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When the kids are home all Summer…..

During the Summer, I have a few close friends (more like family) that entrust me with the responsibility of watching their kids. My oldest is 12, so she’s basically staff at this point and the others range from 2-10. On a full day (with at least 3 adults present), I’ve had 8 smalls. I’ve gotta tell you, having a classroom of 20 for a few hours in Sunday School is a whole lot different then having that many kids for two meals, two snacks and an entire day.

For anyone who has multiple children during the Summer months, I have found that creating a daily schedule and weekly menu helps tremendously in organizing what could potentially be chaos. All school age children have some sort of Summer Reading or Summer Homework that needs to be done so that should have a designated time. I have also found that listing “snack time” in-between meals prevents you being asked for a snack fifty thousand times. Recess, free time, arts & crafts also help take up some time slots. For my smalls, I’ve had all of them in Sunday School previously, so in my schedule we have a bible lesson also worked in.

For the little ones who can’t read yet or don’t have Summer Homework, I found a bunch of free learning apps on the for my I-Pad which I use with the little ones during this time and I also give the bigger kids reading credit if they choose to read a book to a smaller child. This helps the little ones learn to sit still which may not seem that important but it will be important when they start pre-school. Kids also learn from each other so don’t underestimate the impact of a bigger kid reading to a little one, most of them love it. In the back firing sense, I now have a two-year old goddaughter who tells me “sit” so she can read to me, which is mainly her flipping through the pages at top speed and going to get another book. Could be worse.

I know a lot of people don’t like to allow children to help clean up because they have to re-clean what the kids have cleaned. Honestly, that’s how I felt until I realized how much the kids actually enjoy helping so I try to give them tasks at the end of the day so everyone’s helping. For bigger kids? Give them the steam mop, it’s hard to mess up steam mopping unless of course it’s an 8 year old who decides it’s a weapon, then of course you’ll have to ban them from future steam mopping.It happens.  I have also learned Lysol Wipes can be used on electronics and Clorox Wipes can not. So if you’re giving a kid a wipe (make sure it’s a child old enough not to eat the wipe), make sure it’s Lysol if they’re cleaning in a room that contains electronic devices. Also as a side note, don’t let them plug in the vacuum in the same room that an Air Conditioner is on or you’ll be taking a trip to the fuse box.

Rewards are also helpful. Kids love having something to earn or look forward to. I build in recess time because they have it at school and I have found it helpful to follow their regular pattern. I do Popsicle at the end of the day after clean up and I try to do a fun lunch on Friday (i.e. Pizza) if we have good behavior all week. Pizza can be expensive so things I’ve found helpful in that department is the party size pizza which is normally $20 and feeds at least ten people, Little Caesar’s has a $5 large pizza special (I have two kids with a milk allergy, but Little Caesar’s will make a sauce only and you can pay the extra dollar for meat), or you can do pizza bagels yourself.

I certainly don’t have all the answers folks, but the little I’ve included above has really helped me manage a lot of kids at once without loosing my mind. Hope it helps, feel free to comment below!

Be Blessed-

QTP

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Dear Readers: Updates Coming Soon

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Dear Readers:

Thank you all so much for your continued support over the years. I appreciate everyone who has taken time out of their busy day in order to read an article posted here.

After much thought, I decided that I am going to start updating the categories and content featured here. I don’t really follow the social norm as far as blogging is concerned. I know a lot of folks pick what kind of blog they want and dedicate their posting around a certain topic. That never really worked for me because I like to represent on my blog what and who I really am.

I am a person who has worked (and still does) for over 17 years in the field of Human/Social Services working with families, children, and individuals with disabilities. I am a person who has worked and still works in the music/ entertainment industry not only as an artist, but in many different administrative functions. I am a person who has been an entrepreneur for over a decade and I am a person who not only talks about God, but someone who tries their best to walk that belief out in my everyday life.

I’ve done a lot of growing and maturing since I started this blog and someone very dear to my heart always has told me that everything God allows you to go through is to help someone else. So I feel inclined to give away everything that I’ve learned so that hopefully it will help someone else. With that being said, currently my life is so hectic I don’t fall asleep, I pretty much collapse at the end of the day. I am a full-time caregiver, I manage a full-time health staff and do 170 hours of payroll bi-weekly. I am a full-time care manager (which is someone who coordinates all health and community programs for an individual with a disability), I care for several children full-time Monday-Friday, I am the First Lady to Hell Razah’s (Wu-Tang Clan/Sunz of Man risendocumentary.com) Ghetto Govt Global Movement, I oversee the development and Management of two independent record labels, as well as work in my church administrative office while managing to make time for family and friends, and at some point attempt to work on my own music and book. Yes. I do all of this 7 days a week, I rarely get a break and if you ask me how, I can only spell out J-E-S-U-S, that’s how LOL.

So in my re-design, I’m going to keep a lot of things like music I’m involved with, interviews, Encouragement articles, Hip-Hop 101 for Independent Artists, and #TeamQueen but I really want to add a lot of stuff I’ve learned over the last few years like how to feed 8 kids on a budget, parenting techniques, time management, budgeting, and personal organization. I also want to address things that are important to me because after all it is my blog. I hope that you all will enjoy the updates, thank you all for your continued support!

Be Blessed-

QTP

Submit your #Autism #Awareness Month story!

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April is Autism Awareness Month!

If you type “Autism” in the top of this blog’s search bar, you’ll find all sorts of helpful resources for parents with children that are autistic. For this month we are looking for your contributions on the subject! If you are a trainer, staff person or parent working or living with someone with Autism or hosting / know of a community event supporting awareness for this month, please submit your story or the information (please include photos, logos, or flyers you want included as well as your Twitter handle if available) and we will share it free of charge for the month of April! Email all submissions: queentheprophetblog@gmail.com

#Love is on the verge of extinction

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I’ve spent the last month or so observing the social “norms” of human behavior both online and in person. I’ve actually been online a lot more then I have been posting and out and about a lot more then I make mention of. I’ve been observing several age groups and since I really have made an effort to disconnect myself from the majority of my music demands and interactions with others, I was able to get a very clear yet disturbing insight on a few things. I even pondered if I should bother writing about it because quite honestly, most people aren’t going to care. Most of the time most people don’t seem to care about anything these days really until it happens to them personally or it’s too late. After that thought passed through my mind I had to rebuke myself because it doesn’t matter if “most people” don’t care, I do and because I do, even if what I’m writing only falls on one set of ears that pays attention it’s worth it.

Let’s start with the basics, if you can honestly look around you at the state of the world and not see that something is very, very wrong? I feel sorry for you. The lack of compassion we have for each other is at an all time disgusting high, people (both young and old) are entirely self absorbed, selfish, and the average human ego is out of control. The number of people on anti-depressants is alarmingly high, most working class people are “working poor”, poor people are kept poor because if they make $5 over a certain number they lose their medical insurance and can’t afford to pay for it out of pocket, the average working person is absolutely exhausted on a daily basis working 40+ hours a week to still struggle with bills, marriages are falling apart, children are being raised by electronics, the future leaders of tomorrow have role models with zero morals, and we all know that organic is the best food to buy because it doesn’t contain harmful poisons yet most people can’t afford the food without poison in it.

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We live in a time where a tiny electronic device allows each individual person to feel like the Mayor of their own little world. Most people, spend most of their day inside their phone, in their private little town. People spend hours taking pictures of themselves and no longer know how to enjoy a moment with their family or friends without making it a social media update while it’s happening. The next time you go out to eat, take a look around you. Most people sit at a table on their phone. Kids no longer know how to use their imagination and play. Nobody goes outside. These small devices are holding people hostage and nobody realizes it or cares. Why don’t they care? Easy, because the entire trap is designed to stroke your ego. It feels good. You like “likes”, you like followers, you like messages, you like comments. Some of you like them so much you’re addicted to them. The sad part is all of this is a distraction. Most of us are so busy in our tiny bubbles, we have no idea what laws are being passed and every major crisis only has the impact of a status update. We have been trained to filter information so fast that it is impossible for us to hold on to anything because we’re being hit with a million things every single day.

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All of what I mentioned above ties into the title. See because of all the things I observed during the last month or so, one thing stuck out to me more than anything else and that was Love. It’s not a secret or a surprise that the Family as a unit has been under attack for years. I firmly believe that what we are witnessing is the manifestation of a well calculated and executed plan that has been in the works for decades. If you distract people from the opportunity to find love or even think about it, you are destroying family. Why attack family? Because strong families make strong communities. Marriage and family aren’t even goals for most people anymore. If you ask people about their goals most of what they start talking about has to do with money. (1 Timothy 6:10 “for the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” NKJV) 

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If you’ve had the fortunate blessing to have someone 70 or older in your life, then hopefully you’re going to fully grasp the rest of this writing. I would like to hope that most of us have heard a beautiful story at some point in our lives as how maybe our great-grandparents, grandparents, or even our own parents met. Some of us have even known people that met when they were little, grew up, and are still together. At one time the sense of commitment was strong. Families were supported by their community (family, friends, neighbors, church, schools, etc) and marriages withstood the test of time. We now live in a society that caters to our ego and nobody teaches problem solving skills anymore. We are taught to move on to the next thing that makes us “happy” which is the same kind of truth farmer’s use to catch a rat. Farmer’s don’t leave rat traps out in the open, they cover them with a little bit of hay so the rat doesn’t see the trap and gets caught. I am not talking about abuse, it is never okay to tolerate abuse. I am speaking directly of people throwing away marriages due to lack of self-control, boredom, and unrealistic expectations they put on their partner to make them happy. Nobody teaches people how to make themselves happier people in general and folks are finding themselves in “the grass is greener on the other side” syndrome and nine times out of ten if they took the time to water their own grass it would be just as green.

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We live in a microwave world. Everybody wants everything in under sixty seconds and the things that we are giving our time to are not things that are going to sustain us. Everyone is running, running, self absorbed, running, running, and running right into the grave. If you were to take your last breath today, what kind of legacy would you be leaving behind for your family? Have you accomplished all of the things you wanted to accomplish? Are you happy? Did you enjoy your life? Did you spend as much time with the people you love as you would have liked to? If you died today and God gave you a chance to come back but you had to give Him a good reason, what would your reason be? Would it be so you could work more? Post on Facebook one last time? Send out a few more tweets? Buy that one last insignificant piece of expensive crap that consequently didn’t fit in your casket? By the way, while you were so busy running, did you ever happen to get the chance to make time for God and sow into where you’ll spend eternity? When your eyes closed for the final time, did they close with the assurance of where your soul is going?

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I may not have the answers on how to fix the entire world, but I am certainly revealing to you some ways that we can fix ourselves. The point I wanted to make is that we are robbing ourselves of life and the real experiences and opportunities that shape and mold us. We are not being good parents if we giving our kids more gifts then time. We are not building a strong family if we’re too busy for it. We are currently failing the next generation because those of us left with some sense and some good foundation are getting caught up in all of this to a certain degree and as you look down from your age to the age groups behind you, it gets worse by each decade of ages. We need to start remembering the things that gave us the good parts of our foundation, our fond memories and give those experiences and opportunities back to the generation behind us or they will not have them. Think about all of your favorite things from your childhood and then ask yourself what of those are you imparting into your children? If we do not impart these lessons, they will not have them. If we do not allow the opportunity for “nature to take it’s course” and keep trying to control nature it is absolutely going to blow up in our face to a degree nobody is prepared for and it’s already starting to.

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In closing, I hope to some degree this has struck a nerve (or two) in a way that gets you to actually pause, re-evaluate, and do something different. I hope that you do not allow yourself to be a social media hostage and shift it back into the “just for fun” category so that real life doesn’t continue to pass you by. For myself personally, I want to one day be able to tell my future children and grandchildren a story of how I met, fell in love, and married their future father and grandfather, and no where in that story will their be anything ratchet that you see on television or involve social media.

#AutismAwareness Individuals with Disabilities Act

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IDEA

Every child receiving special education services are covered under the Federal law, the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA).  This federal law names the ways in which children who receive public education are protected and what they are entitled to for special education.  It is important to know that every state has to abide by what IDEA lays out.  However, every State is different.  The only variation allowed is if the State chooses to make principles of IDEA more stringent (ex: timelines shorter) for their individual state.
What you need to know if your child has an IEP:

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If your family moves to a new state, IDEA is clear that the services your child received in the State where they originally received Special Education services transfer across State lines.  So for example, if your family lives in Minnesota and your child receives 5 hours of resource support and 1 hour of speech therapy, when you pick up and move to New York, IDEA protects your child’s educational rights to continue to receive 5 hours of resource and 1 hour of speech therapy in their new school. This goes the same if you move within the same state too! IDEA maps out what EVERY IEP MUST HAVE ACROSS THE NATION, however, each states IEP may physically look different.

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Q: Can the receiving school change Your child’s IEP because they don’t have the same exact programs as your previous school?
A: Yes and No.  The school can absolutely NEVER make changes to your child’s IEP without a Planning and Placement team meeting (IEP meeting…every state uses different terminology too!) or without your consent.  As the Parent, you are the foremost member of a team.  If the receiving school does not offer specific programs or certain support services that existed in your former state, it becomes the responsibility of the new team (yes including you the parent) to determine what services can be provided that resemble the child’s previous IEP or if there is a different placement available within the new school district to give the child what he/she needs.  If your child had something specific like a 1:1 aide or behavioral therapist, it is absolutely imperative that the new school complies with similar recommendations.  They are legally bound under the IEP, which is a legal document, to honor the services that have already been determined are necessary for that child’s educational success.  If the school system states that they “don’t do that” or “don’t have that resource” they are out of compliance and you need to contact the school systems Director of Special Education or even the State immediately.  Always put your concerns in writing to make a paper trail documenting your concern (this includes email).
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If it is a question of hours or service delivery, use your judgement.  Go with your gut.  If you feel the school is proposing something completely irrational (i.e. cutting 5 hours down to 1) disagree with the proposed change.  Legally if there is a disagreement, the old IEP must remain until a new one is agreed upon.
If you feel the school is proposing something appropriate, again go with your gut.  For example, if the school wants to change 5 hours of pull out resource support to 2 hours pull out and 3 hours in the classroom because the resource teacher co-teaches reading this may be an acceptable service delivery alteration.  It’s not changing the service being delivered just the setting.  Just always remember: YOU CAN CALL A PPT WHENEVER YOU WANT!
Again, your parental right under IDEA is to hold a meeting whenever you want to discuss or make changes to your child’s IEP.  Team meetings may suffice too, but if it ever comes down to changes in IEP services, hours, etc. hold a PPT/IEP meeting.

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If you are ever in the situation where a new school system does not honor an IEP or attempts to remove services, you should immediately hold a PPT meeting and document your concerns or disagreement.  You always have the right to contact your State department of special education and file a formal complaint against the school district.  Should it become a legal issue, you may want to exercise your right to due process and search for educational advocates or attorneys that specialize in educational law.

Jodi L. Everone, M.S., CCC-SLP

#Autism Awareness Month Essential Resources for Parents

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There are many free resources available to parents who may require in home assistance, advocacy support, finiancial support for their children with autism.  You need to look into your own state as this can vary from state to state.  Many state departments of education have specific websites for their special education services offered in the state.  This can be tricky because often times, services vary by town/city.  Again, you are your child’s best advocate.  Do some digging!  We all have our smart phones for a reason and if you don’t, go to your local library and get on the internet for free!  Some key words that may provide you with the help you want can include (but are not limited to):
Autism groups + state name
Department of Special Edcuation (include your state name)
Individualized Education Plan Manual (IEP) – your child’s school IEP is a legal document, KNOW what the school is really providing your child!
Parent Advocacy groups
Behavioral support
Behavioral health support for children
Department of Mental Health
Department of Mental Retardation/Developmental Disabilities (this title may vary by state)
Funding support for autism
–again, these are just some ways to phrase searches.
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If you want assistance, you are going to have to do some digging.  Get involved with parent groups, ask your school system if they have a Special Education PTA (SEPTA), ask Birth to Three providers if they offer parent support groups, go to parent training seminars.  Get connected with other parents who have gone through or are going through the same battles as you.  Many state departments offer funding for families with children with disabilities.  Contact your school social worker as they often have the experience or contact information you may seek.
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For families in CT, it is State law that insurance companies provide medical coverage for children with autism.  Look into your medical insurance and see what is covered as far as speech-language therapy, occupational therapy, behavioral therapy services, etc.  CT families here are some agencies or services that are available to you: