I cleaned carpets ALL day. It was much needed, given that we have food thrown constantly on the floor. I was trying to clean the landing but Elise wouldn't move. Lying down she could feel the vacuum blowing on her and was enjoying the loudness of this huge machine.
The therapist was having a hard time getting her to concentrate in therapy :) She loves noise!
I've been working with Elise on doing hand over hand with her spoon each morning. Every time she puts a bite in her mouth she immediately releases the spoon until she is ready for her next bite. I am currently working with our case worker to buy a curved spoon, a velcro utensil holder, and a suction bowl to help assist in her eating with utensils independently.
I walked away from Elise this morning then turned back to look at her and she picked up the spoon on her own and brought it to her mouth! So exciting!!! Of course I had to grab my camera and get a picture of this momentous day!
I love these moments because they give me a glimmer of hope and that hope keeps me going.
At speech yesterday, the therapist and I talked a lot about where Elise is at and what areas she isn't progressing in. We decided to eliminate "more" and "all done" from her ipad. We've been working on her understanding those words for months now and she isn't making any improvement so for the time being we are cutting them from her program.
The behavioral therapist and I talked for an hour this morning more about the ipad. We have done so much trial and error with it, trying to figure out what will work for Elise. We are simplifying it and adding mostly those things that are highly motivating for her in hopes she will want to utilize the ipad more.
Thankfully during the 4 hours the therapist is here they use the ipad the whole time. Elise is on a visual prompt with her pointing goal. This means in the last 7 months she has learned how to point and point at a picture on the screen of what she wants.
Bryn and Brock have their daily jobs they have to do before they play. I recently included "service" on there. The service I have them do every day is for each of them to play with Elise. I have been amazed at how serious they have taken to this and how much they look forward to it.
The first day Brock did it I realized the therapist had really taught them how to play with her. I was expecting them to play beside her, sing to her or chase her.
Instead Brock came to ME and asked me where Elise's ipad was. I got it and brought up her app. He went into the sensory room where she was playing with her preferred toy. He was trying so hard to get her to choose a different toy on the ipad but she wasn't interested. He came to me again and asked for me to get her timer on, visually showing her she had one minute until she was to transition to a new toy.
Brock went into the room, showed her the timer and told her she had one minute left. When the timer went off he turned off her toy and tried so hard for her to choose a new toy. I heard her crying and eventually he got her playing with some other toys.
Later he came out and said she had chosen "snack" on her ipad and that she chose marshmallows. He asked me to get her in her chair and I did. Brock got her bowl and set it on her tray in case she started throwing food, like the therapist and me have been teaching her. She ate marshmallows for awhile then chose chips and Brock helped her the whole time. After he asked me if he could take her for a walk in the stroller.
I laughed to myself because this was the exact routine the therapists and I do with her every day. I hadn't realized Brock had caught on and was so eager to follow it.
Bryn had Elise choose on her ipad what toy she wanted to play with and she chose the star light-up toy. Bryn purposely got Elise's chair and table and did hand-over-hand with her, putting the stars on. Elise has just begun to tolerate and kind of enjoy this toy. I hadn't yet seen her actually try to put the stars on and getting really close to doing it before. Her visual/motor skills are very poor so I was glad to see her looking at the toy and attempting to get the star on.
These kiddos are going to be well-trained years from now!
Elise's 1st day of developmental preschool was today. She is now getting 30hrs/wk of therapy.
Since the beginning of summer she has had therapy at our home every day and it has made a big difference. Before people would ask if she's making much progress and I would try to think of ANYTHING new she had done. I had a hard time answering that question.
Now I feel like she's learning more and more things all the time. I know it's because of her daily therapy and many prayers and fasting on her behalf.
I truly want what's best for her. I often ask myself, "Is early intensive therapy the best or staying at home with us?"
Our short-term and long-term goals for her are to have the best quality of life she can have. Yes being with family is great but I have learned it's not fully the right answer.
I have seen her light up learning how to activate a toy by herself and feeling proud.
I have seen her learn to motor plan climbing up a ladder then going down a slide by herself and feeling proud.
These things she's learning in therapy are helping improve her quality of life. She is happier and more content. I know she feels a sense of satisfaction. As much as I wish more than anything that I could spend the entire day with her one on one working with her, I know I can't. There are others in our family who deserve and need me as well.
I am grateful that half the time she does get to be home during therapy. And I am grateful for all the help and resources out there. It's a blessing. It's a lifesaver. With every progress she makes it's like watching a miracle take place.
I LOVE being a mom to my 5 kids; one with special needs. There is no greater joy than being a parent! I love each one individually but this blog will mostly focus on our daughter with special needs and our journey with her. Thanks for reading!