Sunday, October 31, 2010

PreK Student, Mary

At Mary's IEP meeting last year, I pushed and won to hold Mary back a year.  She is getting an extra year of PreK before starting Kindergarten next year.  My reasons were because she has a fall birthday and she was still getting adjusted to her new home.  She was also still immature in a lot of areas, but I don't really think they took that into consideration since she is a person with a disability. She is doing real well so far this year, I think.
In the 6 weeks or so that she has been in school, I feel she has made many accomplishments!  She is in a regular ed. PreK class in her home district.  She has a 1:1 nurse who rides the bus and stays with her for the 2 1/2 hour afternoon program.  Mary has made friends and we have even seen some out in the community!
Mary sits in this rifton chair during Centers and during Snack
Mary has learned how to color using a specially made glove, made by her OT.  Because Mary's fingers do not bend, she cannot grasp anything.  This glove has a hole in it to hold the markers.  

coloring at school - sorry about the quality, disposible camera

Mary is having great success coloring independently.

We had Open House several weeks ago and Mary was so excited to show me all around her classroom and show me her projects.  She did a Green Monster project that she loved the most.  She also has done projects about emotions and they had just started learning letters.
outside her classroom at Open House
After the concept of Open House was explained to her, Mary was excited to take me there!

Mary is learning a letter a week and she really enjoys this!  She always has enjoyed letters and reading.  To help her, we put a letter 'worksheet' on her DynaVox.  She can work with this page to answer questions in class and to practice the letter, including the sound the letter makes!
I also sometimes give her 'homework' on her lightbox. 
 She can use one switch to activate the DyanVox and one switch to work the light box.
Mary has a few different options for sitting at school.  She also has time to play on the floor, when she usually lies down with friends - they even try to dance/shake sillies like she does!  When she is sitting, she is in the Rifton Chair, her wheelchair or in the chair that I got at a yard sale.  It is her floor-sitter for circle time.  Here she is trying it out for the first time.
we made some adjustments for saftey and support after this trial
Overall, she does very well with this, though.
Her class went on their first field trip of the year recently.  They went to a local farm and had a wagon ride, picked pumpkins and petted animals.  Mary LOVED it.  They were real good about getting the bus for her to participate, but I think next time they will also remember to include her peers on her bus.  (I am pushing for the full inclusion experience.) 
Mary continues to choose to listen to stories at the Listening Center every week.  She really gets into her books.  Apparently, one day the story had a part where the character was sad about the mother leaving and Mary got real sad.  Then she was happy when the story ended happily.
In vision, Mary continues to improve her tracking ability and increase her response time to lights in different environments.  She also is working on color identification.  Her vision therapist is helping us with using picture cues when her DynaVox isn't avaliable.  She also reminds us about glare on what Mary is looking at.
In PT, Mary is doing Outstanding!  She can stand for more than a half hour at a time in her stander and she can stand in a pony walker - she has even moved it independently 2x!!!
Mary is also practicing sitting on a platform swing.  She is belly crawling for up to 6 feet.  She is rolling up a hill.  Mary has gotten very strong lately! :)
Well, I guess that's the scoop on my girl!  She is having a good year so far and I (knock on wood) hope she stays healthy to have a good rest of the year!

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Fall

So what's been happening???
A lot.
Mary was insistent that I let HER decorate HER pumpkin for the town contest.  I couldn't help or give ideas... they were rejected.  Mary used her DynaVox to tell me that she was going to fingerpaint it and absolutely NO HELP was needed.

She is getting that way about a lot of things...
Her riding instructors have noticed....

Maybe that's why her horse keeps walking into walls.......
Mary has made so much improvement in her riding.  She can sit up for the entire lesson, holding her head up, keeping her back straight(ish) and her hips where they should be... She is riding a lot longer than when she started in April because not a lot of time is being spent repositioning her!  Too bad her mean mom is making her stop during the cold weather.  :s

Mary is 5 years old and very proud of that!  She had an awesome birthday party and 4 of her friends came.  The next day, she used her DynaVox to tell her classmates about her party. I am told she was super excited about it!
Mary and I have done a few fall activities this month and last.  We went to get some pumpkins and into two huge teepees.  They were real dark inside with lighted jack-o-lanterns - Mary thought it was cool!
We also went to Country Way Corn Maze which was awesome because there was a huge bale of hay for Mary to play in!  We also got another pumpkin and watched some duck races.  Mary played with a friend there, too.
 She is doing real fantastic things in school which I hope to post about later this weekend!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Got It!

Mary's got her blue DynaVox VMax!  Her reaction to it was great!  Very happy.  The following day, her nurse came and Mary rolled over to her new device eager to show it off!!
We are still waiting for some of the accessories to make it truly work for her, but we make do for now.  Mary uses it at school the best she can and she uses it at home.  We have started to take it out in the community when feasible.  She has used it at Sunday School and at the doctor's office.
At church, Mary used it to make choices during a coloring project.  That was successful.
At the doctor, Mary carried on a long conversation with me in the waiting room.  She was there for her yearly physical and wanted to know if the Dr. was going to look in her ears and mouth.  She also requested to lay on the bed (the pediatrician has a fun bed to lay on).  In the exam room, Mary said 'hi' to her Dr. and then asked if she was going to get a shot.  That was the end of the DynaVox, though... tears... 3 shots were coming her way.  :(
This afternoon, Mary used her DynaVox to let me know how she wanted to decorate her pumpkin.  The town has a contest for 4-9 yr. olds.  Mary chose to use fingerpaint on her's.  She will enter it in the contest next Saturday. 
Tomorrow Mary will try to use her DynaVox at her birthday party.
I will try to get some pictures up this coming week!

Thursday, October 7, 2010