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To help raise awareness of the importance mental health understanding Danuta organized a "Hat Day" for May -Mental Health Month at the Voorhees Breakfast Rotary Club. The funds raised were donated to the Alzheimer's Association.

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July 1992


This daily correspondence between schools she attended and us gives you a glimpse of our daily life. Most parents of typical children do not communicate on daily basis with the teachers. This gives a reader an insight to how important daily communication is for a child with autism.

Kat has attended school since she was 3 years old. These are school notes that were result of correspondence with her parents and her teachers. We have made comments at a later date reflecting back on the impact of these events. Kats School Notes Index







7/1 K., She's been trying to make sentences at home two ! She's picking up words she can read without me teaching her . I was wondering if you taught her any of these since she new them the first time I showed them to her: bat , farm, Ernie , Grover , Bert , Cookie Monster , Chipmunks.

7/1 That's exciting! She must be picking up the words from the environment. these are not our vocab . words .



7/1 Hi, Kat has an aid on the bus is there a way we could monitor her behavior ?



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7/2 Danuta,

Sure we can monitor bus behavior . Write me your specific concerns and I'll devise a motivator system w/ a bus note. She can get rewards during the ride & also one at school & home for nice riding.

For auditory training I'd like you to get video samples of language and interactions at home . Try to make notes of language use as well ( sentences , etc ) . I'm going to keep a running log at school next week so we can compare before/after A . T . Video is very imp. to record subtle change.

Thanks & have a nice holiday,


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7/6 K. ,

Bus behaviors : sitting properly , inedibles. I took a video of her working and watching video .

She had a good weekend . loved fireworks .


7/6 Danuta,

Take some videos at dinner , bathtime , bedtime & anytime you'd like her to talk& be more social . Even tape trying to have a conversation (similar to how you'd talkto Bridget at that age) . This way we can graze any improvement / comprehension as a result of training.

Does Kat still listen to music on the bus?

Also - do you still have the reporter's (from Inquirer) phone #? I want to call her to schedule her visit (we already had the photographer in ) .



Danuta ,

Thanks for the #'s. She's going to try to come to schoolto show me the photos. She did say the focus of the article has changed somewhat. Shesaid she'd explain when shegets here.


I hope it's a positive article . Cherry Hill might contact you . They are starting up a pre - school program for autistic - like kids and plan to model after your class. Four kids , one teacher & two assistants. Isn't that great !


Hi Danuta -

K. is out today ( not baby-related) . We are all anxiously awaiting tomorrow & the Inquirer article !

Yesterday we had a woman from Cherry Hill come to observe our program . She was very interested and took lots ofnotes . A good sign !


( sub . for K.)

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7/9 Hi , I spoke with the bus aid about working with Kat on the bus she was agreeable. I thought maybe just monitoring that her hands are on her lap , if she is not occupied with something , would be a good behavior to reward & work on . What do you think ? Could you speak to the aid about how she would do that?


Danuta ,

I'll talk to assistant today . Please send in pants & tie shoes for the riding change of clothes.



Hi ,

Have you gotten enough Base Line info. I am still not to sure how you'd like me to measure the change before & after other than the videos , Can you be more specific ?

Kat loves to ride the horse " backwards " laying down on the sheepskin ( no saddle) ! Have fun .

PS . I am sending only a snack for Kat , she'll eat lunch after school . Danuta.

PS . I read the article I thought it was great , what did you think ?

PS . Money for Horseback riding is for today & July 31st since Kat will be gone July 15 - 28.


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7-13 Danuta,

I also thought it was a super article! The word is out and it was a very positive presentation!

I've only been taking some anecdotal kind of data - words, phrases, sentences she uses independently / spontaneously . Also , I've been seeing if she has used any original combinations of words ( ones not specifically taught ) . So far, she is using only taught combinations , but this occurs often w/ out prompts or use of the Franklin . (She does use the Franklin also) .

How is bus going? I talked to the assistant & she says she does well. I told her to reinforce for hands down & remove items if she starts to be inappropriate .



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7 - 14 K. , good luck with your project ! I hope everything goes well and easy !

Thanks for your help with the bus . Please ask Kat "Where are you going Wednesday?"


7/14 Danuta,

Thanks for your words of encouragement! Every little bit helps! Maybe we'll havenews by the time you return! I asked Kat & she said she was going to the Doctor (?)

Good luck. Take notes on any spontaneous speech or longer sentences, etc . Video tape her upon return in some of the settings we did before to compare language and behavior .

Enjoy your vacation!



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7/15/92 9:00 Philadelphia time

So , we're off . (She smiled when the plane was taking off.) Kat is having a hard time falling asleep. She's hopping all over her seat. Now she got a book ..... wanted tapes. I red her the snow white story instead .

I'm glad I told them to switch us by the window . It would have been a pain to have someone else sit with us. We got an extra seat , which was super. She was covering her ears again. and is looking at snow white book. Three more hours ! ...

7/15/92 1pm Phila time we landed in Salt Lake City Utah about 1 1/2 hour ago, First thing Kat said was " red car ". We went to the gift shop she picked out the "three little pigs " " book " and I got a card for Bridget. She asked for pizza but I decided to wait until airplane. We're about to leave SaltLake City. She's just listening to sleeping Beauty over and over & over again for past hour keeps rewinding parts.

The flight is supposed to last 1hr20mins that better than the other 4hrflight before I was going crazy .

We had lunch on the plane. We got off ok . Went to baggage claim. As we stood there a man approached me and Asked me if I was Mrs. Highet , Told me he was parked in a car across the street , bronze . ( The agency told me that the car was silver so I got a little suspicious . I told him that I forgot the name of the agency and he said It was transporter so Iwas ok. When we got to the car it was silver & had name of company on it so I was relieved . He drove us through Portland even though it was slightly out of the way so I felt good , he was a nice person after all .

We rode with a window open. Kat was hot red . The temperature was in high eighties which he said was unusual for them. Told me of all the preparations for the Earthquake and that made me worry a little . But hopefully we get to miss that excitement .

We got to the hotel he helped us bring the baggage inside. In the hotel the people were trying to be said said that the " Center of Autism is doing a really good job ", " of course it doesnot help everyone " " but a lot of people have been helped.

My sarcastic part of me was going to say " You were one of them . The business must be good " but I just said "that's great !"

We got to our room it was nice and clean but it was loaded with deodorizers which makes me sneeze constantly . The pool is little but heated. But I decided to wait until we go to see Dr. E. and ask his opinion. Iam also worried that if I show her how to get there she might weasel out by herself while I'm sleeping.

We had quiet time she listened to Sleeping beauty on head phones . We went to dinner to the restaurant in front of hotel . She was funny she kept giving me looks . She kept stealing my rice and if I scolded her for it kiddingly she would grin . Afterwards we went for a walk tried to find the place but we had to run back since she had to go to the bathroom.

We watched her and by 6:30 Oregon time she fell asleep .

4:20 Oregon Time she got up and we didn't go to sleep. gave her a shower she did not like the watergoing on her hed .

( Now she's putting blanket over my head and keeps peeking at me . ) She likes to dry hands on the air conditioner & look out the window . She doesn't have much to do . )

She asked for " yellow. " She taperecorder with headphone but I hid it last night since she wont be allowed to use it anymore

Now we're off to eat breakfast

10 Am we met with Dr. E. He was nice he handed me a load of papers to fill out. Kat played with the books there. We went to do the hearing test but for some reason Kat kept crying through the test but she did raise her hands when she heard the sounds . Her hearing was recorded as normal .

Then we went to another room . Temple Grandin's (T.G.'s) squeeze machine was there . Kat was supposed to sit in a chair and listen to the different sounds . Instead she would hop around watching herself on TV and sang "This is the song that never ends from lamb chop." She did not react at most sounds but she smiled when the broken glass sound & Fireworks sund were sounding . After we were done we went to a store we walked by highway 99 which she did not like. It was hot. She asked to go to the bathroom but there was noplace real close . She repeated the request to go to the "bathroom" we finally got closer to McDonald's .

We had lunch there. The store was right behind McDonald's. We shopped around she looked at toys and picked out two books . We were coming back but we chose another directions instead of walking on the highway we got to walk through residential area filled with little houses , but well maintained. It was hot and Kat decided to ask for " bathroom " again . We tried to run back but the heat was awful. We made it through .

I filled out the papers , promised Kat that we would go swimming and we went back to the center for study of Autism. One of the moms working there came outside with me and we talked a little. Her son was 29 and he did not speak . She did say that a week after auditory training he said mama for the first time. She also uses facilitated communication to communicate with him. I have a tough time believing in facilitated communication because if they can read why can't they pick out between two signs ? or directions ? But May be it does work .

We went back to hotel to stay away from the heat . She listened to sleeping beauty all day long . <------- around there I decided to take her to the pool . The ground was burning her feet. She had fun in the pool but the eaer plugs would not stay in . She wanted to jump into the deeper end . she did jump into it which was over her head and grabbed my hand soon after her head bopped out of water . she pulled herself along side the wall .

Around 5pm we got a call from the center . They informed me that Kat's session will be at 9 AM and 3PM . I thought at first that it might be hard since we can't go anywhere but since I did not rent a car that's not going to make much difference.

We had dinner and talked to Bridget &Dad she had a tough time falling asleep . Fell asleep around 8 pm but got up again around 4 : 25 AM Oregon time she has not switched her hours yet . We had early breakfast & went to supermarket. She cried all the way to supermarket and covered her ears on the way back . There are a lot of trucks on Rt . 99 .

Now we're getting ready for the session . Everytime I say she is going to listen to music she cries. I hope we do better once we get there.


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The first tour sessions went fine. I got sick instead and we couldn't go anywhere . She has been fantastic about keeping herself occupied for the past two days . I was mostly knocked out by medication . She listened to tapes watched Disney channel and looked at books . Today was first time she got up at 6:30 . We were ready to go to breakfast but she found care bear movie on one of the channels & said good night . Breakfast must wait .

First day when we came back after the second session she wouldn't let me put the TV on . I tried movie then 10 times she would cover her ears walk quickly to the control & turn it off. At some point I found Jungle book and she watched that . after that she was ok about watching other things .

I feed her crunches of pretzels or potato chips during the sessions so she sits still pretty well. After breakfast we're going to session 5hrs.

That was the toughest session yet . There were moments when she would cry, moments when she 'd laugh looking right at me wit eyes filled with tears. There were moments when she would start kicking me all of a sudden , then out of nowhere started stroking me knee . In half hour I was hit , kicked , hugged and pinched . She would go from stage of pain and crying to laughter in a matter of seconds .

Dr E. reassured me that was alright . I saw K.V. after session asked her to call me when her session was over . Kelly is a nurse from North Dakota. This is her second trip . The first time she said she saw improvement but so they wanted to try it again . She has a car so we all went shopping together. Her son T. did not like shopping in malls he cried & wandered off a lot . I grabbed a couple souveniers for Bridget and we were on our way back . We had lunch at McDonald's. I asked Kat what it was she said " Donald's " she recognized it even though it was in an odd place .

We got back and shortly after we went to the 3 PM session . It was almost the same as the first session today . The crying , anger , laughter mixed in half hour but she made it with only one incident of removed of head phones.

When we came back I decided to take Kat to the pool

We put on swimmies & I called K. , but she had to go to a session with T. B. her 8 yr old wanted to go too. I told her I could take her with me.

Kat was funny she kept jumping down steps to the pull. At some point she realized that the swimmies would hold her up. She would tread water deeper and deeper . she would get from 3ft ---> 3 1/2 ft. B. had a smal raft I put Kat on it and then "dropped" her off. she went under but cameback laughing . She kept watching B. jumping in from all sides . Finaly she decided to sit on the 3ft wall & slid down to the water. She kept doing that , then came 4ft water . And finally she went to the ladder by 5ft side & went in . pulled herself along the side to the shallow water . Next she went to 5ft wall sat down & plunged in . she went about 2 ft under . I quickly pulled her out thought that she coughing after would change her mind . But no she kept doing it .

Then I decided to take her swimmies off , thought that going under would scare her. Then I let her go under she came up by herself & grabbedthe wall , but decided that she should swim over to the ladder side . Well I thought I let her go under she did. but then I saw bubbles coming up & she still was under so I finally grabbed her . She came up coughing & choking. I was hoping that was it . But no she wanted more , but I had enough . We went back in .

We had a quiet dinner and now she's been trying to fall asleep. but it's still light outside so she's having a tough time .


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7/20 This morning we had quick breakfast and we went to our first session. She cried again . But I phased out the reinforcers . I had to constantly bring her hand down . After the session we had quite time in the room . I talked to K.V. she was going to call me when she got back

At noon I took Kat for pizza . the pizza the make here is very different . I had mushrooms but it was a layer of mushrooms on top so you could not see the pizza.

I looked for K. but she didn't get back so I just took Kat to the park that looked the closest on the map. It wasn't far . It didn't have much swings , slide & merry - go -round but she had fun. the only problem was dry dirt that she kept kicking up. When we got back , K. was looking for us so I met with her & after I washed Kat up we went together looking for other playgrounds . They were neat. Kat had a lot of fun . K. had an incident when one of the parents pushed her son aside . We had a discussion on how do you deal with the peoples attitude .

Afterwards it was time for Kat's 3 PM session . It was not an easy one . She kept pinching my skin & tried to poke my eyes couple of times . Kept crossing her eyes and tried to play with her hands a lot more .

After we went swimming . B. , T. &K. were at the pool . We had an ok time. Kat did not jump in from high side this time but did climb from the wall . I kept bringing her to 4 1/2 depth and she would kick her way ( with swimmies on ) to the shallow side . She still does not use her arms . We had dinner she had a tough time falling asleep Woke up 2:30 AM and could not fall asleep , After a while she went back but was up around 6 AM again.

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The last two days went pretty fast. we are just taking it easy. Kat has been very aggressive during the session and at the center . She cries when she has to go there . Last night she fell asleep at 6 PM . 4 more days left . They tried to do the TONI intelligence test yesterday she could not do it . The format had 4squares three filled with items she had to match item in the bottom of the page . When talking to the tester she said that They have been successful with older children 5 & 6 years old. They are finding that referred data- low IQ's different approx. 10% of population of autistic which is what normal population amounts to . The kids at the center vary . majority have higher language skills than Kat .

One lady seemed pritty independent . She has a driving permit and goes to stores & restaurants by herself . She is loud and does stick out , but it's amazing how she has grown . One guy kept asking me same questions over and over and amazingly enough I just realized that's how he was taught to start a conversation .

All the reading about autism and I still wanted to avoid him since I didn't want to answer over & over "Do you have any children , what's their names . But yesterday I heard him talk to one woman who works there and she had a neat discussion with him about the meaning of "obsolete ". He was inquisitive and realy wanted to understand it.

Well we're off to breakfast.

Today was the easiest day yet. She cried only a couple of times . I met G. in the afternoon . She's quite interesting.

Although she has some odd hard to describe ways she is quite interesting . She talks a lot and can go off on tangents . It's amazing how well and independent she is . She is so confident which is great . And has a very positive outlook . She talked about her artwork and her travels and especially about " Great Adventure ."


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7/24 Kat got up around 5:30 . We had breakfast she asked for pancakes . The morning session was not bad although she cried on the way to the center .

At 10:30 We were back from appointment with G. to draw Kat's caricature .

G. kept talking and was off on tangents didn't do her caricature until 11:20. She does get easily distracted. At some point she told another autistic girl in theater to watch her manners.

she was pritty skillful when drawing and didn't take her long. Right after I had Kat scheduled to use the " hug machine " developed by Temple Grandin (T.G.) .

Kat loved it she kept squeezing herself in it for about 20 minutes . It was funny to watch. Afterward we walked to dowtown Newberg . It's a very different town . We stopped to eat in a " restaurant ". The furniture there looked like from 50's . The food was pretty good even though I felt like we stepped back about 80 yrs . There were a lot of antique shops , we went to buy some tee shirts . I had to be carefull because a lot of stores had used clothes as well as new . On the way back Kat started crying for no reason at all. We're on our way back for session # 16

Another tough session . She cried through most of it . Right after she wanted to get into the " hug machine " but it wasn't turned on . The Machine costs $ 1200 plus compressor


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Hi, Kat got back Monday night but I gave her a day off to allow for jetlag. she went to the training ok , she did not like it a bit. Based on other childrens' reports , it may take some time to see if it made any difference but we should know within next three months .

Kat is not allowed to listen to anything with headphones on . Please put that in her record, somehow. Thanks. I hope she doesn't have much problems adjusting today.


7/29 Hi Danuta !

We are all so glad to have Kat back, and she really made a smooth transition back into the school routine . She asked one of the assistants to read a book to her ( which she readily did!) and seemed very content to be surrounded by the toys , children , and our routine . We'll be watching her carefully and letting you know any changes as they occur . I did make a note concerning headphones.

We plan on swimming tomorrow if the weather is nice - it has gone very well and the children are enjoying the sand and water . Anything special regarding Kat & swimming ?



P . S . Is the Franklin Speller not coming in any more ?


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7/30 Hi C. ,

Sorry about the Franklin Speller. I was just out of the routine & forgot about it.

Swimming : Kat has no fear of water. She was a lot in the pool while in Oregon. She would jump in with " swimmies " on her arms into deep water and paddle with her feet across the pool. She doesn't understand that it's the "swimmies" that hold her up and when I took them off she would still jump in but could not come up by herself and I had to pull her out . She loves to stick her head under the water. She used to eat sand but that may have gone . Hope this helps . Bathroom before swimming


PS . I am sending in the receipt for microwave and spare clothes for Kat for summer .

7/30 Danuta ,

Thanks for the clothes for Kat & reciept . She really enjoyed herself at the beach - in the water and playing in the sand ( no eating ! ) We used the swimming and will probably continue throughout the summer - THANKS!



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7/31 Hi Danuta ,

We're sending Kat's cosmetic bag home since we have a compartment in the bathroom for each child's things .

Have a great weekend !


Hi, Kat had a good weekend. Could you let me know if & when Kat is covering her ears


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