Saturday, May 15, 2010

Emily Update

My God where did the past month and a half go? Its been a blur, simple as that. Its been a bunch of ups and downs too (and no Renee, unfortunately none of them were in my marital bed).

On the one hand, I had the blessing to teach the best bunch of students I've ever had, period. Who knew that bringing coffee to class was like winning the golden ticket? Note to self: there is no reason to ever teach non-caffieinated persons again. Conversely, it has been hard dealing with the death of both my grandparents in such a short span of time. There's so much to say about that, but considering this blog is supposed to be about not taking life so seriously, I'm going to skip that subject for the time being to give you all a long overdue update on Emily's therapy progress.

As the days and months have ticked by, Emily has been attending therapy regularly, three sessions per week. Her schedule has changed slightly; she now has speech and OT on Wednesday and group/music/developmental therapy on Thursdays. To say her speech therapy is going well is the understatement of the year. Emily just loves Miss Shelly, and will do anything and everything to please her. Just the mention of Shelly's name leads to smiles and claps, and when Shelly enters the room, Miss Em does somersaults! Its just too much cuteness for one kid, really. Thinking about it makes my smile muscles hurt.

We hardly even need the PECS book anymore; only when Emily is tired (like first thing in the morning) or if she needs something that she doesn't ask for all of the time. I'm still using PECS to teach her new words, although the toilet picture isn't working yet. Nonetheless I think its one of the best things to ever happen to Em. I would highly recommend this type of tool for anyone with a child who has a speech delay.

Her language is really beginning to flourish. Its not uncommon for Emily to use small sentences throughout the day. We have been working on verbs for the past two weeks, and she can say things like, "Shoes off!" and "Swing!" and "Go night-night". She has mastered many animal names and sounds, and can verbally identify the primary and secondary colors. The most exciting thing is the fact she has started using those little language words that make all the difference in the world, things such as "the", "a", and even the pronoun "I". The icing on the cake: she is learning to say "Please". Once she starts talking, I'm going to have another mini-me on my hands!

Occupational therapy is also fantastic. Miss Sue has so many wonderful things for Emily to do. OT is conducted in a gym like environment, so there's swings, a slide, a mini-basketball game, a bike, even a climbing wall! When exposed to a lot of the large, gross motor activities, Emily still has the tendency to freak out and become very disorganized. Sometimes as a parent its really hard to watch, because the disorder in her brain is apparent on her face. However, as the weeks have gone on and she's become familiar with the environment, she is able to better handle the situation. We have also discovered through these sessions that, when placed in an unfamiliar environment, there are a few things that calm Emily down in less than a minute: a silky blanket, a bottle to suck on, tight hugs that imitate swaddling, and (surprisingly) small toys, especially matchbox cars. She loves them! To think I used to kick her out of Nora's room for playing with all of the small toy sets in there, simply because they weren't age appropriate. I was taking away the one thing she needed to feel at peace! Thank goodness for Sue. Otherwise I would still live in tantrum central.

Finally (yes this long post is almost done but geez I have a months worth of stuff to say!), music therapy rocks. Pun intended. Emily is my little singing superstar. Everyday she and Nora sing all of their favorite hits, including the ABC song and Jingle Bells. She also sings the songs with Miss Angie, and when she strums the guitar, she strums in time to the beat. I couldn't be happier for her. Part of the reason she has this group therapy is to help prepare her for school, and I am quite sure she will do well in an academic environment. I also hope when she gets a little older she will be able to take some kind of music or voice lessons. The kid has soul.

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