Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Sight Words and Reading

More good news from the school front on Kaitlyn.
Apparently, she has mastered her first set of sight words and is reading!
Granted, it is not a complex book.
Not even a book like "Go, Dog, Go!".
But there are two books that she has learned to read.

Sight Words (sometimes called the Dolch Word List) are some of the most frequently used words in the English language. Even though they number only about 200, Sight Words comprise approximately 50 to 70 percent of any given general, non-technical text. Therefore, teaching Sight Words as early as possible is considered a crucial part of elementary education.

The sight words that are in the book Kaitlyn is using are: a, I, the.
Paired with a picture of things which you would find at the park or animals in the neighborhood or zoo, she follows along with her finger (from left to right, too!) and reads these simple three word sentences!

My girl is reading.
My girl is reading!

I always wondered how we address this aspect of education in the shadows of apraxia of speech.
Her school has taken the lead and began working with her along with a program from www.readinga-z.com
And here is a brief video so that you can see what sight words are, too!
a href="">

Being the type of Mom I am (and that you all have figured out by now!), I went to the website to inquire purchasing books of this type for home use.
There are 100's to choose from!
Unfortunately, it is not a free website and you need to be an actual educator (i.e...teacher) with a license to purchase them.
Oh, the fun I could have had on this website!!!

Nonetheless, my daughter is reading.
And I couldn't be happier than I am right now!

:-)


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Tuesday, March 30, 2010


10. My blog's new look! Thanks, Jennisa!

9. A great 3rd Quarter Report Card for Kaitlyn....you go, girl!

8. Spring Break!

7. My new flipcam that allows me to share my childrens' voices with you all.

6. Flirting with 60 and 70 degree weather in March.

5. Prepping for Easter.

4. Hearing Andrew imitate and approximate more words and sounds.

3. Not having to ask Kaitlyn to repeat herself as often means the speech therapy is really working.

2. Networking.

1. Making the right decisions for your family.


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Monday, March 29, 2010


Shocked that your child brought home a new word from school? Scratching your head at your child who chose to pull EVERY book off the shelf and make a tower, only to tip it over and then walk away, thinking that YOU would pick them up?
Well, hop on this blog carnival sponsored by MckMama. Go to her website here, grab a button, and join the fun! Tell us what has not been going on in your house lately.
While we were in Church on Saturday evening, my son (whom his Daddy had to take out of the general congregation in order to keep him quiet) did not yell "Hi, Mommy!" Just as the priest was completing the consecration.
No, not my son!
He is never loud in Church at inopportune times.
Especially during one of the most sacred parts of the Mass!
No, my son is always quiet.
And my daughter did not tell me, when I asked her in front of her school teacher what was for lunch that day, that she ate "poop!".
No, not my daughter!
She would never call cafeteria food "poop" in front of her teachers.
Well, then again, it is cafeteria food, right?
Regardless, I was mortified, and just stood there...shaking my head.
What has not been going on in your house this week?


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Sunday, March 28, 2010

3rd Quarter Report Cards

They are in, and they are consistent.

Good job, Kaitlyn!

She continues to make progress in all areas and continues to work hard.
She has fallen behind, however, with her March 2010 IEP Goal for writing.
Bummer, because she started off really strong.
But due to her February illness with bronchitis and pneumonia, she missed a week's worth of school.
Lost the momentum.
Lost the stamina.
Lost the desire.
Luckily, her school Occupational Therapist has been working really hard with her and is getting her back to where she was prior to that nasty illness.
And we have "Spring Break Homework" that the school sent home with all the PACE students.
Yes, this child WILL be doing homework.
Everyday.
Not ALL day, but a few activities throughout the day.
So even though she is on break, Mark and I have plenty of activities scheduled for her.
In the meantime, we will continue to celebrate another great report card.
And continue to count our blessings that our little girl is thriving!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Armed and Dangerous!

When it comes to both of my kids, if they do something once and realize that it is NOT to their liking, they typically will not repeat that action.
This video was taken on Monday evening during Andrew's ninety minute Parent/Child class that we are enrolled in.
It was a cozy class that evening.
Two boys.
Two Moms.
And a whole lot of classroom to cover.
So while little Matt and his Mom were at the sensory table playing with corn meal and trucks, Andrew and I were at the art table.
We were supposed to draw on coffee filters with markers, then lightly spray them with water and watch the colors run.
Personally, I was enjoying myself!
On the other hand, my boy was more into the technical in's and out's of the squirt bottle, and not the art they made.
Serves him right, as you will see on this video!
(You will hear both Mom's chuckling at the antics, too!)
***NOTE: Please remember to scroll to the bottom right portion of this blog page to disable the music in order to hear the contents of this video. Thanks!
video


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Friday, March 26, 2010

Naughty Chair No No

*IMPORTANT: Please scroll down to the bottom right side of my blog and "pause" the red music icon in order to hear contents of this video. Sorry for the inconvenience.
video
When one chooses to use the "Naughty Chair" technique for discipline, one must remember to either
a.) place Naughty Chair in isolated area
or
b.) Not place chair next to sun room window with tempting Easter Window clings.

*sigh*

Did you hear his pathetic, mousy "yes" when I asked him if he was bad?
How can I be mad at that little voice.

Easy.
He was bad!

But, it does allow for some independent speech therapy!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Lovin' the Library Lately!



As if we don't need to add anymore to our already busy schedule, I was on the hunt for something fun for Andrew and I to do.
Poor guy is shuttled back and forth between big sister's jammed packed schedule that he and I hardly get any free alone time.
Enter "Story Hour" at the local library!

Why didn't I think of this sooner?
Andrew adores books, especially books that don't belong to him.

And what better place to take tons of books off the shelves?!

But my other motive for this was to get him used to sitting in a "class" and listening to a "teacher".
Granted, he does attend a Parent-Child class with me on Monday evenings, but it only has a handful of kids (when they all show up!).
Last night, we only had two children in the class: my son and the son of the teacher!
See my point?
So, off we went to story hour.
There were about 15 children in the class.
All two years old.
There was a scripted opening song to start the hour.
There were a couple of cute stories in very simple words.
A couple of songs.
A couple of dances.
A segment on shapes and colors.
A segment on following directions.
And a scripted closing song.
All in 20 minutes.
Which brings me to this question: why do they call it "Story Hour" when it only lasts one-third of that time frame?
Guess who is going back to Story Hour this week?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

35% Inclusion!


Got an email from Kaitlyn's teacher this week:

"...I am looking to increasing inclusion time for Kaitlyn after spring break".

Holy cow.

I expected this to happen, but not this quickly and not this year!

Let's break this down a bit so that you can see WHY I am so tickled pink:
Currently, she is in school for 390 minutes a day.
Of those 390 minutes, 150 of them are spent with her five fellow PACE program students in inclusion with her home Kindergarten class.
That is 26% of her day!
Remember, peers are the best role models.
And the home Kindergarten has 25 role models.
So those 150 minutes make up 26% of her day OUT of the PACE classroom and in INCLUSION.
Now, Kaitlyn will be spending another 45 minutes with the general ed Kindergarten.
That's another 8.7% of her day.
For a total of 34.7% (35% if you ask me!) of her day.

Oh yea!

But she is going by herself.
Without the safety net of her fellow PACE peers.
Out of her comfort zone of the PACE classroom.
Of course, she will be accompanied by a teacher's aide.
But it is just Kaitlyn.
With an aide.
In a general education classroom.
By herself.
For 45 minutes.
With 25 typical developing Kindergarten students.
For Social Studies and Science.

Deep breath.............

She rocks!
I am so proud of my girl!
She is such a hard worker, such a fighter.

And to think that I was once worried about placing her in a self-contained classroom.
But when I found out that it was self-contained WITH inclusion, I was OK with it.

Now, I am really OK with this!

Who said that you have to be Irish to be lucky?
We just hit the jackpot here!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tuesday Top Ten


10. Celebrating my birthday on a gorgeous almost-spring day with temps in the 60s at the park.

9. Watching my kids skip with delight throughout the neighborhood.

8. Andrew finger painting...with poop...in his crib last week. Yuck!

7. Kaitlyn getting in trouble in school for the first time ever because she wasn't listening to the teacher.

6. Andrew walking up to me and saying "Taste!" To anything and everything I am drinking: coffee, tea, wine, you name it! But NO! No tasting Mama's various beverages.

5. Spending my Saturday night in the ER with complaints of dizziness. Turns out that I was diagnosed with "Vertigo due to dehydration and exhaustion". Hmmm? Go figure!

4. Andrew calling every meal he sits down for "supper".

3. A final scheduled meeting set for April 12th for Andrew's IFSP Meeting.

2. Learning that only 145 members of our school district were being let go due to Illinois budget cuts rather than the original 600 that were predicted.

1. Learning that Ms. Meghan, Kaitlyn's teacher, will be back with us for the 2010-2011 school year!!!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Not My Kids Monday


Shocked that your son threw your keys into the storm sewer?
Wondering how your child could eat all of the icing off your cupcakes in a record-setting 5 minutes while your back was turned (sound familiar, Leah?)
Well, hop on this blog carnival sponsored by MckMama and tell us all about it!
Go to her website here, grab a button, and play along. Tell us what you, your husband or your kids are not doing this week!

So this week, my son did not lay in his crib during his scheduled nap time and choose to finger paint (yes, you read that right!) instead of nap.
No, he did not do that!
In fact, this really was the first (and last!) time he will do this!
So he did not throw a monkey wrench into my Thursday afternoon plans.
And he did not soak in a tub for 45 minutes while I cleaned his crib with hot, soapy bleach water!
But he did go to bed at 730pm that night, since he forfeited his nap for painting.
And my daughter did not snitch on herself after school Thursday.
My daughter would never be a tattle-tale on herself.
Nope, not my daughter.
Because she always listens to her teachers in school and doesn't tag team the teachers and aides with another student and run down the halls, jump off the stairs, and turn off her "listening ears" in school.

What has been not going on in your house this week?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Under Construction


Just an FYI to you all.....

My blog is undergoing some MAJOR reconstruction this week.
Or a face lift.
A complete overhaul.

I have gotten to the point that there is not much else that I can do with it on my own, given my lack of computer know-how.
So I have enlisted the help of one great chick to do the work for me!

So I am not sure if my blog will allow me to blog during this phase or if it will be temporarily down.

Either way, please continue to check in frequently.

Wish me luck. This is only temporary and should last a week or so. And check out Jennisa's work here if you think your blog needs a little lift!

See you soon!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Party Poopers

This is what happens when you take two kids without naps and add birthday cake.
Yes, I am predicting a quiet night in our house!

The Day The Music Died


With the latest budget cuts and the crisis in the State of Illinois, our schools took a hit.
A big hit.
Although the number of jobs that were deleted from our school district dropped from 600 to only 145, we were all aware that something was going to change.
A that change is music.

Music at Kaitlyn's school will change as we know it today.
Rumor has it that music will only be offered once per week, if that.

How ridiculous is that?
Why do people think that music is worthless?
Music is as important as math, english, and any other subject.
In fact, music was one of the first subjects which we learned, even as a baby.

* We use music to memorize. Think of the "ABC Song". Didn't you sing that song to learn it?

*Simple rhymes and chants are a practical way for students to memorize spelling rules (I before E except after C), calendar (30 days hath September, April, June, and November…) or history facts (Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492).

*There are many song-story books available such as It’s Raining it’s Pouring and There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly which can also be read and sung to increase interest in literacy activities.

*Use words to familiar songs such as Take Me Out to the Ballgame or On Top of Spaghetti as a springboard to discuss new vocabulary and increase comprehension by asking children questions about the song lyrics.

*Chant addition or multiplication facts to a rhythm.

*Use a tune to remember various counting patterns. Example: Count by 3’s to the tune of Jingle Bells, 4’s to the tune of Old McDonald, 6’s to the tune of I’m a Little Teapot, etc.

*Action songs such as Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes, The Hokey Pokey, The Hand Jive, and Looby Loo provide a great practice opportunity for a variety of motor skills.

*Background music can be selected to encourage relaxation or rhythmic movement, depending on the tempo and mood of the song. For example, classical and new age are good choices for calming, while march tunes, and upbeat children’s songs are suited for gross motor skills such as walking, reaching, or simple aerobic exercises.

*Rhythm instruments are ideal when working on fine motor skills due to the variety of grips and hand positions required to produce a sound. A sample of instruments that motivate kids include plastic castanets, egg shakers, rainsticks, triangles, rhythm sticks, and drums with mallets.

*Playing music, singing and dancing gives children a better sense of where their bodies are in space, can help with motor planning, creating muscle memory and better anticipation of what comes next in other contexts.

*Children with special needs may have methods of communicating or ordering words that make more sense in musical forms than everyday speech. Sometimes we are better listeners when we are not hearing a spoken word. Being heard in song even with an audience of one gives a child a better chance to express what they might not have had time to say in any other way. An instrument, drum, or voice without words may be just what we have been listening for all along.

*Including children with disabilities in mainstream music and singing programs can create an atmosphere where their mainstream peers feel welcome and comfortable expressing themselves through music rather than behavior. Those who feel more kinship with their same-age peers may develop a taste for music that their parents may have shared in their younger years.

*Music creates and reflects the culture our children will draw upon as they grow into adulthood. Our sons and daughters may find themes in popular music that help them understand their own place in the world. Singing along with songs that have special meaning to them and imagining that the songwriter shares exactly the same feelings can release them briefly from their own sense of isolation, lonliness or alienation

Looks like we will have to find our music therapy elsewhere now, won't we?
Yes, this is sad.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Good News!


We were informed today that Kaitlyn's wonderful teacher will be back with us next year!

For the entire 2010-2011 school year!

Woo-Hoo!

Yippee!


(Can you sense my excitement here?!)


Since this crazy Illinois budget crisis has been in the forefront,

we have been told that our school district was going to lose 600 employees.

Then it dropped to 145 employees.

Although it is sad that 145 people will now be unemployed,

that gave us a slight glimmer of hope.

Maybe she will stay?

Maybe she would avoid the pink slip?


After much praying and positive thinking....


we got our wish....




MS. MEGHAN IS STAYING!!!!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Silence Is Golden

Quiet as a mouse?
Cat got your tongue?
So quiet that you could hear a pin drop?
These are typically not the phrases which I use to describe my children.
Although one has apraxia and the other some strange speech delay / phonological disorder, they sure have a way of making their needs and presence known.
We have learned their *unique* languages and they both continue to make progress with their respective therapies.
But as different as they may be to one another, they have one thing in common: they transform from child to mouse when in public.
On Tuesday afternoon after I picked Kaitlyn up from school, the three of us headed to the park.
It was gorgeous outside: 60 degrees, bright sun, and a slight breeze.
We took advantage of this March treat!

They walked, galloped, and ran the four block trek, talking and laughing and squealing with delight that they were going to the park again after such a long winter.
In fact, I lost track of how many times I heard the word "park" on that 10 minute walk.
They climbed, crossed the monkey bars, and slid down slides.
And all I heard was "Watch me, Mommy!" and "Help me!" and "Ready, set, go!"
Giggles and laughs and the sound of feet running across the mulch.






Then, the park filled with kids from an after school program.*
I still believe that the rug rats that ran onto the park equipment were actually released from serving detention based on their rude, despicable behavior.
No manners.
Not a care in the world that there were my two small children on the park equipment as well as a handful of other small children.
But back to Kaitlyn and Andrew.
Once the menaces to society hit the playground equipment, my two chatter boxes clammed up.
Gone were the words and squeals; all I saw were two sets of eyes.
Watching.
Two sets of ears.
Listening.
This is not the first time that this has happened.
Kaitlyn has done this before on various occasions in various settings.
Andrew does it, too, but only when he goes to school on Monday nights.
Stage fright?
Intimidated?
My take on it: they are the silent watchers and learners.

*But not to worry, these nuisances to society will be in the juvenile detention system oh so very soon.
They obviously have zero respect for anyone but themselves.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happiness is.......

...Celebrating another birthday

...Waking early to a quiet house and a cup of coffee and two homemade cards

...And having breakfast with the two cutest, sweetest gifts from God

...And a nice morning with my little boy

...And having both kids sing "Happy Birthday" to me, without me asking them to do so

...And spending time with both of them after school at the park.

...And having a wonderful dinner as a family: all four of us

...And sharing a piece of Baker's Square Peanut Butter Cup pie with my two precious gifts

...And letting them make a wish and blow out the candles: numerous times

...And watching their sugar rush burn off as they ran through the house playing tag

A wonderful day of memories.
As memories are a way of holding on to the things that I love,
the things that makes me what I am,
the things that I never want to lose.

I couldn't have asked for a better day!
Thank you!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Tuesday Top Ten


10. Setting the record for the most EI evaluations in the least number of days: 4 in 6...woo-hoo!

9. Having Mommy/Andrew days on Fridays.

8. More speech progress. For both kids.

7. Andrew hugs and Kaitlyn kisses.

6. Another field trip scheduled in April for Kaitlyn.

5. A pending IFSP Meeting for Andrew.

4. Finding the right dose, therefore avoiding another obstruction for Kaitlyn.

3. The worry going through my mind that Kaitlyn's non-tenured teacher will not be with us next year. And that makes me devastatingly sad.

2. Watching Andrew play at a sensory table for over 30 minutes and watching him enjoy it.

1. Today is my birthday. It is a big one, but I am OK with it. Being able to say that I am content in my life at this exact moment with my marriage, children, career, and path that He has chosen for me.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Not My Child Monday


Mortified at the vulgar word that your child picked up?
Shaking your head at the number of times your child gets up in the middle of the night to go potty but has to wake you up to tell you about it?
Don't be!
This blog carnival is brought to you by MckMama.
Hop over to her blog here, grab a button, and tell us what is not going on in your house.

So this weekend, my son did not walk into my bathroom and help himself to the vast array of feminine products in my closet.
And refuse to surrender them!
No, not my son.
He keeps his hands to himself and is never curious about things that belong to women.

And my daughter did not yell "Bite Me!" in the cafeteria to one of the other children.
No, not my daughter.
She did not learn that from my sister (who happened to slip that little comment to me the last time we saw her last weekend.)
My daughter is not a parrot these days.
Nope.

What is not going on in your house this week?

Sunday, March 14, 2010

They Don't Tell You, But I Will

I found this great article about being a parent of special-needs child.


Very telling.


Very true.


I swear, someone must have been following me around for a day and wrote this article, because it sounds like my life.


And parents of special needs kids will "get it".


To read all about it, click here.


And, professinals and para-professionals out there that deal with special needs children need to remember one thing: parents don't want your sympathy, they need your support and empathy.


Another article explains in layman's terms how "un-different" our special kids are to your "normal" kids.


Saturday, March 13, 2010

More Than "just" Speech


It makes me sick, no, it makes my blood boil when people think they know what is best for your child without ever having set eyes on your child.

Whatever.

So when I was recently told that Andrew "just has a mild speech delay", it took all that I had to not have the authorities called to remove me from a public building.
No, I would never put my children in harms way and risk arrest.
But if I could really say what I wanted that day, it would not have been pretty.
Instead, I took the higher road.
And an email brought the situation to light, the issue addressed, and we are moving on for what is best for Andrew.
Because it is all about him and his needs, not you, dear.

Back to speech.
There are six subsets to this complex sense: expressive, receptive, syntax, symantics, phonology, and pragmatics.

If there is even one area that is affected, it could very well affect the other five.
Kind of a trickle-down effect you could say.

So, when your child is evaluated and has and IEP for speech, make sure the above six areas are addressed:
*Expressive language: the skill of using language to convey a message.

*Receptive language: the skill of understanding language.

*Syntax: the order of words, both written and spoken.

*Symantics: the meaning of definition of words.

*Phonology: the rule-based system of sounds. Here, you may find issues such
as consonant deletion or cluster reductions.

*Pragmatics: social relationships, making friends, conversations, turn-taking.
You can see how this form of speech affects school-aged children.

If there are areas of delay or concern in any or all of these subsets, then there should be at least one IEP goal for each. This means if your child is deficient on all six areas, there must be six goals (each one addressing one of the subsets) on his or her IEP.

Just one more thing to keep in mind for IEPs.
As if we don't have enough to watch them for, right?

Friday, March 12, 2010

Breathing: Not Medically Necessary

Apparently, Aetna Insurance has sunk to a new low.
Maybe even the lowest of lows.
It's bad enough that they think my daughter's inability to communicate effectively at her chronological age was not enough.
Now, they want to deny coverage of the nebulizer machine that both of my children needed a few weeks ago.

....TO BREATHE!

Let me see if I could get this straight.
Let me see if I could "think" like Aetna Insurance.
OOPS! My fault. My apologies.

THEY DON'T THINK!

My daughter is sick.
She starts with a cough.
She is first diagnosed with an upper respiratory infection.
Which turned into bronchitis.
Which evolved into right upper lobe pneumonia.
Which required THREE rounds of antibiotics to clear.
Which took two doctor's office visits and one Emergency Room visit.
Which required nebulizer treatments WITH MEDICINE IN IT to help open her airway.
...TO BREATHE!


Then my son becomes symptomatic.
Just like big sister.
Which starts with a cough.
Which turns into an upper respiratory infection.
Which turned into bronchitis.
Which took TWO rounds of antibiotics to control.
At which point our incredible pediatrician decided to prescribe the exact same bronchodilating medication.
To open his airway.
...TO BREATHE!


Somebody, anybody, please explain how idiotic morons have been appointed to be in charge of what is medically necessary and what is not medically necessary.
Shouldn't that be left up to, oh, I don't know....DOCTORS!!!!!

So I go to www.aetna.com
I look up the Clinical Policy Bulletin for nebulizers.
And this is what I find:
*************************************************************************************
*Clinical Policy Bulletin:
*Nebulizers

Number: 0065


Policy


I.Small Volume Nebulizer

The use of a small volume nebulizer and related compressor is considered medically necessary durable medical equipment (DME) for any of the following indications:

A.To administer beta-adrenergics (albuterol, isoproterenol, isoetharine, levalbuteral, metaproterenol), anticholinergics (ipratropium), corticosteroids (budesonide), and cromolyn for the management of obstructive pulmonary diseases (chronic bronchitis, emphysema, asthma, etc.);* or
B.To administer dornase alfa** to members with cystic fibrosis; or
C.To administer antibiotics (gentamicin, amikacin, or tobramycin,***) to members with cystic fibrosis or bronchiectasis; or
D.To administer pentamidine to members with HIV, pneumocystosis, or complications of organ transplants; or
E.To administer mucolytics (other than dornase alpha) (acetylcysteine) for persistent thick or tenacious pulmonary secretions; or
F.To administer iloprost via a controlled dose inhalation drug delivery system to members with pulmonary hypertension; or
G.To administer formoterol (Perforomist) or arformoterol (Brovana) for the management of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease when medical necessity criteria in Pharmacy CPB on Long-Acting Beta Agonists are met.
Small volume nebulizers and related compressors are considered experimental and investigational for all other indications.

* For criterion (a) to be met, the physician must have considered use of a metered dose inhaler (MDI) with and without a reservoir or spacer device and decided that, for medical reasons, it was not sufficient for the administration of needed inhalation drugs.
*************************************************************************************
Both of my children were prescribed Levalbuterol, as seen in (A).
And, based on their ages as well as medical history, they meet criterion (a).

See my frustration, folks?
Yep.
I said it before and I will say it again: MORONS!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Mission: POSSIBLE!


(This picture has nothing to do with this blog entry. Just a cute picture of Andrew walking with a small stick, thinking it is a shovel, trying to shovel the final remnants of winter in our neighborhood. Yes, he is my future engineer!)

Did I ever think that in less than 7 days, Andrew would be evaluated for his annual eval and for the preschool by four different disciplines?

In less than 7 days?

Yep. We are done.

Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy on Friday: check.
Speech therapy on Tuesday: check.
Developmental Therapy on Wednesday: check.

Done.
Complete.
Finished.

Whew.

Now, I just sit and wait for the phone call to set up the annual IFSP Meeting to review the evaluations.

Less than six months are left with Early Intervention.
This time has gone quickly.
But now, we are moving on to bigger and better: preschool.

Wow.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Quick Doctor Appointments

...can sometimes be deceiving.
I took Kaitlyn to see her optho surgeon on Tuesday for her quarterly check up.
She is currently three years and one month out from her surgery (bilateral medial muscle recession).
She still wears glasses, no big deal there.
We are not patching either eye at the moment.
Her eyes are midline.
No crossing.
No drifting.
Things appear to be going well.
She was examined by the ocular motility specialist: normal exam.
She was the examined by the surgeon: normal exam.

"OK, come back in 2 months. We need to watch her."

"Really? Why? Is there a problem with her exam?"

"No. She looks great. But now is the time that she is at risk for a lazy-eye reoccurrence."

"Really? After three years?"

"Yep. See you in 2 months."
As he got up from his chair, he pats me on the shoulder and says the "short, quick appointments are always the good ones".

Says who?
Now I have something else to worry about for the next 10 weeks, seeing that is when her next appointment was available.

Can I get a little break here?
Didn't think so.
Thanks.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Top Ten Tuesday


10. A great PT eval.

9. A great OT eval.

8. A meeting with the preschool Student Services Coordinator that was more of a fiasco than an informative session.

7. A great EI Coordinator who really came through for us.

6. A productive 25 minute phone call to resolve some lingering issues. Whew.

5. Having EVERYONE on the same page.

4. Having Andrew beg for "Mama" instead of Daddy for a change. Believe it or not, I love it!

3. Kaitlyn's choice of words when referring to Andrew's "anatomy".

2. Watching the kids make what will most likely be their last snowman of the season on Saturday. It was 46 degrees out!

1. Listening to Kaitlyn read a book. What a sweet sound!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Not My Child Monday


Embarrassed that your child chooses to pick their nose in the grocery check out line? Mortified that your son or daughter announces in a public restroom what is happening in every stall without provocation? Well, join the club! This blog carnival was developed by MckMama. Hop on over to her site here, grab a button, and join in. Tell us what you, your husband, or your kids are not doing!

My daughter did not choose to jump into the bath tub last week as my son was bathing because she was jealous that he was getting a bath and she wasn't.
No, not my daughter.
And she did not proceed to point out his "anatomy" and refer to it as a "hot dog".
No, not my daughter.
At this point, I don't know how to respond to this because until this day I am still chuckling about it.
And my son did not shove macaroni noodles up his nose and try to whistle through them.
No. Not my son.
He never tries to test my patience like that.

What are your family members not doing this week?

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Searching for the Right Words

Many times, children with more severe forms of apraxia struggle and fight to produce a specific sound.
This is referred to as "groping".

While Kaitlyn does not do this per se, there have been occasions where she takes a bit longer the get a sound out.
Usually, a beginning sound like /w/.

So when this does happen, the best thing to do is to avoid frustration.

1. Calmly stop the child from talking.
2. Remind them to slow down their talking by using both verbal and visual cues.
3. Ask the child to start over again, this time in a slower manner.
4. Praise the child for a job well done when they are finished.

Do you children grope for sounds? If so, what has worked for you?

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Tasty Therapy

Sometimes, the best therapy can be found in blowing out the candles on Grandpa's cake.

A whipped cream, strawberry short cake, to be exact.

Puckering lips to blow out a candle. Over. And over. And over.

We lost track of how many times we had to re-light that candle for you to blow it out.

Yes, this is yummy therapy!

A Second IEP?

Par for the course, I guess.

It's not that I wanted Andrew to have an IEP for speech, but I firmly believe that this is the road we are heading down.
Originally one year ago, when we started in EI for Andrew's speech, we all believed that this would be a quick fix.
It was only for his ear infections.
And the mild to moderate hearing loss because of the ear infections.
Which was resolved once we had the tubes put in his ears.
This was supposed to be fast progress.
And he has made progress, don't get me wrong.
But it has been slower than expected.
It has always been in the back of my mind....another child with apraxia?

No.

He is so different than Kaitlyn.
He is doing and saying things now that Kate never did at his age.
And the doctors don't think its apraxia.
And the therapists don't think its apraxia.

But this Mom can't help but think of apraxia.

Not that I can't handle it, because I can.
And just like diabetes, heart disease, and early pattern hair loss, I DO believe that there is a genetic link with apraxia.
Not that siblings of siblings with apraxia will automatically be apraxic.
That is not what I am saying.
Just that siblings would be at risk.
And although there isn't a lab test or radiological exam to prove this link, the only thing that parents of an apraxic child with a sibling who's speech is questionable has is their gut.
So my gut has me thinking.
Do I THINK it's apraxia?
No.
But there is a phonological delay or disorder that we are dealing with right now.
And we have been nothing but proactive about it.
He is in Early Intervention.
He is receiving speech services three times per week.
He will be evaluated by the Early Childhood Education team in the very near future.
And he will wind up in the best possible place for him.
And continue to make progress.
Just as he has from day one.

So, Mr Apraxia, if you are going to rear your ugly face in my second child, I have but one thing to say: bring it on.
You have nothing.
And you are no match for this Mama Bear.
Obviously, you chose not to heed my warning.
And anyone who chooses to do so ALWAYS fails: doctors, strangers, insurance companies, schools, and even those nosey annoying parents.
For you are no match for me.
Consider yourself warned.

Grrrr.....................................................

Friday, March 5, 2010

Annual Evaluations


Andrew had two of his four evaluations this morning.
An annual requirement for a child while in Early Intervention.

He did well.
Flirted with the ladies, as he does so well.

Passed PT with flying colors.
Yes, the kid is physical and all boy.
Didn't think that PT would be an issue.

As for OT, he did have a few stumbles here and there.
They are required to use their equipment to remain fair for all children being tested.
He did the puzzles.
Put the pegs in the board.
Kicked the ball.
Stacked the cups.
Talked into the mirror.

But he does have a little sensory stuff going on.
This I have known.
So he didn't like to touch the squishy ball.

So now we wait for the remaining two evaluations to be completed next week.
And then we wait for the formal reports to be submitted to our EI Coordinator.
And wait.
And then we will have a meeting to discuss his transition into the preschool setting.

Later, I spent a very long time on a phone call regarding my meeting with the Ice Princess.
As the ole saying goes...the squeaky wheel gets the oil.
Sometimes, a parent has to squeak.
And squeak I did.
More concrete evidence is in place.
More expectations will be met.
More needs will be addressed.
More information has been disclosed.

The moral of this story: kids should always come first.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Cruisin' Along....


Well, so far we have three therapy eval's set up.
Speech, Physical and Developmental therapy.
All to take place in the next six days.

The only outlier, Occupational Therapy, should fall into place within the next few days.

This is wonderful, seeing that the ECE Preschool thinks that Andrew is just "mildly delayed in speech".

Pffft.
Yea, that's brilliant of you to go by evals that are one year old.

Pffft.
And to think these are the people in charge of our little ones early education.

Can't wait to read these evals.
Like I said....we are cruisin' along.
UPDATE: I just got a phone call from the Occupational Therapist. She will also be evaluating Andrew on Friday morning with the Physical Therapist, seeing that the two disciplines go hand in hand.
Now, everything is in place.
Whew!


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

EI Transition Meeting into Early Childhood Education

This will be a rant, as I feel the wrong people are in decision-making positions.

Para-professional paper-pushers, to be exact.

So on Tuesday morning, I walk into the school and the girl I was to meet greeted me in the lobby.

She introduced herself, then did a double take as if she remembered me. She did, stating my daughter's name and asking how she was. This, I thought, was off to a good start.

As we waited for my EI Coordinator to arrive, we made small talk about the school, Kaitlyn's progress in Kindergarten, and the such.

Once my coordinator arrived, we got down to business.

This is when things turned ugly.....quickly.

From out of nowhere, this superior attitude of hers emerged, stating that "according to his evals, he only shows a mild speech delay. And based on how you answered the questionnaire, he isn't falling into any range of concern". This, as she proceeded to color in scantron circles and talk to me at the same time. Quite impressive (er, RUDE!) that she would do her paperwork as we spoke.

Huh?

You are basing this meeting on evals done 11 months ago? Are you freakin' kidding me????

Voices raised a tad bit. The EI Coordinator shifted in her chair. Yea, thanks for speaking up lady (not!).

And then more garbage spilled from her mouth.

Oh, to have the chance to reach for her jugular vein right now! Maybe she just needs a refresher course in communication skills, as they are truly lacking right now.

"Well, he is only receiving speech services through EI, so that will be the only thing that he will be eval'd on".

When I asked why he would not be eval'd by the entire group (SLP, OT, PT, Social Worker, Nurse, teacher) as my daughter was three years ago, I got the ole "Well, she was receiving more than just speech services."

Yes, but she was receiving speech and intermittent OT, that's it! Then again, my daughter's needs have absolutely NOTHING to do with Andrew!

Oh, and I failed to mention that she needed me to spell "a-p-r-a-x-i-a" for her. That should have really been my first and only reason to walk out of that office. You mean to tell me that you work in a preschool, with children, with children who have special needs, including speech issues (SUCH AS APRAXIA!!!), and you can't spell the word?

So you can see where this went. Absolutely. Nowhere. Thank you for wasting my time this morning, Ice Princess.

Finally, my EI Coordinator spoke up and said that Andrew was due for his annual re-eval (Thank GOD!) and that maybe that would shed some light on some of my concerns.

I asked for it all: Speech, PT, OT, DT...the whole shabang! Bring 'em all in to evaluate him.

And then, only then, after ALL these evals are done, will I walk into the Ice Princess's office and show her who is boss. Certainly, not her.

To think that this chick is supposed to be here for the sake of kids.....NOT!

Did she show one compassionate bone in her icy body....NOPE!

Not two hours after this fiasco of a meeting was complete did I receive a phone call from my EI Coordinator. She gave me the names of the three therapists who would be calling me in the next couple of days to set up Andrew's evals. Now that was fast! She also commented on the piss poor attitude of the Student Services Coordinator that we met with that morning, stating in her own words that "she was quite defensive and argumentative, not to mention unprofessional". I agreed.

Later that afternoon, the first phone call came in: Physical Therapist.

Well, our first eval will be done this Friday morning at 9:45am.

One eval down, three more to go.

Just once, I would love to sit across the table from someone who really cares about children and their needs. Just once.




Tuesday Top Ten


10. Cuddling up with my daughter on a dreary gray Saturday afternoon and taking a nap. Almost 2 hours worth of pure bliss!

9. Hearing Andrew pick up more and more new words. Everyday.

8. Trying to figure out all of those new words. Oh, "dim" means "gym" (referring to the huge warehouse filled with inflatables to jump in that we went to on Friday evening).

7. Watching my daughter make her "It's All About Me" poster for school. She colored so beautifully.

6. Finding out that she is more than 50% complete with achieving her March 2010 IEP goal of 8 letters. Woo-hoo!

5. Seeing Andrew really come out of his shell and love my sister! She is really enjoying that one for sure!

4. Having two EI speech sessions in house that are really working.

3. Prepping for Andrew's EI Transition meeting later Tuesday morning.

2. Having two kids get clean bills of health on Friday. Finding out that they BOTH had walking pneumonia most likely caused by the RSV virus, too. Yikes!

1. Knowing that spring is just 4 weeks away....can I get a "yes!" out there???

Monday, March 1, 2010

Not My Child Monday


So this entry is being brought to you in part by MckMama. Go to her website here, grab a button, come join this blog entry carnival and tell everyone about what is not going on in your lives!

My children behave.
Everywhere.
Always.
So the other day, Andrew didn't walk into the doctor's office, saunter over to the TV, and put a video in.
By himself!
No, my son would never do that!
Not my son!
No, because my kids always keep their hands to themselves and never touch things that do not belong to them.
(Disclaimer: with the amount of germs going around our house since the first of the year, that pediatrician's office does feel like a second home to my kids!)
And my daughter, my Miss Manners, did not walk into the bathroom in Church this weekend and proceed to tell me (with great detail, I might add!) what the lady in the stall next to us was doing as well.
Not with a loud voice, either.
No, not my daughter.
Because she always minds her own business, especialy in public restrooms.

What have your children not done this week?