Wednesday, December 31, 2008

the jumping for joy post

So everyone knows that Gabrielle gets ill often, this entire year she has never gone more then 1.5 weeks between illnesses. She took the month of August off and December now as well! Since it is officially 45 minutes till January I think that I am safe to say it. The last time she has been ill was over Thanksgiving, that is huge for her. I'm not holding my breath, I'm sure that by next week we'll be back to our normal but it sure was nice to have a break for once. 

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

it has started

I was warned about this, Madeline having self esteem issues, but thought I might have a little more time before she noticed. Tonight I heard, "Mama, I wish I didn't have problems." We've never made a big deal about anything, or have even said that she was different, we've tried to shield her from it. She has no idea that other children don't do OT or that it is anything but fun, but apparently she does know she is different. Sigh, those are the saddest words that I've heard in a long time. As a parent, all you want to do is protect your children, but I can't make everything go away, and I can't shield her forever. Not being in the school system or even around children her own age (most of her playmates are younger) has had major advantages, she hasn't been aware that the should be doing certain things, though I have seen lately that the awareness is growing. 

In other related news, the OT that had worked with Madeline here before we went to Denver has agreed to come biweekly and work on her fine motor skills. She came today and was amazed at how much stronger Madeline had become since doing the intensive OT. 

Monday, December 29, 2008

what we did this weekend

I couldn't take my bedroom anymore. I'm not one that has a perfectly decorated room but after sleeping on the floor for the past 5 years, I wanted something a little more.

My X-Mas present was a very cheap bedframe that I found on Overstock, and then much to Ryan's dismay, I decided that the walls needed to be painted. We'll do the ceiling one of these days, it was all I could do to get the 4 walls done!

I'm in love with it, and it's amazing how much more I look forward to going upstairs to put the laundry away. I used to hate coming upstairs, everything was so blah, now I just need to get him to paint the loft next...

Friday, December 26, 2008

pics of snow

I opened the blind in the bedroom this morning was was greeted with this. And ignore the very ugly window covering that someone has yet to take down after me asking for 1.5 years....

So Ryan got to climb on the roof on the other side of the house and make his way over to shovel it off since it was DEEP and very heavy. I'm surprised the window in the bedroom didn't crack with all the weight pressing against it. 
And in other exciting news, I officially have a potty learned 2 year old! Just during the daytime, at night she still soaks her dipes but it's a start and went very quickly over all. I dragged her little potty with us to Denver this last trip thinking that it might be a good time to start working on it. Other then running to therapy appointments which Gabrielle didn't go to, we really didn't do too much up there. It took me 2 days to get her to pee in the potty once and then nothing so I shelved that idea. Then on X-Mas Eve she found her Thomas undies that we had bought her and insisted that she was wearing them. By today, she was down to only having one accident all day and that was even with us leaving the house for a while! She is quite pleased with herself and every time she goes, she runs around clapping and yelling, "yea Boo!". LOL 

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry X-Mas!

We've had a quiet X-Mas at home today. I had decided at the beginning of the week that we were not spending X-Mas with my family like we always do. My parents were insisting that they were holding dinner at their house in the mountains, and it's been snowing all week. I didn't want to drive up and back in the same day and I didn't want to spend the night so we opted out of everything. Thank goodness because we have just a little bit of snow at our house! It's coming down even more as I type so I'm thinking Ryan is going to have a fun day of shoveling and snow blowing tomorrow....

Most of the X-mas morning pics I can't show because Gabrielle was running around bare butted but here is her thrilled over presents and what they got today. 

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

happy holidays!

This holiday season feels surreal to me. I suppose it's because I've been gone for most of it, but I'm having a hard timing believing that tomorrow is X-Mas Eve. We were welcomed back to Durango by snow and more snow! The girls are happy to be home, we will be returning but not for a few months. Madeline is finished for now at the Star Center, we only would go back if we felt she needed another short intensive session, like a week or so. They would like us to continue with the OT we had been working with before for her dysgraphia, difficulty in writing. She lacks the fine motor skills in her hands to properly hold a pencil, which makes it hard to write. We will also continue with her Focus which is her listening therapy, we've moved on to different programs, and the center will guide us through continuing that therapy.

The language specialist that did the last evaluations on Madeline would like do some further testing and highly suggested Madeline undergo intensive language processing therapy which of course doesn't exist here. She did a number of tests, 10 or 12 I think, I don't have the official report yet. Madeline has issues with sequencing, route memory, phonemic awareness, and a number of other things. They classify her as high risk for dyslexia until further testing can be done. She picked up on some minor speech issues that probably tie in to everything. For once luck is on my side for that, my neighbor is one of only two private speech pathologist is the area. I've already spoken with her and she is going to take a look at the evaluation once I get it.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

things I now know

I couldn't sleep again last so I laid in bed for hours thinking of all the things I know enough to know was an issue. I wonder if Madeline hadn't of been the first child, if I would of picked up on her difficulties sooner. I do think I would of, especially if Gabrielle had come first. I know all children do things at different speeds, but she is doing things that Madeline was not doing for years and in some cases, not doing that much of still. Madeline has been a hard child to diagnose, all the therapists so far has commented on that. She has compensated well in many areas. 

Gabrielle colors holding her crayons like anyone would write, Madeline still prefers to hold everything in a fist, if I can get her to attempt to hold it the normal way, then she has a hard time drawing, etc... It's a lack of lack motor skills in her fingers, but she doesn't have that lack any where else, she is quite agile. Gabrielle has developed an interest in letters, she can identify an E, B, and a couple others. She loves when someone will sit and do with her, she will sing along to the songs, and I catch her saying the sounds the letters make before the site gets to that point. Madeline still has no idea that an A makes an aaaaa noise, despite her playing with that site for years.  Yesterday during therapy, the therapist brought out rhyming word puzzles, now Madeline does not get rhyming words, yet she put them all together on the first try and was able to identify most of them. To anyone else it would appear that she knew what she was doing, I know and the therapist knows that is she very visual. She compensated from not knowing the words, by quickly scanning the puzzles and being able to piece them together in her head before she even started. The point that they rhyme means nothing to her. She often does things like that. If given a choice between several letters and asked to pick out a certain one, then she grasps for any other clues, is one a different size, color, etc... She will remember that the yellow letter is supposed to be a B and then for the rest of the time when confronted with a yellow letter, usually will answer B. If you give her a blue B, then she might or might not recognize it. Gabrielle doesn't care what color a B is, or if a E is upper case or lower case, she knows what it is. Madeline most of the time now knows what an E is, but never a lower case one, but she can describe it in perfect detail to you, she just has no idea what this E and this e are the same thing. 

For this week, she has been identifying most of the letters in her first name and counting to 20! A couple times she went to 30, but it is rare that she can. Today is our last day in Denver and at the center. I have parent meetings there, her last therapy session, and the feedback meeting the last eval that we did this week, I very curious about that one. 

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Gabrielle pic

I kept trying to upload this pic before we left home a couple weeks ago but it never would go so here it is! Gabrielle is having a hard time being away from Daddy this trip. She keeps demanding, "dada here!" and then wanting to talk to him on the phone all the time. Ryan is *supposed* to fly in tomorrow, I'm not holding my breath since the airport was shut down today in Durango from all the snow. She will be so thrilled to see him when he does make it. 

Gabrielle is growing up so quickly now. She still nurses but doesn't nurse to sleep anymore or at night. She has a stuffed Minnie Mouse, her "Mimi", that she goes to sleep holding. Madeline never had a favorite object so when Gabrielle demanded one, it took me by surprise! We were killing time walking around at a mall in Denver and we went by a Disney store. Gabrielle really likes mice, she saw a little stuffed Minnie Mouse in the window and HAD to have it, screaming, "my Mimi!". She ended up with it, and has barely let it go since. It's to the point where she will roll over in the night, lose her Mimi and wake up crying for it until I can find it buried in the sheets. I really should go buy another one of those things before it gets left somewhere... Madeline had several appointments today and my mom was able to put Gabrielle to sleep, that is the first time someone else has ever put her to bed. :(

Friday, December 12, 2008

another round in Denver

We have one more week at the center and then we are done! I think all of us will be glad when this is over, but it has been worth it. This last session was by far the hardest to come back to, it felt like we had just got back into our normal life and then it was time to return. Madeline is happy to be back though she loves her therapy. Process is occurring, slowly, but I see improvement. After our last trip, her anxiety level is minimal, she is enjoying activities again like a normal child. It's still there, but I can manage it now. She is counting to 13 now, even 14 on a very good day. She is recognizing more letters, not always, but something is better then nothing. 

The Star Center is actively involved with parent education so I have weekly meetings with her team of therapists. We discuss techniques that seem to get through to her, or do not work. I always come away from these meetings with a slew of great ideas to try.  We know now that she seems to only learn numbers with movement. We take 13 marches while clapping, on and on for days until 13 clicks one day. Madeline's short term memory for words has been difficult but if we read a book, say Hop on Pop, where she repeats it after us along her us recording her voice while she wears headphones so she can herself then she can repeat back longer sentences. If using several letters, they can not have different colors, or any other difference to them because she will grasp to find something to tell them apart other then the letter. Gradually, we are learning some ways that can help her learn. It would not be possible on my own. The wealth of professionals that are there and the equipment have made it possible. 

We received excellent news today. Our OT and the on staff physiologist have been going back and forth discussing the undiagnosed learning disabilities, and what we can do about it now. As I've mentioned before, diagnosing in a child of 5-6 years of age is difficult. The testing was written for children 7 and up. It takes a very specialized person to be able to test a younger child accurately, obviously there are not very many of them. The physiologist pulled some strings and got us an eval with a doc in Denver that does just that, next week! It's only a 3 hour eval, but should give us some answers and maybe we can know at least what direction we are looking at instead of just not knowing anything.