Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Therapy works

I realized the other day that I'm fairly fluent in a world that was scary and overwhelming to me at one point. I wanted to write about some of my experiences with different therapies in case anyone else is as overwhelmed by this as I was. I wanted to share about Hayes because I suspect his situation is common. He doesn't have special needs. He is not on the spectrum. He's your basic two year old. He was delayed in one area and needed a little push and I'm not sure I would have known what to do if I hadn't done all this with Walker. Previously, I thought therapy was reserved for children with severe issues and Hayes doesn't fit that mold.

Hayes has been in speech therapy since March and he's doing great! Texas offers services though Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) for kids 36 months and under. He'll turn three in February and I doubt he will qualify for services once he is done with ECI. He's well past developmental milestones for 30 months. He talks incessantly now and I attribute that to his therapy. 

At Hayes' 18 month check up, his speech was delayed. However, he is social and was very communicative in other ways, so his pedi wasn't concerned. Caroline had been home less than three months at that point and Walker was just starting to work with his developmental pediatrician. It was a triage situation in our house and Hayes didn't qualify yet. At his two year check he wasn't talking much more than he had been six months prior but was still so engaged in relationship that his pedi wasn't concerned. At that point, he was barely meeting the recommended guidelines for an 18 month old, so he was over six months delayed. I requested a referral to speech therapist and she gave me one. If I hadn't been down this road with Walker it would not have occurred to me to ask if it wasn't recommended. 

The options at that point were ECI or a private therapy clinic. ECI is cheaper and comes to your house but I thought a private therapy clinic might be easier to work with. A Facebook survey told me enough good things about Easter Seals (my ECI provider) that I called them and got going.  His therapist is great! She has an adult son on the autism spectrum so she'd been on the parent side of the occupational therapy. She thought Hayes' delays would be helped by different kinds of movements, similar to what we do for Walker with his occupational therapy. She gave me homework like read to him while swinging or have him kick a ball with his non-dominant foot. He immediately started talking. His first goal was to ask for two food items by name. I also wanted him to ask me to name pictures in a book rather than insistently pointing at them until I named it. He blew by those goals in a few weeks and I'd been working on them alone for months with no progress. He talks incessantly now so the focus has been on articulation. During his last session, we were working on a particular sound. It involved him saying it then getting the reward of me throwing him on the couch. He loved it. Also, his therapist noticed he speaks more clearly while hanging upside down. Working with Walker has made me a believer that all systems are integrated in more ways than I understand but Walker's issues are so global that it's more difficult to see what impacts what. Hayes is more straightforward so the cause and effect is clear. 

He gained virtually no language in six months and has an extensive vocabulary after six months of therapy. I am so thankful to have this help for him!  ECI focuses on equipping the parent so I'm engaged in the session the whole time and continue working with him throughout the week. It's been a great experience. It is a commitment but the progress has been so worth it!

Monday, October 6, 2014

31 Days of writing..or not

I have written posts but haven't posted them. I was starting to be concerned that this effort of writing down ways I'd seen God's goodness was going to come off like one long list of bragging about my life. That is not my intent at all. So I don't just yet if I'll keep going. I need to sit on it for a couple of days.
I'm still writing them for myself, though, and that is helpful to me.
I saw this verse this morning and it jumped out at me.

"May The Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ."
2 Thes 3:5

Exactly! I want to be guided I to a deeper understanding of both of these things. 

I heard Jen Hatmaker this weekend and she was AMAZING. Two things I took away from her were:

1) True disciples would walk so closely behind their rabbi that they would be covered in the dust from their feet. Oh.

2) Living in a way that shows Christ's love boils down to showing people 'You are dear to me.' The end. 
No strings attached.

For me, that starts with Caroline. 
There is so much to chew on from this weekend but those are my starting points.

God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. (1 Corinthians 1:9 ESV)

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Day two-31 days

I'm writing about the same topic for 31 days and linking up here:

Caroline used to shut down when asked to clean her room. I took pics of where things went so she had references. No help, she had no idea where to start. Due to her background, she had trouble organizing visual input and was overwhelmed. We saw the same struggles in other areas of her life. She is a bright girl but her brain hadn't had the opportunity to wire in appropriate ways so she could interpret all the input she saw. She was completely overwhelmed. But look what happened today!

Her brain is healing. It's not about a clean room; it's about celebrating that she can see a problem, make a plan, and execute it. This is a breakthrough! 

I would love to take credit for that but it isn't mine to take. There were so many deficits to tackle and I started with the academic ones, then we became educated about some of the emotional ones but I hadn't progressed to neurological issues. I've focused on the first two with Caroline and the neurological with Walker, since he's more in need right now. It's been gnawing at me that I hadn't gotten her help yet in this area. God didn't wait on me to get my act together, though. Her healing has already started!
God is good. :)

"He is before all things, and in him all things hold together."
Col 1:17

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Day one- God's goodness

I like to write. Even more, though, it's how I sort through life. We are encouraged numerous times in scripture to remember God's goodness and the way I do that is to write it down. So, a blogger has a series to write about one topic of your choosing for 31 days. For the month of October, I'm challenging myself to write each day how God has displayed his goodness that day.

In the spirit of flexibility, I'm going to repost what I already shared on Facebook about the way God has sent people to us and equipped our family to give Walker what he needs. Through a mom that adopted two of Caroline's siblings, I met his occupational therapist who has worked wonders and introduced us to other resources. His speech therapist, randomly assigned to me, also works at the school we were contemplating sending our kids to. She can advocate for him and know how to meet his needs better than anyone! That is a straight from God gift. The equine therapy he's starting has engaged him in ways I've not seen him before. He is remembering each horses name and calling them by their name. That's huge. He is overcoming sensory defensiveness and feeding them big, unpeeled carrots. I was shocked.

 I have a part time job with my previous employer. The only reason I have that is because I know a particular area of this company that not many other people know. This particular area isn't a spot where you wanted to stay long. It was merely a starting point to get your feet wet and go on to other things. But, I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed and I also wasn't looking to advance my career much. I wanted a stable job and to hang out with my kids so I stayed in this spot longer than most do. It was not incredibly impressive. However, God used my lack of upward mobility to give me a skill set that is now valuable and provide a way to both fund our adoption and all these therapies, working with people I know and like on my own schedule. Truly, only God could orchestrate that. 

God is my provider!

If you want to see more 31 days topics, here's the link:

"Everyone will share the story of your wonderful goodness; they will sing with joy about your righteousness."
Psalm 145:7