Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Busy Days!

This is a busy time of year for everyone and we are no exception.  We are having so much fun and have some wonderful things happening that I need to take a bit of time to capture some of it.  

Julia is finishing up her first year of school.  Kindergarten was really good for her academically and socially.  I am amazed daily at how much she has matured and am overjoyed that she still maintains her super sweet personality that (to me) defines my sweet Julia.  This year she started reading and writing words, sentences and books.  She has a collection of books she wrote and illustrated at school and we were invited to a special event at her school called Meet the Authors.  She was looking forward to this day for weeks and when it finally arrived she was jumping around on her bed with excitement.  No problem waking her up that morning!  She has quite a collection of books, including My Mom, My Sister, My Fish, Dogs, The Chicks and Unicorns.  Her next book she plans to write it My Dad.  Phew!  Glad she didn't forget about dear old Dad!!!!!  We also have a journal she started the beginning of school with entries throughout the year and we can really see the amazing progress she has made with her writing.  It's quite impressive to see it all there in one journal and it is something I will put away in her keepsake binder.  

I was also able to attend the kindergarten Spring field trip to Hopkins Pond.  I missed the trips there in the Fall and Winter and Julia (and me!) was really hoping I could make it in the Spring.  It was a great day and the children had so much fun with the nature walk, picnic lunch and playtime.  It melted my heart that Julia wanted to hold my hand and walk all around with me instead of running off with her friends.  This is a great age and I know it won't last long so I'm going to soak up as much of the Mommy/Daughter time as I can!  After lunch the free play merged into a giant game of Duck Duck Goose and it was so nice to hear the children cheering for the Goose!  I have to say that the Quaker values taught in her school is a great match for Julia's personality and values and it's nice to see them in action.

Emma is doing some exciting things with the Eco2 with eyegaze system.  She is consistently using her eye gaze to choose milk or food during meals and also lets us know when she is all done.  She is also having a lot of fun using the Old McDonald page we programmed into it along with the Colors.  I use both of those pages for games or songs we sing and today we used it for our puzzled and Emma was especially engaged in using the eye gaze system to participated in the game with me.  This is VERY exciting to me!  We started filling out all the paperwork to have her insurance buy her one of these devices.  I am crossing my fingers that it doesn't take too long but since it is such an expensive piece of equipment it might take a while to get it approved.

We also attached some switches to her power wheelchair.  The company ASL loaned us the switches for a 20 day trial period and they have been wonderful to work with so far.  Emma's PTs are thrilled with the support they received to order the trial period equipment.  We were also glad that Emma's wheelchair vendor, National Seating and Mobility, came out right away to program the switches in her chair so we were able to start using the chair with the switches at the beginning of the trial period.  We have it set up with proximity switches that Emma activates by have a body part in close proximity to the switch.  The head rest has a "forward" proximity switch in it so Emma can move forward by placing her head back onto the headrest.  We also have a switch for left and right that we velcro to her tray table to determine the best placement for her to activate them.  I hope to have a video of her using the power chair with the switches soon.  Right now we are mostly working on her moving forward and introducing the left and right switches slowly since Emma is typically only interested in using the right/left switches to spin around in circles.  With practice I really believe that Emma will be able to work the switches to gain some independent mobility - how exciting!

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