Sunday, February 28, 2010

Sound Therapy vs Listening Program

There comes a time in a parent of a special needs child's life when you would do just about anything to help your child achieve their goals and just make things a tad easier for them.

Today is one of those days.

No, I am not having a pity party because I refused to attend those.
In fact, I throw away the invite before I even open it.

That said, I just look for new and innovative ways to make learning, therapy, and the such more fun.

I have heard of "Sound Therapy" before and it is a little different than the "Listening Program" that many of you might be thinking of.

You can hear more about sound therapy by clicking here

When I get more info about both programs, I will pass the info along to you all.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

3, 2, 1...And we have Lift Off!


This is in regards to Andrew's speech.
Lift off.
Take off.
Call it what you want.
But he is really coming up with more and more words with each passing day.

When Early Intervention works, it really works!

Friday, February 26, 2010

She Knows How To Work It


Or, better yet, she knows how to work me.
Kaitlyn is the master.
The master of manipulation, coercion, and quite simply, the master of knowing how to make me question my very being.
Out if the mouth of my speech and language delayed child.
She has learned what to say to make me raise my eyebrows and listen.
Add to that her hazel eyes which speak a language of their own.
Combine the two and you can see what I am going through.

This whole situation has been evolving for the last few months.
She is growing. Getting older. Maturing.
She is a watcher.
She is a listener.
She is a sponge, absorbing everything.
And she doesn't forget.

This behavior really spiraled out of control after her brief hospitalization in January with her bowel obstruction.
She was sick.
I was very worried.
And she saw that I was worried.
And from there I believe she put her plan into action.
First, it was the stomach ache.
Now, she comes up with new and vague complaints or symptoms.
Neck hurts.
Cramp here.
Wrist hurts.
And let's not forget the nonverbal communication with those hazel eyes.
She gets my attention.
My forehead furroughs.
More complaints.
Throw in some tears, and she really gets me into concerned mode.

After talking with my husband and consulting with our pediatrician, it appears as though she has learned the fine art of manipulation based on Pavlov's theory: she rings the bell and I salivate.
Maybe it is an attention-getter.
Maybe she wants more one on one Mommy/daughter time.
I think she really liked the time that she and I were alone in the hospital.
She had me all to herself.
No Daddy.
No brother.
No sharing necessary.
I was all hers. And now she wants more.

Funny how a child with speech and language issues can have so much to say.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Allergic to Pronouns?


If it is possible, I believe Kaitlyn has it!
Yep.
An allergy to pronouns.
She won't say them.
Won't even give it a try.
Everything is "Kaitlyn do it" or "Kaitlyn's turn" or "Kaitlyn's book".

No "I".
No "my".
Oh my.

So, off to Mr. Google I go, in search of great ways to teach, convince, coerce that pronouns are our friends.
Your friends.
My friends.

You can see one of the worksheets that I found here.

And for those of you who are obsessed with interactive computer games, you can click here to see a Dinosaur Pronoun game.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Looming Lay-Offs?


As if I really needed to read this today!

It seems as if no one is safe; not even our teachers.

Click here to read more.

Then, I wake up this morning to read this!

I am hoping that the second news story will shed some good news on this district. But I will continue to say an extra prayer (or twelve!) that our children will not have to suffer the consequences.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Tuesday Top Ten


10. Andrew. Getting bronchitis. Just like big sis.

9. Having two kids on nebulizer treatments at the same time. Separate tubing and face mask systems, of course!

8. Kaitlyn finally feeling better (knocking on wood, everywhere, as I type this!).

7. Andrew, finally allowing his teacher to place his hand in a puddle of green finger paint, thus leading to 5 full minutes of painting. Wow.

6. Kaitlyn, achieving school goals of writing the letters L, F, E, and H successfully. Wow.

5. Words. So so so many coming from Andrew lately. Wow.

4. Having two of three weekly speech therapy sessions in the home. And the successes that continue to flow because of them.

3. Being thankful for having such a hard-working and patient SLP, even when she has her work cut out for her when treating my little guy after he had his adrenaline-rushing nebulizer treatment.

2. Kaitlyn singing "Abby's Flying Fairy School". Every word of it. And I still can't figure out that darn song.

1. Finding out that Kaitlyn's teacher may not be back next year due to the Illinois budget crisis and cuts in non-tenured staff. We are praying and thinking good thoughts that we will see her again in August. Please?

Monday, February 22, 2010

Not My Child Monday!



Sure you have the perfect child.
The one with the halo.
Yeah, you!
If that's the case, move on and don't hang around this blog.
For the rest of you, read on.
Better yet, grab the link above and play along with McMama and all of her friends.

So this morning, my daughter did not decide to use the inside of her pajamas to wipe after going potty.
Nope. Not my child.
She always uses toilet paper.
And my son did not use his speech therapist as a punching bag and jungle gym because he was so wired after a nebulized breathing treatment.
Nope. Not my child.
No, he always sits nicely.
And my son did not scream in Jewel because there weren't any "complimentary cookies" in the bakery section, forcing the baker to run and get a new fresh box for him.
Nope, not my son.
He always says "please" and minds his manners.

What did your kids not do today?

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Really? Are You Serious? No Child Left Behind?


The House Education and Labor Committee yesterday began bipartisan efforts
to reform the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the statute
formerly known as No Child Left Behind. They will be working to "ensure an
excellent education is available to every student in America."

The House Committee has asked stakeholders to send their input, thoughts,
and suggestions to _eseacomments@ mail.house. gov_
(http://us.mc364. mail.yahoo. com/mc/compose? to=eseacomments@ mail.house. gov) . The deadline for comments
is March 26, 2010.

School professionals and administrators often send in comments. Its
important that Congress HEAR FROM YOU--even if its just a few sentences.
Congress needs to hear from those who know children with disabilities best (their
parents) and those whose professional practices cause them to see a wide
breadth of problems, needs, and solutions (advocates, attorneys, and other
professionals) . Please notify your friends, colleagues, clients, groups,
lists, and others.

ESEA/NCLB has been designed to ensure that all children receive a high
quality education and that school districts are accountable for the
educational progress of all children, with or without disabilities. ESEA/NCLB reform
will be completed before IDEA reauthorization is begun.

There are over 7 million children with disabilities and its time that
Congress hear about them and their need for a good education. Tell the
Committee that improving educational results for children with disabilities is
vital to America's policy of ensuring equality of opportunity, full
participation, independent living, and economic self-sufficiency for individuals with
disabilities. That should guide NCLB just as it governs IDEA.

Even if you do not have specific solutions, share the problems that you
face and your clients face. Share stories about your clients and children,
and how receiving an inadequate education has harmed them. Share general
ideas. Do not be afraid to write a single paragraph, a few sentences. What
Congress does need to hear is an overwhelming voice about the importance
of ensuring that children with disabilities get a good education and that
Congress must act to protect them as it works on ESEA/NCLB. They will be
hearing plenty of voices on the other side.

If I can make a personal plea, please do not tell Congress that IDEA only
opens doors to the school house. That is false. It was false when it was
written by Justice Rehnquist many years ago in Rowley. When Congress
enacted the IDEA, it was as concerned with children who got inadequate
educations as those deprived entirely, and the legislative history clearly
demonstrates it. This is not about competition between NCLB and IDEA. The truth is
that children with disabilities are entitled to coverage under both NCLB
and IDEA and neither law precludes coverage by the other.

Again, you have until March 26, 2010 to send your comments the House
Committee on Education and Labor at _eseacomments@ mail.house. gov_
(http://us.mc364. mail.yahoo. com/mc/compose? to=eseacomments@ mail.house. gov) . A series of
hearings on NCLB will also begin, starting with one on charter schools next
week.

Left On The Bus???


This is my fear.

This is why my daughter will NEVER take the bus to school.

This is why we will drive her to school each and every day.

Why?

Because this little girl was left on the bus!

No, this isn't our school district.

But this is my fear.

My daughter would have probably sat there for a while.
Not said a word.
But then cried once she realized she was alone and locked in a bus.

This is why I will never let my child ride the bus.
Neither of them.
Ever.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

A Genetic Component to St-st-st-stuttering?

Finally!

Here you have it!

Someone finally went ahead and conducted stuttering research to prove that it is not just in someones head that they stutter with speech.

For years, we have seen these individuals struggling to get a sound out.

My heart always broke for them because ignorant people would just stare or walk away.

I see my Kate stutter sometimes, but I don't truly think it is a stutter, rather her brain moving faster to get the words out that her mouth can't keep up with yet.

Maybe now insurance companies will look at this and cover speech therapy for those stricken with this speech problem.

Then again, why do insurance companies think that they can pick and choose which speech problem they will cover and which ones they won't cover?

Don't get me started on them.
Don't get me started.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Yes

Three letters. Y-E-S.

One syllable. Yes.

One word. Yes.

Yes.

And to hear Andrew say it, and more than anything, mean it.
How heart-warming!
How wonderful!
Yes.

"Andrew, do you want to eat?"
"Yes-sssss."
"Andrew, do you have to go potty?"
"Yes-sssss."
"Andrew, can Mommy have a hug?"
"Yes-sssss."

Aww, thanks big guy.

Now, many of you who may read my blog daily or if you just happened to stumble upon it today for the first time may be thinking, "So what!"

Folks, this is a big deal.
YES, it is.
You see, because of those nasty ear infections which started back in September 2008 and continued into April 2009, leading to bilateral tympanostomy tube placement, my little guy is behind on so so many expressive language milestones.
Probably six to nine months behind at that point.
And after completing nine months of speech therapy via Early Intervention, he has truly shown us that he can do it.
And he has.
Yes, he has.
But it is an uphill battle for him.
Because as he grows and matures, his receptive language bank continues to grow and grow while he is still playing catch up with that darn expressive language delay.

But, YES, little man, you are working so hard.
And doing so well.
And before we all know it, you'll catch up and surpass that pesky delay.

YES!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

A Bold Move, I Must Say!


All across our neighborhoods, on all 33 school signs within our district, the following message has been posted:

"The State of Illinois Owes District 204 $7.8 million"

Wow.
That's a lot of dough.
The $7.8 million was due to the district by the end of the 2009 calendar year, and officials believe the state's $13 billion debt will force the legislature to further reduce payments to individual school districts.
And to hear that the state plans on cutting non-tenured staff as a way to recoup some money makes my blood boil!
How will this affect our children?
How will special education be affected?
The district has approximately 680 non-tenure staff members, which represents 31 percent of the more than 2,000 certified staff members. Non-tenured teachers include teachers in their first through fourth year. As soon as they begin their fifth year, those teachers are tenured.

To read the full article of what is going on, click here!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Community Trip vs Field Trip

Yes, today is another field trip for Kaitlyn's PACE Kindergarten class.
But rather than all fun and games, there is a purpose behind this trip.

They are going to the post office to mail some Valentine's Day cards that they made!

Better late than never, right.

But instead of a field trip, they refer to this one as a community trip: a trip into the community to a specific location for a specific reaon/teaching opportunity.

They have been learning about the post office in class lately.
So the kids will hop the bus with letters and cards in hand and head to the post office.

Maybe they will get a tour of the inner workings of the facility?
Look at the different stamps?
Pack items in boxes to be shipped?
Weigh packages?

All the while, using their words that they have learned about the post office.
And they are also learning about money, something else that comes in handy when paying for government-issued over-priced stamps!

I am sure that the teachers will make it as fun as informative.

And afterwards, they will jump back onto the bus as head over to Culver's for some tasty (atery clogging) butter burger cheese burgers and fries.

And...for dessert...frozen custard!

Yum!

With a choice of chocolate, vanilla, or swirl, it will be a great end to a fun day!

Have fun, kiddo.
Can't wait to hear all about it.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Tuesday's Top Ten

Its been a rough week. Let's see what I can come up with:

10. Kaitlyn getting bronchitis on Tuesday.

9. Kaitlyn's "Tuesday Bronchitis" turning into "Thursday Pneumonia".

8. Another chest xray on Saturday.

7. Every four hours medicated nebulizer treatments.

6. Midnight breathing treatments reminiscent of midnight baby feedings.

5. Happy to have kept our stock in Walgreens.

4. Hearing that Andrew was walking around the house with my picture while I was at work on Sunday.

3. And calling for "Mommy" the whole day Sunday.

2. Watching my daughter and son hug each other because they want to, not because someone is telling them to do so.

1. The road to recovery and a once again healthy house.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Sensory Kids and School


Once again, through my Googling expertise, I have found yet another site to help with some sensory issue resolution.
But the funny thing is that all of these ideas can be used for all types of children, regardless if they are sensory or not.

Neat!

Intersted?
Click here!

If you think about it, we are all sensory in one way or another.

Plus, the book "Raising a Sensory Smart Child" by Lindsey Biel, MA OTR/L and Nancy Peske is a really great find.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Another ER Visit

At the recommendations of our pediatrician, we took another trip into the ER for Kaitlyn's lingering symptoms.
Although she is on two different antibiotics, and the medicated nebulizer treatments continue every four hours, her road to recovery has been a slow one.
Her cough is still very deep and congested.
That mucous must be as thick as paste!
So off to the ER we went Saturday evening.
We are always very fortunate to have great ER docs when we are there. And seeing that this is a specialized Pediatric ER, that is even better!
So after the usual History and Physical, we were taken to radiology for two quick zaps.
Not thrilled to have had 4 xrays in 3 months!
Not happy at all about it.
Nonetheless, it was done.
Kate is such a trooper!
She typically wins the hearts of every staff member she encounters, and does a really good job of answering their questions to the best of her ability.
Yes, I am along for the ride as Mom/Translator.
Unfortunately, I had to translate a bit more than usual this evening.
She is tired, I tell myself.
Poor thing can't keep up with everything that we are throwing at her the last four days.
I think she is as sick of being sick as we are.

So, good news and bad news.
The good news is: the pneumonia in the right upper lobe is gone!
Yes!
The bad news: a very bad case of bronchitis.
Bummer.
The ER doc went back and forth about adding a third (yikes!) antibiotic to the mix, but in the end chose to stick with our current regimen.

So there you have it.
One antibiotic once a day.
Check.
One antibiotic twice a day.
Check.
Nebulizer treatments every four to six hours.
Check.
Humidifier in her room.
Check.
Exposure to cold air periodically. Check.
Continue to push lots of fluids.
Check.
Chest physical therapy.
Check.

Oh, and one more thing.
Somehow, during the whole 80 minute from start to finish ER work-up with one doc, one RN, a PCT, two transporters, and two radiology techs, and without me hearing it, my daughter got herself a popsicle.
A purple popsicle, for that matter.
You know that popsicle which I am referring, don't you?
The infamous $1000.00 purple popsicle?
The one that always seems to do the trick and kids are *magically* transformed back to their healthier selves within a day or so?
The ones that you wish were stocked in your freezer at all times?
Yep, that one!

Maybe she should have asked for two!
*wink*

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Nebulizer Treament #1 (Thursday)

 
Posted by Picasa


This picture was taken on Thursday in the doctor's office.
Our first of many nebulizer treatments.

Yep, she looks rough here.
My heart broke to see her look so sick.

But she is looking and acting better now.
WHEW!

Pneumonia Day#3: Don't Talk!

Never thought that those words, "Don't talk!", would ever be spoken by me to my apraxic daughter.
Never.
But Friday turned into a decent day.
Her activity level was high, appetite was ravenous, and mood was good.

She remains on two antibiotics as well as medicated nebulizer treatments.

And she thinks this is the best time to carry on a conversation!

Every four hours, she is hooked up to the machine with the fishy-face mask.
The motor is quite loud.
He hissing sound from the steam machine is also loud.
The mask muffles her voice.
But Kate thinks that she can just talk, talk, talk.

What?

Talk, talk, talk.

I can't understand you with your fish mask on, Kaitlyn.

Talk, talk, talk.

Stories, past events, complaints, school happenings, requests.
They are all fair game to her.

Kate, take a nice deep breath in, OK?

Deep breath.
Talk, talk, talk.

Thank goodness these treatments only last for 10-12 minutes each.
But when they are done, she gets off the chair and walks away to resume playing with whatever I took her away from.

No more talking.

Guess she has nothing to say?

Friday, February 12, 2010

Pneumonia: Day #2


Kaitlyn appears to be OK today.
No better.
No worse.
Just OK.
With medicated nebulizer treatments every four hours since 10:00am yesterday, she is tolerating them well.
Well, with the exception of the 11:00pm one last night in which she did not want to get out of bed and sit for 10 minutes as the treatment progressed.
She remains on two antibiotics as well.
Her appetite is fine.
Her energy level is fine.

I am hoping that tomorrow at this time will be even better!

In the meantime, she is resting and singing "Abby's Flying Fairy School" over and over.
And over.
Don't know it?
Listen here!

I really love Sesame Street!

It amazes me that this little apraxic girl can sing along with this song.
I, for one, can't break down half of the words.
Kate, on the other hand, sings the whole thing with ease!

"...how to solve a problem with a single, twinkle think...."

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Pneumonia


Just what I want to add to Kaitlyn's health history: pneumonia.

She started acting "sick" on Saturday evening with a dry, hacky cough.
That lingered into Sunday.
That became a bit more productive on Monday.
Which turned into a sleepless night that night as she coughed her poor little head off all night.
And a spike in fever to 103 degrees.

A quick trip to the pediatrician on Tuesday morning told us that she had an upper respiratory infection.
Bring on the bubble gum flavored pink stuff!

Add the warm mist humidifier to her bedroom that night.

More coughing.
Hack, hack, hack.
(Sounds more like a 90 year old woman who smoked a pack of cigarettes a day for 50 years...really!)
More temperature spikes at night.

Symptoms seemed to increase on Wednesday.
Yep, Kate and I had a slumber party on Wednesday night.
However, there wasn't much sleeping going on.
Poor kid was up every two hours (or less) with a congested coughing fit.
A trip for some water.
A dose of cough medicine.
Back to bed.
Repeat.
Repeat again.
And again.
That summarizes our night.

Another phone call to the pediatrician this morning.
"Bring her in right away!"
I give the low down on what has been going on for the last 48+ hours since our last $25.00 copay.
Doc listens to her chest.
For. A. Long. Time.
Brings out the nebulizer machine.
Kaitlyn uses it like a champ.
Freaked Andrew out, though, to the point where he climbed onto my lap and hid inside my jacket.
Yeah, his bark is worse than his bite!
More chest auscultation.
For. A. Long. Time. Again.

"She has bronchitis. And she has right upper lobe pneumonia."


Huh?

So I walk out of the office with a $193.00 nebulizer machine.
That I am sure Aetna is not going to want to pay for.

And a new antibiotic.

And some pretty neat bronchodilating medication.
Did I mention that I have to hook her to this machine every four hours over the next day or so?
Yep.

Oy!

Anything to stay out of the ER or inpatient area at our local hospital.

Get well soon, kiddo.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Quite the Historian!

So Kaitlyn tells me (Monday) on our way home from school:

"I saw the nurse today!"

Hmmm? Really?

"What did the nurse do, Kaitlyn?"
"She listened to bubbles."

Prior to Kaitlyn's hospitalization in early January, there was a lot of that going on.
Listening to bowel sounds (AKA: bubbles).
Then I thought to myself: did she get sick at school today? Was she complaining of a tummy ache? Why wasn't I notified of this?
Well, a quick phone call to the teacher at 4:00pm answered a lot of those questions.
Yes, Kaitlyn saw the school nurse.
No, it wasn't for her stomach.
No, she wasn't complaining about feeling ill.
They just noticed that she was coughing a lot after lunch, so they wanted the school nurse to check her out and listen to her lungs.
Lungs sounded fine, I was told.
But that nagging cough turned a bit nasty Monday night.
And into the wee hours of the morning with a 103 degree fever.
So off to the pediatrician we went.
Kate goes downhill quickly.
Extremely quickly!
So luckily we were able to get in and on an antibiotic and expectorant Tuesday morning.
And she did all the talking in the doc's office.
I was just there as chauffeur, occasional translator, and symptom describer.
So after a nice bath.
A nice nap (for tired Mama, too!)
A little chest percussion and physical therapy.
My little historian is on the way to recovery.

I hate to see her feeling so blah.
It is so un-Kaitlyn.

Get well soon, kiddo.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Top Ten Tuesday


10. Celebrating 100 days of the 2009-2010 school year!

9. Seeing my daughter get the absolute WORST haircut ever! She truly belongs on the Dutch Boy paint can!

8. Being completely and utterly disgusted by my daughter wiggling and manipulating that tooth right out of her mouth. Ugh! Nasty!

7. Being horrified that many of my son's words actually sound like vulgarities. And no one in public places believes me when I translate!

6. Getting that 3rd day a week of speech therapy for Andrew...my way!

5. Setting up Andrew's Transition meeting with the district's preschool.

4. Oh dear! My baby is going to preschool in 6 months! I guess he's not such a baby anymore, is he?

3. Having our first day of speech therapy in the home on Monday. A tad distracted, but he did well.

2. Being off work on Sunday!

1. Having my family over for an awesome SuperBowl party! My family rocks!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Believe in Something

Guardian angels are all around us.

Did I get your attention?
Good!

OK, this post is going to be W-A-Y off the topic of special needs, special education, therapy, and the such.

It's about faith and believing in something bigger than you can ever be.
You can't explain it.
But you can feel it.
And it will forever change your life.

I met an angel on earth one day.
Seriously.
It was on a day when I was hopeless. Helpless. And ready to throw away something so amazing.
Had I done that, I would not have Kaitlyn and Andrew.
I would not have this blog today.
Sit down, and let me tell you my story.

*********************************************************************

It was July 1998.
I am involved in a long distance relationship.
And I am getting the feeling that it is going nowhere fast.
He traveled a lot. Seriously, he was on two flights a week.
Every week.
I would see him on Friday nights when he landed in Chicago, and I would say good-bye to him on Sunday nights when he caught his next flight to wherever he was going that next week.
We did this for months.
Many months.
And I didn't think I could do it any longer.
So I got dressed and began the 42 mile drive to OHare Airport.
He didn't know that I was going to be there, waiting for him at the gate.
Waiting to break up with him.
He always flew on United Airlines.
If you are familiar with OHare Airport and the United Terminal, you would know that it has a B concourse and a C concourse.

And in between those two concourses is a walkway, illuminated with rainbow colored lights on the walls and ceiling.



And that Gershwin song "Rhapsody in Blue" would always be playing.
To this day, I love that song.
And it always brings me back to OHare Airport and my decision that day.
I checked the arrival screens: on time at Gate B22.
One more deep breath, and I began my trek through the rainbow walkway.
The airport was packed, and the air conditioning didn't seem to be working that well on that day.
Screaming babies, ladies fanning themselves, men pacing.
All I wanted to do was to sit down and compose myself for what I was about to do.
After looking around, I realized that it was standing room only.
So I leaned against the wall and started to flip through a magazine.
Just then, I looked up and saw an open chair.
No one seemed to be fighting for it, so I walked over and asked the woman sitting in the next seat if she was saving it: no.
So I sat down.
Just then, a man sat next to me.
Funny, but I don't recall that seat being empty, nor someone getting up and leaving.
Business attire.
Newspaper.
Smelled nice.
Probably taking the next flight out west to California was my bet.
Then he tries small talk.
I politely answer his questions, talk for all of 10 seconds, and go back to my magazine.
More talking from the man with the nice shoes.
Looks like I won't be reading my magazine anymore since this guy wants to chat.
Fine. It will make the time pass even faster.
He introduces himself as Thomas.
Pleasant hand shakes are exchanged.
Then I notice the two Beanie Babies that he is holding.
Do I dare ask why?
Sure.
He goes into this long litany about why he was at the airport and who he was waiting for.
Apparently, he was waiting for the same flight from San Francisco that I was waiting for.
Except he was anxious to see his girlfriend, Lucy, and they were going to meet her parents for dinner.
And he was going to propose to her later that night.
And the Beanie Babies were of a turtle and lobster.
Ironically, their names on their labels were Thomas and Lucy.
He bought them because he thought they were cute.
And they were.
And I am waiting for that same flight to land just to break up with someone.
He must have known that I was bothered heavily by something, because he asked why I was there and why I didn't seem happy.
I spilled the story.
The. Whole. Story.
To this stranger of a man holding Beanie Babies in a crazy packed airport.
Of course, the flight was delayed.
But we passed the time talking.
Finally, an announcement was made that the San Francisco flight had landed, but it was taxiing to a different gate.
Gate C2!
A look of panic crossed both of our faces as we gathered our belongings and made our way through the hoards of people.
"We have to run!", he said, as he grabbed my hand and lead the way through the masses.
Down the long B Concourse.
Down the escalators.
Down the rainbow-colored illuminated tunnel that connected the two concourses.
Down the long C Concourse.
The entire time, holding my hand.
We finally arrived at the correct gate, just to see the plane approaching the window and the walkway moving toward the plane to let the passengers walk off.
He thanked me for being so kind to him and talking to him for the last couple of hours.
I did the same.
I wished him luck with his life's decision and told him that Lucy would be crazy to not accept his proposal.
Then, he said to me "I wish you nothing but the best for you and ______".
And he hugged me.

And this strange sense of calm came over me.
It was something that I never felt before, but it felt right, if that makes any sense.

I NEVER told him the name of the person that I was waiting for.
How did he know?

Just then the doors opened and the two people that we were waiting for walked off the plane together.
They approached Thomas and I at the same time.
We hugged each other at the same time.
I could see Thomas and Lucy out of the corner of my eye.
Then I turned to the person that I was waiting for and said "OH! I want you to meet someone!"
"Who?", he said in a very confused way.
"Thomas and Lucy!"

They were gone.

And that super busy airport wasn't so busy anymore.
I looked left and right, knowing that they couldn't walk away that fast.
Surely I would see them maybe 50 feet or so away, right?

Gone.

But Thomas was gone.
Doubting Thomas, that is.
Doubting Thomas was me.
I was doubting everything that was going on in my relationship.
I doubted him.
I doubted us.
I doubted that we could make it through the travel and distance.
And I almost gave it all away that day.
Because today, I am married to that person that I was waiting for in the airport on that fateful day.
Who took away any iota of hopelessness and helplessness.
Who gave me my two beautiful children that are my world today.

So, believe in something.
Don't be a Doubting Thomas.
Because you don't know what angels may be around you.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

No, he is NOT swearing!

I am really getting tired of the looks.
People! He is 2 years old!
OK, 2.6 years old!
And no, he is not swearing!
The guy has a phonological issue that we are working on, so many of his words sound like bad words.

For example:
Froggie = f*uckie
Sit = sh*t
Ashes = ass*s
Piece = piss

Try as I might, I am still getting strange looks from people in Target, WalMart, and various other public places.

*sigh*

I need to talk to our SLP.
Quickly.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

100 Days


It is hard to believe that 100 days have passed since my daughter began Kindergarten.
Since the start of the 2009-2010 school year.

100 days.

I have seen progress which I never expected to see so soon.
I have heard new words and sounds.
I have heard small sentences being formed.

All in 100 days.

She has adjusted to the school setting so well.
No tears.
No refusals to go to school.

All in 100 days.

She has already reached benchmarks and achieved IEP goals.

All in 100 days.

So on Friday, the school celebrated 100 days with crowns and diplomas.

I am sure the remaining 80 days of this school year will go as well, if not better, than the first 100 days.

And my wish for you, dear daughter, is 100 times 100 times 100 more amazing days of triumphs and victories, crowns and diplomas, and just plain ole learning fun!

Friday, February 5, 2010

National Children's Dental Health Month


Yep, every day there seems to be an observance day for one group or another.

February is Children's Dental Health Month.

Now, not all children like the dentist.
Especially if you have a sensory child.
Strange sounds.
Strange surgical masks.
Strange noises.
Strange tastes.
And the "who the heck gave you permission to put your hands or those instruments in my mouth" responses!

But if you click here, you will find many things to help your child overcome his/her fear of the dentist.
"Normal" or special needs child, whatever the case may be, it could help them both.
And, if you click here, there is a great site with many reasons for you to give a kid a smile, too!
Just another thought to make our lives a tad easier.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Elephant In The Playroom


Three years ago, magazine editor Denise Brodey’s precocious four-year-old son, Toby, was diagnosed with a combination of sensory integration dysfunction and childhood depression. As she struggled to make sense of her new, often chaotic, often lonely world, what she found comforted her most was talking with other harried, hopeful, and insightful parents of kids with special needs, learning how they coped with the feelings they encountered throughout the day.

In The Elephant in the Playroom, moms and dads from across the country write intimately and honestly about the joyful highs and disordered lows of raising children who are "not quite normal." Laying bare the emotional, medical, and social challenges they face, their stories address issues ranging from if and when to medicate a child, to how to get a child who is overly sensitive to the texture of food to eat lunch. Eloquent and honest, the voices in this collection will provide solace and support for the millions of parents whose kids struggle with ADD, ADHD, sensory disorders, childhood depression, Asperger’s syndrome, and autism—as well as the many kids who fall between diagnoses.

Offering readers comfort, community, and much-needed perspective, The Elephant in the Playroom is sure to become essential reading for parents of special needs kids.

You can see a video clip below of an interview with the author.
You will see a lot of yourself in her.
(Be sure to "pause" the music on the right side of my page prior to viewing the video. Thanks.)


Watch CBS News Videos Online

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Compromise is the Key

Tuesday morning was our EI meeting for Andrew.
I wanted to add a third day per week of speech therapy.

He is making progress, albeit slow.

In fact, both his SLP and myself agree that we anticipated his progress to cruise along a tad faster than it has.
But he is making progress, and that is all that matters.
It is my hope that adding a third day a week for the remaining six months will give him that extra edge.

So, with everyone around my kitchen table (myself, two SLPs, and a new and improved EI Coordinator), we got down to business.
However, the coordinator thought this would be quick and easy.

Wrong.

After assuming that I was in agreement for having all three sessions in the home (as EI recommends), I had to speak my mind.
Why would I consent to that?
Andrew has been keeping this service-in-clinic schedule for 10 months now.
This has become his routine.
He loves it!
He looks forward to running in and getting to work.
So when I received the "confused dog" look from the coordinator, head tilt and all, I had to take the podium.
Now was my time.

Then again, it was my house, so of course I was going to speak my mind and state my case.
And she was going to listen.

Just because we have been mismanaged and mislead by her staff, Andrew has to suffer?

Just because we were lied to from day one, being told that "it is fine to have services in clinic", Andrew has to change service sites?

Just because our second coordinator agreed to a second therapy day in clinic and failed to hold a formal meeting and do anything by the book, Andrew would have to concede?

Because of their incompetence, we have to submit?

No. Way.

Yes, I threw them (EI people) under the bus!

I continued by saying that it would be a disservice to Andrew to take him away from what he knows.
An injustice to take him away from what he has come to know.
It would be detrimental at this point.
I want a third day to boost him forward, not to watch him fall back.
And, we only have six months left in the program; it's not like we are starting out from day one for goodness sakes!

So, after criticizing her staff.
Criticizing the program.
Emphasizing what the vision and mission statement of Early Intervention is all about (services provided in the child's natural environment), and throwing the state of Illinois under the bus....I threw her a bone.

And she took it.

My proposition: to retain one day IN clinic and the other two days AT HOME on a one-month trial basis.
At the end of that four week trial, reassessments would take place and if, based on the assessments of the treating SLP, Andrew is not making measurable progress in the home setting we would revert back to TWO days in clinic and the third day in the home.

Yes, she took the bone.

So, it turned out to be a win-win situation for all parties.
But under my terms.

So we start our new schedule on Thursday.
And I will take the wait-and-see approach.
At least for four weeks.

Don't worry, little man.
I've got your back, too!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Top Ten Tuesday


It's actually been a pretty boring week (GASP! Knock on wood.). Let's see what I can come up with:

10. Enjoying over 2 weeks of no health drama in my house.

9. Deciding to add a third day per week of speech therapy for Andrew.

8. Not being as thrilled with all the hoop-jumping for this third day. I am too old to jump through hoops!

7. Firing our Early Intervention Service Coordinator for, well, STUPIDITY, LAZINESS and the such.

6. Planning a family Super Bowl party. Not that I care who's playing. I just love having my whole family over for a party!

5. Having an otoscope at my disposal. Why would you think I wouldn't have one???

4. Watching Andrew's excitement when Daddy gets home from work.
So heart-warming!

3. Andrew waking in the middle of the night with nightmares and asking for Daddy. Not only heart-warming, but a point for me that I could go back to bed while Mark deals with warm milk and bad dream chasing.

2. A day off of school on Tuesday and NOTHING PLANNED! Yes.

1. Hearing the new words and sounds coming from both of my children. Love it! Love speech therapy!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Small Steps and a Bigger Person Than Many


Please take this seriously.

If you know a family who has a child who needs speech therapy.
And that child is struggling.
Because that family is struggling to come up with the funds to pay for that speech therapy.

Read on.

Please go to Small Steps in Speech.
Click on "Grant Application".
Nominate an organization which treats children with language disorders.
Nominate a family who really could use the help.
Nominate yourself.

It is a great non-profit organization developed in memory of a greater man.
Greater than many of us out there.
This non-profit organization is in memory and in honor of Staff Sgt Marc J. Small who was killed in action in February of 2009 while serving his country in Afghanistan.