Monday, November 19, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

- by Erika and Kristina

Thanksgiving is approaching and since we count all of you among our blessings and are so thankful for your support, we thought we’d give an update on what’s happening with Amelia these days.  

She is always a very busy little girl!  Monday to Friday she goes to pre-school from 8am to 1pm and has adapted quite well to the daily class routine.  She knows where to put her backpack, her lunchbox and her jacket and where to sit at circle time.  She learns by watching the others and does her best to participate in all the activities.  The children are fairly tolerant of her, but she is learning that she has to take turns and cannot just push anyone around or take what she wants.  This is important for her to know.  

Out on the playground she is more comfortable now that she is familiar with the layout and has even joined the “gang” when they ride their little tricycles in a big circle.  She has mastered the curly slide and scares the teachers when she climbs some parts of the play structure.   Her sense of balance and her vision continue to be a concern to all of us, and she does not like to walk anywhere outside without holding someone’s hand.  We make her do it, but she complains all the way!  She receives physical therapy two times a week at school and twice a month through Rady's Children's Hospital.

Three or four times a week all the children have a 20 minute speech therapy session and in Amelia’s case they are still working on learning to identify and respond to the basic “ling” sounds which are aaah,  eee, ooo, shhh, mmm and ssss.   Some days she responds well to them, other days not so much.  The speech therapist uses different objects and games to make learning fun and Amelia likes the interaction.   Being the rascal that she is she often does things “wrong” on purpose, because she thinks it’s funny.   Her own vocalization is still very limited.  She basically makes one sound but uses it in a variety of different ways.   When she is asked to repeat a word she gets the number of syllables right almost every time.  This learning process is going at a very slow pace and we try not to get frustrated.   We often think that she understands a lot more than she lets on, but only Amelia knows for sure!  She also has speech therapy once a week through Rady's Children's Hospital and we work with her at home. 

Working on ling sounds with DJ and Siena
Since she has to be driven to school in the morning and the teacher encourages parent participation we all take turns driving her and then spending a little time in the class room to observe and help out.   We have also taken the big step of letting Amelia ride home on the school bus.  Only two little girls are on this run (strapped into special safety harnesses) and it is only a 15 to 20 minute ride.  The morning run would take about an hour and a half and that is just not acceptable.

Amelia is constantly on the move and wants to be as independent as possible.  We remember Siena saying “I do it byself” and although Amelia can’t say it, she lets us know that she does not need any help!   She knows where everything goes and insists on putting it there.  She wants to dress herself and help with laundry and dishes and making the beds, well she tries!   She also can be very noisy and has learned to squeal with gusto just like her big sister.  Her favorite toys are Siena’s big doll house (which is a great learning tool) and books and puzzles of all types.  She has recently started enjoying watching TV and loves the Signing Times videos. 
Amelia and Siena watching Signing Times
She absolutely never stops and we have to watch her carefully, because she knows how to open doors, turn on fans and work the remote control of TV and VCR.    But she also sleeps very well, ten or more hours a night.   Naps are rare, but occasionally she still needs them.  After a day with Amelia, we usually need one too!

We hope this will give you some idea of where we are in Amelia's development.   It’s an exciting time for all of us but it can also be overwhelming.  We feel a lot of pressure to make sure we are doing the right thing and providing Amelia with everything she needs to be successful. We are learning as we go and know will have to make many adjustments along the way.  It is comforting to know we are surrounded by so many people keeping us in their thoughts and prayers.  We are so thankful for all of your love and support!

                                                   Have a very Happy Thanksgiving!