Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Quick catch-up for any newcomers . . . well, no let's just do this: if you're new to this blog and this whole special needs journey we've been through, take a browse through the posts labeled "special needs" on my sidebar. That will help. There's still some holes since I switched from a blog with real names (which is now inactive and privatized) to this blog with fake names - so there are a whole lot of posts that haven't made their way over here. But, oh goodness. For all the time it took me to write all that, I could have just summarized the whole thing. Hmph. Oh well.
Anyway, this year Samuel was mainstreamed, and he got into the charter school with his siblings (as opposed to the self-contained special needs class he was in last year in the public school) and we held him back a year. They decided to re-assess him to better be able to see where he's at and how he's doing and what kind of services he needs. All that stuff. For his "Individualized Education Plan" (IEP).
So, essentially, the interesting parts of this were that the teacher sees the well-behaved quiet cooperative Samuel - or what I interpret as the anxiety overriding his ADHD. When he meets one-on-one with the specialty teachers though (and the psychologist who did the testing), they see the hyper, easily distracted, can't keep still and concentrate on anything Samuel. This was a huge relief to me, though, that these specialty teachers are seeing what we see at home. I'm not crazy after all!! And it fits with what we think is going on. With why we think he behaves so differently in those 2 different settings. We think the bigger group just makes him anxious and he is able, somehow, to suppress the ADHD in those situations. In some ways, it is good that he is able to do that. In other ways, I still think he's needing to use a whole lot of mental energy to maintain that. So far that's not affecting his school performance. So they're not concerned about it. It makes for some really crazy times at home though. Sigh.
Anyway - he is right where he needs to be for the grade level he is in. They all agreed that this decision to retain him was good for him. He is more confident than I have seen him before. He participates in class. He fits in socially and physically. And he is so happy to be at the same school as his siblings. He plays with Elisabeth at recess and does great with going into school with them and meeting Isaac afterschool. He does his homework. He just seems to be doing well and it is such a huge relief to me.
The cognitive testing showed that he has a strength in processing speed, which means when he knows something, he can work through a task really quick. He has a weakness in one of the memory recall areas (can't remember the technical name). But the areas where he showed issues weren't statistically significant to qualify as any sort of learning disability. But he has obvious struggles with speech and language (some receptive, mostly expressive). He's in about the 3rd percentile. Meaning 97% of kids his age speak more clearly than he does.
So we've reclassified him as Speech Language Impairment instead of Developmental Delay. I have been nervous about having him only classified in speech because I still feel there are other issues going in, but they reassured me that the classification just kind of opens the door for special education services, but it in no way limits the type of services he can receive. So I feel ok about that right now. I think I need to look into getting some sort of private help again for the issues we're having at home that won't be addressed at school because they aren't causing "school problems" and that's just the way it's going to be.
And we set some new goals for speech and language that I think will be good for him. I don't know. I need to get to the school to observe him some more. I still worry about his peer relationships and how his speech affects him. His teacher did say he is really reluctant to read aloud in reading groups. But he does answer questions when asked. I need to think some more about some of the things I still worry about.
But overall, I feel good about the meeting. I feel like they took my concerns seriously and left options open for revision if we feel like new needs arise over time. I guess that's all I can really ask for at this point.
Now, we're beginning the process of having Elisabeth evaluated for some concerns we're having with her (and shared by her teacher and also noticed by the Occupational Therapist who informally observed her). Sooo, here we go again, right??
We just keep moving forward . . . with whatever we've got.:) Phew!
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
(click on the pic to go to the site)
(and if you saw the 2 links I posted recently in Pinterest from Babble.com: The Top 50 apps for Kids and The Top 50 apps for moms, they were both from this site.)
Just wanted to share that. Keep telling me about good apps, folks. I know there are more of you out there with some good ones you use! (and thanks to those of you who have answered thus far - I appreciate it!)
That's it for tonight. Good night.:)
Monday, November 28, 2011
But I finally took the leap and got myself an iphone! hip hip hooray! And I love it even more than I thought I could.;)
Zac and I decided to use our Healthy Lifestyles money from his work (where we get paid for exercising, doing self check-ups etc) for something "fitness related" for each of us. He's getting a GPS watch. I got the phone that I can use to track my calorie intake and calorie burn, etc.;) (My check is also paying for the first little while of data plan! wohoo!)
Educational games for the kids? Neat free practical things? Budget tools? GPS navigation? Music? Photos?
Sunday, November 27, 2011
Saturday, November 26, 2011
Then we ran into some issues because the race organizers decided we couldn't have a youth on our team. They either had all youth teams or all adult teams. But then they did more discussing or something and changed their minds again. So we ended up in the Open Category at the last minute.
Each of the legs were between 1 mile and 3.3 miles and we each ran 2 legs. I had the shortest sections, but one of them had a huge hill that about killed me. Especially since I haven't really done much running since the triathlon. The guys were speedy though and that helped our team do really well!! Abigail did great, too, but she was really sore from running the 3.7 mile Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving so it was tough for her. But it was more fun than I expected it to be and we came in 2nd for the Open Group and 5th overall (out of 2o-something teams). Plus doughnuts at the finish. So yay for us!!:)
Anyway - here's the photo story for you: (Enjoy!)
Friday, November 25, 2011
Elisabeth and Samuel wearing the cute pilgrim costumes they made at school:
Thursday, November 24, 2011
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
There is not much else quite like being with someone who has known you since you were 12. Girls camp, church dances, sleepovers, concerts, youth conferences, letters, all the way up through college roommates. Then continued friendship through mission, marriage, having kids, living closer in the same state, and living across the country. There are things we can talk about that almost no one else can understand. I think we have a level of trust and safety with each other that just takes a lot of years to develop, even through some of the times that we aren't in touch as much as others.
Anyway, I appreciate having a friend like her. And it was a lot of fun to get together again for the first time in a few years.
Thanks to the random person I snagged in the parking lot to take our picture.:)
And thanks again to Alyssa for this thoughtful little souvenir, too.:) It sums up everything about our short visit just perfectly.
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
I think this is the first time ever in my life that I can truly say I know someone personally who has "released a music album," so of course I will do everything I can to help get his name out there and get his music into the hands of everyone and anyone who might be interested in it. And since you never can really tell who might or might not be interested, better just to let everyone know about it, yes? Yes, of course.:)
Matt is an old friend of mine and he has written, performed, recorded, mixed, produced and whatever else is involved in making an album (I don't even know) all of this all himself. That in and of itself seems like a gargantuan accomplishment that I can't even begin to fathom. Not to mention the courage it takes to open yourself up to possible criticism and rejection that is the process to which every artist is subjected. And then not to mention even having the talent to produce something that is good. And then, not to mention writing songs that are personal and express such faith and devotion to God. That is impressive to me.
I realize that this kind of Contemporary Christian music is not every one's cup of tea. But I would encourage anyone at all to give this a try and listen with an open mind. It's amazing sometimes what we can discover and enjoy when we set aside all prejudices and preconceptions and just let ourselves experience it for what it is. You might even surprise yourself. :)
"Road to Everlasting" is a really beautiful instrumental piece. The best words I can come up with to describe it are contemplative and encouraging. Just something about it . . .
And "Everything is New" seems to capture for me that sincere and full moment of true conversion to Christ. And it is a feeling that I think we seek to renew as we constantly recommit and repent (especially used as in the literal translation of the German word for repentance: umkehr, which means "to turn around"). The best part is the ending which closes with the repetition of this phrase: "when I'm feeling like there's hope in the world . . . it's you . . ."
Hope. Joy. New Beginning. Being loved and forgiven. That's what I feel like it's really all about, when all is said and done. And that's what I feel more than anything listening to this album.
Monday, November 21, 2011
Last night they were scared of something so we left their door open and hall light on. I peeked in when I walked by later to shut the door and saw Elisabeth's bed empty. And here they were:
Sunday, November 20, 2011
If you've been reading this blog for very long, or know me very well, you already know there are some recurring themes of things I often think about, and read about, research, ponder, talk about, ruminate on, try to figure out, etc etc ad infinitum. One of those topics is about our moods, feelings, emotions and how much we do or don't control them, how and why we react to them, how to manage them, how to cope. Something like that. It's interesting stuff.
Saturday, November 19, 2011
Friday, November 18, 2011
I turned a bar of soap into homemade liquid handsoap! hooray for me.
I kept seeing this idea on Pinterest (of course) and, knowing how sensitive and dry my kids' skin gets in the winter, and knowing how hard it is sometimes to find liquid handsoap that isn't antibacterial, I decided to try it.
The recipe I used was:
1 gallon water
1 bar of soap, grated (I used generic Dove)
2 Tb glycerin (found at Walmart somewhere by the bandaids)
So here's my stuff:
Here's my pretty pile of grated soap (looks like mozzerella cheese, but . . . it's not):
The hardest part was figuring out how to get it from the pot to the containers. I ended up using a measuring pitcher thing and a funnel. But my mixture turned out with kind of a snotty gloopy consistency, so it was still no easy task to transfer it all (it kept wanting to slime out of everything all at once in one big glop).