-verbal signals.

It is YOUR responsibility to Arrange fun and simple playtime for your child. Autism is a diagnosis and just part of who your child is. Remember that your child is still a kid. Everyone needs to take some time off from school, therapy, and even work! Play is a very important part of being able to cope with our daily schedules. Choose ways to have fun together with activities that you both enjoy. Spending stress-free time with your child will be a beneficial part in learning to relax and enjoy each other's company whenever possible.

You should use a journal to help you Record and Remember all possible triggers in your child's behavior. Many things can serve as triggers to a child with autism. Children with autism can have hypersensitivity or the opposite - hyposensitivity to certain sights, sounds, smells, movements and things that they come in contact with. The same stimulus can lead to positive behavior in some children and trigger disruptive behavior in others. It is our responsibility to understand what affects our children, give them a sense of security, and prevent the undesirable situations we can avoid. 

I hope that you will now be able to use your superpowers to help your child to learn to regulate his or her superpowers. You can access the full article Autism "How-To" Guide For Parents if you would like to read more! If you enjoyed reading this post, please #share it in support of #AutismAwarenessMonth. Thank you for your time and continued support of my efforts to raise #AutismAwareness throughout the entire year, not just in April!!

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Recognizing and Cultivating Your Superpowers As A Parent - Part 1


In an effort to bring you the information from the Practical Parenting Tips section of the lengthy and informative article that I wrote for an online parenting community, I have chosen to present it to you in four shorter posts starting with this one in the form of an acronym: CAPE

In the image above, a female and male are shown as everyday people whose shadows insinuate that they each have skills or superpowers to help other people. Regardless of who we are, or what our strengths and weaknesses are, we can all be superheroes, and we do not have to wear a superhero outfit or a cape to use our superpowers for good. 

You can start by Creating a consistent environment as you possibly can for your child. Help your child to create inner consistency so that he or she can develop the confidence and the ability to adapt to various environments, social situations, and with different people who they may come into contact with through daily or occasional interactions. This is the best way to reinforce learning and encourage your child to transfer or generalize what he or she learns from one environment to another.

You will want to Avoid unwanted disruptions in your child's routine. Your child needs a structured schedule or routine for them to function at his or her best. It's important to offer your child a consistent schedule for eating, therapy sessions, going to school, playtime, naps, and bedtime, as well as build an alternative schedule for occasional outings such as visiting relatives, going to church, or venturing out into the community to do errands.

You need to remember Praise your child for displaying positive behavior, regardless of how big or small! Reinforcing good behavior and recognizing when your child learns a new skill is important to his or her progress. Make a conscious effort to tell your child every time why he or she is receiving praise. This will help your child to understand what the reward is for and teach them to repeat those specific positive behaviors.

Your next responsibility is to Ensure proper boundaries for your child. It is up to you to designate a specific area in your home where your child knows that he or she can relax, feel safe, and have solitude. Coordinating and setting up clear boundaries is essential to helping your child understand which areas are off limits to him or her. Child-proofing your house is something you should consider, especially if your child has frequent meltdowns or has injured his/herself in the past.

I hope that what I have shared with you will assist you in using your superpowers to help your child to learn to regulate his or her superpowers. The full article, Autism "How-To" Guide For Parents has so much more to offer, if you are interested! If you enjoyed reading this post, please #share it in support of #AutismAwarenessMonth. Thank you for your time and continued support of my efforts to raise #AutismAwareness throughout the year, not just in April!!

Your friend,

Lorrie