Monday, April 13, 2009

A moment of peace......

As I stated yesterday, today I had a HUGE stack of inspections. I promised myself a year or two ago that I would NEVER inspect more than 5 properties in one day EVER again. I've been breaking that rule a lot lately, and it makes for some confusion if I'm not really organized. In any case, despite so many places to be today, I actually buzzed through them in record time and I'm back at the office with 45 minutes or so left to "burn" before I have to pick up kids. I'm sure that I could find something to do to get a jump on tomorrow's due dates, but NAH........I'm going to update my blog instead. :)

In the past few weeks, I haven't said too much about Jennica's progress. We've finally fallen into a routine of sorts, and she completes 5 minutes of vision therapy 5 days/week and 10 minutes of auditory therapy 5 days/week--both here at home. On top of that, we still attend occupational therapy in Olympia once per week. The vision therapy is by far the toughest to stay motivated with. Probably because we're also seeing the least benefit there. The auditory therapy is having some really amazing results and we're seeing some serious progress. Some "Wahoo!" moments lately are as follows:

1) We were in a big building recently with both girls and they were racing around like maniacs and yelling to make the place echo. Jennica suddenly sat down and said, "Tiersten, we have GOT to settle down!" Mike and I both almost fell over in shock. This is a HUGE step for a sensory-seeking child. The ability to "sense" that her behavior is out of control is an improvement all by itself. The ability to verbalize it to her sister and know that sitting down is going to help her regain control is a HUGE improvement. Wahoo!

2) The girls have one of those little battery-powered Barbie jeeps, but Jen has always flatly refused to drive it more than very short distances. Even that took a ton of cajoling and chatting with her. Last weekend, we got it out after several months parked in the garage and, much to our amazement, she piled in the driver's seat and took off across the lawn. And didn't stop!!! She confidently zipped all over the place! With education, we now are able to understand that the reason that she didn't like to drive it before was that the "motor planning" (or praxis) prevented her from feeling like she could do multiple things at once, which is what is required for driving. The visual input of where she wants to go.......the steering........stepping on the gas pedal.......stepping on the brake as needed......shifting........It was all too much. But her motor planning has come SO FAR since last November that she obviously feels far more comfortable tackling this type of activity. Wahoo!

3) She's consistently dressing herself! Typical to a sensory-seeking child, she often has her shoes on the wrong feet and her shirt backwards (try it......can't you "feel" your feet better if you put your shoes on the wrong feet? Can't you feel the tag itching you on the chin? You and I have learned that its uncomfortable, but she still prefers to FEEL rather than to not feel.) Just glad to have her tackling multi-step sequential tasks ON HER OWN. Of course, sometimes her clothing choices are a little odd. I'm trying to just go with the flow. We'll teach her later that polka dotted shirts don't usually go with flowered pants.

4) The auditory therapy is making a HUGE difference in how she's responding and interacting with the world of NOISE. I take my own hearing so much for granted, that I never realized until now, how much we use our sense of hearing. Watching Jen progress through TEACHING her brain and her ears to communicate has been a fascinating process so far. For the first time in her life, she is turning instantly to the source of sounds. (I didn't realize before how much she was using her EYES to determine the source of sounds. Now its obvious.) She is beginning to shut out conversations that are not directed at her!! Another HUGE step, and a crucial one for functioning in every day life!!! And lastly, she is verbally telling us that things are uncomfortable. Last night, she walked up to me in the family room while I was vaccuuming, with her hands crammed over her ears, and yelled, "ARE YOU ALMOST DONE??!!!???" No lying on the floor screaming. No running to her room and slamming the door! Wahoo!

5) And lastly, she's verbal verbal verbal. She's always been considered to be developmentally on target for speech, so I didn't realize how much her speech would change with progress. But now........we're getting much less whining and squawking at us, and a whole lot more chatter. When Mike was wrestling with the girls the other night, she even stood up and said, "You're out of order!!" (We'll work on the mouthy-ness later.) Before, if she was ready to quit wrestling, she would have cried, or whined, or started hitting. Now.......its WORDS!!! Words are the key to normal functioning and coping skills!!! If she can explain whats upsetting her, we can help her find solutions. Wahoo!!!

So on with the gluten-free casein-free peanut-free egg-free life. Our naturopath tried a bizarre voodoo healing technique for the egg allergy, but it doesn't seem to have worked. We let her have a GFCF cupcake on Saturday with eggs in it, and peeled her off the ceiling through part of Sunday. Living without eggs is not a big deal anyway. She'll live. She doesn't like eggs by themselves anyway. Its just the ingredient factor that we hate to lose with eggs (such as in cupcakes).

Just nice to see some really solid results. Wahoo!

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