Archive | June, 2011

First school report and SSG

27 Jun

S got his first school report on Friday. On the same day, we had our first SSG to check on how all was going.

Firstly, the report. It was great. S is achieving well in all areas and the teacher had some lovely things to say about him. I’ve mentioned the crystal ball before, the one I wish I had 5 years ago. Well I can definitely say I wish I’d known that his transition to school would be so smooth and that he’d be keeping up with his peers and confidently enjoying himself so much too!

Not suprisingly, the SSG was very much on the same positive lines. We have so little in the way of problems to solve that it was largely just a chance to chat about how well he is doing.

The notable exception as mentioned earlier is some concern about the speech therapy he’s receiving. Wish I could say more, but we are working towards resolving the problem.

Goals for the second half of the year are all about building on the great start we’ve had to the year, especially in relation to the use of technology to facilitate his learning and communication and building on the great relationships he’s developing with his classmates. We’re also looking to add some sensory activities into the classroom to help with his fatigue and concentration levels – that being really the only area where he’s trailing his classmates. He just gets very tired and he took quite a few days/half days off over the first 2 terms (I think 15).

The school buildings are now completely accessible, with the new lift for wheelchair/walker for the rear entrance to the main school building (and easy access to the main toilets) arriving last week. I haven’t seen it yet, but apparently it’s ‘cool’ (so the other kids in the class tell me!).

I’ve committed to making an ‘All About Me’ book so that we have a reference for anyone new coming in to work with S that includes a basic overview of all his tools and tricks. I aim to do that over the hols. I also aim to do a heap more programming on the iPad P2Go because I plan to bring that in to school next term – mostly for interaction in the school yard. Tossing up whether an iPad 2 might be on the cards too. It just has few more bells and whistles and it would be preferable that if S is going to use an iPad for school it only has his apps and stuff on it. Not a mishmash of all the family’s needs (besides, the rest of us will get iPad withdrawal symptoms if it heads off to school all day long!).

So as term 2 draws to a close, we have almost got only good things to say and we are looking forward to this week coming to an end so we can have lots of days in our PJs and out catching up with friends. I love that we are loving school, but love holidays even more :-).

Speech, Speech!

21 Jun

We talk a lot about talking in our house. Not just for one kid, but for all three.

First off, S has been making great gains with his speech. I have had so much positive feedback from so many people lately about how much easier they can understand what he’s saying – including several gorgeous comments from kids at his school.

He has also just recently started some one-on-one private speech therapy with our favourite super speech therapist who specialises in ‘PROMPT‘. She’s amazing. And S, who has known her since he was 2, adores her and works so hard during the sessions. In just a few short sessions she has made such great gains with him.

We’re not so thrilled with our in school speech therapist, but I feel a bit hamstrung about how much I can say about this, because I never know who might be reading ;-). Suffice to say, that we’re working on it and it’s going to need a lot of work…

He is making great use of his PODD book, Dynavox and iPad for communication when there’s a gap in understanding. Just two weeks ago he got a Principal’s award at school for teaching staff and students how to use his PODD book. I hadn’t planned on staying for the school assembly that day, but as I was walking back to my car, S’s wonderful aide Mr M chased me down and told me about the award. I was so proud watching him stand in front of the whole school holding his award in front of him (and loved how Mr M squatted behind him, there in case he stumbled, but very much in the background of his big moment).

I also love that he will raise his hands in class to answer questions without any hesitation or fear of not being understood. The other day he was the only student in his class who could correctly identify an ‘apostrophe’ – quite a tricky word to say, let alone know the meaning of!

But as I mentioned in my last post, there’s still the odd moments of communication breakdown. Last week, he tried to tell me for days the name of the Japanese film he’d been watching during the Wet Day timetable at school. I was convinced it was ‘Porno’. I kept forgetting to ask the teacher (or maybe I was too scared to!). Then, by pure fluke, there was a picture of the film in the Saturday paper I was reading and S pointed it out excitedly. ‘That’s porno mum!’. Turns out it’s ‘Ponyo’. Which I know all about now because we borrowed it from the video store. Both M and S love it now. (And I can recommend!).

Moving on to M and his speech, he has started speech therapy with the lovely Miss L.

I was worried at first about how M would feel about attending speech therapy sessions. But I shouldn’t have worried. He has attended so many speech therapies with S that when I told him he was going to have some ‘talking lessons’ too, he seemed to think it was just what everyone did.

His initial assessment confirmed that he has a ‘severe’ language delay with both his receptive and expressive language. That threw me at first. Such an awful word ‘severe’.

However, just 2 months into his speech therapy and we are seeing real progress. He engages in very age appropriate creative play with the speech therapist (which I absolutely love watching, so gorgeous!) and she has told me his range of verbs and nouns is quite strong. We just need to work on how he ties these all together. She gives us regular ‘homework’ which he works well with and he is picking up more language every day.

What M has the most trouble with is putting his thoughts into complete sentences and understanding some of the conventions of conversation. He has a lot of trouble with most ‘Wh’ type questions – he finds them hard to answer. I know there’s more to this. And possibly some other kind of diagnosis down the track, and I do feel a little frustrated that I can’t put my finger yet on what exactly is going on with his speech but I feel confident we’re definitely working in the right direction.

Today, I was impressed when he responded to my question about whether he wanted to go outside to play by saying ‘No, it’s so very cold out there’. That’s an amazing sentence for him.

He’s such a gorgeous little fella. Quirky and crazy, but so sweet and resilient. I really look forward to him being able to express himself more effectively. I know it will help him be less stressed and frustrated and will stop me worrying so much about how he is going to get on socially once he gets to 4 year old kinder and then school.

On to baby A, he’s just shy of 17 months old. He’s such a bundle of business. And a boy with a lot to say. He has close to 50 words/phrases and will follow instructions readily. Naturally, he seems like a pure genius to me :-).

He takes his clothes to the laundry when he’s undressed for his bath. He goes and gets his shoes when there’s any talk of going out. He puts his own nappy in the bin. He will say ‘go, car’, ‘help you’, ‘more’, ‘baby, milk’, ‘mummy no’, ‘bird’ etc etc. I really could go on and on.

He just seems to have been here before. And possibly ruled the country when he was. He sure is a bossy little fell.

He has no hesitation to take on his big brothers if they take something he’s playing with, more than once wrestling M to the ground with a fierce round the waist tackle.

I can definitely see I will have my work cut of for me in the very near future as he asserts his independence more and more. He likes to get his own way and will very soon be able to tell me in no uncertain terms just what he wants and will work hard to get it!

But oh my, he is such a gem. Every night he does a round of all the family members for good night kisses and is always excited when someone comes home, giving them a big cuddle. What a gorgeous little fella.

I marvel sometimes about how different my 3 boys are. And how different the experience is of parenting each child who comes along with such a unique personality.

It’s hard work and I wish it came with a manual, but I love the adventure of watching the world open up to each of them.

And (perhaps unwisely!) I look forward to a house in a few years where I won’t be able to get a word in edgewise ;-).

Lost in Translation

12 Jun

In the school yard the other day, one of S’s classmates told me proudly¬† ‘I can understand everything S says now. He’s so good at talking, isn’t he?’.

I love how much his speech has improved and how much his classmates have taken his speech, just like everything else, all in their stride.

But there are still times when even I get a little stuck about what he’s saying – especially if his PODD book, iPad or Dynavox are not on hand to help. Which is often the case in the car.

Like the other day, when we were driving home from the shops.

We were talking about the chickens that we are getting very soon in our back yard. S said (or at least I thought he said) “The chickens will eat all the crap we don’t eat”.

I thought he was having a go at my cooking.

Until I realised he was saying ‘scraps‘.

Phew!

I am thrilled that we don’t have as many gaps in our communication these days. And equally thrilled that S has such a great sense of humour to laugh when we do have trouble getting something right.

He laughed about this all the way home. And he nearly falls off his chair every time he ‘accidentally on purpose’ uses the word ‘crap’ now.

 

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