Life in a Snow Globe

It has been entirely too long since I’ve updated Aileen’s blog, and it would be nearly impossible to update everything over the past year, so I’m not going to try.  I will say that in recent months, our nice, calm, little world has been quite shaken up. I now know what it must be like to live inside a snow globe. Every so often, someone comes along and sees this beautiful snow globe, and they can’t resist; they pick it up and give it a shake. Sometimes it’s a soft rattle and other times it’s violent chaos. Eventually, the snow settles, but it’s only until the next shake comes along.

There is really no better way to describe our life.

When Braxton was born, someone definitely violently shook our little world. Eventually, the snow settled, but we’ve been periodically shaken ever since. Lately, our snow globe life has been very calm and we grew quite comfortable. Perhaps that is why the most recent shake has taken such a toll. I finally had a chance to breathe and I didn’t have to live life on “high alert,” so I have been frantically trying to find my footing and wishing for stabilization.

It all started last summer when I went to our pediatrician and told her that I thought Aileen might be hitting puberty already, at only 8 years old. It sounded crazy then, but deep down, it was the only explanation and I desperately wanted someone to tell me that I wasn’t crazy. Our doctor did little to reassure me and possibly, in a small attempt to pacify me, she told me that we should come in every 3 months to keep an eye on things. I was worried that Aileen might be starting to develop. The doctor told me it was likely just some fatty tissue from her being slightly overweight. So, she told me to watch Aileen’s diet, get her active, and come back in a few months to re-evaluate the situation. Just before school started (August 2014), the doctor told me she would go ahead and refer us to an Endocrinologist, because she couldn’t tell if Aileen just had some adipose tissue, or actual breast tissue developing. Naturally, the first available was not until January 2015. So, we wait.

In the meantime, as you know, we’ve had some trouble with Aileen and have been thinking most of her issues stem from a possible undiagnosed case of Sensory Processing Disorder. We’ve been doing Occupational Therapy for about 2 years now with that diagnosis in mind, and have truly seen some tremendous progress. Aileen was constantly on the go, mouthing things, constantly touching something, always had to be RIGHT next to me, fidgety, and impulsive. Occupational therapy has helped her understand what sensory needs her body is craving and what appropriate tools she has to address the situation. When school started this year, her teacher told us she had seen such an improvement in Aileen. She was focused, volunteering in class, ahead of the curve on most of her work, and almost a completely different child than she was in 2nd grade.

Then, something changed. I started getting notes again about Aileen not focusing, not caring, not taking responsibility for her actions, despite the intervention methods her teacher and I had spoken about the previous year. So, I went up to meet with the teacher again and we brainstormed new ideas to help Aileen. Again, these things helped for a short period of time, but before you know it, the novelty had worn off and we were back at square one. To make matters worse, Aileen started to develop severe test anxiety, making it impossible for her to focus and finish the test. I armed her with a slew of fidget toys and sensory items to help her focus more in class. They helped, but her teacher was still concerned, as was I.

Yellow Belt TestSometime after school started, I found a local Karate Dojo with classes that fit our schedule and budget. Aileen had been dying to try Karate, so I finally enrolled her. Almost immediately, I saw a shift in her confidence and self-esteem. One of the major areas we had been struggling with. I watched her try hard and I could see the pride in her face when she would get something right. Just before Christmas, Aileen earned her yellow belt. In the 3 months it took, we saw less fighting and arguing with her at home, improved self-esteem, greater focus and a better sense of responsibility. Some of it carried over in to school, but there were still some lingering issues.

I finally sought out a child psychologist who would do private testing to screen for Emotional disturbances, Learning Disabilities, and ADHD. They sent us the paperwork that had questionnaires for Aileen, her teacher and myself to complete. Upon completing my portion of the questionnaires, I could feel the ground rumbling beneath me. Then, I received the teacher’s form and I helped Aileen complete her form. As I looked at all the answers, I realized that something was definitely not right, and felt as though I had waited too long to do something. I know that I had done everything I possibly could up to that point, but as a parent, sometimes you just beat yourself up no matter what. We went for the evaluation and were told we’d have results in about 2-3 weeks. So, we wait again.

Just as Winter Break ended, we received the results from the screening, and sure enough, they gave her a diagnosis of ADHD along with possible anxiety and depressive disorder. The report stated that we should treat the ADHD symptoms first and then rule out anxiety and depression, as some of those symptoms could overlap with ADHD. Lovely. So, immediately, I called the pediatrician to try and schedule an appointment to discuss the results and what our next steps would be. Do we medicate? Do we try alternative methods? What other alternative methods are left?? Although we were treating for Sensory Processing Disorder, many of the symptoms overlap, as do the treatments. We’d done 2 years of Occupational Therapy, done more physical activities, school accommodations, fidget toys, and lots of other things to try to get her to focus better and be successful in school. Naturally, making the appointment was not that easy. I’ve been trying to get this scheduled for 3 weeks no with no luck. Yet again, we wait.

A couple weeks ago, it was finally time for our Endocrinologist appointment that we had scheduled way back when. By the time the appointment was over, I surely felt like the ground had been pulled from under me and our little globe had been given a good flip upside down and shaken a few times. The doctor confirmed that Aileen was indeed developing and ordered a slew of tests to confirm the diagnosis. First, she sent us down to have a bone age test done to determine if Aileen’s bones were growing faster than her body. Then, she informed us that we needed to schedule an ultrasound of her ovaries to make sure there were no abnormalities. Lastly, we needed to do a special blood test to help us determine the level of hormones her body was experiencing and give us a better idea of where she is in the puberty process.

UltrasoundThe bone age test revealed that Aileen’s bones are 12 years old, so there is definitely advanced maturation in her body. Last week we went in for the ultrasound and the blood test. For the blood test, we did a baseline draw when we arrived and then the endocrinologist gave her a very small dose of the medicine that is used to STOP puberty. Three hours later, we had to go back and have blood drawn again. I’m trying to get my hands on the ultrasound results (perks of working in the medical field) and we will get blood results in 2-3 weeks. *sigh* More waiting. The nurse very casually mentioned that depending on what the bloodwork shows, we may be looking at an MRI for Aileen as well. (Fun times) Puberty is the result of hormones released by the hypothalamus which is regulated by the pituitary gland in the brain. In some cases, there is an abnormality in the brain that signals an early release of hormones. The only way to rule this out is to have an MRI of the pituitary gland. I read that in rare cases (rare for females anyway), precocious puberty could be the result of a tumor in the ovaries or brain. While this day was incredibly chaotic, Aileen and I managed to get in some quality mother/daughter time and it was a blessing in disguise to be able to spend the day with my sweet girl.

Also last week, I was able to meet with Aileen’s teacher, the principal, the vice principal and the school psychologist, to discuss the appropriateness of 504 accommodations in light of the psychology screening. Aileen’s teacher has been absolutely incredible since last year and has bent over backwards to do whatever she can to help Aileen be successful. For me, this meeting was more of formality to get the jump on the help she will need when it comes time for standardized testing later this year and in the years to come. We were able to brainstorm new ideas to help Aileen and to my surprise, Aileen’s teacher had already put in to effect some of the suggestions from the screening report. She had started to shorten Aileen’s assignments, allowed opportunities to check for understanding, and of course, extra time for tests. For the first time in a year and a half, homework was not a battle. With only half of the work to do, it was all of a sudden more manageable and Aileen willingly did the work she needed to do. She still had difficulty understanding some of the words and allowed that to distract her from completing her task, but I did see an improvement.

We are also starting hippotherapy this week, which will help Aileen with balance, coordination, focus, and some of her emotional and behavior issues. We are excited to see how this might help, especially since she loves horses so much.

Amidst the chaos, some really good things are happening and we are continuing to do all that we need to ensure Aileen’s success. The snow in our globe is very slowly starting to fall and settle on the ground, but we won’t be getting too comfortable until we receive all of the test results and meet with Aileen’s pediatrician regarding the ADHD testing. For the love of all that is good, I hope that our snow globe is left alone once we get all of this figured out. Until then, we weather the storm and roll with it the best we can. If we meet soon, please don’t expect my head to be screwed on straight and forgive me if I am short or flustered. It’s been a rough start to the year and I anticipate things to get a little worse before they get better. But, things WILL get better.

 

[Why is parenting so gosh darn difficult?! Just when you think you’ve got it figured out. BAM!]

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Posted in Life

When Did My Baby Get So Grown?

Every day, I take Aileen to school.  Every. Single. Day.

But some days it feels different.

We get in the car.  She buckles herself up and we drive a couple miles down the road to school.

We get in the drop-off line, she unbuckles and waits patiently.  When it’s our turn, a teacher opens the door for her and with an “I love you, have a great day!” she gets out and walks in to the school.

Every once in a while, like today, I watch her walk in to school and have to fight back the tears.  When did my little baby get so big?

We sat tonight discussing her upcoming 8th birthday and picked out a theme and some decorations.  She was so excited.  She made a list of all her favorites as we scanned themes online.  I watched her carefully write each letter and sound out the words.  After she had her list, she went back through and picked the ones she liked the most. Then we looked at what was available decoration wise.  (As much as I’d like to hand-make super cool decorations for the lesser-known themes, I just don’t have the time or energy. Party-in-a-box with a few homemade touches works for us.) I could see how happy she was to have input and make this party her own.  She will have a big part in helping out this year.

Sometimes I take our conversations for granted.  Sometimes I feel bad that I’m not fully awake and she’s excited as can be talking about some great idea she has and I just want a few moments of peace.  I watch my son struggle with communication and not having any words and am reminded that her loquaciousness is a gift.

I make a concerted effort to pay close attention even though it’s 7:00 in the morning and I haven’t had any caffeine.  We play “I spy” on the way to school and on the way home from school.  I am always amazed that she stumps me! She can find the most obscure things that I never would have thought to look around for.

I watch her walk in to school and think, “Wow, where has the time gone? The little girl who used to swing my arm back and forth as we walked in to daycare has gotten so big. She doesn’t need me anymore” :(

Aileen and Mom at her 2nd birthday.

Aileen and Mom at her 2nd birthday.

She has her moments where she wants to be a baby and be held, because she sees brother get that attention.  Sometimes I oblige.  One day she won’t want anything to do with me, so when she comes up to me and says “I haven’t seen you all day! Give me a BIG hug and a kiss!” I do as she asks and hope that it sticks around a while.  She sings “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” all day long complete with sound effects and voice changes.  I watch her dance around and her eyes light up and my heart is full.

I’m not sure what I’m going to do when all this “little girl-ness” finally wears off completely.  Shoot, I don’t know what I’m going to do when her front teeth finally grow back in! That toothless grin is so much a part of her now, I don’t want to see it gone.

But, of course, she can’t be without her front teeth forever.  But, just a little longer, please?

I have fought so hard to teach her what she needs to know.  Helped her strive for independence.  Help her daily to love herself and not think about what others think of her.  Some days she seems so much older than 7.  Some days she seems like 4.  I just want to hang on to her a little while longer.

Parenting can be such a paradox.  We want our to children to grow in to amazing, responsible, independent adults, yet we just want to hold them and shield them from the perils of this world.  I know I can’t hold on to her forever, but I hope she stays little, for at least a little while longer.

I think tomorrow is going to be another one of those days where I stay in the drop-off line just a little bit longer until she is safely in the school, hoping that she turns one last time to wave and blow me a kiss.  Momma loves you, too, sweet girl.

I love this little girl so much!

I love this little girl so much!

 

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Posted in Kids, Life, Uncategorized

Looking Forward to 2014

2013 was an extremely tough parenting year for Aileen and me.  I yelled too much. I lost my temper too quickly. I said no too many times. I got frustrated with her when I was the one at fault.

I wasn’t a bad mom, but I know a better mom is within me.

The one thing I know I did right this year is, I tried my absolute hardest to make it right when I realized what I was doing. There is no such thing as a perfect parent and I have never laid claim to be the perfect parent.

Aileen has been through so much more than the average 7 year old and sometimes, I forget that she is only 7 years old.  At this time last year, I felt like I was at the end of my rope. Aileen was out of control. Actually, my handling her was out of control.  I yelled at her a lot. And I mean ugly yelled.  There was not an ounce of the caring, loving mom I know I am.  Aileen had a really rough school year and I could not get her to behave in school or listen at home.  She was throwing full-blown temper tantrums.  Screaming, crying, kicking, throwing herself on the floor tantrums.  I literally got to the point of having to bear hug her to calm her down and then she would fall asleep.  I finally decided I needed to do something about it.  I chalked it all up to sibling jealousy which was intensified because of Braxton’s special needs.  I knew Aileen felt like the ‘forgotten child’ but I didn’t know how to make it better.

I called around to several different counselors with tears in my eyes and barely able to speak.  I didn’t even know what to ask.  We found a behavior counselor and started seeing her weekly.  Progress was slow, but I did see a difference.  Play therapy helped Aileen work through some of her issues and if nothing else, it was one hour where the focus was all on her and not her brother.

What a girl!

What a girl!

As part of trying to make things right, I learned new ways to get Aileen involved in activities that didn’t include her brother. I tried to spend more one on one time with her, too.  We decided to enroll Aileen in T-ball.  Although the first game was a disaster, she loved to play. She loved the game. She loved the girls she played with.  She loved that all eyes were on her when she had a game. Our family came to the games and cheered her on.  She bonded with Joseph over it as well since he would help teach her to play in our backyard. This is when I saw the most change in Aileen.  She was happier and she was behaving better.  We were getting along MUCH better.

We found other little ways to give her more attention as well and that really made a big difference.  It’s not that we were ignoring her before, but we really made a big deal about the things she was able to do that her brother couldn’t do.  As she realized the advantages of being the older sister, she settled down.

Despite the bouts of sibling jealousy, Aileen really has been a wonderful sister to her little brother.  She is so proud of him and so excited to see the progress he is making.  She is his biggest cheerleader and loves him so much.  I love to watch them together and know their bond is very strong.  We did a lot more this year that we wouldn’t have done last year.  We finally got a break in all the medical stuff going on with brother that we were able to go to movies, go shopping, attend birthday parties, and even go out to eat every now and then.  It’s the closest to ‘normal’ we’ve ever been.  Despite the yelling and frustration, it was still a year full of love and happiness.

Climb and crash!

Climb and crash!

About 4 months ago, I realized that there was something more going on with Aileen than bad behavior.  I learned about Sensory Processing Disorder and recognized that Aileen was definitely having sensory integration issues that needed to be addressed.  All of a sudden, the bad behavior made sense.  It didn’t make it right or excuse it, but I understood.  I learned new ways of discipline, new methods of keeping her occupied and meeting her needs.  We also started Occupational Therapy which made all the difference in the world.  Aileen learned new coping strategies even though she didn’t realize she was learning.  She made some really great progress in therapy, but unfortunately, the clinic has now closed so we are looking for a new one.  I can see a difference in just the one month break in therapy.  Now that the new year is settling in, we will be getting back in to therapy as soon as we can.

Overall, 2013 was a year full of trials and tribulations, situations that taught me more about parenting and listening to my daughter.  As always, she has helped me to become a better mom and despite my shortcomings she will run up to me and hug me and tell me that she loves me.  She will tell people that she has the best mom ever.  She looks at me like I can do anything in the world.  Sometimes, she gets on my last nerve.  Sometimes, I’m the worst mom ever (usually when she doesn’t get her way). And sometimes I’m just some old lady.  A few months ago, she literally asked “Mom, was it black and white when you were born?” WTH?! How old do you think I am!!?! Aileen has the amazing ability to make me laugh all the time.  She is incredibly smart and witty.  I’m proud to be her mom.  I won’t always get it right, but I promise with everything in me, to TRY and to always do my best.

This morning, Aileen randomly said  “Mom, you like how I woke up right when you told me? I woke up the first time because this is the new me. Listening, respecting others always, following the rules, no back talk,and behaving better than the old Aileen.”  How’s that for a New Year’s Resolution? My goal this year is to be more patient, more loving, more present, and more engaging.  I’m nowhere near the perfect mom, but in her eyes I am.  It’s time to live up to it for her.

I love this little girl so much.

I love this little girl so much.

Cheers to 2014! Can’t wait to see what this year holds for us.

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Posted in Kids, Life

There Used To Be a Floor Here

True Story.

True Story.

Ok, seriously, Stay-at-home/work-at-home-mom’s how the heck do you keep an even remotely clean house?!

The kids have been out of school for Winter Break for a week and a half and I’m seriously drowning! I clean and clean and clean, and still, I can’t find my living room floor!!

They still have a week left!!!! 0_0

Take them out of the house? Sure! Sounds great, but with the flu spreading like crazy, I’m likely to end up with two sick kids. Oh, and broke. Not to mention, the mess will still be here when we get home.  Cleaning, taking temperatures, giving medicine, cooling baths, and cleaning bodily fluids just don’t seem worth the risk.  Or maybe they do? Gah! Help!

Tornado Braxton is currently at a Category 2 picking things up as he finds them and throwing them as far as he can and laughing when they hit the ground.  Picking up bins and dumping toys out all over the floor.  Occasionally, a pile of drool follows.  Braxton is 2 with special needs and while he is currently non-verbal, he is certainly loving his new-found mobility and can move from the living room, to the kitchen, to the play room and back to the kitchen in no time.

Meanwhile, Hurricane Aileen is basically a Category 5 at any given time.  Taking things out so we can “work on them together” which actually means, Mom, here’s the directions, can you do this for me?

Next thing I know a pile of stuffed animals is on my living room floor.  What are you doing? — Oh, my babies are sick, I’m taking them to the doctor. — But what about this gazillion piece lego thing you have me building?!?

Doc Aileen

Before long, the babies have been abandoned at the doctor and snack wrappers make a trail to the play room where Aileen has managed to find paint to create her latest masterpiece.  Look, mom, I made this for you! Don’t you love it? — *Gulp* Oh, yea I love it.  The paint on the floor? Not so much.  

Bang! Crash. *Giggle* Bang! Bang! Clank. Clank. *Uncontrollable laughter* — Yup, Tornado Braxton has found his way to the kitchen cabinets and is open and closing them.  Takes out the tupperware containers and drops them on the ground to hear the sound. Moves over to the pots and pans because their sound is better.

That’s only about 30 minutes of every day.

Ok, HOLD IT! I check out all the awesome things I pinned on Pinterest to find something, anything to keep the kids busy and the mess contained.  Nope, too messy. Nope, don’t have all of the stuff for that project.  Aha! That works! Wrangle the kids for an awesome game or fun craft that keeps them content for a glorious 10 minutes and then they slowly go back to their destructive ways.

Back to Pinterest I go. Nope, that is too loud. I need some peace for a minute. Nope, that requires too much supervision.  I mean, really, is there anything they can do on their own?! I just want to take a quick shower. Pee alone for goodness sake! Or maybe cook something NOT in a box! I step away to do any of that and the living room floor has again disappeared.

The TV!?! That glorious invention does not hold Braxton’s attention for anything.  Aileen. Maybe. She will watch for a little bit and then she is “bored” and fidgeting or knocking things over or creating art projects and bam! pile of who knows what all over the place.

cleaning-and-scrubbing-can-wait-till-tomorrowMaybe having a clean house is simply impossible.  I should take pride in having a house that’s lived in instead of house that looks sterile.  Sure, the kids are only little for now, and I should enjoy every minute possible with them.  But, let’s be honest, at some point, someone HAS to do the dishes, vacuum the floor, and pick up all the toys!

I absolutely cherish every moment with the kids and take in all of their cuteness as much as I can. Having a child with special needs really changes your perspective and you learn to be grateful for every little thing.  So, I’m actually thrilled to see Braxton making messes, making noise, moving from place to place, but the aftermath make me a little crazy.

Going through all that we have with Braxton also changes the way I see things with Aileen.  Things really come so easy to her.  She has an incredible artistic talent and I really do love ALL of the drawings/paintings she makes, but do the crayons HAVE to be all over the place!? With the new found sensory issues, I’ve tried to find things that give her the sensory input she is craving, but it’s still not enough.

I’m pretty much all out of ideas here.  My house is a mess. I have to do work while the kids are home, but as long as the house is being destroyed with every phone call or e-mail sent, it’s just not happening.  I spend the first 2 hours of every day cleaning up the mess from the day before and within 20 minutes the floor is lost again. Cleaning throughout the day, reminding Aileen to put things away before she pulls out something new, cooking, cleaning my own mess, and trying to find new ways to entertain them, by the end of the day I’m just exhausted.  By the time I get the kids bathed and in bed, the last thing I want to do is clean! I just want to sit on the couch in the dark and take in the silence.  Next thing I know, I’m passed out in the middle of all the mess and vow to clean it in the morning.  Then the cycle begins again. :(

Stay-at-home/work-at-home moms, teach me your ways!!

Working from home is new to me and has been great! Working from home while the kids are out of school has been like shell-shock! How in the world do these two little people have so much energy! And how are they so destructive!? And how do I get my house back!?

I’ve enjoyed this blogging break, but you guessed it – the living room floor is lost again.  Hopefully, I can manage to stand up without stepping on a dreaded lego landmine.

 

good-moms

 

 

Hmm…if that’s true, then you should just hand over that “mom of the year” trophy, because seriously, my house is in shambles, and the kids could not be happier.

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Posted in Humor, Kids, Life

Thankful for Veterans

I always worry about Aileen not paying attention in school, but then she surprises me and shows me that she knows exactly what’s going on.  She often comes home and will do extra work that goes along with a lesson they are learning in school just for fun.  This past week they have been discussing Veterans Day and what it means to all of us.  I will always have a deep love for the military and all the men and women who serve our country.  I have tried to teach that to my children as well, but this is the first sign of Aileen actually “getting it.”

Yesterday, Aileen wrote a few notes and drew a few pictures expressing her thanks to Veterans.  It is incredibly adorable and heartwarming to see her appreciation.  Here is a video of her reading her notes:

And here they are:

1st the acrostic poem. (She did all of this without me knowing so I didn’t have a chance to correct the spelling beforehand.)

Veterans AcrosticV – Very Nice

E – Encouraged to fight

T – Taught how to fight

R – Respectful

E – Encourage to have more wars

N – Navy protects the seas

S – Soldiers protect and serve

Here is the first note she wrote:

Thanks to Veterans

Veterans are nice. Veterans can fight.  Veterans have army. Veterans have Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and Soldiers.

The bottom says it’s by Aileen

The 2nd note:

Note to Veterans

I am thankful for Veterans because you help the USA.  You important people to the USA.  You have an army to protect us because that is how you protect us!

And here are the two pictures she drew.  A soldier and the flag.

Happy Veterans Day to all the men and women past, present, and future who serve our country.

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Posted in Aileen-isms, Kids, Life

Aileen’s First Concert!

Yesterday, Aileen got the biggest surprise ever! My sisters and I decided to surprise her with tickets to see Selena Gomez in concert! It was so hard to keep the secret, but it was worth it.  Here is her reaction:

PRICELESS!

She even made a sign!

20131102-144425.jpg

She had a blast! We all did.  Selena Gomez really puts on a great show.

I loved all the positive messages she gave throughout the concert as well.  She is a talented artist who truly understands what it means to be a positive role model.  She told all the girls at the concert numerous times about the importance of being yourself and not letting what other people say about you define you.  She also talked about dreaming big dreams and not letting anything keep you from going after them.  She showed these kids what hard work can accomplish.  And most importantly, she showed them what it means to be confident in your own skin no matter what people say.  She was able to be sexy without being trashy.  She’s truly a class act.  As a parent, Selena Gomez definitely gets my stamp of approval. ;)

Here are some videos of Aileen singing her little heart out!

“Who Says” This is Aileen’s FAVORITE song!

“Love You Like a Love Song”

“Come and Get It”

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A Hodgepodge Update

Oy vey, I did not mean to abandon you! We have managed to stay VERY busy with school, little brother’s therapies, me getting a new job, and even doing lots of fun stuff.  Here is an update about everything that has been happening in the past month or so.

Picture day at school :)

Picture day at school :)

First off, is school.  School has actually been going pretty well for Aileen.  Her teacher sent home a note to meet with me about a month in to school.  I was terrified! I thought for sure she was going to give me a really bad update and tell me that my kid was just too hard to handle.  We talked about how school has been with Aileen over the past couple years and all of the other circumstances that come in to play.  Her teacher was so understanding and the whole conversation was very refreshing.  She explained to me some behaviors she was noticing and asked for my input on how to help make Aileen’s school year more successful.  I explained my recent concerns about Sensory Processing Disorder and some of the behaviors I have learned that go with that.  She talked about Aileen fidgeting in class and sometimes distracting herself and others.  We have extra chewy tubes that I let Aileen use at home and to my surprise she was able to calm down and focus on her homework.  I sent it to school with her and her teacher said her focus was amazing when she had the chewy tube.  She was so willing to work with Aileen and really take in to account the therapy evaluation without making me go through all the red tape and rules for special education and accommodation.  I have a VERY good feeling about this year.  Her teacher is really wonderful!

Climb and crash!

Climb and crash!

That leads me to therapy.  We finally set up the Occupational Therapy evaluation for Sensory Processing Disorder.  For the evaluation, there were several questionnaires I had to answer that gave the therapist an idea of where Aileen is socially and her skills at home.  The therapist tested her with some different standardized tests which tested her physical strength and different fine motor skills.  The therapist found that Aileen’s core strength is EXTREMELY LOW which affects fine motor skills like grasping, writing, and even how she sits.  Where most kids can handle sitting “criss-cross applesauce” and be attentive in class, Aileen’s core strength makes that particular position difficult and she prefers to sit in a “w-position” on her knees with her legs out on either side.  This is something I was able to share with Aileen’s teacher that she was more than willing to accommodate.  She was able to use this as a choice which gives Aileen some independence but still gets her to do what she is supposed to do…sit attentively in class.  We have had 2 actual therapy sessions since the evaluation and Aileen has done really well.  She is working on skills in an obstacle course fashion.  This also helps because Aileen has problems following multiple directions.  For example, if I tell Aileen “Ok you need to get dressed, brush your teeth, and put on your shoes” she forgets everything after the first step.  Doing an obstacle course in therapy, she has to learn to listen and follow multiple steps.  Many of the activities are focused on building up her core strength which in turns helps her with the skills she is lacking.  She also has many opportunities to focus on how her body is feeling and decide what her body needs.  They allow her to climb rope ladders and then “crash” into a landing pad which gives her sensory input that she craves.  There are also many different swings that give her the vestibular input she is always seeking as well.  It’s still a little early, but I think it is going well and Aileen is actually enjoying it.  I’m hoping to see some of those skills transfer over to home and school over time.

And finally, some fun stuff! Aileen got 2 invites to birthday parties this month and had a blast! It was so nice to be able to take her to play with friends and really enjoy her free time.  Since she has been doing really well in school, I’ve been making every effort to reward her as much as possible.  We’ve been to sensory friendly showings of “Planes” and “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2″ at our local AMC movie theater.  The sensory friendly showings are really great for her little brother since he cannot handle loud noises very well.  The lights are up and the volume isn’t very loud which is perfect for anyone with little children or of course children with special needs.  She had a book fair at school and I was able to take her and spend time there just her and I during the family literacy night and she really enjoyed the mommy/daughter time.  We even finally got around to decorating for Halloween!  Overall, it’s been a really great couple of months and I am excited to finally be getting therapy and seeing improvement in Aileen’s behavior and success in school.

Posted in Kids, Life

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My Little Brother
My Little Brother

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About Mom
Vanessa Garcia

Vanessa Garcia

It's not the destination, but the JOURNEY that matters.

A Mommy blogging all about life with a child with special needs and his awesome big sister. Everything I know about parenting I've learned from my kids. Sharing our story with the world to bring awareness and hopefully help someone, somewhere understand they aren't alone on this journey. I'm also a freelance graphic designer looking to expand my portfolio, so if you need assistance with a project, I'd be happy to help!

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© Vanessa Garcia and According to Aileen, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.
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