This boy melts my heart! Colby had a 101 fever and pneumonia in this picture but he is still smiling.
I just realized that most of my posts have been set to private! UGH! I swear sometimes having a blog is a pain!
We’ve had a crazy year…as usual but I wanted to share this awesome ceiling lift that we had installed a few months ago. Colby is still only 50 lbs but he’s going to get bigger and my back is feeling it. I wanted to get the lift installed before I hurt myself.
We started the process in May, received insurance approval in June but had to wait for proof that insurance would cover the whole thing before the company would install it. I don’t blame them. If I were installing a $25,000 ceiling lift I would want to know it was going to be completely paid for before ordering it.
I also didn’t want to end up with a $10,000 bill if they only ended up paying out some of the cost.
In the end it was completely covered and installation began at the end of August. The headers were finally finished up this week so it’s been a bit of a process.
I had a mom ask why we didn’t just get a Hoyer lift as they are much more affordable. We have so much medical equipment that finding more space to put something like that just isn’t a good option. It also wouldn’t allow me to get him in and out of the bathtub like his ceiling lift does.
Colby thinks it’s a fun roller coaster but he does wish it had a turbo boost.
The only thing I can say bad about it is that the headers for Colby’s bathroom and bedroom had to be removed to allow the track system to go through. I knew that was going to happen but John didn’t quite understand what that entailed. It means that the bathroom is not totally enclosed at the top. My sister in law said it reminded her of being back in grade school with the bathroom stalls. Either way it’s a small thing to worry about because the end results are so amazing.
I am truly thankful that we were able to have this installed and what it means for my physical well being going forward.
Talking Fingers Inc. recently had gave us a one year online subscription to their Talking Shapes: A Supplemental Curriculum for Early Literacy. The program is designed as a full curriculum for preschool. Talking Shapes takes simple words and shows young learners how they are actually words that they see. Our kids are much older than the suggested age range for this program. I was hoping to use it and see if Colby would be able to learn the letter sounds during our use of the program. He’s a tricky kid and we have no idea what he knows educationally! That might sound weird but he’s non verbal and stubborn as heck at school so if you know him it’s really not that surprising.
Talking Shapes has seven stories that children work through to learn about the 40 different speech sounds and how each letter stands for those sounds. You follow two sisters through out the stories and see how they “invented” the alphabet. As your child follows the stories they will learn to sound out and speak the words first. There has been some research done by neuropsychologist Dr. Jeannine Herron (who developed the program) that shows that speaking the words first activates the left brain and creates links to the right brain so they become successful readers.
Our Letter Sounds Experience
I mentioned Colby is a stubborn kid earlier in the review. I’m not lying when I say that. When he gets his mind set on something it’s almost impossible to change it unless you use reverse psychology. I told him the girls in the story were his stinky sisters and he could bonk them on the screen if he would play along. That held his interest for a little bit! The girls are good sports about letting him bonk them to get him to use his arms and hands so they were there encouraging him as we went along.
As far as the program goes content wise. It’s great! The story is fun and Talking Fingers did a good job balancing young kids interest with learning. I have no doubt that this would help preschoolers and kindergarteners learn how to read. In stroke recovery research there is evidence that tracing letters and words while saying the letter sounds brings those skills back faster then just trying to read or talk alone. The neurons work together to build the bridges and produce strong readers. It’s why I was hoping this would help Colby.
My take away on the program is that it’s a great program just not a good fit for us. That’s okay though because we really do have unusual circumstances and I’m okay with that. I hope you will read the other reviews to see how this program would work with a neurotypical family.
Be sure and click on the link below to see what the others reviewers had to say about their experiences with Talking Shapes.
Forbrain – Sound For Life Ltd has generously sent us their Forbrain headphone set to review. I cannot even begin to tell you how excited I was to be selected for this review! I literally begged to try this out for a couple of reasons! If you’ve been following our chaos for any amount of time you know that Colby is non verbal. He says yeah and uh-uh sometimes but he usually talks by looking at something with his eyes or if he’s really in a cooperative mood he might actually use his speech device computer. He thinks I can read his mind and that is typically good enough for him. The doctors aren’t really sure why he doesn’t talk. We know he can say words and that he understands what is being said to him. He has said love you, airplane, Buzz and war along with a few words I won’t mention thanks to all the trash talking John and Colby do while playing video games together. Forbrain provides technology for speech and language difficulties and it seemed like a perfect fit for Colby.
Be sure and click on the banner below to see what the other reviewers had to say about their experiences with Forbrain.
USAopoly sent us two games to review! They are Wonky: The Crazy Cubes Card Game and Tapple: Fast Word Fun for Everyone. We try and have Family Home Evening once a week on Monday nights. At least one of the weeks of the month we try and play a game together. I say try because let’s face it everything doesn’t always go as planned at our house. It’s always fun to try a new game on those night. Resources have been limited this year (who knew buying a house cost so much?) so these are our first new games in awhile. Jahnna and Riley were very excited to see them.
Tapple is a fun word game where you compete against the timer to name as many words in a category as you can. You tap the first letter of the word which means there is no spelling involved. You might wonder why that would be considered a learning game but it’s intent is to to increase vocabulary not spelling. Tapple is for players 8 years old and older and requires 2 to 8 players to play. Tapple has won many awards is a Mom’s Choice Gold Award winner and received the National Parenting Center Seal of Approval. Tapple is available on Amazon and at most major retail stores. Tapple retails for $19.95.
Tapple is such a fun, fast game! You only get 10 seconds to come up with a word or else you are out. It can be harder than it sounds because once a letter is tapped it can’t be used again during that round. It took Riley a couple rounds to get used to not being able to use the same letter over and over again. We were laughing so hard as she kept saying M words and then “Oh I forgot!” after she realized she was still stuck on the same letter. I loved Tapple because it is so fast. This game will wake you up if schoolwork has gotten a little boring or maybe you just can’t concentrate.
I love that my girls can play it together without needing more players. It can be hard for all of us to play a game together unless it’s a scheduled family game night so this is easy to pull out when ever they want. I also love when a game has a convenient storage system. If the box gets opened or lost the cards are stored in the back of the game. Can someone explain to me how a game box gets lost in the first place? I still haven’t figured out how that happens but with Tapple it’s okay if it does.
Wonky is a cross of a cube and a card game. The cubes have three flat sides and three curved sides which makes them very unstable. Wonky is also for ages 8 and above, requires 2 or more players and takes roughly 30 minutes of game time. Included in the game are 9 of the different sized crazy blocks and 54 strategy cards. Wonky is available at ToysRUs, Barnes & Noble, Go! games & toys and Amazon and retails for $19.95.
Wonky didn’t disappoint either. First can I tell you how much I love the word Wonky? How can the game not be fun when it’s got such a fun name? We loved it! It’s a simple concept, each player receives 7 cards to begin with and the rest are placed face down in a draw pile. On your turn you choose a card to play and then discard it in the discard pile. If you don’t have a playable card you draw until you get a playable card. If you knock the tower over you have to draw 3 more cards. Play continues until someone places the 9th block or plays all of their cards.
Jahnna and Riley had a lot of fun with this game as well. It takes a little longer and it was fun to listen to them encourage each other yet hope they won at the same time. Riley loves to build so she has frequently taken the blocks and cards out and challenged herself. It was interesting to watch her decide that she could adapt the game to fit her own interest and build her skill and problem thinking skills.
I don’t see any of us getting bored with either Wonky or Tapple any time soon. What are your favorite games to play for family game night?
Be sure and click on the banner below to see what the other 99 reviewers had to say about both games.