Wednesday, February 23, 2011

What a difference a year makes!

The first photo is Emma now, walking and on her own, as much as she can!

This is last year at the end of school, at her fun run, notice she is using a walker with a seat as well.

Last Christmas program, Emma at the end her wheelchair!
As you can see in the photos a year is a long time and for Emma a lot has changed!!

Wow, we meet with Emma's IEP team the other day. I will be honest and say I hate these meetings. Most of the time, they have great ideas but it takes weeks to months to see things happen to get what she needs, so I tend to get very upset. This meeting went pretty well. Part of her team has worked with us for two years now, and knows we do not play around, and two member's actually worked with me in the classroom when I was still teaching:) I was just thrilled to see Occupational therapy in attendance it too since August to get her evaluated and I wanted to know what she thought. Just so you know these teams are made up of the support staff Emma needs to help her succeed in a school classroom, and they meet to make goals for the upcoming year.

I will say the first thing we discussed was so exciting, last year when we met Emma had just stopped using her wheelchair at school and was starting to just use her walker with her seat on it and was wearing leg braces. This year Emma is only using a walker as needed which is like less then 15% of the time, she does not use a seat or braces anymore. She walks on her own, crawls or holds a hand to get around. This is a huge step literally!!! We are so proud, her PT said she can go over 200 feet by herself!! We actually took mobility off her list of major concerns. They will continue to work with her on lowering and standing on her own and being more stable and going farther distances, but she has come a long way. Next year she will have to use her walker some more due to we are hopefully moving her to much bigger school and she will not be able to walk the long halls at first. (sad but a big move)

Speech has come a long way this year, but still lacking. Most who know her understand her pretty well but not strangers. She does speak in circle time and to her friends which is new this year!! Yeah!! She has upped her amount of words by quit a bit and has even more approximations, so we are pleased. They are hoping to evaluated her for a much more technical device to help her communicate more. We are hoping to maybe get her a funded by Metro IPad to help her be able to share more and more in class! Fingers crossed, Emma is very good at computers and computer games, but this will be a challenge to get approved but would be wonderful for her. There are great apps on the IPad for Speech.

She will be starting OT soon. She has some great skills, but still lacking fine hand strength. They will work on cutting skills, letter writing, and those types of skills. The teacher was thrilled that her pencil grasp was excellent even for a left handed child and that she was showing some positive signs towards writing and cutting. This will be a big help for her as we move her to a much more advance pre-k class next year. She will need more paper and pencil skills. It was a long fight to get this service but so glad it is finally happening.

We talked a lot more about goals, but I will not bore you with all those details. I just wanted to highlight for my own memories how much she changed since last year. We are looking forward to next year, and will meet in May to finalize those plans and hopefully get her approved for some summer help as well. We will announce that our goal is to hold Emma out of Kindergarten for one more year and to place her at a Pre-K class at our school of zone. It would be a blended class with both special education children and regular education kids as well. This would allow her one more year to grow, learn more speech and hopefully continue to walk more on her own. She is turning five but we feel this is the best choice for her and for us. It is scary to think of her leaving her safe, small preschool, but it is time to move up and move on to bigger and hopefully mommy can leave her in such a big place when the time comes.

So proud of her and we have come a long way in a year.!

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