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Saturday, January 29, 2011

A Bigger Smile



I have realized that I haven't written much about Veronica's school. As of today, she has been enrolled in the Special Education ECE program for 6 weeks, and we have already seen dramatic improvements in her overall countenance, abilities, & self. I find myself looking at her (like in this picture) and saying, "how did I get such a beautiful, kind-hearted little girl?" How about I give you a window into our world prior to V enrolling into the school, and after shots.

Before (I'm only going through areas where we've seen improvements, because she definitely had many strengths prior to the school):

1. She didn't even like attempting to put clothes on, because when your fingers and fine motor skills aren't working properly, it only brings frustration and tears.
2. Social interactions were much more scarce, like looking at people when she was talking with them, having much interest in friends, and having that confidence one needs when approaching social/emotional interactions.
3. She was showing signs of improvement when it came to gross motor, due to her appointments with her physical therapist, but there were still areas of improvement needed.
4. Taking charge and being a bit more driven to do life without me as her mom right there.
5. Drawing & coloring, she never wanted to do these things. When she did color it looked more similar to an 18 month old's abilities.
6. Conversation, speaking, & thinking. She has always been a conversationalist, storytelling sort of girl. But, there was a bit missing, which could be tied in with #2 here.


After:

1. In terms of fine motor skills (i.e. drawing, coloring, writing, putting clothes on, etc), she originally showed resistence to even adult assistance in these areas, which her teacher told me she did the same in the first week at school. When a child (or anyone) has a delay and they are resistence to even try, it makes therapy that more difficult. Luckily, she was very welcome to Miss Jill during physical therapy. Fine Motor (occupational therapy) was very resistent. She would cry, throw herself on the ground, and scream when she couldn't do something or even when you tried to help. She is just now learning (and getting more confident and self-controlled) how to stay calm to work out these more detailed lines of work. Ben and I have seen her go from flayling about just to ask her to put underwear on to getting her underwear and calming attempting to put them on. I have to give credit to myself as well (not boasting), because obviously the school doesn't teach them this element of clothing, nor should it be there job. However, with the combination of weekly Occupational Therapy coupled with other fine motor activities they do everyday in the school, we see a little girl gaining confidence & willingness to partake in these activities. She wants to color & draw everyday, dress herself, and start to use her fork & spoon. She's also beginning to have more control over these fine motor skills. Learning to have precision and overall balance & focus.

2. Veronica has never been a mean kid. Never been a bully. Never been the kid who other kids didn't want to be around due to negative behavior. However, she was also never the kid who interacted much, which is no wonder why other kids didn't mind her...they didn't notice her. She kept to herself. I was (and am still not) never worried about her having some syndrome like Aspberger's or Autism, due to her lack of social interactions. Yet, I knew something was missing. One arena where I think I'm most fond of and tear up a bit is her new friend, M. Veronica has a couple friends that she will pray for and talk about at home; however, (aside from Cadence) M has a special place in Veronica's heart. It was her second or third week of school and I dropped her off that day. She was coloring on the floor with the SLP, when the rest of the kids came in from the bus. There was M. Veronica looked up and the response I saw from her was none I'd ever seen before when seeing a friend. Her eyes widened, her mouth turned upwards and and uplifting sigh followed by, "HI M!" She quickly got up and went to her to say hello again (in case she didn't hear the first time). Since then, I've heard numerous stories of how M's mom also made a Green Goddess smoothie for her when she got home from school (coincidence that I made V one that same day?) and squealed with delight when there at the door on her birthday party was M.

3. As far as fine & large motor skills, she wants to color almost everyday, create using her fine motor and wants to put on her own clothes. She is becoming more patient and less frustrated when endeavoring in the fine motor arena. Gross motor skills continue to grow and develop. She's getting more confident and sure of her abilities. Confidence in one self is essential in success. She finding hers and I'm incredibly grateful.

4. As a result of this confidence, I have seen her take playing on playgrounds, interacting with others & going to Sunday School with such stride. She isn't full of fear or hesitation, but holds her head a bit higher. She is looking at people in the eye. She is taking interests in life with new glasses. I do believe her smile has grown in the past months and I know it's only going to get more big.



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