Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Caught in the "everyday life" cycle

How crazy that we are nearly done with November?!

Part of the reason I hadn't been updating much in the past few months is that it seems we are in a constant cycle of "things to do" that I'm not slowing down to really share what's going on. Be prepared for a pretty dry post now... Here's what our usual weeks is like.

Therapies are going very well for William, 3 days a week.

His original speech therapist had to go away on maternity leave, but the replacement therapist has been great with him. They mesh well and he is making steady improvements. Right now we're working on the initial "f" sound and trying to keep it during conversations.

On the occupational therapy front he is being consistent. He is almost completely age appropriate! His pencil grasp still needs work, but his scissor/cutting skills are awesome, he can do buttons and snaps and zippers, and overall finger manipulation is not far from where it should be.

When it comes to the feeding therapy we aren't really addressing it very aggressively. He is eating a good enough variety of food and textures that it's not a huge struggle every meal. And he has made enough progress that we occasionally just check it out to make sure he is still chewing and biting properly.  Speaking of chewing... over the summer Will kind of went into overdrive with sensory chewing... even biting holes in his shirts. He now has some "chewelry" or "sensory necklaces" which preserve his clothes and give him the input he is craving. He has 3 to choose from and all his therapists, teachers, and doctors see this as a positive thing for him.

Now about physical therapy. I can't remember if I shared before or not, but Will and the Physical Therapist (A.) were not getting along very well, especially over the summer. Improvements had stalled. I was seriously considering a request for a new therapist since our sessions had become so frustrating. Then A. told me she had started aquatic therapy sessions and had an opening... maybe a change up would help Will. So we changed our day/time for Will to do water therapy with A. And you know what? Major change! He looks forward to his sessions and is actually happy to see his therapist! He loves being in the water and his skills are getting better. We still need to work on stretching since his hamstrings are very tight. Although some things seem to be age appropriate, there are still some weaknesses that he really needs to overcome.

Other than our therapies, both Will and Alanna are doing gymnastics and swim lessons at the local YMCA twice a week. They do enjoy it, but the sessions make me cringe and want to hide my face. Why you ask? Well, my lovely little girl turns out to be quite the attention getter - and not in a positive way.

Both kids are in the same classes. During gymnastics Lana has this issue where she feels she MUST be next to Will at all times. And not just standing there - she has to hug him, hold onto him, be literally right up against him. She becomes upset if somebody else is next to him. Besides that, she has her own ideas on when and how she should do the activities and needs regular redirection. And then overly dramatic melt downs occur when things do not go her way.

We thought we turned a corner when I, along with the teachers, told her that if she does not participate properly she will not receive her stamp at the end of the session. That straightened her up... for a couple lessons. Things got really bad again recently with her behavior in class... but in the last 2 sessions she has made another turn around.

Both kids are improving on their coordination and balance.

When it comes to the swim lessons William is rocking them! He is now to the point where he can swim unassisted for a short distance. Alanna is becoming more comfortable in the water and gaining confidence. They still need reminded not to splash and sometimes have listening issues, but if they want to jump into the pool at the end they have to be safe and listen. Some reminders get them in line. The instructor told me that Will should only need 1 or 2 more swim lesson sessions before he can move to the more advanced class.

So therapies, gym & swim... and let's add Awana. They are both in Cubbies but thankfully in separate classes. It makes for a late night, but they have fun. We work on their weekly lessons at home and they recite their memory verses for their teachers. The curriculum was changed this year so it is all new - they like listening to the stories on the CD the best.

And of course there is school too... 4 days a week.

Alanna has finally settled into the routine and is blossoming well in her class. She apparently benefitted from the work I was doing over the summer when focusing on Will so she's above several of her peers in preschool skills. She has a "best friend" at school named Lily. She still has occasional meltdowns when things don't go her way but it is getting much better.

William is also growing in school. We are all amazed at how much he has progressed! He is still working on his peer interactions, but on the kinder readiness skills he is getting close to where he needs to be. In fact, according to his teacher, William knows some of the popcorn words (also all his capital letters, all his lowercase letters, all letter sounds, counts to 40, knows all colors and shapes, can write his first name, and can identify almost all his numbers). Mrs. M. said that she's looking forward to his re-evaluation at the end of the year because if he keeps going like he is, he should have all the kinder skills to be successful in Kindergarten and once his speech gets to a better level his social skills should skyrocket.

Hmm... therapies, gym & swim, Awana, school... church on Sundays... yeah. That's our life. After such a busy, structured, and focus intensive morning I'm more apt to let them just play on their own and be kids. By the time the late afternoon rolls around the kids get to watch some tv, they play outside, chase the dog... we also finish up their homework.

So, sorry if I wasn't blogging much. If it happens again, just assume we're caught up in everyday life. Thanks for sticking with me.

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