Maria Writes Stuff

Womanhood. Motherhood. Autism Awareness. Book Reviews

Author: maria (page 2 of 46)

First Day of Homeschool 2018!!

Our first day of homeschooling!

September 4,  2018!

Jack at the library building towers.

Jack’s book picks.

Jack and Marji on the first day of homeschooling!

Addy all worn out on the first day of school.

Putting on a puppet show at the library.

Photos from our first snow! Dec 11, 2017

Updates and a new Amazon Storefront!

The last few months have been just full of busyness!


Jack is improving on his reading comprehension and seems to enjoy reading more. He’s a whiz at math and has made a B or better on all of his math papers.

Ben continues to do wonderfully with ABA Therapy. He’s mastering goals and continues to echo words. His therapists tell us that he enjoys puzzles, and really likes Bristle Blocks.

Marjorri continues to love Kindergarten. She likes going to the library and doing centers in her classroom. She still loves Gymnastics and has gone up in her classes.

Adeline will be three next week! I can’t believe time has gone by so quickly. It seems like just a short time ago that she was an infant in need of swaddling. I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t miss that stage. She was such a cuddly baby.  She’s becoming more independent and enjoys playing with our new puppy Harvey! I’m hoping she’ll be able to start preschool soon.

I created an Amazon Storefront with products that my family (Dogs included) enjoy! I thought it might make shopping a bit easier for some, especially if you have a special needs child that’s hard to buy for! I’ll be adding more items after the holidays too!

Check it out!!!

Maria Writes Stuff Product Recommendations



ABA therapy helped Ben find his voice.

Ben started going to ABA Therapy in early May of this year. I never expected so much progress in such a short amount of time. Ben has started to say words and use partial word sounds to indicate words.

I walked into therapy a little early a few weeks ago to use the restroom. As I came out of the restroom, I saw Ben and this therapist in the waiting area of the lobby. Ben said, “Hi, mama!” My 7 year old son said hi to ME, after about a year of not hearing him talk at all. I cried half of the way home. I STILL can’t believe he’s saying, “Mama!” I ask him to  say, “Mama!” all the time. One of these days I’m betting he’ll roll his eyes, say it and smile at me. But for now, every word he says will bring a smile to my face and tears to my eyes.

I can’t tell you what a challenge it is to raise a child who’s nonverbal. Imagine deciding it’s time for your toddler to be potty trained, but their voice is on mute…So, you don’t get to know when they need to go, when they don’t, if they’re frustrated, happy or bored with the idea of potty training. Potty training was HARD, but we got through it and Ben has no issues now. I think the same thing will be the case for his verbal skills, it’ll eventually be second nature to us all.

ABA Therapy is an incredible asset to our family, it’s changed our lives. It’s changed Ben’s life too, and I think he’s a happier kid because of it. I am proud to say that he’s now going to therapy 30 hours a week, instead of the 15 like before. We have talked to his therapist and changed some goals, and added new ones. He’s taking everything with a really great attitude, and keeps making progress.

July 25,207 – A note came home that said, “Ben repeated me today. He said, “What do you want to do.” That’s SIX words, people! Six in a row…a complete sentence.

July 26, 2017 – Ben’s therapist’s note said: “Ben echoed “Daddy!” – It was also my husband’s 30th birthday. <3

A few other things…

He’s naming objects, like “bed, and “chair”. He’s also asking for breaks from work, which is really improving his mood.


ABA Therapy has helped Ben find his voice, and left me in tears. Happy tears. My son is FINALLY talking!

Ben’s ABA Therapy – Day 6


  • Asking for items
  • Fine Motor Immitation
    • Lace String
    • Buckle Belt
  • Sorting objects by similar shape
  • Responding to name with eye contact

Tutor’s Comments:
” We were able to work a lot today! Ben did really well with sorting items by shape. He scored a 74% overall…”

Ben’s ABA Therapy Report – Day 2.

The goals for today were the same as yesterday, although they added “transitioning to different rooms in the building”. 🙂

Tutor’s comments:

“We had another great day! We worked on asking for items the majority of the time. We are using “moo” for movie, and he is doing better with it. He asked for movie 14 times independently! We also worked on visual tracking and he scored 73% and 80% on that. Around 5:30 we came back from a break and he got upset, it lasted about 20 minutes. We worked through it and got back on track. :)”

Ben’s ABA Therapy Report: Day 1


What they’re working on:

  • Asking for items vocally
  • Responding to name/eye contact
  • Echoing tutor’s vocal sounds
  • Visually tracking items


“Ben did really well today! We worked on asking for items vocally.  We are having him say “Pah” for iPad and he asked for it 9 times independently! We also worked on responding to his name by making eye contact. He resounded to his name 10 times independently! We worked on visually tracking items in his environment. We found that he is tracking items when they are moved to the right and upwards really well! Overall, a great first day! :)”

Goals for 2017

  1. Read more. – I really enjoy reading. I read a lot of non-fiction, and strive to learn more too, so reading is a must. 🙂
  2. Get Ben settled into therapy. – I’ve sort of got the fall rolling on this one…I’m waiting for pre-approval from insurance before he can start therapy.
  3. Pay down medical debt. – We’ll see how this goes…as they tell me that it takes nearly 2 weeks to consolidate all of my bills from my surgery in May of last year.
  4. Don’t cry when Marjorri starts Kindergarten. – Yeah…tears will flow, I just know they will. I’ve already failed ath this one. lol
  5. Ride my bike more. – I was given a new children’s bike trailer for Christmas. I can’t wait to use it. In the spring and summer, bike riding might just have to become a part of everyday.
  6. Enjoy vacation. – We’re taking an anniversary trip this year!!

What are your goals for 2017?

Things Ben Likes: Autism and Gift Giving 2016/2017

Ben is our wonderful seven year old boy with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Ben is active, curious, and full of energy. He is also nonverbal. We aren’t able to just ask him what he wants for his Christmas, or even his birthday. Here is a list of things that he received for Christmas/his birthday (they’re a day apart). and seems to really enjoy:

This post contains links to products on Amazon.

1Kid’s Pod Swing Chair.

Ben really loves it! It swings, and swivels! It also doubles as a place for him to have time to himself (it kind of cocoons around him when he sits in it.).

2. Aurora Projection Night Light

I really love this! It casts a Northern Lights type of effect on the walls/ceiling. According to the packaging you can also have the lights put to music too (We haven’t tried this yet). I also love that this light projector is powered by electricity and not batteries!

3. Fat Brain Toys – Teeter Popper

The Teeter Popper is similar to the Spooner Board  It rocks and has suction cups on the bottom, so when you teeter and totter, it pops! All of our children enjoy this toy and have a good time sitting back to back and popping away! 🙂

4. Magformers 

This is a fun building toy! They’re magnetic and stick together! I really like that the magnets are placed under the plastic of each piece. Check this out for hours of fun!

5. Neo Tracks Light Up Vehicles and Neo Track

Ben received this has a birthday gift and really loved it. I think he played with it more than anything else! We set up the track and put batteries in the car, it was super easy and simple! Ben has even done it himself! 🙂 The car goes around the track and has lights that go on as the car travels around the track.

Pictures coming soon!



Traveling with a Toddler!

We just returned from our week long Thanksgiving break vacation. We, of course, traveled with our children (ages 8, 6, 4 and nearly 2). I thought traveling with our toddler Adeline was going to be a bit tough. Here are some things that I did to make the trip a bit easier and her (and us)!

I hid a couple favorite toys for about a month. To her,  it was like getting a new toy to travel with! The batteries had died in her Fisher Price Laugh and Learn Smart Stages Puppy, so I put it away (and bought new batteries) until our trip.

She played with it during the car ride really seemed to enjoy herself. 🙂
I also packed First 100 Animals, and  First 100 Words board books, a sippy cup (I highly recommend the Munchkin’s 360 Cups!), and a Snatch Catcher. My intent was to make diaper changes entertaining, drinks easily not spilled, and snacks as mess-free as possible. 🙂 We did great in the department…no spilled drinks or smashed pretzels to clean up!

I also remembered to pack her Glow Worm for when it was time for bed. She goes to sleep so much better with this little guy! I was also happy to discover that when you need to wash the Worm, you can take out the battery pack! Then put the doll-like cover in a pillowcase and wash! Awesome!

Addy goes to sleep every night with her Worm. She pushes the button a few times before she settles and falls asleep. I didn’t want to travel without this toy…in case bedtime became a difficult thing because we were in a hotel.

I hope you’ve found this post to be helpful in preparing for upcoming road trips with your toddler! 🙂 I wish you and your family the happiest of holidays this holiday season!


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