All About Me

New Math App for Special Needs and Special Learning!

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Zyrobotics, LLC for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.

Who here has played Turtle Invaders?  Its such a fun game!

There is a new app coming out next week that is based on a math adaptation of Turtle Invaders.  It’s called OctoPlus, and was created by Zyrobotics .  Zyrobotics, LLC is an inclusive technology company. Their mission is to enable freedom through technology by developing products that are adaptive to each individual’s capabilities.

My son has autism and generalized anxiety disorder, along with sensory processing disorder. He LOVES to learn.  When he gets emotional or stressed out, however, the chances of him retaining anything that is being taught are lowered dramatically.  We’ve been blessed this year to have a teacher that makes learning math a game as much as anything else, and the improvement we’re seeing is astounding!  This is one reason I feel so excited about OctoPlus.  It’s a game, for heaven’s sake!  It’ll be SO FUN to learn with!


OctoPlus places the child in an underwater water world where they have to battle turtles using their math addition skills to score points to be used in the OctoStore. With both a drill and challenge mode, children’s math skills are improved based on their own individual learning ability. OctoPlus is also designed to enhance motor skills for young children and kids with motor or cognitive delays. And get this:  parents can also use this switch-accessible app to reinforce Individualized Education Program (IEP) goals!  As a special needs parent who stressed over my son’s IEP, I think this is awesome! :)



A few key points about the game/app:

  • Fun for all, with additional settings to help children with special needs
  • Beginner’s options to help gain confidence during game play
  • Helps in improving hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills for younger children and children with special needs
  • Graphics and music can be graded to make this game suitable for sensory sensitive kids or for kids that are easily distracted, such as children with Autism or attention deficit disorder
  • Can use this math app to reinforce Individualized Education Program (IEP) goals


I personally cannot wait to try this out for myself and my son.  If you’re curious about it, it will be available for download on March 10 from iTunes:  iTunes Download Link.

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Back to School Blues?

All right, I wanna know –


Who is NOT happy that their kids are back in school?

Me, that’s who. :)  You should have seen me dragging my feet to work this morning.  It was sad.  (I work at a school)


Don’t get me wrong.  The routine is definitely a good thing, especially for my little dude with Autism.  But man, summer and being together all day is just so much fun!!!


The good news is that once I got to work, it felt great.  Once my son was in class and done crying, he did great.  And now we’re all together again, sharing all the awesome things from our day.  I’m already feeling more organized (although with less free time).  So I suppose I don’t have to sing quite so many blues….







Give Yourself a Raise

How many moms do we have here?  (Raise your hand, moms.)

I am a mom. I have two beautiful, healthy children.  When I was a child and people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I always answered without hesitation, “I want to be a mom – that or a brain surgeon.”  While I never made it to medical school, I am doing something just as important as “brain surgery” – I’m raising children.  I’m having sleepovers in my bedroom and reading silly books and dancing to Disney songs.  I’m making messes and inventing recipes and blowing bubbles and cleaning and cleaning and cleaning.



Cox Family-9


This is what I was born to be.  There is nothing better.  I can’t deny that there are times it is downright exhausting, however.  I don’t sleep like I did before kids.  My life doesn’t belong simply to me anymore.  It is shared with these precious souls (as it should be).  And because of the amazing sacrifices I’m blessed to make, I sometimes like to splurge – on me.  To reward my awesome mom-ness, if you will.


What about you?  Do you enjoy a little “Raise” now and again?  What’s your favorite mom reward?

I confess that I love a long, hot bubble bath.  I enjoy a nice, adult dinner.  My favorite splurge?  A new cool outfit.

You see, I don’t buy myself clothes often – maybe once a year I’ll get a few “new” shirts from a local thrift store.  But man oh man, to buy an entire outfit – NEW – from a retailer, and to go shopping for the new outfit by myself…THAT would be a treat!  Of course, because that would indeed be a splurge, it’d be nice to find a away to do it frugally.


indexThere are definitely options out there…one in particular I’ve just recently learned about is  At Raise you can buy and sell gift cards – sell your unused cards, buy gift cards at a discount...and currently they are running a “Give Yourself a Raise” campaign, all about the importance of rewarding yourself for all the hard work you put in every day.  Fun stuff!  So hey, jump on in.  Share in the comments what it is you do to reward yourself.  Let’s all give ourselves a raise, because let’s face it, as moms, we are pretty darn special! 😀

Ten Commandments for Interacting With Kids on the Autism Spectrum

Love this!


1. Thou shall not yell when speaking to me.
My disability does not impair my hearing and I am extremely bright. Perhaps even brighter than you are.

2. Thou shall not ignore me, talk negatively about me, speak unnaturally slow, or ask questions to others in the room that pertain to me.
I can comprehend what you are saying just fine.

3. Thou shall believe in me and help me believe in my skills and self worth.
Note the good in me and do not merely point out my negative behaviors. Believe in me and I will believe in myself.

4. Thou shall not perceive me as dumb.
I am extremely intelligent. I do not learn in the same way as you, and maybe not as quickly as you expect me to. Have patience with me. Once I recall information, I never forget.

5. Thou shall not judge my behavior.
I can get overstimulated in certain environments. I may be hypersensitive to sound and loud noises may hurt my ears. Fluorescent lights are distracting for me. They have a humming noise, and can pulsate. All the noises in a room can blur together. Please make accommodations to help me.

6. Thou shall not be so quick to scold me.
Do not tell me that “I know what I did”. I do not. Tell me what my infraction was in a simple, concise manner. I want to please you, but I have difficulties inferring meaning within a vague statement. For instance, do not say please clean up your bedroom. Tell me exactly what you want, such as ‘Please make your bed and pick up your toys”.

7. Thou shall not compare me to others.
Please remind me, and note the talents that I possess. This increases my confidence and positive self worth. Learning disabled or not, we ALL have talents to contribute within society. I need you to help me realize what mine is. Believe in me and I will believe in myself.

8. Thou shall not exclude me from activities.
Please do not mimic me, ignore me, or bully me.  Please invite me to play with you. It hurts my feelings when I am excluded. I like to run and jump in the playground, and be invited to birthday parties too. Grownups can help me make friends by encouraging other children to play with me. I can be a loyal friend if you get to know me.

9. Thou shall give me choices.
I do not like being ordered about any more than the other children. Give me choices so I know you value my capabilities and opinions. Make them simple and concise. Present two options or so. I get confused when too many questions or directions are given at one time due to my processing speed. For instance, ask me if I would like to wear my blue sweater or green one, rather than asking which sweater I would like to wear.

10. Thou shall not judge me by my diagnosis, but by my character.
I am an individual, just like other children. As my son used to say, “Mom my name is John (name changed for his anonymity) not Asperger’s”. A profound statement I would say. :-0)


Please join me in my utopian world where society perceives individuals as a whole, and does not judge them merely in character segments.

Thank you!




God Cries Too 1 comment

After hearing some terrible news today, I have been feeling quite down and depressed.  In my manic state, I went around the house cleaning out drawers and cabinets, anything to get my mind off the feelings of anger, frustration, and sadness.  I came across this poem.  I honestly don’t even remember where I got it from, but in reading it I felt a little bettern.  And so, I’ve decided to share it here:

 God Cries Too

By Darciann Samples

Adam and Eve had a choice to make.  To follow God or an evil snake.

Then the choice fell to Abel and Cain.  One was punished, the other slain.

Throughout history choices were given, some were punished, others forgiven.


Today we live in a different age, but we still have choices and we still have rage.

Many things happen beyond our control…the death of a child, the loss of a soul.

Every day you life your life, through illness or sadness, pain or strife.

Remember who’s there to be with you…when you are hurting, God cries too.


God does not rip a life from a womb, or condemn any man to an early tomb.

He does not send a car to kill, or an evil cancer to make us ill.

He didn’t place guns in the reach of a child.  He didn’t create teenagers to run wild.

He didn’t send war to take our men, or make one weapon with the strength of ten.


Some things just happen with no reason or rhyme.  It’s not God’s will; it’s not God’s time.

So when you are hurting, downhearted and blue, remember this:  God cries too.




Some of my favorite quotes from my  family last year:

Buddy Boy:  “Mom, can I have milk?”
Mom: No
BB: Can I have juice?
Mom: No
BB: Can I have water?
 Mom: No
BB: Can I have slime?

“You know, life is hectic, stressful, and certainly not easy.  Yet when I look at my children, really REALLY look at them, I feel such a love and peace, and how can I complain? When I see my sweet smiling kids, EVERYTHING is right in the world.” – Evelyn

“Maybe I won’t have as much stress at school if I can be surprised and come home to a clean house.” – Munchkin

“(singing)  In the name a blow, what more in the name a blow?” – Buddy Boy

“There may not be a cure for Autism yet, but love is kind of a cure, and it’s the best kind of cure we can give!” – Munchkin

“I’m SO thankful for steroids!”  – Evelyn

Changing Buddy Boy’s diaper Mom said “Okay, let’s check your bottom.”  Buddy Boy looked down and replied, “Yes Mom, my bottoms are still there!”

Munchkin’s friend (during their playdate):  “Your mom is so cool!”
Munchkin:  “Yeah she is, but sometimes she swears.”

“So Mom, how are you enjoying your Malibut?” – Munchkin

In July we drove by a Texas Roadhouse.  Munchkin mentioned that she’d gotten a coupon from school for a place like that…but couldn’t remember the name of the place.  I gave her some ideas:  “Spaghetti Factory?  Outback Steakhouse?”  She replied, “No, it was, um, let me think.  It was Obama-Rama, that’s right!”
Getting out Christmas decor,and Buddy Boy sees a plate that says, “Dear Santa, Here is a treat for you and carrots for your reindeer.” The first “for” is missing the O and R. So he sounds it out and reads ” Dear Santa, here is a treat. F You and carrots for your reindeer.”
Also, Munchkin put on Christmas music and the song “Noel” came on. She listened for awhile, then came to me in clear distress and upset. “Mom, you know that Noel song? I don’t think we should listen to it anymore. You know, cause of how it says ‘Born is the kingdom of h**l'” I explained it’s “born is the king of Israel”, EL, not with an H.:-)
“You don’t have a fever.  Oh no!!  What if you’re getting the weasles??” – Munchkin

Happy New Year (I’m BACK)!! 3 comments

Happy 2012!

I’m still in shock over how quickly the last year has flown by.  What did you accomplish in 2011?  More importantly, what are you GOING to accomplish in 2012?  I for one, have big plans, like always! :-)


As you know, I had some deeply personal issues/struggles that needed to be dealt with over the last couple of months.  I took a hiatus from this blog, as well as from much of my life.  Ironically, around the time I was struggling so much, the Mormon Message video I had been involved in came out.

What a beautiful message, right?  What a heartfelt, uplifting video.  For me, however, it was torture.

I felt like a complete hypocrite, especially when people praised me for my small part in the film.  What right did/do I have to play a part in something like this, to promote something like this when my very own heart was “failing me for fear”?  When my own testimony was struggling?  When I couldn’t find a grateful bone in my body?  I thought God must be disgusted with me for the hypocritical nature of it all.

Some time has passed since the video came out, and since I began facing my many demons and life situations, and I have finally found a measure of peace. I think I have found a focus for myself, my marriage, and my life again, and I hope to stay on the path I have tried to lay out.  Of course I know there are going to be detours along the way, and I hope to be able to handle those better in 2012 than I did this last year.  Life is that…life, and I’ve got to learn to roll with the punches!

One of the things I pondered over was this very blog, and I feel good about the direction I plan to take it.  I am excited to see what unfolds here.  I hope you’ll be patient with me as I unroll new ideas, learn to do things differently, and work to improve your experience.


So…I survived 2011.

And I’m scared to death for 2012…ha ha!


Happy New Year, friends.:-)

My “Better” Half 6 comments

Anyone ever read this?



I never have, but I confess, I’m seriously considering it.


You know the feeling when you’re sick?  You know what it’s like when you think you’re sick in part because of all the dust in the house from your husbands’ unfinished project that was supposed to take 2 days, and now, 3 weeks later, it’s still not close?

(The view of the doorway)


Yeah, I thought you did.

(the inside of the bathroom)

Well, do you know the feeling when you’re sick and the project your husband is working on isn’t finished and instead of working on it when he’s home, he goes to his friend’s house to work on his FRIEND’S project without asking your permission letting you know first?


You know the feeling when you assume your husband and his friend must surely just be trading favors, and that when they’re done there they’ll come here and you find out that no, your husband just wants to go work on someone else’s house and ignore his own?


Oh, and I KNOW you know the feeling when the only reason he’s taking apart your bathroom is because he messed it up the first time he put it in and now has to fix it.






When Feelings Get Hurt 8 comments

I have a friend who posted on her blog the other day about some hurtful things were said to her regarding her children.  It got me thinking, and I wanted to get your thoughts as well.


I’ve heard some pretty ignorant remarks concerning my son and his autism.  Most are annoying:  “Wow, I didn’t know Buddy Boy was actually SMART…kids who have autism can be smart?”, “Buddy Boy is so LOUD”, “Thank heavens you got such an angelic daughter to help you deal with your son”, “Your opinions regarding your son are WRONG…you need to discipline him MY WAY”, “I don’t know why you’re making a big deal of your son, autism isn’t a big deal”, etc.


On Mother’s Day I was at church and my son was struggling.  A baby was crying, and he is REALLY sensitive about that type of thing, for whatever reason.  He started yelling “Baby NO CRY!”  My husband immediately took him out so that no one would be disrupted.  Not two minutes later, some people sitting behind me started whispering about disruptive people.  One of them said, “Well, at least they’re not as bad as Buddy Boy!”  I ended up leaving church early in tears.  The worst part was that my 8-year old daughter heard it, and felt embarrassed by her brother afterward.


Some comments I’ve heard have been hurtful, particularly this one:  “Your kid doesn’t have Autism, because autism doesn’t exist.  He’s just a retard.”




The comment my friend heard the other day?
“It’s YOUR fault your kids have autism.”


Double Ouch.


Why do people feel the need to open their mouths and say hurtful things?  Particularly about ones’ child(ren)?  I’ll be the first to admit that I look at other people’s kids and sometimes make assumptions.  It’s human nature.  We see a child, an adult, or whomever, and based on looks, sounds, whatever, we paint a “picture” of that person in our minds.  I get that.  What I don’t get is the need to blurt out any unkind thought that crosses our mind!



So…here’s are my questions.  What kinds of comments have you heard people make about your child(ren), whether disabled or not?  How do you handle them?  Any secrets for keeping those comments from eating away at you?  What about your other children?  What do you say to them when THEY are the ones hearing comments from inconsiderate adults?  Please, share…I’d love to hear from you!



30 and Loving It!! 1 comment

A good, sweet friend of mine has started a new blog, with a fantastic theme. Her blog is called “30 and Loving It!” She chose to start it because she is turning 30 this year, and has chosen to turn this milestone into a positive one by highlighting some great things about being 30 (or older)!


She’s just begun to highlight some fantastic 30-somethings, and it’s so fun! Head on over and take a look at her post all about….yours truly! (Cause I’m 30-something….yep, an “older” woman!!)


Sarah (the gal doing the blog) set up an incredibly fun photo shoot for me, and I had a blast, despite the snow and wind! She’s a very talented photographer, which is evidenced by the results of her pictures (I actually look decent) :-)


So head on over, show her some love, and tell her I sent you, would ya? I’m really looking forward to reading more from her!


*The photo is not my property…I swiped it from her blog to give you all a teaser…thanks Sarah!