Family Fun

Family Fun

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Can you say beach?

Yup that’s right we took Aiden to the beach today. He did really good for his first time there. Before we went, we prepared him by using the app I See-quence…. Going to the beach, by I get it apps. I think Aiden did good with it because the pictures were real instead cartoons. (I’m surprised he didn’t ask who every person was.)

We got there and Aiden was a little nervous.. For some reason he thought the water would be a pool… he was a little afraid of the waves. After a while he relaxed.. It didn’t take long before he was running around playing.. Walking and running is great heavy input for him.. Seems to have made him relax even more. We ran and played by the water and we tossed around a beach ball. He really liked that. He played in the sand with his cars and threw sand in the air. Most of the sand went on Mom… and considering she has a thing about sand she handled it pretty good. When it came time to leave it went better then expected. Aiden doesn’t transition well, even if he likes what is coming next. Sense he left pretty good we decided that we would go to our friends house and swim.. He is getting braver with that as well. When it came time to leave that he did ok getting in the car.. When he realized my friend Lexi was not coming with us he screamed all the way home. For the most part it was a pretty good day.. He got to get out of the house and have lots of movement. Mom says that movement is important for him to get the sensory he needs and he learns better after having a lot of heavy input… well he did not get that much learning in because he is sound asleep.. Guess he is worn out.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Touching Story

Yesterday a friend firmly suggested that we bring Adien to the local park, he did very good but had a minor meltdown.When we returned home we were surprised with a voicemail from none other than player 2! I was in my room with Adien and a friend when my mom came into the room and said "Kourtney listen to this" she then read the following message out loud:

IPod touching story by Thumb Arcade on Friday, July 22, 2011 at 5:37pm

                    These are the days when being a thumb is so much fun. Even funner (hee-hee) than normal.   Our 1st place winner of the Worldwide Underwear Day contest was Daniel Dillard. Gary from A4CWSN was generous enough to donate a new iPod Touch for 1st place, along with the other goodies Daniel will receive. The device arrived yesterday and we had a chance to speak with Daniel's mom today. She explained that Daniel is the recent recipient of an iPad from a very generous donor. His big sister also has an iPodTouch. In the mold of what this inspiring community is all about, the amazing Dillard family felt that they needed to do something nice for someone else. The thumbs agreed 110%.   If you've spent any time at all on Gary James' FaceBook page or website, you've heard about the heart warming blog being run by Aiden Hadley's big sister, Kourtney. She's a remarkable girl who posseses wisdom beyond her years. Her compassion and drive to work with Aiden has moved us so much, that we'd like to make sure that she has all of the tools to continue her mission of sharing Aiden's Austistic World through her eyes. We also found out today from Kourtney's mom, that she has been carrying around a used iPod with a cracked screen. So, Kourtney...
(dramatic pause)  
Daniel Dillard would like to share his good fortune with you by giving you his iPod Touch. His mommy said he loves to share. Indeed he does.   So, when Aiden (our #1 Fan) receives his gifts for coming in 2nd place for his fabulous undies, we will include the iPod Touch. Hope you enjoy using it as much as we enjoy sending it to you!

Love- The Dillards, Gary James and The Thumbs Xoxoxoxo

I was filled with emotions when I heard the message. I am so grateful to the Dillards, Thumb Arcade, and Gary James aka A4cwsn. I am thrilled to be apart of such a caring community. It is going to be awesome to have an IPod that doesn't have a big crack in it. Thank you so much for your generosity and compassion Dillard Family. Thumbs up to the players and Gary James thank you for changing lives! Daniel you are awesome at sharing!

Thumb Arecade facebook page
A4cwsn Face book and webpage

Friday, July 22, 2011

Aidens art project for the A4cwsn Art show...

Yes you read right A4cwsn is having a art show for special needs kids. The winner will win an I pod touch... but the children who participate get a whole lot more.. we got O.T. out of this .. we worked on fine motor skills and it was just plain fun.

We started out letting Aiden pick out an app that he wanted to recreate on his paper I pad. Not wasting anytime he quickly picked his favorite app “My Underwear” by Thumb Arcade. He then chose a pair of underwear he wanted to create. He chose his favorite.. The stripe boxer briefs. He took a black piece of construction paper .. The I pad . Then he clued a white piece of paper to it for the back ground. He then took a pair of cut out underwear and glued it to the background. He used felt cut out circles to represent the paint colors. Then he clued different shapes to his underwear and wa-lah he had some new under wear.
If you would like to participate in the contest .. Just let your child create a piece of art that represents either the A4cwsn logo or an I pad . Like the A4cwsn face book page and then join at!/event.php?eid=104178203013043
 This has been so much fun for Aiden as you can tell by the pictures..

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Life With Aiden

Aiden hasn’t allowed me to write lately. That said I think you can pretty much predict how its been. Aiden has been having anxiety attacks. He has not slept well , and he has been aggressive.  Monday I had gone to a friends house in the afternoon and didn’t return till about the same time the following day…so for that period of time I’m not sure how things went. One thing that I am sure of is that Aiden missed me, because when I got home Aiden ran up to me and gave me a hug. It only took a few minutes before he asked if I could play with him and his big yellow bus. Oh My Goodness that bus is starting to get annoy me . We have this laundry sorter that has wheels and well my Mom put Aiden’s bus tent on top of it. He can get in and walk around. Aiden has been playing with it for days. He wants us to play with it. My mom or me obviously can't stand up inside like he does, and its not really big enough for Aiden and another person. I think he finally gets it now. Bad thing is Aiden gets really upset if you will not play with him.

Today we worked on one of his apps that we found through A4cwsn. It is called Alpha Tots. He tries to sing his Abc’s with the app, you cant understand him but he is trying. His favorite letter to open is R, he tries to say Reduce Reuse and Recycle like the app. He also likes the P, because of the instruments. He likes any type of music or anything that has to do with music. He also likes well every other letter of the alphabet, lol. He has been doing so well since receiving his I-pad. We have gotten so many apps through A4cwsn that we cant have them all on the I-pad at the same time. We are learning that just because an app is free, doesn’t mean its right for us. They can waste space and time. We now check out the reviews first, then make sure it is what will work for us. Always keep that in mind before purchasing or downloading a free app. A good place to find a review is There are several video reviews so you can watch it and see if it is an app that would work for your child or student. If you check out the facebook page leave a question on an app.. and there will be someone to answer it .. wither Gary James .. the owner of the site or a parent , teacher or developer.

As we are making our way through this chapter of this crazy thing we call life, we never know what the future holds. Tomorrow could be one of Aiden’s worst days or it could be one of his best. You never know because everyday is a new day, and no matter what, I’m still glad I have my marvelous brother Aiden to share it with.

Monday, July 18, 2011

A4cwsn - Apps for children with special needs

Wow he is at it again…Gary James of A4cwsn  is doing amazing things over this next week. So far this week he has given … and driven an I pad to an amazing family. He has sent off Bub Caps donated by Paperclip Robot. ( A bub cap is a cover that goes over the button of your device preventing little hands from getting into things on your device that you do not want them in. ) He has ran a contest to win a autographed book from Todd Par , 5 people won those.. Congrats to every one! He decided to gift a lucky Florida family a I pad …Just because. It will be delivered next weekend, by none other then himself. He will be reviewing and giving away several I pad cases through out the coming days. He has even let my mom know that Aiden will be getting a much needed case. He has even found a donor to donate an I pad 2 to a family in Canada. Is this man amazing or what . If you would like to learn more about all that is going on in this little A4cwsn community ( that periodically makes my mom cry with Joy) please visit the web site or the face book page There are many things going on at once with this special needs community that has grown so much in such a short time… There are parents and teachers developers and companies … and Angels working within this community. If you have not had the chance to check it out… I encourage you to do so. We are so blessed to have found this group and hope that one day we can do more to help it achieve it’s goals.

A special shout out to Thumb Arcade .. For their generous donation of the Todd Par books
Marware for donating 100 I pad cases and 5 Ipads to the Fifty iPads. Fifty States. Fifty Children with Special Needs
Paperclip Robot….with an amazing product that saves my mom  from making unwanted purchases.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Aiden's Day of Song

           Instead of waking up to what usually seems like a pro wrestler sitting on me , I woke up to Aiden playing on an app and singing his Abc's along with it. We managed to get it on Video. Which is highly unusual , because normally when you get the camera out to take video Aiden stops everything and says "CHEESE". It was kind of hard to understand what he was saying , but we could make some of it out. I guess you could say that the music has captured Aiden. He has been singing random songs all day. He even ask for lunch in a song.

          We have gotten a lot done today . We played with his See and spell. That is a wooden board with the word and it's picture on it. It has a spot for every letter in the word. You take a wooden letter and place it in it's spot. This is great for fine motor skills, sight words recognition and letters. He is able to recognize some of his letters.. and he knows what the pictures are. A lot of what he says we can understand , but everyone else has a lot of trouble. We work hard on speech . Before he aged out of the Early steps program we had a great lady that work with Aiden once a week for an hour .She taught us how to work with Aiden to. An hour a week in no where near long enough. We took a sensory break after the See and spell and let Aiden use his swing . He really works better with breaks.

We then played with beans. We hide things in the beans and he has to find them. Today was googly eyes. He loves to pour the beans in little play bowls and pretend to eat them. The beans he put in the pink bowl he said tasted like strawberries and the ones in the blue bowl were blue berries. I thought it was pretty cool how we corresponded the color with the taste. We also played with his latch board. My mom put it on his sensory wall just a little to high so he would have to reach for it. This is so he builds up his core strength.

                   For heavy input today, He jumped on his trampoline. It is pretty cool . It has handles and plays music. Luckily he hasn’t needed as much heavy input today as the past few days. Lets just see how the rest of the day goes.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Apps for children with special needs

If you have not heard about A4cwsn yet ... you are missing out on a wonderful web page  they are doing amazing things for our special needs community. My family has received wonderful apps for free.. and sometimes out of the owner of the website himself Mr. Gary James own pocket. They have a wonderful community on Face book compiled of Gary .. of course and parents, teachers , O.T.'s and App developers. Right now one of the community's endeavours is the Fifty I pads. Fifty States. Fifty Children with Special Needs campaign ... this community is raising money to give 50 I pads away to 50 special needs family's. It could be someone in your hometown.. this is amazing but will only work if everyone gets together and chips in .. and donates .. even a couple of dollars.. if you go in through the link check out the web page check out the community .. poor yourself a glass of chocolate milk and stay awhile... I think you will be amazed at what you see.. but what do I know I am just a 14 year old girl with a special needs brother .. who knows that an I pad could change a child's life forever.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Our Day

Today, Aiden and I played school…… it was interesting, but I have to say he looks so cute when he raises his hand and says “Kourtney oh oh ha ha Teacher can you help me”. School is almost here and I think he will be ecstatic to get to ride the “ big giant yellow school bus” again. As for me I’m excited yet really nervous, it will be my first year of high school. Scary! Aiden and I worked on his abc’s today he’s doing pretty good, but he doesn’t get that there are uppercase and lowercase letters. So I think that’s confusing him a little. We are trying to just work on uppercase letters then move on to lower case. We have also been working on counting and shapes. He’s getting pretty good at drawing his circles and triangles but his squares aren’t that great, he’s trying his best and that’s better than not trying at all. We have seen lots of progress since we first started working with shapes and to me that’s great.

My mom improved Aiden’s sensory wall today, so we also worked on that and his swing. Its amazing how many things are great sensory items. For instance my mom and I went to the Dollar Tree one day and went up and down the isles to see what we could find texture wise. With only spending a few dollars and using an old picture frame that had dividers to separate the pictures we made a few great things for his sensory wall. You don’t have to have a lot of money to have great sensory tools. If you take a look around your house I’m sure you can find a ton of stuff to make great things with. It doesn’t have to be something for the wall either. Take some dry beans, pour them in a bucket and let your kid run their fingers through the beans, this and playing with Play dough are some of Aiden’s favorite activities. Finger painting is also another good yet messy thing your kid might like that may help with sensory.

As the day wines down the house seems to becoming calm and peaceful probably because Aiden is laying down watching Blue’s Clue’s with his eyes half way closed. We can usually tell when Aiden is getting tired because he asks if the sun is going down. He figures if the sun is going down then he can go to sleep. Well that’s it for now, have a great rest of the day.

Kids Defense Team

Kids Defense Team is a wonderful organization. They have done so many great things not only for my family but for many others to. Please check them out at They sent Aiden a teddy bear not that long ago, and Aiden absolutely loves it. He sleeps with it all the time and he even brought it with him on his exciting adventure to Sea World. Thank you for all that you do, keep up the good work Kids Defense Team! J

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Our Day of Movement

Tap ..Tap .. Tap .. Hey out there is anyone here… this is kind of hard to get used to …typing not knowing if anyone is seeing or caring what I type.. Would love to hear from you.

Although Aiden had a rough nights sleep , just like any night. He has night terriers and the weighted blanket helps but does not take it away completely. He started the day in a good mood. Like most days he needed a lot of sensory input. Instead of letting him push into us to get the pressure, he pushed into his peanut ball. He rolled back and forth on the ball letting the pressure of the ball and his body do it’s job. We even made up a space rocket game which worked with his balance. Aiden has poor core strength, this helps with that. It also promoted imaginative play. We added counting and letters all in one. He had so much fun. The problem with Aiden is he does not like change . Trying to get him to transition from one thing to the next is very difficult, even is he likes the next thing planned. What helps with this is providing a visual schedule that he can see and know when he is going to his next task. We are going to make him a set of cards that you place on a poster board and get a laminator and timer to set up a pecs system for him. If we get donations to Aiden’s cause that is first on the list of things to do for him.

We worked with his I pad today as we do every day. We have an app that has flash cards of the alphabet, which he worked with for a little bit and when he did good , I let him use his favorite app. My Underwear by Thumb Arcade he loves the app and making the underwear has improved his fine motor skills. You design a pair of underwear by coloring it. You can even save the underwear that you design. I love seeing how intense he gets designing his underwear. The I pad works for so many skills and if you want more info on apps to buy visit A4cwsn @…. My mom is obsessed with that site.. She has gotten so many free apps and information on apps to buy for special needs children.

I am now taking a break ..shhh Aiden is taking a nap.. My mom has a routine for him in the evening to get him ready for sleep time . I will let you know how it goes.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Aiden is needing Sensory input today.

Aiden is needing lots of sensory input today . He is banging into me to get heavy input . He does this a lot and it does not seem to hurt him …as for me that is another story . We are trying to make him a sensory room  …as we get extra money . We have painted a mural on is wall, and have added a trampoline and bean bag chair for heavy input. He will throw his body into the chair.... it seems to make him feel better.  We have also gotten him a sensory swing.. That hangs from his ceiling in his room. My Mom makes weighted lap pads for him and that helps a lot. There are many things we can do to help him. We work hard as a family to give him what he needs .. Just there are some days that are worse then others. Some days he can get really bad and this is one of those days.

Getting to know me .

Hi My name is Kourtney I am 14 and have a 3 year old brother Aiden who has autism. Aiden was born into my family as my Nephew. My sister Monica who is now 21 had him. My sister suffers from Bi-polar disorder and was unable to take care of Aiden. Aiden was placed in our house at birth on March 13th 2008, by the state. When he was 20 months old my parents adopted him. Through out his first 20 months Aiden was sick all the time, in and out of the Hospital and specialist offices. My mom knew there was something wrong with Aiden's development and tried to get some behavior issues addressed. When he was 25 months he was diagnosed with Autism. He was non verbal. My family all contributed to getting his needs addressed and learned everything we could to help him. The early step program also came into our home to help. By the time he was 30 months he had a few words. We were addressing his sensory issues and my mom even made him weighted lap pads My dad made him a sensory wall and we got him a trampoline, peanut balls, puzzles etc. We now had everything in place to get Aiden started. I am here now to tell you a little bit about Aiden's day to day life and struggles we have as a family.