Sunday, January 31, 2010

Mouse Musings


No, I am not a fan of computer competence in Kindergarten.
Nor do I think that is a priority with my daughter.

But apparently our school district does.

So, I have been encouraged to peruse a list of websites that assists with "mouse skills".
OOOOOO-K.

Truthfully, I am more concerned with the whole reading, writing, arithmetic portion of school.
And if there is time left over or an extra hour in the week that needs to be filled with some oh-so-not-necessary computer skill activity, then so be it.

My priorities still lie in speech and OT needs.
But I am sure that some of you will poo-poo the idea and say "Oh, I think computer skills are so important" just to pick a fight.

Ask me if I care.
Really.

Granted, computer skills are a necessity in today's world.
BUT NOT IN KINDERGARTEN!
So, to play fairly, I will attach this link so you and your kids can sharpen your mouse skills, too!

(Ahem!)

Saturday, January 30, 2010

The /y/ Sound


Well, this is the next sound which we will be working on mastering.
As per our school SLP, she will begin focusing on this specific sound starting this week.
And per our private SLP, Kaitlyn is only successful approximately 67% of the time when it comes to this specific sound.
Sadly, I never really paid attention to this area of deficit. But now that I think about it, there are some notable issues.
For example, the word "yellow" comes across as "ye-yow". So she has initial sound, but struggles in the blend portion of the word.
Hence, the new area of focus.
But realistically, only 90% of children between the ages of 4-5 have this sound mastered.
Since her private SLP began testing her success rates with this specific sound, she has gone from 0% success in September 2009 to 67% in November 2009 to 75% in January 2010!
Great strides, huh?
So no, I am not all that concerned about it, because she has mastered sounds which typically occur in a 7-8 year old.
Once again, I am not concerned about this /y/ sound.
But, Googling this specific sound has lead me to various sites and strategies for help, like this one!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Up and Up

And up.
There's no better way to say it.
Another two months have passed.
Another random sampling of 125 words, touching on each sound imaginable.
Initial. Middle. Final.
And up we continue to go!

Go, Kaitlyn, go!

If you recall, the first time that this sort of speech sample was done was in September 2009.
At that time, her percentage of success on the correct pronunciation of a specific target sound was 61.8.

Not bad, if you ask me, for a child diagnosed with moderate-to-severe verbal apraxia.

Two months later, in November 2009, her success percentage jumped to 70.5, an increase of 8.7%.

Wow!

And just two weeks ago, she was retested. This time, she improved 4.7%, increasing to 75.2% and a 13.4% increase in success overall since testing began in September 2009.

Now, I find this amazing and impressive.
For those of you who don't get it, let me make this easy to understand.
Years ago, when I was in high school and college, we used a simple, universal grading system (unlike what it used today) like this:
A = 90-100
B = 80-89
C = 70-79
D = 60-69
F = 59 and below

So, if you look at Kaitlyn's very first word sample assessment in September, her percentage of 61.8 would give her a letter grade of "D".....just barely!

Fast forward to her November assessment of 70.5, and she just made the cut-off for a letter grade of "C-".
Pretty impressive to jump an entire letter grade in two months!

Today, in January, her percentage score is 75.2.
If I were the teacher of this class, I would give her a "C+".

What you are seeing is continued improvement.
Measurable improvement.
Positive improvement.
And once again, proving that intense, aggressive, and frequent speech therapy works for kids with speech disorders.

Hmmm?
That brings me back to last year at this time, when Aetna Insurance Company chose to pick a fight and begin their quest to deny Kaitlyn's speech therapy.
They said it wasn't medically necessary.
They said her progress wasn't measurable.
They said she didn't need the therapy.

Hey Aetna! Are you still reading my blog?
(Eating humble pie as they read, I hope!)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Let Me Introduce Myself: My Name is Mama Bear! Work With Me, Not Against Me!

So on Monday morning, after Andrew's speech therapy session, I threw this out there:

"What do you think about adding a third therapy session each week for Andrew?"

His therapist was all over it!
Totally on the same page with me.
Totally LOVE her excitement and enthusiasm!
Seeing that he is making such great progress with his current plan, that extra day could be just what he needs to get him over the hump.
Why NOT take advantage of the last six months of EI?
This could decrease his need for an IEP, or at least shorten the need.
So I called our Service Coordinator to leave a message.
On Monday.
She is soooooo busy, you know.
(Insert sarcasm here)
In fact, she is so gosh darn busy that her voicemail message actually says "leave a message, and I will return your call within two business days."
TWO BUSINESS DAYS!?
Two days?
Are you freakin' serious?
You are not the President of the United States of America.
You are not the CEO of some corporation.
You are not the manager of McDonald's.
You are a service coordinator for Early Intervention, for God's sakes!
What on earth are you doing that you are soooooo busy that it takes two days to return a call?
She does nothing!
Frankly, she is lazy!
Compared to the coordinator that we had when Kaitlyn was in EI who was absolutely amazing, friendly, and go-out-of-her-way-helpful, I need to check if this chick even has a pulse.

Who found an EI-qualified SLP to treat Andrew back in April?
Me!
Who set up the meetings to get the ball rolling?
Me!
Who contacted this lifeless body's supervisor because I waited SEVEN business days for a return call from her which I never received?
Me!
So I received a call from her today (Wednesday).
Yep, that was 2 business days, just like her voicemail stated.
Then, she tried to give me the run-around.
Key word here, folks: tried.
Ain't happenin' sister!

1.) "Why do you want a third day? "
2.) "You know, the state is going to give us a hard time and never gives three days a week."
3.) "I faxed your SLP the form that needs to be filled out. I am just waiting for her to send it back."
4.). "I need to talk to my manager about this."
5.). "Well, we will need to have a meeting if we are adding a 3rd day."
6.). "I will call you back later today."

Um, excuse me as I choke on her last comment!

So my responses to her under-educated, naïve, lazy questions:

1.). "Because his SLP and I agree that a third session would help him tremendously! He is making great progress and this could very well limit the extent and need for an IEP."
In my head, I wanted to ask her who the heck she thought she was to question me!
2.). "I don't care what the state says. This is my child, I am paying for these services, and I have a day, time, and therapist more than willing to work with him."
3.). "The SLP will fax that form to you tomorrow morning."
***Note: I spoke with the clinic and our SLP. They never received any such fax from this lazy girl.
4.). "Fine. Talk to your manager. Better yet, give ME the names of who I need to talk to in order to get this addressed in a timely fashion. I'll take care of it my way."
5.). "We can do that on a conference call. We don't need to set up a face-to-face meeting. We can sign all appropriate forms and fax them back to you. We will be at the clinic tomorrow from 1015 until 1115. Are you available? Oh, you have a meeting at 1000? Well, my meeting will take less than 5 minutes since we are all on the same page."
6.). "Yeah. Sure you will. I am home all day. I will be waiting for your call."

I'd better not hold my breath since I know that call won't come in.

But I waited.

And waited.

And waited for the end of the business day for that "I'll call you back later today" phone call to come in.

It never came.

So at 4:00pm, I called her.

No answer. Just that ridiculous voicemail message.
So I decided that enough was enough and took matters into my own hands. Her voicemail specifically states that we could contact her supervisor (and she even states such supervisor's name) if it is an urgent matter.
Well, Ms. Service Coordinator apparently doesn't feel that my concerns are of utmost importance as I see them, so I pressed "0" and asked to be connected to her supervisor.
Who answered the phone in real life.
To whom I proceeded to explain my plight, my frustrations, my aggravations, and my desire to have a new coordinator for the remaining six months of our Early Intervention.

And she listened to me.
And apologized.
Apologies for the run-around, the lies, and the laziness of her employee.
And right then and there, she told me that she HERSELF would be taking Andrew onto her case load.
Now that impressed me.
She appeared shocked, mortified, and embarrassed at what her employee had done and moreso what she failed to do for us.
I explained Kaitlyn's apraxia diagnosis and the fact that there could be a genetic component but he is too young to be "labeled" at this time.
Personally (and our SLP agrees), Andrew does not present as apraxic and we don't think he is, but we want to cover our bases and treat him in clinic as if he was indeed apraxic.

And now Andrew has a new Service Coordinator, even though it is only for the remaining six months of his EI eligibility.
And we have a meeting set up with said new coordinator, our SLP, myself and Andrew for next Tuesday morning.
And I have the name of the Program Director who has the power to approve / deny this 3rd session request.
A late night text message from our SLP stated that the Letter of Justification was complete and will be faxed in the morning.

So for now, it is a victory on our side.
My team plays hard ball when we have to.
And we typically prevail.
It helps that your mascot is a bear, pitbull, or any other aggressive being.
Like a Mom who only wants to see their children succeed.

Don't EVER apologize for standing up for your child.
Don't EVER feel that you can't go higher when you don't get the answer you are looking for.
Don't EVER back down.
Don't EVER appear weak.
Don't. EVER. Stop. Fighting. For. Little. Voices. That. Just. Can't. Be. Heard. Yet.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Art of Manipulation

A while back, I posted on how Kaitlyn is quickly learning the art of negotiation.
Now, she has picked up the art of "manipulation".
And, I must admit, she is pretty savvy.
At first, I was a tad concerned about what she was telling me.
Red flags were being raised in my mind.
Then, it clicked.
She was manipulating me and I didn't see it coming.
For example, she will use one of her GI symptoms to get what she wants.
She would come skipping out of school, happy as a clam, and bounce into the car.

"Did you have a good day, Kaitlyn?"
"Yes!"

We wound randomly talk about her day: what she ate for lunch, what she did in gym class, which therapist she worked with that day.
Then, as we pulled into the garage, it would start.

"I want to throw up."
"You do? What's wrong?"
"Throw up now."
"OK, let's get into the house."
"I want to watch Sesame Street now."
"I thought you were going to throw up?"
"Watch Sesame Street."
"So you don't have to throw up?"
Silence.

Ah-ha!
After this occurring at the same time each day, it clicked with me.
I see what you are doing.
She knows how much I worried about her a few weeks ago when she was vomiting and had that short hospital stay.
Now, she uses it to her advantage.
Doesn't do it in school.
Doesn't do it to Dad.
Just me.
She's smart. And sneaky.

So yesterday, I decided to beat her at her own game.
I picked her up from school and we carried on the same conversation.
And it didn't fail: as soon as we pulled into the driveway, the "throw up" comments started.
So I called her bluff.

"OK, let's go in the house."
"Watch Sesame street now."
"Oh, we can't watch Sesame Street if we are throwing up, now can we?"
"No throw up."
"Let's go in the bathroom."
"No, no throw up."

We proceed to walk into the bathroom, I helped her onto her knees in from of the toilet, and said "Call me if you THINK you are going to throw up."
I proceeded to close the door to the bathroom behind me.
Quiet.
Not a peep from the bathroom.
Then......tears from behind the door.
A puffy-eyed girl walks into the kitchen.

"No throw up!"

Yeah, I thought so.

Score: Mom = 1 point, Kaitlyn = 0.

She walked to the family room to join her little brother on the floor, already emersed in Sesame Street.
Wheels turning in that little brain of hers.
I know that she is formulating "Plan B" as we speak.
Look out!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Tuesday's Top Ten


After a brief, one week hiatus, the Tuesday Top Ten is back! Here goes:

10.) Enjoying almost two weeks of being "drama free". Yes.

9.) Listening to my daughter and my father actually carry on a conversation.

8.). Not having to translate for my Dad so he could understand what she was saying: priceless.

7.). Finding out later that my Dad had tears running down his cheeks when he told my Mom that he "wasn't sure if she was just getting better with her speech or if he was just getting better with understanding her". Dad, I think it's both.

6.). An awesome IEP Meeting that accomplished every objective and only took 40 minutes.

5.). An even more awesome 2nd Quarter report card.

4.) Squeezing in an extra speech therapy session with Kaitlyn's *original* SLP! Two peas in a pod!

3.). Checking out the Aetna website to view EOBs and seeing that they are covering Kate's speech sessions for 2010 so far. No questions asked. So far.

2.). Attempting to wean Kate off of Miralax. Then realizing that it is way too soon for that one! Try again in, oh, 6-9 months I was told.

1.). Having all abnormal outlying labs normalize. Whew!

Monday, January 25, 2010

2 years 6 months

I am still having a hard time wrapping my mind around this number.

2.6

Our service coordinator for EI just sent us a consent form to release information about Andrew to the school district.

2.6

Which means all information, progress reports, analysis, and evaluations will be forwarded to the school district's preschool Student Services coordinator.

2.6

Which means a Transition Planning Conference will be set up. Then the Review Process. Then the school evals begin. And another child to be determined whether or not he will qualify for an IEP.

2.6

Wow. Did I mention that I am having a hard time wrapping my mind around this?

Not the fact that he may qualify (which he will) for an IEP.
Not that he will be following in big sis Kaitlyn's shoes with an IEP for speech.
He is still mild-to-moderately speech delayed.
But he is NOT apraxic like big sis.
He has a great vocabulary, great phonetics, great imitation.
It's those damn ear infections.
The ear infections which plagued him for 6 months during the fall of 2008.
The ear infections which chose to show their ugly faces every 3 weeks for six months.
All that Amoxicillin, Augmentin and Omnicef that didn't help one bit except give us a 10 to 14 day break between outbreaks.
That is what put him behind and gave him the delay in speech.
Not the pediatrician that kept prescribing.
Not the ENT who finally did the surgery.
No one is to blame except immature eustachian tubes that could not drain properly.

2.6

What I have such a hard time grasping is that my son, my boy, my little man will be starting school.
Half days.
Three hours a day.
Five days a week.

The little boy who decided that he wanted to make me so severely pre-eclamptic, wanting to be born at 38 weeks 1 day.
The little boy who quickly became known as "The Boss".
It seems like just yesterday that we were bringing him home 2 days later from the hospital.
And now, he is approaching 2.6 years of age.
And will be transitioning to school.

But before I strap a cute like boy backpack onto him, I will coddle him like my baby.
He will always be my baby.

2.6 years.
Where has the time gone?

Sunday, January 24, 2010

/s/ Blends

/sc/
/sk/
/sl/
/sm/
/sn/
/sp/
/st/
/sw/

For the last two months, both our school SLP and private SLP have been working with Kaitlyn on /s/ blend words, placed in the initial, middle, and ending position of a word.
She really seemed to understand the concept of this sound and carried it over into various aspects of her daily life.
Mastered 'em!
Because of this, her school SLP has chosen to move on to a new sound of focus, to be discussed in a later blog entry.
Which inspires me to conclude by saying this: My sweet, smart, special girl swiftly skipped and scurried in a slick, sneaky manner through her studies.
Stupendous, Kaitlyn!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

2nd Quarter Report Cards Are In!

And Kaitlyn seems to be doing very well.
She is remaining constant with some progressions.
Thankfully, no regressions in any area.
the only thing that she needs to work on is the Social/Emotional Development:
1.). Works/plays cooperatively with peers.
2.). Listens attentively.
3.). Respects rules and follows directions across school settings.

If you ask me, I don't think there is a child out there, the same age as Kaitlyn, who is doing this 100% of the time.
If some parent says "My kid is!" I just have one thing to say: keep dreaming!
No child can do this at this age.!

Love great report cards!

Friday, January 22, 2010

And Since We Are Talking About Handwriting.....


here is a great link with lots of fun pages that you can print to help with writing practice at home.
It is called "Handwriting For Kids" and it is chock full of great ideas!
Take a look!
And seeing that we have a March 2010 deadline to meet with about 8 capital letters for Kaitlyn to master, you can imagine that we will be quite busy over here.

And here is a small article on Seven Ways to Help With Handwriting, which has absolutely nothing to do with a writing instrument, so your child won't even catch on to what you are up to!

Happy writing!!!!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

L-F-E-H-D-P-B-R

"By March 2010, Kaitlyn will be able to write the upper cased letters L-F-E-H-D-P-B-R."*

*taken directly off of her most recent IEP.

Wow!
No pressure there, huh?
We know that she has several positive strengths in the OT department. According to her latest eval and IEP, she can:
--copy horizontal and vertical lines, circles and crosses.
--consistently uses a tripod grasp with her left hand (like her Mama!) on a writing instrument.
--periodically uses a slant board for writing and shoulder/upper arm strengthening.

They are really upping the ante, pushing her a tad harder since they see her potential and know what she is capable of doing.
And that is just fine with me.
They say that she is willing to work and does not exhibit frustrations, so push away with the HWT* program.

*Handwriting Without Tears.
There is a link to this program on the right side of my blog page under "Helpful Links" if you are interested in more information on the program and how to progress through it.

So, L-F-E-H-D-P-B-R, here we come!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

IEPs and LABs

OK, I hope you are sitting down because this is going to be a very, very L-O-N-G post, filled with lots and lots of info from a very busy Tuesday.
So, first things first: the IEP Meeting.
This is what I took from that meeting this morning:
1. Happy group of people around the table.
2. Everyone with your child's best interest in mind.
3. Open-mindedness from the multi-disciplinary team.
4. Quick. In and out from start to finish in 45 minutes!

Yes, the meeting was Tuesday morning and it went well.
Amazingly well.
So well, I think I could sit through another one tomorrow!
All kidding aside now.
The meeting was quick, yet thorough.
They sure know my daughter!
And they must be mind readers, because all of the goals/objectives that I blogged about a few days ago turned out to be their goals/objectives as well!
Neat!
She will ultimately receive 200 minutes per week of special education by specific disciplines:
APE (adaptive gym)=25 min/wk.
OT=30 min/wk.
PT=20 min/wk.
ST=120 min/wk.
Not bad, seeing that it averages out to over 3 hours of what could be best described as one-on-one time with the specific therapist.

As for General Education, she will be receiving 300 minutes per week with the gen ed Kindergarten class in a variety of areas:
PE=75 min/wk (3 sessions)
Art=50 min/wk
Music=50 min/wk
Library=25 min/wk
Lunch/Recess=100 min/wk
This averages out to almost 4 hours per week of direct contact with typical developing peers; peers are the best role models that a special-needs child could have!

The remainder of her time in school will continue to be spent in the PACE classroom, working with the special ed teacher and working on her own IEP goals.

All in all, it was a great meeting!
We are very pleased!

Now, onto the doctor's appointment.
After waiting for 75 minutes in the lobby and an additional 40 minutes in a room...waiting...we FINALLY saw Kaitlyn's pediatrician. This was a follow-up appointment due to her short hospital stay 10 days ago.
We had some labs drawn yesterday to check on some of the random outliers that were found incidentally in the ER.
Today was the day that we would get the results.
And the results: normal.
Whew.
That pesky AST level dropped 13 points and is just less than a handful above what is normal.
The likely cause was the massive amounts of laxatives which were prescribed two days prior to that infamous ER visit.
And her serum electrolytes were all normal as was her BUN, creatinine and urinalysis. Those all concerned me, given the amount of peeing she has been doing for the last week.
Then came the abdominal exam: normal.
Whew.
Granted, she still has some gas which likes to localize in that right upper quadrant of her abdomen, but the doc states it is from her getting readjusted to eating and digesting and eliminating again. However, the Miralax CAN produce gas, so that is another variable. She will continue to take Simethicone if it becomes bothersome to her.
Or me.
Then I cried.
I couldn't help it.
And the doc knew it.
I have been worried since this all started two weeks ago.
The nausea.
The dry heaves.
The vomiting.
All those xrays!
Then the abnormal labs.
Then the enlarged liver on the xray.
Then the complaints of nausea since being home.
Thankfully, the labs and liver issues were caused from laxatives and both are fine now.
Normal.
As for the nausea complaints, it is a side effect of Miralax.
And it could very well be just Kaitlyn being Kaitlyn, trying to push any button she could to get my attention.
Well, it works.

So that, in a rather large nut shell, was my day.
I need a vacation.
Really.
I've had enough this year, and the year is only 19 days old.
I think I'm overdue for a good streak of luck, don't you?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

No Top Ten Tuesday Today

We have Kate's meeting this morning.
Then Mark and I have a "breakfast meeting" to re-hash and review what was discussed, decided, and determined.
This is something we always do after IEP Meetings.
Later in the afternoon, we have a post-hospitalization follow up appointment with our pediatrician.
We will be able to go over her lab work that was drawn on Monday morning.
Abdominal assessments will be done.
Bowel sounds will be auscultated.
Medication concerns will be addressed, as I don't want her on these laxatives long term.

So an IEP Meeting update will appear later today.

And my "Tuesday Top Ten" will return next week.

Monday, January 18, 2010

24 Hours and Counting...

...until our annual IEP Meeting for Kaitlyn.
Questions have been jotted.
Goals have been thought of.
Numbers have been crunched.
Objectives have been thought out.
Ducks are all in a row.

The only thing that I am not sure the team will be all that prepared for is my concern for Kaitlyn's recent hospitalization and what lead up to that brief stay.
Basically, she appears to be enjoying school so much that she doesn't want to miss anything.
And that means making very fast trips to the potty.
But too fast to finish what she needs to do.
Which lead to a huge back up, one that we don't want to relive again. Ever.
My plan is to make them involved.
Not that I want them to think that they are the "Poop Police", but I need to make them accountable for monitoring her elimination status.
Seeing that I am not in school with her 5 days a week, and that she spends about 7 waking hours a day with school personnel and only about 4 waking hours at home, someone needs to be my eyes and ears.
I don't think that is much to ask.
Her teacher has already instituted a flow sheet for Kate's intake and output last week, something which she did on her own without my asking.
And so far, it is very helpful.

So on that note, I can say with extreme confidence that we are ready.

Let's roll.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Mean Girls & Bullying

Not until this evening did this thought ever cross my mind.
Never.
Well, it didn't just "cross" my mind; it was placed there.
But now it is there, and it doesn't appear to be going away any time soon.
Why?
Well, a fellow Mom that I have known from back in my grade school days who happens to be one of my Facebook friends just had this come up with her two young girls (grade school aged) and is troubled by it.
And she should be.
Then it got me thinking about my own children.
How will they handle mean girls and bullying?
How will I handle it?
My boy, Andrew, should be fine.
I don't worry too much about him as I can tell at this early age of his that he will be able to fend for himself.
Although he is on the quiet side in his little school that he is enrolled now, he has already made it clear to a few of his classmates that he doesn't want to be messed with, nor does he want his "possessions" messed with either.
Kaitlyn, on the other hand, will be my worry.
Not just because she is my special-needs girl.
She is just so passive, so loving, so in-your-face that I think this will be her biggest downfall.
She has already used her charm to win the hearts of several other little girls in the general ed Kindergarten class.
A couple of them even fought over Kaitlyn.
While I find that to be heart warming, it also concerns me that future so-called "mean girls" out there could one day take advantage of her good qualities someday.
And Kate will just go with the flow.
She has always been a follower and a watcher.
I know that she is only 6 and that she has so much growing and maturing to do.
But now that a Facebook friend has brought it up, it is out there.
And it doesn't look like its going away anytime soon.

How did you handle this issue?

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Hmmm?

This is odd, I must say.
Kaitlyn's IEP Meeting is less than a handful of days away, and I don't have a game plan.
Well, I (we) have a game plan, but it is not like game plans of the past that we were once used to.

This just seems too easy.

I have her evaluations from the team in hand.
They are what I expected. They are good.

We know where she is.
Where she came from.
And where she is headed.

We know the progress that she has made.

So what is there for me to prepare for?

Well, aside from keeping service minutes EXACTLY how they are right now...I guess not much.

But I do have some basic, attainable goals that I would like to see met over the next 6 months:
1.). Increase expressive language to meet basic needs within the classroom with minimal cues from staff.
2.). Increase successes of pre-writing strokes to >90%.
3.). Decrease use of task strip within classroom setting.
4.). Increase competence of computer skills.
5.). Engage in meaningful interactions with peers without staff assist or cueing.
6.). Continue to use "W" questions when interacting with peers and staff.

I don't think that it too much to ask for. Theoretically, all six can be achieved by the end of this school year.

Hmmm. Looks like I am prepared.
Looks like I do have a game plan.

Friday, January 15, 2010

15 Days in to 2010, and a Resolution of Sorts

OK, so it is January 15th.
And I know that I am about 15 days late making my resolutions.
But better late than never, right?

Well, this is one resolution that we all (as parents of school-aged children) can make: be involved.
Whether you volunteer, or stand on the sidelines.
Whether you are general education or special education.
Be proactive.
Be supportive.
Just be involved.

Speak up at that IEP Meeting.
Make that important phone call.
Send that urgent email.
Be involved.

And your kids will thank you for it.

Since I always seem to be canvassing the internet for new and helpful information to make my life a tad easier, I stumbled across a great website for those with learning disabilities. However, I find that a majority of their articles can be applied to all types of children, so I thought I would post one here.

Happy Reading!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Handwriting Specialists?


Seems like nowadays, there is a major and specialty for just about anything.
I mean a-n-y-t-h-i-n-g.
Now, I have heard it all!
How cool is this?!?!

Click here to search by state for a specialist near you!

Can you tell I am still in hyper-IEP mode?

Wonder what the team's take would be on this? Supportive, I am sure.

Wonder what Aetna is going to think about this claim??
(shrug shoulders)
Who cares what Aetna thinks anymore?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

WORDS!

What an amazing thing to be able to say!
WORDS!
My little guy, Andrew, is spilling them out from one moment to the next.
New ones.
Ones with meaning.
Ones with purpose.
Ones to convey a message, want or need.

Geeet ahhp = "Get up!"
Geeet down = "Get down"
Faaah = fan
Seeestrs beeket = "Sister's Blanket" (Yep. That's a sore spot with sister.)
Huk = "hug"
Mahh-kuz = "markers"
Duuce = "juice"
No-no-key = "lemonade". (Don't ask me how I figured that one out!)

He is really doing so well.
And really working hard with therapy and his therapist.
And the timing couldn't be any more ironic: we just received our Transition-Into-Preschool paperwork in the mail yesterday.
Transitioning from Early Intervention into Early Childhood Education.
Transitioning from IFSPs to IEPs.

So, we just continue to go with the flow.
The flow of words, that is.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Top Ten Tuesday


This is a week that I would rather forget! Here goes:

#10. Our first ER trip with Kaitlyn at 2am on Wednesday/Thursday.

#9. Our first abdominal xray on Wednesday/Thursday showing how full of poop Kaitlyn's large colon really was.

#8. Starting 2 days of "Bowel Assault" AKA tons of laxatives and enemas which failed to produce desired results.

#7. Our 2nd trip to the ER in as many days, only to find out that she needed aggressive soap-water enemas to rectify this problem.

#6. Trying to explain to my daughter what was about to happen.

#5. Kaitlyn and I singing "The Bumble Bee Song", "The Alphabet Song", and "Five Little Ducks" during enema administration.

#4. Having the ER nurses sing along with us, truly showing me that they cared about us and felt sorry for what she was going through.

#3. Oops! Now she has an ileus. Direct admit straight to the peds unit. Do not pass go. Do not collect $100.00. Darn.

#2. Coming home to the welcoming arms of Daddy and little brother.

#1. Andrew starts vomitting profusely only 3 hours after we get home. But Mark tells me and Kaitlyn to go to bed to rest since he rested the night before. And thus began his "sleep over" of sorts with Andrew on the bathroom floor. What a great Daddy! Oh, then I get it the next day. This is such a cruel joke. Come on already! Haven't we had enough?

Dear germs,
Thank you for visiting, but we are through with you.
Bon Voyage!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Some Extra *prep* Time

We needed to reschedule our IEP meeting that was originally set for next Tuesday. It is only pushed back a week, but it is an extra week of prep and research.

Not that I have a lot of research to do, because I don't. I know what her issues are and know what she needs.

Not that I have a lot of prep to do because I don't. Remember, this is NOT like the last meeting. New team, new attitude.

I know that she is thriving in the school that she attends. She has made amazing gains. Impressive. I might add.

But with the latest health issues which have plagued my little family since the beginning of 2010, it is a blessing.

Now, all I need to do is to get healthy and prepped for January 19th.

Let's do it!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

I'm Done.

What a long and crazy 48 hours!
We have gone through a diagnosis of severe pediatric constipation.
Large soapy-water enemas.
Xrays.
IV sticks and IV fluids.
More xrays.
Popsicles and more popsicles.
A joyful reunion with Daddy and little brother.
A happy evening.
And then.....vomitting everywhere!
This time, its Andrew.
Yep, the little guy must have felt left out and chose 5 late night hours to throw up.
And then abruptly stop.
Only to sleep on the bathroom floor with Daddy until 4am.
We all slept until 945am this morning.
Kaitlyn woke up ravenous.
I needed coffee.
Andrew chugged some bubble gum flavored Pedialyte.
Mark really needs coffee.
2010 has not been all too kind to us, and we are only on day #10 of this new year.
Maybe I need to retitle my blog?
Seems like there is more talk about bodily fluids than speech therapy progress, huh?
Did I mention that I was done?
Just wanted to make that clear.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Hospital Updates

Kaitlyn had a decent night.
Well, as far as nights in the hospitals go.
She woke up every 3 hours when the nurses came in to check her bowel sounds.
Might as well make a potty trip since we're up.
Her repeat xrays of her abdomen showed that the obstruction was gone, as was the ileus.
She was graduated from "nothing by mouth" to clear liquids for breakfast.
However, shortly after eating a popsicle and sipping on hot tea and apple juice, she started to complain of tummy aches.
Wonderful. Just wonderful.
(Insert sarcasm here.)
We are hoping that it is just gas pains.
So we walk around the peds unit for a while, then come back to the room and sit on the potty, trying to expel some gas.
She got a visitor today: one of the hospital therapy dogs.
"Meg" was a mild, passive and gentle Golden Retriever.
She let Kaitlyn pet her, touch her nose, and try to kiss her.
Her pediatrician came in and checked her out. Said she looks good and that we needed to be gentle with her diet.
For now, no dairy products.
She should be going home this evening, as long as she tolerates a soft diet.
I am really hoping and praying that this will all be a distant memory.
Very. Very. Distant.

Blogging from Peds Unit

My girl, Kaitlyn, is my little hero.
Seriously.
I have met so many people in my life but never knew anyone as strong as this little girl lying next to me in a hospital bed right now.
What started as some upper abdominal pain, nausea, and vomitting has turned into an admission to the hospital.
Xrays showed that she was extremely constipated.
So badly that she was basically blocked from the end of her descending colon to the corner where the transverse and ascending colon meet.
That's a lot of poop!
A couple of half liter soapy water enemas later and she is cleaned out!
But with one incidental "oops".
She now has an ileus, an area of the ascending colon which decided that it was pissed off with the aggressive bowel program that was going on and no longer wants to do its peristalsis thing that it is supposed to do.
Damn.
But she is a champ.
A few tears during the enemas.
No tears during the IV insertion and blood draw.
She charmed her way into the hearts of the ER staff.
So here we are, admitted for observation and hopefully only a one night stay.
She is resting right now, my little hero.
And I am on night watch.
I love you, Kaitlyn.
Get some rest.

Friday, January 8, 2010

The Art of Negotiation

Yep, she is learning it, and learning it quite well.
With the bank of words she has, she is learning to put some of them together to manipulate and convince.
For example, the other day she had a tummy ache.
She went on and on and on about this ailment.
Finally, after being tired of hearing it, I asked her "Kaitlyn, what can Mommy do to make your tummy better?"
She looked at me for a fraction of a second and then belted out this politician-sounding proposal:
"First, potty. Then, popsicle. Then watch Elmo Happy New Year".
Huh?
So I thought I'd give it a whirl.
Let's take this one for a ride, shall we?
I took her to the bathroom where she did what she could. Luckily, I was able to distract her from the popsicle portion of her speech and we moved directly into the family room so that she could watch a quick Elmo video.
Amazingly, the tummy ache had resolved.
Yep, she is becoming a little negotiator.
Cool.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Let Your Fingers Do The Walking


Stuck in a rut?
Trying to find a good therapist or new doctor?
Looking for a specialist?
Well, you have come to the right site!
Click here for a great website that allows to do the above and more for your kids.
It's called "The Kid's Yellow Pages" and it is just that: a resource list for kids and their needs.
Find your state, click, and see what could very well be in your future!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Dentist & The Sensory Child


Did I think, for one minute, that today's trip to the dentist with Kaitlyn would be as spectacular as it was?
Four months ago, he noted a small area suspicious of a forming cavity and wanted to take the "wait and see" approach before he did anything about it.
It was small and extremely superficial.
He sent us on our way with a good toothbrush and some great toothpaste for young children.
So brush, brush, brush we did.
And we did.
And we did.
And over the last four months, I thought to myself "Why don't they just pull the tooth? It's just a baby tooth and it will fall out on it's own eventually."
When I brought these concerns to our dentist, he educated me on dental health in the small child and that simply pulling the tooth would not solve the problem but only cause new ones: shifting of the baby teeth, permanent teeth coming in at different spaces, and so on.
If we left the tooth alone and let it fall out on it's own, the cavity could very well affect the permanent tooth, leading to a root canal in the future.
This is an epidemic!
Um, that is something I could not see Kaitlyn getting through without some sort of anesthesia.
So after four months of brushing and flossing, I expected the xrays to be positive.
No xrays were being done.
Why aren't we doing xrays today?
Kaitlyn got into the chair.
They draped her with the paper bib, pinned on both sides.
The dentist came in and sat next to Kaitlyn.
She requested "bubble gum" on her teeth.
Our hygenist uses a bubble gum flavored treatment when she cleans Kate's teeth.
He told her that she could have the bubble gum when he was done.
"Open big, Kaitlyn".
I must have heard that at least forty times.
But she did as he requested.
Some equipment was being handed back and forth.
Can someone tell me what is going on here?
Water was sprayed.
Mouth was vacuumed out of excess water.
Teeth dried with some teeth-drying apparatus.
Um, was that a drill I just heard?
Some white spackle?
More water.
More drying.
Then out comes this wand with a neon blue light on it.
Wait a minute!
Then I asked him, "Did you just fill that cavity?"
"Yep" he replied, very confidently.
You just filled her cavity.
Without Novocaine.
And she didn't wince.
Didn't cry.
Not one tear.
Even through all of those strange sounds which her little ears have never heard before.
And those sensations in her mouth she never experienced before.
And. He. Filled. That. Cavity.
She sat up, looked at the dentist, looked at me, and chose a sticker from the bucket.
She was done and ready to go home.
My sensory child did better than many adults in this same situation.
Wow.
Once again, I am speechless.
Now, this is not to say that I believe sensory children or those afflicted with SPD will grow out of it.
I don't think that is possible.
However, I attribute her success and braveness to the therapies that she has received and the positive reinforcement that we give her.
My daughter got her first filling.
Many parents would be crushed by this.
Many parents would be mad at their child for not taking care of their teeth better.
Many parents would be just plain mad.
Not me.
Nope.
This was a huge step for Kaitlyn, as sort of milestone for her.
This is yet another valid way of proving that therapies at an early age really work.
Good job, Kaityln.
Once again, you impress the hell out of me!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Tuesday's Top Ten


10. Being 3/4 complete with taking down Christmas decor.

9. Being a member of Shutterfly and Snapfish and getting 120 photos for 50 cents (not including shipping and handling, though!). Not that's what I call a deal!

8. Getting away with the family for an overnight to the water park.

7. Sustaining contusions to my ribs in a fluke accident at the park. Can you say "OUCH!?"

6. Being off work for 7 days now. Trust me, this is NO vacation!

5. Thankful for pharmaceutical companies for making pain medications that actually make my ribs feel a tad better.

4. Preparing for an IEP meeting in 7 more days.

3. Enjoying being taken care of by a great husband for the last couple of days. Thanks, Mark.

2. Hearing Andrew ask Kaitlyn for a "high-five"! Cute!

1. Knowing that all speech therapy for both of my kids will be covered under the new law signed by Illinois Governor Quinn. Thanks, man. You rock!

Monday, January 4, 2010

IEPs and What They Do To Me


I am in IEP mode.
Serious IEP mode right about now.
Googling, web searching, book reading, old IEP reviewing, you name it!
I need an all-in-one site that can help me plug Kaitlyn's strengths and weaknesses so I know what to really focus on and what can be a lesser priority.
And, I really like to find websites that have a TON of info on them!
Like this one!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Nine Days and Counting

Our annual IEP is just nine days away.
I am already anticipating a good meeting, open-mindedness from the team, and cooperation from them as well.
Far cry from the pre-school team in which certain members insisted upon focusing on the negative, being close-minded and oh so uncooperative.
Not to mention argumentative.
And back-stabbers.
I really enjoy working with this new team.
They truly understand their calling and are enthusiastic about helping Kaitlyn achieve their goals.
Unlike the pre-school team, they are there for the right reasons.
As previously stated, only one member of that pre-school team (the physical therapist) was in it for the right reason.
I have nothing negative to say about her.
Ever.
Too bad the rest of them couldn't take her lead.
Oh well, they are in our past and I will never have to deal with them again.

I know that we will be focusing again on the Illinois Education Standards.
You can see them here.
She has been participating in non-academics with her typical-developing Kindergarten peers for the last eight weeks.
Mainstreaming is looking better and better!
That is surely one goal that will be achieved in due time.

Did I mention that I really love this new team?

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Blogging From a Gurney in the ER

I hope this is not a prelude to what 2010 holds for me.
Please?
Pretty please?
My husband planned a quick family getaway to a water park for our little family.
Just the 4 of us, away from it all for 24 hours.
I should have known that this had disaster written all over it.
We left the house, Andrew looking a tad pale and sluggish with a low-grade temperature of 100.3.
Packed the Tylenol and Motrin.
Turns out he was fine.
Kaitlyn enjoyed herself, of course.
As did Mark.
He and I each took a child, so I paired up with Kaitlyn first since Andrew is a "Daddy's boy" as of late.
Excited as could be, she bolted for the huge climbing contraption fully equipped with slides and fountains.
I followed behind her and for the next hour we acted like kids.
OK, I acted like a kid with my kid.
I made it a habit to go down each side before her, as to catch her and move her quickly out of the way to avoid the next person coming down the chute and ramming into her.
In my haste of getting up and off the slide, my foot caught the edge of the slide wall and I slid.
BAM!
Took the brunt of the fall on my left rib cage.
Immediate pain that knocked the wind out of me.
The rest of the evening basically went down hill from there.
Anything I did exacerbated the pain: coughing, sneezing, laughing, crying, laying on that side.
So 24 hours later, the pain is no better and I am sitting in the ER.
Being zapped five times with xrays.
Waiting for pain meds.
Being poked and having pain inflicted on me as the Emergency Medicine doc prods at the affected area that is really a pain in my side.
Oh, that was a bad pun, wasn't it?
Oh, it hurts to laugh.
First chest xray came back negative for pneumonia, which surprised me since I am coughing up nasty yellow stuff.
Except I am not coughing anymore because it hurts to cough.
Being given an antibiotic for that junk.
Second set of xrays focused specifically on the ribs.
The ER is a-hoppin' tonight!
Xrays were inconclusive for fracture, so he diagnosed me with (1) Rib Contusion and (2) Bronchitis.
Wonderful.
Being sent home on antibiotics and awesome pain meds!!!
Off work for 5 days as well.
What a way to start off 2010!
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy 2010!


My Happy New Year wish for you
Is for your best year yet,
A year where life is peaceful,
And what you want, you get.

A year in which you cherish
The past year’s memories,
And live your life each new day,
Full of bright expectancies.

I wish for you a holiday
With happiness galore;
And when it’s done, I wish you
Happy New Year, and many more.

Sending you warmest wishes for 2010!
Thank you for reading
and for listening to my words with your heart.