Elise has never given us high fives before, no matter how much we practiced with her. Elise was in one of her really silly moods and I held my hand out for a high five and surprisingly she hit it! I cheered and she loved that attention so every time after that she gave me high fives. Way to go Elise!
This video cracks me up because at the end I realized I was holding Bryn's sucker in my other hand and Elise couldn't concentrate on anything else but the sucker I was holding. She does give a quick high five in here but did more before I got the video camera.
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.
Elise's first night in a big girl bed! I have been dreading this day for a long time, but we finally decided it was time since we aren't traveling anywhere for awhile. I was going to have her and Bryn share a room, but we thought Elise and Bryn would do better if Elise had her own room so the playroom is now Elise's room.
When I put her to bed she was super wiggly and all smiles. She couldn't stop giggling and kicking her legs.
She couldn't hold still period.
I think a weighted blanket and some added input would help before she goes to bed so she can settle her body down quicker. I closed the door (thankfully she doesn't know how to open doors yet) and listened to her run around and roll on her bed for 40 minutes.
Eventually it got quiet and I found her asleep on the floor. It's a start!
We have now entered the therapy building over 104 times. Today marked our one-year anniversary of beginning OT services.
It's crazy how fast it has gone yet it seems like I've been there my whole life. I think my kids will end up saying they HAVE been there their whole lives!
Elise comes here for OT and speech therapy. I love her therapists and am happy with the things they are doing with her.
Elise's 1-year OT evaluation was today. Developmentally she is at the age of 11 months. This didn't surprise me. I've watched Cal enough to know he's ahead of her and I'm okay with it. The therapist and I discussed new goals and we will be working a little more on Activities of Daily Living (removing clothes and eating with utensils).
At age 3 1/2, Elise can:
A very proud little girl. And she outta be!
In therapy one of Elise's new goals is to replace her throwing food with putting the non-preffered food into the bowl. Throwing food has been a big problem and it is getting worse. If she's eating pancakes and gets to a point that she's either done or doesn't want them anymore, she begins throwing the pancakes, with syrup, all over the kitchen floor. It makes for a big, sticky mess.
The therapist gave Elise a preferred food, (smarties, marshmallows) then a non-preffered food, (rye). I sit behind Elise and redirect her throwing into the bowl while the therapist sits in front of Elise and gives her the food. These are bite sized pieces so it goes pretty quick. When Elise puts the non-preffered food into the bowl, we reward her with a smartie.
Elise put the non-preffered food into the bowl BY HERSELF 17 times today! No prompts with my hand even. I am still blown away at how quickly she caught on to it. The therapist and I were cheering and clapping like crazy and Elise was smiling so proudly for us.
Way to go Elise!
Elise is making good progress!
She has 3 hours of therapy at our home Monday-Friday and I can tell it is making a big difference.
Within the last 2 weeks she has learned how to play independently with 3 toys!!! It is unreal. A miracle, seriously! I am so happy. She's happier and can entertain herself pretty well now. I found her the other day playing with Cal's toy for 20 minutes by herself. It's so good and she has to feel proud of herself as well.
This past week Elise has picked up on the game of, "I'm gonna get you!" Most of the time she initiates it which is incredible. She'll give me this adorable look, run away and giggle then look back to make sure I'm chasing her. Anytime this happens I drop whatever I'm doing and play it with her. I feel the connection with her that I long so much for while we play it. I love it. She especially likes it when I hide and jump out at her. I'm so glad she loves being around people and noise.
We are so blessed and I love this little girl more and more!
Our family has been blessed with a very unique opportunity of having a special spirit in our home. Our kids have a very unique opportunity of being able to serve someone they love every day. This is a blessing indeed and I am so grateful they get to learn these lessons of selfless service and love. We are Elise's hands and get to do those things for her that she cannot do herself.
Part of Elise's therapy is family training. We just began this with the kids today. Bryn and Brock will be taking turns each day for 30 minutes learning how to play with Elise and learn her limits. My heart leaped with excitement as I watched the therapist train Bryn how to play with Elise today. Often they play beside her and once in a while they are able to have some sort of interaction but it was so sweet watching Bryn open all the pop-up toys and Elise pushing them down. This type of "play" went on for 20 minutes.
When they were done, Bryn told me excitedly, "Elise looked at me after she pushed down all the toys!" I got the feeling that she yearns for a relationship with her sister. We all do. I am excited for this unique and special opportunity we get to have!
Elise motor planned how to climb in to the stroller and sit down by herself!!! I just sat there watching her figure it out. It took her a good 3 minutes but she did it.
She got in, now to figure out how to move those legs?
Eventually her legs came out from under her. Success! She loved the enveloped feeling of this stroller. She kept moving her body from side to side, getting as much input from it as possible.
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!