Sunday, November 24, 2013

Well Done Faithful Servant

This man was perhaps the best grandfather in the history of grandfathers. As a child I didn't get to see him as much as I wish I could have been we saw him at least four or five times a year.  We lived too far away but my parents did their best to make sure we saw him as often as we could.  He loved to tell stories and to laugh.  And when he would laugh his cheeks would become a rosy red and he would light up the room.  He took me skiing on both snow and water.  He owned grocery stores and he let me pretend I worked there.  It was back in the day when you used a price gun to place a little white sticker with a price on each item.  I always tried to impress him with how fast I could place those stickers.  He let my sister and I climb on boxes and we could have more fun in that store than any playground could ever offer.  And after the store closed at night while he was counting money and figuring how the day had gone my sister and I would see who could produce the longest cash register receipt tape.  I live in a fairly small town and it happens to be the one he had his stores in.  I've never found a person in this town who had a bad word to say about him- even those who never knew we were related.  What you hear is person after person telling of how he helped them through a dark time and made sure their family didn't go hungry.  He went to church on Sundays but more important than that was the way he lived his life every day, Sunday or not.  Over the last few years Parkinson's robbed him of so much.  It robbed me too of more good times with him.  One thing it couldn't take though was the love I had for him.  I'm certain he's in heaven now and no longer suffering.  And I'm certain that when he arrived there he heard the words,"Well done my faithful servant, welcome home."  RIP Pipi.  You will be missed.  Weldon Thurman Scivally 6/29/32-11/7/13

Saturday, November 23, 2013

The Horror Story That Wasn't

We finally had the bid ARD meeting (I think other states maybe call it IEP?) and it went, well, better than I could have ever imagined.  I've read so many horror stories about these meetings.  I was a bit afraid but went in hoping for the best.  And that's what I got.  I don't know if it's that we are just amongst great special education people or that my expectations are realistic or maybe a combination of both but I'm just so thankful that this is one thing that doesn't have to be a fight.  We went over Anna's speech scores on her latest testing.  On this particular test "normal/average" was 10 but anything as low as 8 was acceptable.  There were many subtests within the tests and Anna's scores were anywhere from 4-8.  Then there was the articulation test and she not surprisingly fell in the 1%.  
Their biggest concern is that her scores are the same as they were over a year ago when she was tested.  So she will get speech at school for 20 minutes twice a week.  That may not sound like much but for Anna it is a lot.  Her attention span is like that of a fly.  So here's where I'm at now- her articulation is poor.  I knew that but putting a test score to it makes it more quantifiable.  I am beginning to wonder if we need to look into some sort of augmentative communication device.  It's not that I don't think she will improve. I absolutely think she will.  But in the mean time she needs to be heard and understood.  She said the speech pathologist is using an iPad with her so I don't know if they are already headed in that direction or what they are doing.  Then we set classroom goals.  They want her to know the entire alphabet and to be able to count to 40.  They want her to actually recognize numbers 1-20.  I think the goals are quite lofty but worth trying to reach.  Anna is making amazing progress.  She can now write her name and recognizes about 6 letters.  Check out the bottom left of the page in her folder because this little lady wrote her own name.  
 She can always count to 4 and then sometimes to 10 depending on the day.  She had been spending 30 minutes in the typical Kindergarten class daily.  This was a major stressor for Anna.  She would come home crying about it daily.  After spending weeks trying to find the source of her stress if turns out it had to do with the volume in the room.  If things get too loud she gets overwhelmed and shuts down.  Her PPCD class has 7 kids and the typical class is more like 20 so I can see how that would be a shock to the system. She was going to the typical class during centers and we decided that was actually the loudest time so she now goes during a structured activity and that has helped too.  We also recently saw the neurologist who suggested maybe Anna falls on the autism spectrum  Anna will be having neuropsych testing done again and they will zero in on this.  Anna's seizures have continued despite normal Tegretol levels.  She will be having another vEEG done soon but luckily this one will be done within the walls of our home.  I'm SO thankful for whatever genius came up with the home idea.  So that's the Anna update.  It only skims the surface of all that is going on right now.  I had to start somewhere though.  More to come...