Monday, August 31, 2009

Miserable Monday

Do you know how much I dislike Monday's? I think I have probably mentioned it a time or two. Today wasn't any different, alarm, kids, breakfast, pack lunches, remind them to brush their teeth and hair for the third time, drop them off at school, run, shower, work, home, homework, homework, and more homework! I lead a boring life and I love it!

Carrington only had a short math page and Jensen had the typical pile of 4th grade homework! Emmie had more spelling. Although, I have to admit, I am confused on her homework. Remember, Emmie has a "team" of people that offer support including her Resource Specialist "Superwoman" and two classroom teachers. Today, I received her usual homework package complete with 15 spelling words. However, once home, she emptied her backpack and there was a spelling workbook with a note from Superwoman saying this is the book her spelling will come from. So, somehow, I ended up with two spelling list and spelling homework? I'm baffled! Of course I'll clarify tomorrow on which list we will be using, but for tonight we used the classroom spelling list. She wrote the words 5 times each. I added a word search that I created using one of the websites I linked before. She had fun finding the words and it really helps her learn to spell them as she searches for each letter. I also created two sets of spelling flashcards so we could play a spelling memory/match game. She beat me by ONE match!! She also re-read a story from the reading text and began the subtraction flashcards. The note from the teacher said they will be adding multiplication in September/October. Yikes! I'm not ready for that one yet! She didn't seem to become tired during the homework session and of course there were built in breaks between activities. Whew! One day down, four more to go!!!

Oh, and I have news!!! She received her Friday spelling test back today and guess what? She did great! She only missed five words!!! Can you believe it? We are very proud of her :)

The start of the week is exhausting..more later :)

Sunday, August 30, 2009

You are loved.

I read this tonight, it is a reminder to me to show Emmie she is loved, everyday in every way..not just the good parts but for everything she is and everything she does. We love you Em!


just as you are.
And you don't need to look outside of yourself
for validation anymore....
you are held and known and treasured

for ALL that you are
not just the good parts.

Let that truth remind you to be compassionate
with your own extend to yourself, the
compassion you give to others.

There is nothing to fix.
Because who you are
however human
is always enough

to be loved
right now.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Daddy's home

Daddy's home! YAY! Doug arrived late Thursday night and we are adjusting to having him home again. The past three years he has been gone at least 6 months out of the year, so it's nice to see his boots next to the door again. I am very lucky in that our kids don't usually have a hard time adjusting to "family" life again. Some families have behavioral issues and issues fitting everyone back in the family comfortably once the active duty family member returns. Doug, however, fits seamlessly back in the routine.

I am so frustrated with Emmie's school situation. I don't think me and the teachers are on the same page, or even in the same book. But we are all learning, I guess. I am planning to send a message to her Resource Specialist aka Superwoman and ask her help with talking to the teacher. I know Superwoman has one heck of a case load this year with the new students so I don't want to take too much of her time, but I need help and have no idea how or where to begin. I have tried, but it doesn't seem to be working. Fingers crossed.

I received a lovely email today from a lady who found this blog. She is a missionary to deaf children here in the Dominican Republic and found the blog because of the mention of Cued Speech. She had wonderful things to say about her experience with Cued Speech. I was so surprised that she emailed me and I'm very grateful the blog is getting around! It's really nice to know that there are other people in the boat with me! Of course I'll be responding to her soon :)

Life is pretty busy here right now as we get Doug unpacked and settled back in. Things will calm down soon :) Promise!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Spelling sucks

Tonight's post will be short because DADDY'S COMING HOME!! YAY! We are rushing to get ready to leave for the airport. I am very glad my husband is finally coming home. But the timing sucks! Why is it they schedule these planes on school nights and after the kids should already be in the bed? Anyway, luckily they will be bathed and in pj's when we head to the airport. No missing school tomorrow!!!

Tonight's spelling homework was a practice test. Emmie sat at the table and I read the words out loud, along with a short sentence. She repeated the word each time and wrote her answer. Test #1 didn't go so well. She missed 14 out of 18 words. We studied for a bit more then took another test. Test #2 was a little better and she missed 11 out of 18 words. I wasn't upset, or surprised. You see, the first few days of spelling homework we completed just as the teacher had requested. We wrote sentences containing one spelling word and at least 6 words long. We created triangles with our spelling words. Last night we actually used multi-sensory activities. Had we used them earlier in the week, maybe she would have scored higher. I am going to have to talk to the teacher again and try to work out different homework activities. I don't want to modify her spelling list, but I do want to change the work. We will complete spelling activities and turn them in, but they will be more "hands on" so it triggers visual and auditory systems. It is so frustrating because I know she worked SO hard.

We'll see how next week goes. I am trying to keep an open mind and keep telling myself this is our first full week of school and we are still all learning. Next week will be better...I don't really want to home school!!!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Emmie's homework this week has been mostly spelling words. She was given 17 words, plus two bonus words which she can't remember and they weren't written on her spelling list she brought home. With CAPD comes many spelling challenges because Emmie doesn't always hear the subtle changes in letter sounds and has problems combing certain sounds, among other things. So, I knew spelling in general was going to be hard work this year. She learns best with repetition, going over the same word over and over again. But, to be honest, it's boring! Since I don't sleep much, I stayed up for hours surfing for ways to make spelling words interactive and fun! Multi-sensory learning is so important for Emmie and many other children. I was determined to find a way where Emmie could feel excited and confident in her spelling. Last night, we had spaghetti for dinner using alphabet was the perfect way to get in a quick spelling lesson while eating dinner together! I also found the following websites, please check them out, especially if you have young children. We had already made flashcards with this weeks words, but tonight I created a crossword puzzle for her with her spelling list. Tonight, I'm going to work on putting together "finger spelling" flash cards with her words so she can practice spelling them using American sign language as well as writing them and saying them out loud. I think signing them along with the auditory and written component will help her "tag team" her senses! We also played spelling hangman, spelled our words with Scrabble tiles, and created an mp3 of the words for her to also listen to. She thought that was funny! Next week, I am planning to use the sign language again as well as the idea for "magic spelling". Since she loves the television show "Wizards of Waverly Place", I think the magic words will be a blast! Basically, you take white construction paper (I'll probably cut the paper into strips) and write one word on each with a white crayon. Then you paint over the strips with watered down tempera paint. And like magic, the word appears! I am so excited!

Homework was horrible tonight. She had to use four of her spelling words and create a question using each word. Then, answer the question. Now, if you know Emmie, then you know she is the QUEEN of questions! She is typically asking me, "Mom, I have four questions", then continues with exactly four questions. It could be silly things like "do the clouds every eat?" to "Can we have pizza for dinner", you really never know what you are going to get. But having to create questions using a spelling word, oh my gosh, it was painful! I secretly wanted to say forget it and just have her write sentences, which is what she kept coming up with. I think we need to practice the who, what, when, where, how even more. She completed the four questions but it took us over an hour. Homework also included practicing addition and subtraction flashcards. Emmie excels in math and was looking forward to practicing. We took a break after the spelling word questions, though. Then, when it was time to work on flashcards she was able to focus. She quickly went through the addition cards with adding 0, 1, 2, 3, and 4. We are planning to practice 5, 6, 7, and 8 tomorrow along with beginning the subtraction cards. We also had to read from the storybook they have been reading in class. The teachers were kind enough to send me home a copy. Emmie has been trying her hardest to remember which page they stop on. Yesterday, she wrote it on her hand. Big no no! Today, I sent her with a small index card with a simple "Today, we read pages _____" so she was able to just fill in the blank. I am very proud that she remembered to fill it in and we read up to page 34 tonight. I'm sending her with another small card tomorrow, although I would like to find a better system for her keeping track (I'm open to ideas, please!). She is requesting a pink card for tomorrow, how dare I send in yellow!

By the time we finished homework, she was exhausted. She has to focus and work so hard during the school day. I wish there was something I could do to make it easier for her, but at least we are trying to make it fun. I can't wait to see what she gets on the spelling test on Friday! Fingers crossed that all our multi-sensory incorporation pays off and she "gets it".

Spelling websites, that I have found so far:

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

On a nerve

In a few days, my husband will be home. As I have mentioned, he is in Germany because the Air Force screwed up and sent him instead of listening to our daughter's needs. Can you tell I'm still alittle bitter about the situation? I know, I'm working through it and exploring options for my rehabilitation. I can not tell you how glad I am that he is coming home. It will be so nice to have extra hands and eyes when it comes to schoolwork! After a long day at work, it's exhausting to sit at the kitchen table after school while the kids work on their homework. Not to mention I still have to juggle all the everyday "mom" chores. I can not wait to say, "Hey Doug, wanna fold that laundry for me"! Because I know he will be happy to lend a hand, always, and I love him for it!

School today was okay. Emmie's teacher informed me that she was chatty today, which doesn't surprise me, especially if they are doing a lot of auditory activities. I think the teacher handled it beautifully by also writing the work on the board. However, she did mention that she didn't write exactly the step by step directions and with Emmie, she needs step by step by step! But, on a positive note, she did say that she noticed once Emmie "understands" what is expected she completes the activity correctly. Obviously, we still have struggles but she tries her best. It was encouraging for me to hear that the teacher is trying to learn more about Emmie and about CAPD. It's so hard to explain to people what CAPD is, because when you look or talk to Emmie, she's a regular everyday kid! But, I think we are making progress and the teacher is realizing Emmie's needs during the class day and is willing to help her succeed.

On another "classroom note", I have a complaint and trying to work out how to approach it. Remember the mom I spoke of that is in Emmie's class, she is seriously on my nerves. Her child is a fourth grader and she still finds it necessary to be in Emmie's classroom. Today it was to put up a bulletin board. First, my child has enough distractions she doesn't need more. And if you knew this mom, you would know she is a distraction. Two, I have had horrible experiences with her comparing her kids to mine. I hate that. Hate is a strong word, and I hate when people compare kids. Our daughters were together a few years ago and all year it was one thing after another, from her trying to compare test grades, reading levels, etc. Her daughter struggled, while mine excelled. I just have this eerie feeling that she is trying to see how Emmie is doing. And finally, she loves to gossip. I don't want her around my kids and there is no reason for her to be in the classroom, especially when their are parents of children in there that would have put up that bulletin board. I haven't found the way to approach this yet, but I need to soon. I just want to say MOVE ON and worry about your own kids class! UGH. I am running out of nerves!

Tomorrow is another day...

Monday, August 24, 2009


It's Monday. I'm not fond of Monday's. After a nice, relaxing weekend waking up to the alarm is annoying! The kids were up and dressed, fed and ready to go about twenty minutes before usual! Wow, bright eyed and bushy tailed and ready for their first full week of school.

I realized today that not a lot of people understand CAPD and how it affects Emmie's everyday life. Her homework was to write her spelling words using a triangle method. I am assuming the teacher drew an example on the board and Emmie copied it. I haven't graduated from Secret Spy School, so I am not sure how to decipher Emmie's "triangle code". So, I THINK she did it correctly but I really have no idea! Homework this week seems to be a lot of writing. Emmie struggles in spelling because she is unable to distinguish between certain letter sounds. Homework also includes reading which is something we do every night anyway. The problem is the book they are reading in class. BLAH! We re-read what is read during the school day and I have to take Emmie's word on what was read, since I don't know. The AR level on the book is 2.9, we are SO not at that level yet! She stumbles over so many words and doesn't seem to have the comprehension of what was just read. I feel horrible because I don't know what to do in order to help her. I am lost.

I feel like our life rafts were taken away and we are left with nothing. Paddling in this lonely ol' pond of water with a hole in our boat. Some days it feels like the boat is fine, other days it's filling with water quickly. How do we get out of the boat? How do we get the help she needs, the support she needs? We have no family even remotely close to us for help and support and no real system in place to support CAPD in on our base, local community, or schools. I think people underestimate the effects it has on Emmie because she puts on one heck of a front. She fakes it. She gets through the day without you noticing because she has ways to cast your eyes on a different boat. Emmie could reach so much higher if she had the tools she needs...sadly, we are stuck paddling in circles. SOS. SOS. SOS.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

M&M, yummy!

Have you ever been frustrated and everything that crosses your path just makes you even more frustrated? That's where I am right now. I am so frustrated with school, but yet I keep telling myself that we have only had two days and to give everyone the benefit of the doubt. I am so frustrated with my husband being gone, but yet I keep telling myself he will finally be home this week. I am so frustrated with the lack of resources for my daughter, but yet I keep telling myself that she will succeed and I will walk on water to make it happen. I'm just frustrated!

Everyday after school, I have a pretty in depth conversations with the kids on their school day. I try my best not to ask yes/no questions and to get them plugged in and talking! So, Friday was no different as I asked Emmie about her day at school. She told me over and over they have completed no reading assignments. On the day I met her teacher, she gave me a book that the students would be reading out of and I requested to be told if they did read from it so I could re-read it with Emmie that evening. "Nope, mom, no reading yet." Tonight, while asking her a random question about crayon colors and how macaroni and cheese crayons weren't around when I was little, she proceeds to tell me they have been reading a book in class. WHAT? A book? She describes the cover and I quickly realize it's the same book the teacher handed me. I had no idea they had started their readings yet! I asked her what story and she flipped through the book and found it. She read the title out loud and I asked her to tell me what the story was about. She turned a few pages and came to a picture. She described the picture. That's it. That is when the story ended. She could tell me nothing more of it, but what was happening in the picture. Now, if I would have known about this story we could have read it Friday and today, then again tomorrow and possibly Monday morning. This is her first classroom story and repetition works for her! I am frustrated with this situation, but on the other hand I am trying my best to let it roll off my back and chalk it up to "it was only the first two days of school, we are adjusting".

I am then told by a former mom of this class that she is preparing a project in that class. I make a comment like, "does the teacher know she has parents willing to help". Her response was basically she is particular on who helps her, this former parent does all her copies and prep work, and she doesn't know if other parents or helpers will be in the room because this parent doesn't interrupt her while teaching like some in the past. am I suppose to take that? I have volunteered in every one of my kids classrooms since kindergarten and find this very offensive. Just because parents in the past have caused troubles, doesn't mean we are all alike! I am frustrated because I feel like we aren't given a fair chance, but then again this is what this parent said, is it really how the teacher feels?

On a positive note, they did complete a Science project in the classroom. Emmie came home yesterday head over heels in love with this project. Of course, we had to purchase the materials to try this project at home today! We spent a whopping $0.69 on a package of M&M candies for this project! After dinner and bath, Emmie took the reins and presented "Science 101" to us. She took a small glass bowl, filled it halfway with water. Then very carefully placed four M&M candies in the bowl, M side up. Of course, I think she ate a few too, but that's all in the name of research, right? She directed us to watch closely! We watched in amazement as the candy colored coating melted away, leaving the bottom portion of the water mirroring a rainbow. Keep watching, she proclaimed! Slowly, each of the M designs came apart from the candy and floated to the top. Carrington and Jensen thought that was the neatest thing! After all, what is that M made of? I can not tell you how wonderful it was to see Emmie in "action" and so confident. The fact she was able to come home and repeat the steps was wonderful. This was tactile, something she could touch, something she could be involved in..that is why she succeeded. She is a "show what I know" kid and she rocked this project demo :) It was a great way to end the night.

Now, if I could only find a way to make spelling and reading tactile and multi-sensory enough to where she "gets it". I am frustrated, but we are trying!

Friday, August 21, 2009

The best ID ever!

We survived the first week of school. Okay, so we only had school two days this week but we lived to tell the tale! I am very glad it's the weekend so we have time to relax and reflect.

Emmie, I think, had an okay day. Their desks have been moved so I will be watching to see how that goes. The first day their desks were all facing forward and I really felt that was the best opportunity for Emmie to see the speaker and stay engaged, without the distractions of the group style seating. However, today, their desks were moved to groups. Apparently the teachers were having a hard time moving around the room with the desk the other way. I can understand that, after all in California our K-3 increased from 20 students to 28 students. Eight isn't a big number but when you have an extra eight kids with another eight sets of probably seems like 20 more kids in there! I will be monitoring this seating situation.

The best part of Emmie's day occurred after school though. We stopped by to visit the Special Education teacher. We didn't see her at lunch because they cut back the hours and staff in her classroom, so it wasn't a safe situation to have her students in lunch. Not enough eyes and hands to help the kids in that large of an environment. So, to be safe, they had lunch in their classroom. Emmie really connected with one of her students last year. Apparently, this year if there is a time where Emmie needs to "work" to have a reward then the reward is going to be going into that classroom and helping out. She was so excited and has been talking about it ALL night. At dinner, she sat down and proclaimed she was going to eat all her dinner and put her plate in the dishwasher so she could have her "job". I am so proud that she wants to work hard and the reward is also helping other students! I'm not sure yet how I will implement this reward during school and if I will also carry her behavioral requirements to the house as well. I am thinking of a simple sticker chart at home, or maybe a chore that she has to complete during the week. I will have to speak more to her Resource Specialist (the Superwoman) and her Classroom teacher. But, I'm so excited for her :)

On another note, I have an awesome recommendation for you! Let me explain. I require Emmie to wear a medical id bracelet. I have done extension research on the benefits of wearing a medical id bracelet, even for children with mild communication disorders like CAPD. After all, better safe than sorry, right? I searched and searched for the perfect "kid friendly" bracelet. I found a company and emailed them a list of questions to confirm it would work for Emmie. They gave me all the right answers and I ordered her a bracelet. She has had it for about a month and it isn't working out. The band will not stay tight and the cover is beginning to peel off. I emailed them and they gave me a full refund. So, I had to start thinking outside the box. I needed it to be durable. Emmie can be a girly girl, but she can also climb a tree like a pro and dig the best hole with a spoon! I found a wonderful company called Road ID. They make identification bracelets, dog tags, and shoe id's for athletes. I found it on the Runner's World website when I was training for a half marathon, however it didn't occur to me until a few days ago that it would be perfect for Emmie as well! I ordered one and it arrived today. I LOVE IT. I LOVE IT. I LOVE IT. I can not say that enough! Durable band, Velcro closure so it grows with her, stainless steel "information" plate. The price is very reasonable at $19.99 each. And the best part is you can change the plate! So, if my phone number changes or we need to add anything, I just buy a new plate! It also comes in a variety of colors! She also likes it..which is a huge bonus! So, if you need an identification bracelet for sports, field trips, travel, or situations like Emmie...I HIGHLY recommend Road ID! I'm ordering one for myself soon for when I run :)

Whew! Thank goodness we survived....hopefully next week will go smoothly!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

May I use the restroom?

It's the first day of school! It's the first day of school! Ahh, visions of Nemo are running through my head! If you haven't figured it out, today was the first day of third grade! Emmie was the second one up this morning, Jensen always wakes up with the sun! She was quickly dressed in her new outfit and ready for school. We arrived at school early to a mound of chaos! This year, because of base leaderships wonderful (and I use that term loosely) idea to restructure the schools, we had about 400 new students! Of course with 400 new students on the first day come new parents who have no idea where to go! It was crazy! But Emmie found her line and both her teachers were outside introducing themselves to the students. I was very happy to see both outside taking this opportunity to speak with parents and shake the kids hands. It is certainly a major stress relief and really helps the kids start the day comfortably. I saw Emmie again, briefly, at lunchtime. She seemed to be having a good day, although I didn't have time to talk to her. See, I work in the lunchroom and remember those 400 new students...yeah, they all have to eat lunch! After school, Emmie came out and didn't quite look like her usual bouncy self. I asked her about her day and she said she was tired. Apparently the teachers talked a lot, according to her, and she was tired. I am sure they did talk a lot, explaining the rules and what to expect this year. I think it was just too much for her, but that's okay. I think she handled it well, at least I hope she did in the classroom. After asking her questions about the day, like did you have to do any writing, did you do math today, etc. I found out why she wasn't acting like herself. She was worried. According to Emmie, the teachers told them they were not allowed to go to the bathroom and if they did they would be put on the wall (which means they sit on the wall and lose recess). OF COURSE, I do not believe it was actually said that way. However, this is what Emmie heard and processed. I told her we would talk to her teacher. I figured it was something like my son's teacher last year...because the kids have plenty of time to use the restroom during recess, she encouraged them to use their time wisely and use the restroom before they came into the classroom. They were also given little sticks they had to turn in if they wanted to use the restroom during class, if you had sticks at the end of the week, there was a prize because you used your time wisely. I have a feeling that is where Emmie's teacher was going with this...teaching them to use their time wisely. Obviously, everyone has an emergency. But it shouldn't be every day when you walk back into the classroom from recess when you had plenty of time to go before. Anyway, so I sent Emmie in to make sure the students had left the classroom and the teacher didn't have a parent in there. Emmie couldn't see anyone, so I waited a minute for my other two kids to get out of school then headed in there. When I went in, there was one parent in there..but not a parent from her class. Apparently this parent has worked with this teacher for years..I know her, so I just sat on the edge of a desk and thought I would wait for her to finish gathering her projects to complete. Then, another parent walked in the door. This second parent also does not have a child in the classroom and tends to be a parent who gossips and finds out all she can about your kid so she can compare them to her kid. She also sported copies she was making. I admit I was frustrated and probably overreacted, but I left. Sorry, but I had the thought of "focus on your own kids classroom" running through my head!! After arriving home, we found out more about the kids days at school. Carrington and Jensen seemed to have a nice day and for that I am very grateful! I only got bits and pieces of Emmie's day and frankly I don't know how much of it she "got". I do know they talked about science and writing your name in a book if you don't follow rules. But the one that sticks out in her mind and that is bothering her is the whole restroom thing. I tried to explain to her, to the best of my ability, what I "think" the teacher meant. But, there were tears right before bed because she was worried she would have to use the restroom and would lose her recess because of it. UGH! I think I was finally able to convince her that she could use the restroom if she had too, but make good choices and try to use it at recess. Again, I absolutely do not think that is what the teacher said or meant. But it's hard when that is what she processed. I would have liked to know what was said and how it went wrong for Emmie. That's another part of CAPD that is like a puzzle to me. What goes wrong, when does it go wrong, and how did it go wrong? Sometimes I wish I had all the answers.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The time is here

I had the opportunity to meet Emmie's new teachers today. Of course I adore Mrs. D and have known her for a few years now, just through passing in the hallways of school and the occasional chat. Mrs. W will be co-teaching with her and is new to our school. I met with them briefly about what to expect with Emmie and gave them a short CAPD and Emmie 101 folder. They both are delightful and seem to understand Emmie's needs. Both seem more than willing to work with her and her needs, and me as the parent. It certainly puts some of my fears at bay. I think this is going to be a good year for Emmie with two fabulous teachers.

Emmie's STAR results arrived today. The STAR test is the California Standardized Testing and Reporting program which basically means it's a test students takes to see where they are based on students across the state. Personally, I don't put a lot of stock in these tests. A child could take the same test two days in a role and score differently both times. I don't think this is a measure of what my child knows or a measure of my child period. It's interesting to read over them and see where their strengths were at that time, but I'm not going to put a label on my child based on these results. However, some parents live by these tests. I personally only use them for informational purposes. So, Emmie's test arrived and according to the test her highest score came in "measurement and geometry". Her lowest range was a tie between "word analysis and vocabulary development" and "written conventions". This test isn't modified for Emmie, however she does take the test in the Resource room to allow for minimal distractions and extra test taking time. Obviously, if you struggle to read the question you aren't going to pass a test. So, the results were scanned and tucked nicely back in the envelope they arrived in. I know my kid and I know she's more than just a line graph on a piece of paper!

Tomorrow is our first day of school. Emmie is nervous and can't seem to remember her teacher's name! Poor thing! I am hoping once she gets there and sees people she knows, she will relax. The problem is our school only has about 40 families returning and about 400 new families. The process of a base realignment from a clueless Commander. What ever happened to putting the kids first? Politics..that's all it's about these days.

I can't wait to tell you about our first day of third day!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

They don't get it

This week has been nuts! The kids start school on Thursday and I think the school will be ready. There were many times I thought there was no way the school would be finished, they still had a whole hallway of classrooms to carpet and paint. But, alas, the custodians never cease to amaze me! The teachers were allowed in their classrooms today and it doesn't leave them a lot of time to prepare their classrooms. We usually have an ice cream social, where parents and students are able to come and meet their teacher and see their school. However, that event has been canceled. Of course I realize the teachers are on edge because they have a lot of work on their hands! I understand they don't want to have parents in their classroom when it's not at it's best. But, having a special needs child, I am very upset that she will not have the opportunity to see her classroom and connect with her teacher. I think a lot of people underestimate the need for her, and a lot of other children, to have that brief face-to-face with their teacher. Add in the fact that her teacher co-teaches, meaning she will have two teachers teaching the teacher will work a few days a week, the other teacher will work the rest. I am looking forward to both of these ladies teaching my daughter, but it also adds an extra level of stress on her at first. It is going to take longer for her to adjust to both teachers and teaching styles. And frankly, if one more person tells me that she will be fine, I am not going to be responsible for my actions! I know she will be fine, however, you are also only seeing the cover of the book of Emmie! Anyway, that's another soapbox.

I spoke with Joan from Cued Speech via email today. I am very excited to be working with her on an intervention model with Emmie. She is taking a little bit of time off and we are hoping to start in September. I think we will start with a twice a month class which will be affordable for me. I am hoping to increase to more, but we can't afford that now. But, we have to start somewhere. It's certainly not like Tri-Care is going to lend a hand!

Today in the mail arrived a new, shiny Mayer-Johnson catalog! I will be ordering the Boardmaker program soon :) I am hoping things calm down this week after the kids start school, so I can sit down and flip through their catalog and place an order. I am excited to add picture communication to Emmie's everyday activities and school work. The extra visual cues will do wonders for her confidence!

Some days she struggles so hard and she tries just as hard to keep up. Emmie did say she was looking forward to taking reading tests (AR) and she wants to make 100 points! I am so glad she has set the goal for herself! Every 20 points we get ice cream, wow, I may need to bump up the exercise if she goes for 100 points! We had a number of times today where she didn't understand me or didn't hear me, especially when she was helping me write her name on all the school supplies. She also keeps turning the television up when she watches a show. She has had two pure-tone hearing screenings and her hearing is fine, but I think she has trouble processing what a character is saying..especially if it's a commerical where you don't always "see" the speaker. I'm going to keep an eye on that and monitor the volume. I did find these awesome ear buds for her ipod. They fit perfectly around the ear and have an awesome volume control where they can't go up any louder than a conversational tone. No matter how loud you try to turn up the ipod, the volume will not go up when there ear buds are plugged in. LOVE THEM!!

I know I am rambling, mainly because I am so stressed about the first day of school and how Emmie's day is going to go. I know her and I know if she is nervous and anxious, she is going to make herself sick. She knows she struggles and she doesn't want anyone to think she's different, especially if she doesn't know her new teachers. Luckily, I know at least one of the teachers and am able to tell Emmie what I know. Hopefully that will help, because right now, that's all I have to make her comfortable :(

Sunday, August 16, 2009

A lot of love in one scoop!

Good evening folks! Above is a photo of Emmie taken today at Fenton's. Yes, that scoop of ice cream is pretty close to the size of her head! Today was Becky's birthday, I have mentioned her before. She was a wonderful person and friend and Emmie was especially fond of her. We lost her last October and today had our own celebration of love in her honor. We went to Fenton's for ice cream with her husband, Moose, one of her sons, Chad, and his most darling girlfriend, Miss Vanessa! Emmie ordered the kids banana split! I know obesity is a huge problem in our country..I wonder why? That's a kids size?! WOWZA! She had a blast and of course she loves Moose and finds Miss Vanessa and Mr. Chad to be a delight. I can tell you I heard their name in more than one sentence on the way home including in the sentence, "Can you call Miss Vanessa and tell her I love her?" "Oh, can I write her a letter too?" One day, her and Chad are going to make amazing parents to a very blessed child. They are extremely patient with Emmie, and trust me, that's a hard one sometimes! But, Emmie isn't attached to many people, but anyone could love this family, and I think Miss Vanessa is a keeper!

The problem I have with Emmie around other people is socialization. She usually enjoys being around people, especially if she is attached to me. But I worry because she can't read social cues and tends to be louder than most. She can't tell when she's being too loud or too rowdy, she can't tell that you have had enough, or that what she is doing may be rude, not funny, or just funny and fine! She also has visual distractiblity, meaning she has a hard time focusing if there is movement around her. For example, if you are in a place like Fenton's where people are having a handful of conversations around her and you are asking her a question, she may not hear you because she notices the waitress walking toward the table. She may give you an answer without hearing and processing exactly what you said or how you said/meant it. I do use hand signals to show her when enough if enough, when to stop, when to listen, etc. It provides the extra visual cue in situations where it's not appropriate for me to talk across the table. Socialization is something we are working on but also something I struggle to teach her. Teaching a person to read other people and how they are feeling is pretty hard!

On another note, the President of the National Cued Speech Association emailed me. After reading his email, I laughed. He certainly understands the same screwed up system I am dealing with. Bless his heart. I think this is the start of a beautiful relationship between me and Cued Speech!

Well, I'm exhausted! It was another hot day in our house, but we enjoyed spending time with Moose and his family. And as you can see, Emmie had a sticky, ice cream blast too!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Man, it's HOT!

Our air conditioning isn't working and hasn't since Thursday, however the housing maintenance folks claim it has to be over 90 degrees in my house for it to be an emergency. We are all miserable, so that is why I didn't post yesterday and why it's so late today!

This is our last weekend before school starts and I'm feeling more and more overwhelmed. I am so nervous and excited about the first day of school. My children's principal has done her best to place the kids where all the parents requested and I can not thank her enough for her tireless efforts. I now know where Emmie will be placed. She will be with a team of two teachers. One teacher I adore and I'm very excited to have this year. I have admired her for years and I think her gentle nature, her patient spirit, and her love of art is just what Emmie needs. I have to admit I'm nervous about the other teacher. I have heard wonderful things about her but it's the feeling of "unknown" that makes me uneasy. I also worry about the stability and how it will affect Emmie to have two teachers. But, I'm going to have faith and play it by ear. I'm not one of those irate parents, so if there are issues, I know we will be able to work through them. However, I don't see there being any! Positive thoughts!!

I have been chatting with Emmie's Speech teacher through email. She is also gearing up for the students she will see during this year. She mentioned she has been taking a class on teaching children to read. I am so excited to hear all about what she has learned! Emmie loves her and her Resource Super team. I know without a doubt that she would not be where she is today without these wonderful ladies! I look forward to another year with them on her side!

Sorry folks, I know this is a short one. We're miserable in this heat!! More coming..promise :)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

That crazy bear

Tonight was chapter 2 of "Little Bear" titled Birthday Soup. So, while I love children's literature, why is it they have to put illustrations on every page telling what the story is about? Okay, so I understand why they do it..but come on, they're killing me! You see, if you watch Emmie read, her eyes aren't always on the words while she's reading a sentence. If she starts to fumble with a word or two her eyes wonder right to the illustration. Then, instead of going back to the words she tries to figure out, quickly, what is happening and makes up the story based on the drawing on the page. For example, in this chapter Little Bear can't find his mother and it's his birthday. So, he decides to make a birthday soup for his friends, who are coming over. In one picture it shows Cat handing Little Bear an apple, while Little Bear is standing by the black pot that holds the soup. So, Emmie reads the line where the Cat tells Little Bear Happy Birthday perfectly. But in the next line the Cat is asking Little Bear if he can really cook...this is where the fumbling comes along and instead Emmie's story adds in Cat hands Little Bear an apple for his Birthday Soup. Of course the Cat was handing him an apple, but not for his soup, for his birthday! I totally get the need for illustrations, but sometimes they can be frustrating!

So, we finish the chapter and of course follow on to the comprehension questions. I asked her a few random ones about last night's chapter and she tells me the correct answers. That bear still has his fur coat and she even explains to me why she doesn't have a "fur coat". Apparently she just has "fuzzy, regular skin". Nice. I have a fuzzy child. Anyway, I asked her what Little Bear put in his soup. As it was mentioned twice in the chapter the four ingredients that he added. She was only able to tell me two plus the apple, which I had already corrected when she was fumbling over the words. Also, I asked her who attended Little Bear's birthday as he had three friends over. Attending the party were Hen, Duck, and Cat. However, because of the illustrations and the fact she really didn't remember words her answer was the Cat and a Goose. The Duck really did look like a Goose in the story, I'll give her that. But she couldn't remember reading the Duck was there. It's a work in progress!

I also had a very generous offer from a friend to purchase the Boardmaker program. I appreciate the generosity so much, but I'm secretly hoping this amazing person takes that money and treats himself to a weekend getaway or something fun to celebrate him! We'll see, he's pretty stubborn and has a tendency not to listen!! But we love him! :)

Take Care folks! It's going to be a busy weekend since it's the last one before school starts! YIKES! So much to do, so little time!!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

A bear has a fur coat? Really?

Okay, I know I said I would see you on Tuesday, but Tuesday went by way to fast! We spent the day at a friends house and the kids had a blast playing together. My friend has three boys, one of who has a special need. Emmie and him are stuck like glue! It's funny to see kids and their different personalities and quirks. It's amazing to see who they mesh with and how. They were exhausted when we arrived home and we all just settled in and relaxed the night away.

So, here we are today, Wednesday. This time next week we will be double checking backpacks, ensuring hair ribbons match outfits, and sharping pencils! It is so hard to believe school starts next week. Where in the world did summer go? My oldest two are ready to go back to school and have a break from mom (of course mom volunteers and works at the school so they really don't get a break) but they are sick of me telling them it's time to read!

Speaking of reading, tonight I allowed Emmie to chose a book to read. I have to admit, I was hoping for Fluffy the guinea pig or that crazy Wombat. Of course she make a completely different selection and arrived on the couch with a Little Bear book. Me and that bear have a good relationship, but secretly Fluffy is the main man! She sat next to me and read the title. After opening the first page and reading the first line or two I knew it was going to be a long chapter. I paused her and grabbed a story strip. I am sure these have an actual name, but I call them story stripes. They are used to highlight the line you are reading, while covering up the line before and after. Allow her to focus on what she is reading and it doesn't just look like a jumbled mess! The story strip helped, but not as much as I was hoping. She stumbled on simple words like see, she, and here. A few times she corrected herself immediately after realizing she made a mistake. Which actually impressed me! But sometimes she didn't know she made a mistake like when she read "Hurray! Now I will not be cold." Well that line came out "Hurry, No I will now be cold." When I stopped her and read the sentence that she said out loud, I asked her what it meant. Her response was, "well, it means now he's cold and his mom should hurry and help him." Hmmm.....comprehension, need to work on that more! Don't get me wrong, we work on comprehension a LOT but apparently I need to stress it even more. Anyway, we finished the chapter with no tears. After we read the chapter, I asked her six questions about what happened in the chapter and she was able to provide the correct responses. Basically Little Bear was cold, his mom made a hat, still cold, add in a jacket and then snow pants. Still cold, she took everything back and left him with his fur coat! Which of course kept him warm. So, one of my questions was, "Where did Little Bear find the fur coat?" Emmie let out a big "WHAT?" I looked at her a little confused. She went on.."Did you pay attention? He HAD the fur coat on him." "On him? What does that mean?" She gives me another "WHAT? He's a bear, mom. We should read it again."

No, honey, I was paying attention. Just make sure you were :)

Monday, August 10, 2009


"What did you say?", this seemed to be the theme for today. Emmie asked me what day is it, for some reason she is always concerned about what day it is and if it is Thursday or Friday or if we what she will wear three days from now. So, this morning was no different than any other. "What's today?", she said before I could even get out of bed. I responded with a very groggy, "It's Monday, Emmie." And our conversation went as it typically does. "Sunday?" "No Emmie, it's Monday". Then comes the "What did you say?". Mind you, she is standing right in front of me but she just can't seem to process what I said. This happens all to often I can predict exactly how the conversation will go and nearly always what day she will think I said. It happened later in the day as I asked her to feed the cat. About three seconds after I asked her to feed the cat, her and Jensen were arguing over who was going to get him water. Emmie argued that I said she was to get him water. "Emmie, I asked you to feed the cat but thank you for getting him water". She looked at me with a bit of confusion, "Oh..I didn't hear you.". Okay, got it. No big deal. Jensen went on about his business, he's use to having a little annoying sister after all :)

There is a program I have been looking into. It's called "Boardmaker" and it's made by the Mayer-Johnson company. They have a few different versions, but I have been looking at the Boardmaker v.6 program. Their website says, "Boardmaker v.6 software is widely regarded as the essential tool for adapting symbol-based printed activities for students with special needs. A symbol database combined with an easy-to-use drawing program, Boardmaker features more than 4,500 Picture Communication Symbols (PCS) in 44 languages, all in both color and black-and-white." There are several things about the Boardmaker program that I think would benefit Emmie. First, it would allow me to make visual schedules for her so she would know it's Monday and what to expect at different times during the day. She doesn't adapt to change well and being prepared for the day would benefit her. With the picture system, I would be able to create educational and living schedules for her. For example, when we work on her summertime work here, I use a "learning card" that I made for her. She uses the visual card to reinforce that she is to "listen, repeat, and say" the words I give her. Boardmaker would allow me to expand this throughout her day to day activities at home and at school, including picture directions for brushing her teeth and getting ready for school. I would also be able to create picture stories for her to follow along with classroom work. During class, if there is a book on tape or a reading activity, Emmie struggles to follow along. She suffers from an "auditory overload" and basically tunes it out and finds something to keep her occupied thus missing the assignment and story. Being able to create a picture story will allow her to follow along using both her auditory and visual skills. It also allows you to drag and drop images and create your own personalized picture cards, so the possibilities for learning are endless. There are only a FEW things this wonderful program could do to help Emmie. The problem is this program cost $329! Granted, it's a wonderful program but far from our budget. But, I have mentioned the program in another post, so I wanted you to be familiar with it in case I mention it again...and I'm sure I will.

Again before I tucked her into bed, she always asks "What's tomorrow". "Tomorrow is Tuesday." And, right on cue comes the, "Oh, I thought today was Tuesday". "No, Emmie, today was Monday". "Well, I asked you this morning and you said Tuesday". "I said it was Monday, but that's okay, you didn't miss anything".

See you tomorrow folks...yeah..on Tuesday!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Can't fix what's not broken

Last night I was online chatting with the mom of one of Emmie's friends. Emmie and her daughter have been in the same class for the last few years. She asked about our move and I explained that we wouldn't be moving to Germany because they couldn't support Emmie's special educational needs. "What's wrong with her?", she said. Um, excuse me? What is wrong with her? Nothing is wrong with her. It's not like she has a cold or a broken toe. The conversation pretty much ended there. I could have went on to explain Emmie's auditory processing disorder, but for some reason, I felt like it wouldn't have done any good. In her eyes, something was "wrong" with Emmie and I took offense to that. There is nothing we need to do to "fix her". She is fine just the way she is!!!!

A similar situation occurred to another friend of mine. Her son wears hearing aides. Apparently they were at a local Chuck E. Cheese establishment and a little girl was making fun of him for his hearing aides. He wasn't going to take it and marched her to her mother and told her what happened. This little boy is the most amazing kid to have the confidence and strength to stand up for himself (he's going into the 2nd grade). He is certainly a rock star!

What sort of world are we living in? What are we teaching our children about people who are different from them? Are we teaching understanding, patience, acceptance? Or are we raising judgemental little brats? Are they learning by how we treat other people?

I guess Dr. Seuss said it best, "A person's a person, no matter how small". In my eyes, Emmie is just a regular kid. She requires extra care, a little extra time and patience. She needs you to approach her in a different manner than some, but she is far from broken. She typically doesn't realize when someone is making fun of her and for that I'm both grateful and sad. I want her to stand up for herself like little Mr. Rock Star. But for now, she is the most loving and accepting little girl. She doesn't care what color you are, what your hair looks like, what clothes you are wearing, or if you brought tuna or peanut butter to school...she cares that you are nice to her. What a wonderful perspective she has on people!!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Dance your night away

Another letter from Tri-Care came in the mail today. The subject was "Factual denial with appeal rights". What? The letter, in short, states that our request for speech therapy was denied. Big surprise?!? I think not. Apparently the Tri-care Policy Manual Chapter 1, section 1.1 indicates "that services and supplies paid for, or eligible for payment, directly or indirectly by a local, state, or Federal Government, except as provided under Tri-Care, or by government hospitals serving the general public, or medical care provided by a Uniformed Service medical facility, or benefits provided under title XIX of the Social Security Act are specifically excluded from Tri-Care coverage." Please don't ask me to explain what that means. I hate to admit, I have no clue! I am reading it as if Emmie receives speech at school then Tri-Care will not support any additional speech program. But how do they make that determination? Nowhere in the letter is her auditory processing addressed. All students receive an eye and hearing exam at school but yet Tri-Care still covers one a year. All students also receive a quick little dental exam during dental week at school, but Tri-Care still covers one a year. Apparently with the medical care in this country helping our children, who happen to be the FUTURE of this country, isn't a top priority. Heaven forbid our insurance company contribute positively to the future of this country.

I am just so done. There isn't another way to explain it. The whole insurance thing has left me so bitter and frankly just plain pissed. So, do we appeal and go through more frustrations? Or do I just try to get a second job to help pay for her additional services because the military pay sure isn't going to cut it.

Anyway, okay I'm finished complaining at least for tonight. Today with Emmie was frustrating. I think because it's summertime and she is tired of being around mom! Let's face it, with Dad gone since March, I'm all they have here and we are all tired of each other! She was able to use her creativeness today. During her art therapy session, we decided to get out the oil pastels, which isn't something we use often and it tends to be a real treat for her. She created a beautiful ocean scene complete with fish and Spongebob. Yes, Spongebob lives in the ocean folks. Of course her need for tactile stimulation didn't stop there! She quickly washer her hands, rolled up her sleeves, and rolled cake balls out with me. We had a little misinterpreting, but for the most part it went well. The kids seemed to fight more today than EVER. Which I attribute to the fact we all need a break from each other.

But, the perfect end to the night is Emmie getting out of the bathtub and putting on her pj's. Which consisted of a pink and green satin night shirt that belonged to a dear friend named Becky. Mrs. Becky passed away last October, but she is with us everyday of our lives. Emmie was especially attached to Mrs. Becky and finds so much comfort in dancing around the living room in "Mrs. Becky's fancy dress", as this particular night shirt is named. So, I'll sit here for awhile and watch her dance with the spirit of Becky running through her. Trust me, friends, I certainly need a spirit lift these days!


Thursday, August 6, 2009

A dream

I read the most wonderful quote today. I collect quotes and poems in an old golden journal. Some of them are from my childhood and throughout high school. Some are related to the military or to my southern roots. I find comfort in the words of others. But today, I read a quote that really made me stop and think. It went like this:

"Tell me, I forget. Show me, I remember. Involve me, I understand."

EXACTLY! It was typed in a small black frame with a beautiful painted flower. It said it was a Chinese proverb. That was the perfect quote for our life with Emmie. If we tell her, she forgets it within seconds. If we show her, often she'll remember but not always all or in the order or way she was shown. But if we involve her, she understands which then leads to her remembering and progressing! What a beautiful concept!

We had an appointment this morning with the Director from the West Coast Cued Speech Program in Vacaville. Her name is Joan and she was the nicest lady! The kids loved her! All three kept commenting on how nice she was and how fun her office is. I had read about Cued Speech online but wanted to learn more about the program and if it would benefit Emmie. She came in on her day off to meet with me and encourage me to bring the other two kids. Cued Speech is a simple sound based system, which, uses eight hand shapes for consonant groups cued at four locations for the vowel groups. According to her therapy model, the auditory processing therapy is a multi-sensory approach for increasing auditory memory. Multi-Sensory is MY favorite type of learning because it incorporates visual cues, tactile information, motor planning experiences, and imagery. They have four "centers" they use for therapy. The first is a work center, where the child sits at a desk and does "teacher directed" school work. Next they move to the themed area, this month was Ocean Life, with mounds of ocean beanie babies and information next to her chair. Third is an activity of sorts, a board game, a puzzle, something that gets everyone in the floor and communicating. After all, we all learn and are engaged when learning is fun! And finally, they end with story time. She also encourages "whole family" involvement, including parents and siblings. The cost isn't bad, but to be honest, as an enlisted family I'm not sure we can afford it. After all, we are receiving zero support from our insurance company.

Today I was told by our insurance company they needed additional information but she couldn't confirm what information was needed. So I figured tomorrow I would deliver a copy of Emmie's IEP and report from The Listening Center to them, that way they have no excuses. The Tri-Care lady also informed me that the referral for speech therapy would "probably" be canceled since Emmie receives speech at school. Does the Tri-Care office have a processing issue? Seriously? I understand Emmie receives speech at school, as well as Resource support. However, she is getting pulled from class for this time. I would like her to be in a private, after school program, which can include more one-on-one instruction and possibly introduce other programs such as the Lindamood-Bell. Do people nowadays just not want the best for their kids? I feel like I'm some outcast walking into the Tri-Care office. Like how dare I care about what happens to my child! How dare I want MORE for her? How dare I use our insurance!

Why can't I find a wonderful speech therapist, who will work after school, on a very reasonable payment plan? Ahhhh, a girl can dream!!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Just Tuesday

Today I received a phone call from the Pediatric Clinic. The lady explained that the referral had been on her desk since last week and she wasn't sure why it hadn't been processed. She told me the Tri Care office needed a copy of her IEP. Seriously? I explained to her that I went to the Tri Care office yesterday and what was said. If all they needed was her IEP, why not just ask me while I was sitting at their desk? Or better yet, get off your butt and get her actual medical record! That's a concept! The medical record which holds everything they can put on paper about my child, including her IEP and report from Dr. Swain. I really can not understand why these people don't communicate with one another. We left the phone call with a "I'll call you back when I hear something". Whatever.

We have a little over two weeks until school starts and I have started putting together a letter for Emmie's teacher. I want the teacher to be prepared to support Emmie and aware of her needs. I am really not sure what the teachers receive prior to the first day of school and I don't want there to be any miscommunication or no communication about Emmie. This has been a hard letter to write. I want it to reflect the areas of concern, strategies and ways to help her in the classroom, as well as her strengths and the areas she particularly excels in. I don't want the teacher to feel like I'm telling him/her how to run their classroom, but I also know Emmie is going to need certain things in the classroom. She will need to sit close to the teacher/speaker, little to no background noise, not seated looking at a window or near the door, no busy wall displays to minimize visual distractions, the use of a planner, to receive all important information in written form, pre-taught certain concepts, etc. Finding a way to tell the teacher everything I want to tell her/him, without overwhelming them or offending them, is HARD! I guess I'll figure it out, but if you have any ideas on how to present this information, please share!

Emmie had a good day today. Although lately I have noticed an increase in her inability to discriminate certain sounds. From time to time, there has always been a problem in this area, but here lately it is more noticeable. It happened three times today, where a word was misinterpreted for something different. Also, I noticed today was a few more of the "huh?" than usual. But this I have noticed comes when she is tired, after a long day or after a lot of reading or schoolwork. She goes into auditory overload and the huh's are plugged in. She is getting enough sleep, often 10 plus hours. I am wondering if we need to have quiet time during the day for her to rest. When Carrington and Jensen got too old for naps, we would have "quiet time" while Emmie napped. They would go into their rooms, or find a comfy spot on the couch and would just relax listening to music, reading a book, or coloring. Something quiet for 20 minutes or so. I guess I'll have to keep my eye out on her over the next few days and see if quiet time will benefit her.

More tomorrow folks!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Not again.

Last week, I mentioned we went to the doctor in the hopes of receiving a referral for Speech and Language services to help supplement what she receives at school. Today, I got an email that our referral was processed. I was excited and quickly logged into our insurance website to read the referral. And guess what? They screwed it up! Big surprise huh? The insurance approved one evaluation and 50 visits to The Listening Center for "speech and hearing services". The Listening Center does not provide speech and language pathology, instead they provide the program called "Tomatis". Long story short, the Tomatis program is a listening program where students wear earphones and listen to music at different pitches in order to help retrain their processors. I have read wonderful things about this program and am even considering it for Emmie. Dr. Swain of The Listening Center was the wonderful lady who preformed Emmie's first evaluation. However, again this wasn't what I asked for from the doctor. So, I load the kids in the van and head to the Tri-Care office at the hospital with the printed referral. The customer service rep took my id card and referral and said she would have to speak with the Nurse. Fine, speak with who ever, I'll wait. Ten minutes later the Nurse arrives at the desk. She explains there has been a problem. Seriously? DUH! Apparently there were actually two referrals placed in the system. Two? "Yes, but one is still under review", she explains. One referral was for The Listening Center and the other referral, which is under review from the Medical Director of Tri-Care, is for a sleep study. What? Sleep study? Where in the WORLD did that come from? The nurse had no idea and chalked it up to a "clerical error". It seems there are a lot of those going around. I explained to her that The Listening Center does not provide speech therapy services and she hands me a blue sticky note with her phone number. She says she will take care of it and I'm suppose to call her on Wednesday for an update. So here we are, clerical error? Nice.

Besides that, the day was okay for Emmie. There were a number times where she misheard me, like I asked her to bring me the "Sprite" bottle and she brought me a spray bottle. Or when we were in the car and she was singing along to a country radio station and she wanted to know why they were saying "beer" when actually they were saying "dear". I guess I'll chalk her day up to a "clerical error". It is certainly frustrating. I just want what's best for my daughter. Why in the world is that so hard? Maybe the world has auditory processing disorder and Emmie's the only one that doesn't!

Praying someone, somewhere, will understand soon. I'm running out of hope!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Sometimes, she wins

Some days, as hard as it is to admit, you give in to your kids. Today was that day. Since summer began, we take the daily opportunity to continue Emmie's school work. Every morning (sometimes later in the day), I send Carrington and Jensen to their rooms to read quietly and Emmie and I work on different activities. Her superwoman Resource Specialist provided a package of great summer time activities for each of her students and I purchase the Auditory Processing Kit from Lingui-systems. It took awhile for me to develop a daily plan of activities and I certainly don't envy teachers who do that on a regular basis! Wow! Anyway, some days we focus on auditory memory where Emmie receives three (four seems too many still) either related or unrelated words with a one second pause between each. She then has to repeat the words to me in order. Ever few set of words, I am suppose to have a 45 second pause before she repeats the set. She hates this exercise! It's one of my favorites only because I know she will have to rely on her auditory memory so much as she grows and learns. Some days we work on auditory discrimination, an example would be me reading aloud two words with even intonation and Emmie has to respond if the words are same or different. I have learned to cover my mouth when I pronounce the words because she's a smart little cookie and can tell how I am forming the letters, even when I try very hard to not move my lips, teeth, or tongue any differently! Because her brain can't always process different sounds, this activity can be difficult for her but she actually enjoys it! An example would be the words "Cake-Coke". Anyway, we have 8 different auditory based sections we work on together. After each day's activities, we read a story provided in a book from the Superwoman. She has enjoyed the reading part, the stories and themes are simple and only contain a few pages. I have also added, in the recent weeks, Art therapy to her lessons. She thrives in art and it allows her to build her confidence. But I didn't want to just hand her crayons and let her color every time, so I have a masterpiece coloring book. A coloring book filled with pages of Famous paintings, such as Van Gogh's Starry Night. She not only colors the painting, but we also talk about the artist. What was he feeling? What colors did he use? What colors would you use if this was your masterpiece? Why? It is important to establish a positive language environment and since she has so much confidence in her art, this activity allows her to build her language "file".

She works extremely hard to complete all her lessons and she's been a real trooper over the summer. We have taken a break from time to time, maybe a few days here or there, but she has been working Monday through Friday for about 30-45 minutes each day. We have built up to that time, when we first started it was only 10 minutes! But today, knowing she had such a horrible day yesterday, when it was time to do her work I wasn't sure how she was going to react. I told her it was "Time to Listen" and when she looked at me, her response said it all. The hand on the hip, the curled lip, and the words..."Mom, can I PLEASE just do math today". I stood there a minute wondering where to go with this one and finally I said, "That is just what I had planned for today". Of course, it wasn't, but sometimes you just have to give in to your kids! Math, like art, is something Emmie thrives in. Math doesn't change (of course I know it will get harder as she gets older) and right now the rules are the same. 2 + 2 is going to equal 4, this time and next time. Stability. She likes stability. So, I let her win today. Let her work from her Hello Kitty math workbook and be on her way. Of course, we also spent an hour in the bookstore today. I don't think she realized that when I asked her to read the story with me that she was actually doing something besides math today. Oh well, she can't win them all :)