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stacking
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stacking

Okay, if your child starts stacking everything, are you supposed to discourage it?  She's always loved stacking blocks and legos and stacking toys, but she just started stacking cans and stuff in the kitchen.  I don't know how much of that is normal for a 2 year old and what is not.  But do you just let them stack to their hearts content or do you discourage it?  I guess I can ask our therapists who come, but this week was an off week since Christmas and all.  
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365714_tn?1292202708
I wouldn't discourage it. If the child's having fun, why interrupt it? Unless it bothers you waht they are stacking. Then maybe direct their attention to something more suitable. I used to stack my toys. I remember having these box within a box things and the rings that you'd stack on a small platic poll. I'd stack them whatever way I could.  I also had toy cars I loved to arrange in "parking lots"  only I didn't give them room to open their doors if there were real people in the cars... I would place the cars right up against each other. I had some logic to my games, even if it may have confused my parents.  I certainly would not like to be discouraged from having fun with my toys.
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367831_tn?1284262544
If your child has autism/PDD, discouraging stacking is not going to make autism go away.  if she does not have autism/PDD, it's not going to cause it.
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325405_tn?1262293778
Thanks.  I won't worry about the stacking then.  It is pretty cool how high she can stack things.  I am sure she'll love those stacking games as she gets older.  Aren't there some games where you stack and remove a piece from below or something like that and whoever makes the tower fall over loses?  I guess that might be the opposite of stacking if you are removing things from the tower.  I myself like stacking, though got in to trouble at college when some engineering friends and I stacked a whole lot of drink cups together, but not on top of each other but inside each other. The residual water/soda/milk in the cup formed a vacuum seal between the plastic glasses and they all got stuck together.  We got a little carried away before checking if they would come apart (we didn't know) and the stack was like 40 cups high (we had gotten cups from other tables from people).  We were a little embarrassed when we had to carry the huge stack over to the dishwashing conveyer belt and explain to the kitchen help what we did.  Oops.  Well, we had a little education that day as well.  :)  Evidently it had been done before and the kitchen knew how to get them apart, though they admitted they had never seen that many stacked up.  We usually stacked things to build intricate objects or just attempt to stack to great heights.  The cafeteria really disliked us, but when you're 18, well, I guess when I was 18, not a very mature 18.  Am older now, so those immature days all behind me now.  Mostly.  :)

I will have to get some toy cars for my girl.  Maybe she'll like to play parking lot.  That sounds like a fun game for her.  She loves my brother's and my old match box cars, but my sister got dibs on a lot of the toys so they're at her house.  They don't make the matchbox cars the same way anymore, with the good metal and wheels that are solid and some cars had doors or hoods that opened up.  But, the cars in the stores are pretty good.  My daughter likes to line things up by shape and color, which is pretty impressive for her age that she can sort that quickly.  
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Yeah I miss my old car collection.  I had hot wheels, matchbox, and you name it. I loved the more realistic looking vehicles over the absurd ones. I had a couple sets called graphic traffic.  The kits came with a white car or monster truck.  The monster truck set was neat because it also had a white plastic thing molded with broken cars.  Sold with them were permanent markers to color the truck and the plastic background. I have the markers and they still work even though they are at least 15 years old. It was an awesome set, but I doubt you'd find a set like that sold to kids these days...

Along with the parking lots, I'd have the cars lined up like they were in a traffic jam on a long freeway. I loved driving them through clay because it left imprints like cars would do driving through mud, snow, and slush. Mostly I was mimicking behavior I'd seen real cars do, but sometimes I'd imagine them being characters of their own with personalities.  I was kind of whimsical with my toys.  I made them act out as if they were part of a movie. I guess a forerunner to the Cars movie and the like...
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237300_tn?1231458318
Does your child have Autism?  If so you could make it a little more productive by making her request the cups she wants to stack or you could use it as a reward if you are running discrete trials with her.  I wouldn't let her just sit and stack for hours just b/c it sounds like it may be a self stim.  
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325405_tn?1262293778
My daughter doesn't do anything for an hour except maybe jumping on the bed dancing to music.  I guess that's also a self stim as well.  But the therapist said it's good exercise and since she has excellent eye contact doing it, jumping and bouncing is good social activities.  We have turned stacking into social activities as well and learning turn taking.  She gets a turn stacking a few, we stack one, she stacks a few, we stack one, etc.  She has excellent eye contact when we play stacking games with her too.  Her eye contact is not good at other times, just during self stim stuff.  But she doesn't do anything for long, maybe 10 minutes at a time.  
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237300_tn?1231458318
She's still young do sit and play for extended periods of time...10 mins is fine for now.  Is your therapist a teacher?  Is she running discrete trials with her or doing play therapy?  Sorry I'm asking so many questions I'm just trying to get a better picture.  It's good that you are working on turn taking with her.  You could also use the things she likes as reinforcers if you are doing discrete trials with her.
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325405_tn?1262293778
Still not sure if she has autism, PDD, sensory integration disorder or something else.  Am awaiting diagnosis from a developmental pediatrician in March, recommended both by a couple of our therapists and by our pediatrician.  The therapists seem to think she has autism or PDD based on other kids they have had over the years.  The three therapists that we have are in our state's 0 to 3 program, so they deal with kids 3 and under, though mostly between the ages of 2 and 3.  The three therapists we picked for my daughter have years of experience.  The speech therapist has 20 years experience with preschoolers and toddlers with speech therapy.  The 3 therapists all use play therapy.  The service coordinator we have to coordinate our therapists said the speech therapist she knows is one of the best, and we were lucky she had a space free up when she did (when kids turn 3 they drop out of the program and the therapist frees up).  I am not sure what you mean by doing discrete trials.  Our developmental therapist I like a lot as well.  She doesn't have as many years of experience as the speech therapist does, but she has 10 years of experience and my daughter absolutely adores her and will do anything she says.  In 6 weeks of therapy now, our daughter has been making amazing progress according to the therapists but also according to our own observations.  The occupational therapist is doing a lot of sensory integration therapy and showing us techniques and activities.  Part of the therapy sessions are also letting us ask questions about stuff at the end and getting senses of what to do when our daughter does certain things.  The occupational therapist said make all the sensory stimulation stuff into social activities.  We've noticed improved eye contact and communication with us when we've done that.  It's amazing.  6 weeks ago, our daughter didn't look us in the eye, didn't respond to her own name, and did not respond to language.  Now she's doing all that stuff after all the therapy sessions.  I mean, it's not perfect, the eye contact is not up to the normal amount a 2 year old is supposed to have, but it's vastly improved from what she had 6 weeks ago.  So, we are continuing to add to her "sensory diet" as the occupational therapist said.  I know we have a long way to go, it's only been 6 weeks.  The therapists keep telling me that she will most probably qualify for a developmental preschool or more therapy at age 3, but she doesn't turn 3 until October.  The service coordinator says that we'll start transitioning with the school system in April.  Well, didn't mean to go on and on.  Just well, that's the picture that we have right now.  I really like the 0 to 3 program our state has.  I'm finding out it's a good state to live in for autism or any of the developmental delays and disabilities.  I know I have to stay on top of things, stay organized, ask lots of questions, stay on top of the doctors, and eventually will have to stay on top of the school system with IEPs and stuff.  I don't know if my daughter has autism, but she has some significant delays and a lot of social communication delays that will most likely take a lot longer than a year to catch up.
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237300_tn?1231458318
I used to be a service coordinator for an early intervention program in NY so I know exactly what you are referring about.  It sounds like you have good therapists which is good.  I am a teacher and work with children who have PDD and Autism.  In NY in order to receive ABA (discrete trials) you have to have a diagnosis of PDD or Autism.  I'm not sure how it works in IN.  Discrete trials is a way of teaching children on the spectrum using repetition.  Children on the spectrum usually make many gains with this type of teaching.  It is highly structured and children on the spectrum usually need the structure.  Your therapists I'm sure have heard of it.  Again it depends on you child and her needs.  I of course have not met you daughter but if I were you I would question your therapists or developmental pediatrician to see if they think this would be a good option for her if she does get a diagnosis.  In NY it is automatically offered to families and most families get 15-20 hours a week.  In NY you don't pay for EI services at all so their isn't a copay.  I'm not sure if you have one or not in IN.  It sounds like she is making gains and that is great! It also sounds like you are working closely with your therapists which makes all the difference.  One of the most important things is carryover when the therapists are gone.  
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325405_tn?1262293778
The service is not provided until you have a diagnosis.  I think the 0 to 3 program, they want therapists to use play therapy.  At age 3, even without a diagnosis, you can get therapies based on the school system's assessment, but it helps to have a diagnosis of something from a professional  like a developmental pediatrician or pediatric neurologist.  There are developmental preschools where they group kids by needs that are highly structured and there is also the option of going in to therapists to have them work with your child.  I have heard the preschools are the way to go, since it allows the children time to socialize with other kids their age, have structure on a daily basis for 2 1/2 to 3  hours.  I will find out what options are out there in April, at our 6 month review of our therapy program, and they will file our application and their recommendation to the school system and then we have her evaluated by the school system.  I will inquire about the ABA and find out what to do when we get a diagnosis.  Early March seems so far off, but it's coming up in a couple months, it will be here sooner than we thought.
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367831_tn?1284262544
To get services, it doesn't need to be as specific at her age.  If anyone (preferably a professional but it can be anyone) makes a referal in writing to the school, the M-Team her and identify at least a general diagosis that they can fit in one of the 13 IDEA "categories"

Under age 3 the criteria is:

“infants and toddlers with disabilities“  0-2 years and if they are experiencing developmental delays(as measured by some diagostic "tools used"), in one or more of the following areas:

cognitive development
physical development, including vision and hearing
communication development
social or emotional development
adaptive development
OR, have a diagnosed physical or mental condition that has a high probability of resulting in developmental delay

After age 3 to age 21 the 13 caregories are :

autism
deaf-blindness
emotional disturbance
hearing impairment (including deafness)
mental retardation
multiple disabilities
orthopedic impairment
other health impairment
specific learning disability
speech or language impairment
traumatic brain injury
visual impairment (including blindness)

I think IDEA law was smart enough to realize not all development is cut and dried or black or white.   It's tough to nail down a specific diagnosis at such an early age.

When the M-team (Multi-disciplinary team) of professionals from various disciplines appointed by the school each evaluate her, they, and you meet and report their findings back.  This is a good time to get the reports IN ADVANCE of the meeting.  You are entitled to the right to get those reports IN ADVANCE.  After all, the other participants will have these copies, and YOU are also a partner in this, too.

Make sure these people doing the evaluations are qualified in their discipline.  IDEA defines this as "extensive and recent training and experience related to the child's known or suspected disability"   The district is REQUIRED to present you with the  qualifications of each member who conducts the evaluations.

At the M-team meeting ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS have someone else with you.  

It goes without saying that you should save these reports in a folder.  Every 3 years, required,  new M-team evaluyations MUST be done.  So, you see, this folder will get pretty fat over time.

If you disagreee with the final conclusionn of the meeting, you can get another INDEPENDENT evaluation at the district expense.

You may want to  look at some of my Journal entries, too.
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