Tuesday, August 31, 2010

How Lindy’s School Came About

For as long as we can remember, our old hearing therapist, Chris, told us how great the hearing impaired preschool classroom was in F. County.  At the time we were living in S. County, which is very close to F. County.  S. County is a great place to live, but doesn’t have a lot of other kids like Lindy.  Their hearing therapists there were not necessarily trained in the auditory-verbal method of communication we chose for Lindy. 

Therefore we decided we should move to F. County to give Lindy the chance to go to the hearing impaired preschool classroom.  Thankfully Drew’s job worked with us and got us into F. County. 

Because we lived in S. County, we had to do all of the kids’ IEP testing there, even though we already knew we were moving.  When Lindy’s testing came back, we immediately thought some of it was very low.  It was not the child Drew and I (or her therapists) knew.  We made it noted in her evaluation that there were parts we did not agree with.  When we wrote her IEP, S. County said they would provide her with speech therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, vision therapy, and hearing therapy.  Speech was at 3 times a week, occupational about every other week, physical therapy almost weekly, vision twice a month, and hearing once a week.  Most of these therapies are only 30 minutes long.  We were mildly surprised at how much physical therapy she was going to get but we thought, it can’t hurt, so we accepted it. 

We got moved this summer and we waited and waited for F. County to call us about enrolling the kids in school.  Not exactly sure what happened, but we ended up having to take copies of the kids’ IEP’s to F. County at the end of July.  We finally heard from F. County about a week before school started.

All F. County had to go on was the testing evaluation (which we felt was low) and the IEP we’d written.  I don’t fault F. County at all because to them, Lindy looked like a fairly ‘low’ child who needed a lot of services.  Based on what they had, they recommended a school we’ll call SCS.  They did not recommend the hearing impaired preschool classroom that we had our hearts set on. 

When the preschool intake officer called to tell me which school they recommended, I immediately asked for a meeting in which we could bring Lindy to meet them.  She said yes and we set up a meeting.  She told me that we really needed to go tour the SCS so we could have concrete reasons as to why we didn’t want Lindy to go there.

The SCS is a school for developmentally disabled kids.  The school does have some typically developing students though.  We went for a tour of the school and we came out feeling okay.  But it was when the students were not there so we didn’t feel like we got the whole picture.  Therefore we went back once school started and we observed the actual class that Lindy would have been in.  There were three typically developing students in there which we liked.  There were 6 other kids with various developmental issues going on.  We left thinking that if Lindy did go there then it would be okay.  My major, and I mean MAJOR, beef with the program was that it was all day, every day.  She’d have been in school from 8:45-3:25pm.  There was NO way I was allowing that. I’d have fought tooth and nail to pick her up at lunch time to let her sleep in her own bed at home and spend the afternoon with Will and me. 

It finally dawned on us that although everyone said Lindy should be in the hearing impaired classroom, we hadn’t seen that class either.  So we went to observe it.  And we immediately fell in love with it.  We liked everything we saw.  The really small class size (right now they have 6 kids total), the teachers, and the intense language instruction was exactly what we wanted for Lindy.  She’d get daily hearing therapy, instead of 30 minutes a week.  We were able to talk with the lead teacher when the kids went outside and we asked her if Lindy’s therapies would interfere with her time in the classroom.   Based on what we told her, she thought it would be okay.  Another major perk, this class was from 8-11:30am each day.  I’d get to have her home in the afternoons with me, just like I wanted!

We finally had the big meeting.  F. County brought 7 people with them.  Speech therapists, hearing therapists, audiologists, etc.  We brought Lindy, her hearing therapist Chris, and our parent advocate, Terri. 

That morning Lindy left the house with a cute little pink purse and decided she couldn’t leave it in the car.  She looked pretty cute walking in with her purse on her shoulder and I think this immediately helped win the hearts of everyone there!  Hey, whatever works!

We got in the meeting and they briefly caught everyone up to speed and then they gave us the floor.  Drew talked for about 15 minutes  on how we had visited both schools and how we really felt like the hearing impaired preschool classroom was the place for Lindy.  He seriously had his pros and cons list and rebuttals to anything they had to offer as to why they placed her at the SCS.  Besides Drew’s most excellent presentation, they saw how high functioning Lindy is.  They saw her walk all around the room, vision never being an issue.  They saw her concentrating on the magna tiles I had brought with us.  They heard her talking.  They came to their own conclusions that Lindy is a lot different in person than she is on paper.  Which is exactly why we brought her.  On paper she is a child that appears to have a lot of issues and need a lot of services.  In person, she is awesome!

And then they agreed with us that Lindy did deserve the chance to try the hearing impaired preschool classroom!  We were so excited. We were prepared for a ‘no’ or maybe some further testing.  But they just simply agreed with us.  It felt great.  There were definitely measures we could have taken if they had said ‘no’ but we didn’t want to have to go there.  It felt so great! 

The meeting was on Tuesday, August 30th and they said she could start the next day.  And she did.  She started school on September 1st! 

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Goodbye Hearing and Vision Therapists :(

This was the week we said goodbye to our therapists Chris and Lesley. 

Monday morning Miss Chris was here for her last session with Lindy.  Chris has been the therapist we have seen the most.  She has worked with Lindy every week since she came home from the NICU.  She works with the North Carolina Early Intervention Program for Children Who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing.  This is a free program.  Yes, I’m sure we pay for it through our taxes, but it feels free.  It’s doesn’t charge our insurance and we pay nothing out of pocket.  And it’s awesome.  Or Miss Chris is awesome!  Lindy has come so far with her hearing, listening, and audition skills after working with Chris.  Lindy officially aged out of the program the day she turned three, but because it’s a cool program, they allowed Chris to come a couple more times in August so she wouldn’t go a full month without services.  (She’ll now get services through the school system – when she finally starts preschool.)  We can never thank Chris enough for all the hard work she has put in with Lindy.  She was so nice to include Will in almost all of Lindy’s sessions.  We will miss our Miss Chris!

Wednesday afternoon we said goodbye to Miss Lesley.  Lesley works for the Governor Morehead School for the Blind.  Another free state program that has cost us nothing.  Amazing!  Lesley was our second vision teacher, but the one we have had for about two years now.  She has come out twice a month for the last two years.  Lesley is one of the sweetest people I have ever met.  Lindy has always done well with all the fun games and art projects that Lesley has brought out.  Lesley was also so kind in involving Will in every session.  She always brought two of everything she had so that Will had something to do while Lindy was working.  It means more to me than they’ll ever know that they included him instead of making me try to get him to be quiet in another room by himself.  Governor Morehead services actually go through age 5, but because we moved to a new county, we are losing Lesley as our teacher.  Because she is a 12 month employee she continued to see Lindy through the summer.  We will miss Lesley and her visits!

We did meet Lindy’s new vision therapist on Wed. afternoon though.  We now have Miss Pam as our vision therapist.  Once Lindy starts school, Pam will see her at school.  The most interesting thing about Miss Pam is that she is visually impaired herself.  She has an assistant, Miss Sue, who drives her around and helps her see.  I find it all very interesting!  I can’t wait to see how her sessions go!  They seemed very nice and I hope Lindy can finish out the program with Pam as her teacher.

Other events of the week:  I went to my first ever mothers of multiples meeting on Monday night.  I joined the group last month and this was my first meeting.  I joined because I wanted to sell clothes in their consignment sale because you get 90% of the profit, but I had a good time and plan on attending the monthly meetings!  Thursday morning we went back to one of the schools Lindy might attend and we observed the actual classroom she would be in.  We came away with a good feeling and we are so glad we went back to see the school with kids. 

Friday was Willy Will’s big day.  We went to his preschool and met his teachers, Miss Bobbye and Miss Brandi.  He was a little apprehensive at  first and wanted to sit with me but was down off my lap in a minute or two.  The kids played around the room while we were told all the pertinent information from his teacher.  Will seems so excited about preschool.  He talks about wanting to go.  We talk about all the fun things they’ll do there.  I’m sure it’s all talk and he’ll scream as we leave him (like he still does at the church nursery).  I’m getting more and more nervous about sending my babies off, the closer it comes.  I’m going to be a wreck this week!

Friday was our fun day.  We went to the Lazy 5 Ranch in Mooresville, NC.  It’s a drive-through animal park.  It was really cool!  We decided to ride a horse-pulled wagon instead of drive ourselves through.  On the wagon you get buckets of food to feed the animals.  It was pretty amazing that you were up close and personal with llamas, ostriches, emus, giraffes, bison, and lots of other animals I don’t remember the names of.  I get so excited by these type of places because Lindy isn’t left behind.  Lindy was up close with these animals too.  She got to see these animals.  Some places, like some zoos, the animals are just too far away for her to ever see.  Not at the Lazy 5 Ranch though!   The kids were both feeding animals out of the palm of their hands.  So cool!  After our hour long wagon ride, we played on a cool playground and saw a ton more cool animals in the petting zoo.  There was a macaw in the petting zoo yelling “Hello” and “Goodbye” at everyone.  Will had fun talking with it! 

Our other fun event was having a little get together with Drew’s old roommates and a couple other friends.  We had 10 adults and 7 kids over Saturday for a Mexican fiesta.  Fun was had by all!  We had way too much food but it was fun to see everyone  and let the kids play and get to know each other.  Todd and Amy have a set of identical twin girls.  I totally go by the clothes they are wearing, I can’t tell them apart.  Baby Zeke was the newest addition to our group.  He is around 9 months old and such a cutie.  Some of us live here in town and some live in Raleigh so we don’t all get together as much as we’d like.  We did get our new dining room furniture on Thursday afternoon so we had our inaugural dinner Saturday night with our friends.  It was great to have a place for everyone to eat!

And now for the pictures.

My sweeties before church last week.DSC_1605 Funny outtake!DSC_1607 This would have been a nice accessory to wear to church, don’t you think?DSC_1613 Miss Chris!!DSC_1622 DSC_1623 DSC_1625 Miss Lesley!!DSC_1634 DSC_1635 DSC_1637 The kids had to check out the new dining room table.DSC_1649 Wearing new shirts they got from the NC Aquarium last month.DSC_1665 The pretend camera I got Lindy because she has recently been after my camera.  Will loves taking pictures as well.  They walk around saying, “Say cheeseburger!”DSC_1666DSC_1667  Will will eventually say, “Lindy wanna take my picture?”DSC_1669 Waiting for the wagon at the Lazy 5 Ranch.DSC_1673 2 legged you feed out of the bucket, 4 legged you feed out of your hand.DSC_1683 DSC_1688 DSC_1692 Lindy was hugging Will’s neck and pulling him to her.DSC_1704 DSC_1714 The bison had the grossest tongues!  You dropped the food on the tongue.  Will enjoyed feeding these guys!DSC_1757 The giraffes were probably the coolest animals to feed.  They are big animals!DSC_1782DSC_1789DSC_1795   Feeding the llamas.  No they weren’t wearing red pajamas and they weren’t mad at mama!DSC_1823DSC_1841  Up close and personal!DSC_1847DSC_1850   Playing on the playground.DSC_1853 More animals in the petting zoo.DSC_1874 DSC_1886 Cool gourd alley.  DSC_1898 DSC_1899 Lindy has spent a good bit of time this week in this position.  Sitting on the back of the car, playing with the little people bus.  With her water.  I tried to take her water yesterday and she asked for it back and positioned it just where she wanted it.  Funny girl.DSC_1921 Baby Zekers!DSC_1948 Heading to church this morning.DSC_1953

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Boring Week

We had a mostly boring week with only a couple scheduled things at the end of the week. 

The theme of the week has been shopping.  For whatever reason I felt this was the week to buy the kid’s winter wardrobe.  A couple shopping trips later and the kids have a ton of winter clothes!  It’s just so easy to keep buying those little shirts and pants!

We ate dinner with Mike and Janice on Monday night.  We hadn’t seen them in a month or so and the kids were so excited.  They came by the house first and then we followed them to the Diary-O.  On the way Will said, “I’m so happy!”  Too funny.

I got the chance to go out to eat with some high school girlfriends on Wednesday night.  We always have such a blast!  Good times with old friends!

Thursday we toured one of the schools that Lindy might be attending.  School starts Aug. 25th and no, we don’t know where she is going.  She won’t be starting the 25th.  We want her to go to a hearing impaired preschool classroom and the school system has recommended another school for kids with developmental delays.  We are waiting for a meeting with the school system to talk about this.  We are planning on touring the schools next week when the kids are actually there so we can see what it’s really like. 

While Drew and I were touring the school, the kids stayed with Janice.  Every time we’ve left the kids anywhere this summer they have cried.  But not Thursday!  They do love them some Janice and they obviously feel comfortable with her.  Apparently Lindy did cry one time, but she got over it quickly.

Friday Lindy had an ophthalmology appointment and once again it was pretty pointless.  She followed a little light and they tried the Teller Acuity cards again.  Lindy just likes to play with the big cards instead of concentrating on the black and white lines.  She got down to 3.2cm/cycle with both eyes. 

While I took Lindy to the doctor, Will got to go play with Aunt Jamie and Uncle Ed.  Jamie took him on a walk to the park and from what I hear they had a blast.  He was so interested in going to the park that once again he didn’t cry.  On the way there I kept telling him that I had to take Lindy to the doctor, that he was playing with U. Ed and A. Jamie and that I would be back.  He said those three phrases the whole way there and even after I came back to get him.  I think he is starting to process the whole ‘I always come back for him.’  He keeps randomly saying “Mommy always comes back.” 

Drew has actually been gone all weekend at a youth retreat so it is just the kids and I hanging out.  We passed our time shopping and we enjoyed a visit from GrandBob on Saturday afternoon.  We enjoyed his company and the pizza he bought us for dinner.

The kids are talking up a storm these days.  Lindy tells us 100 times a day that she’ll ‘Be right back.’  I have started telling her that I love her and to be careful.  Now she has started telling me, “I be right back.  I be careful.”  Usually she is just going in the other room when she tells us this.  Yesterday morning we had chocolate donuts for breakfast and the kids get chocolate everywhere, including under there fingernails.  Later I was cutting their nails and I started cutting Will’s toenails.  He had dirt in them from being outside and he said, “Mommy, I have chocolate in them.”  ha ha ha. 

Pictures from this week.  They seem to be a little Lindy heavy this week.  She must have been closer to me all week.

One of Lindy’s new poses.  Not sure what it is about.  She usually imitates us but I don’t recall doing this one!  She looks like she is trying to be modest.DSC_1544 The kids finally got to play with the easel they got for their birthday.  Will loves the chalk side.DSC_1545 I wrote Will’s name for him and then went and did some things in the kitchen.  I came back and Will told me he had written his name.  I wrote his name in blue and he copied it in white.  I thought it was impressive!DSC_1546 And again!DSC_1548  And then I told him to write his own name.  I thought he did awesome for a barely 3 year old writing his name for the first time ever!DSC_1549 Funny Lou Lou picture.DSC_1566 Cute pictures of Lou Lou.DSC_1570 DSC_1576 It’s blurry but it’s too cute.  Lindy was running ‘so fast.’DSC_1579 This is Lindy’s new thing.  If you are sitting on the floor, Lindy will come up and put her arm around your neck.  It’s so funny.  She’s been doing it to us all week.  DSC_1582 DSC_1581 Playing outside today.DSC_1587 DSC_1590 The kids loved playing hide and seek with GrandBob.  Except Will will not stay hidden.  He always comes running out as soon as you are done counting to 10.  DSC_1594 Lindy was hiding with GrandBob.DSC_1593 GrandBob hid behind the coconut tree.DSC_1598 My sweet girl.DSC_1599