Wednesday, September 19, 2012

What we've been up to

There are some major updates for Emma.  First off, we received her Eco2 with EcoPoint today!  I may or may not have looked out the window and paced the sidewalk in front of our house waiting for the FedEx guy.  We are so excited that Emma now has a voice that can't be taken away from her.  It's her very own personal talker - her voice.  I think something this important may need a name instead of her talker.  Maybe we'll call her EV (Evie) for Emma's voice.  When Emma saw what I unpacked from the box she giggled and giggled and crawled over to it.  She reached out her hand and touched it and made noises to me that I interpreted to mean she is so happy to have it back.  This is amazing for so many reasons, but the most important one is that Emma actually likes to use this talker to communicate.  We tried so many different methods and Emma remained indifferent.  Her speech therapist really got it right when she told me that it is the child that actually selects the device they want to use as their voice.  Emma sure did!

The other update is we finalized Emma's IEP!  The main change is we moved her from the morning pre-school classroom to the afternoon pre-school classroom.  This class is a bit faster pace and more academically challenging for her.  Also, this class is only held 4 days/week instead of 5 days so we will get some time back to devote to our field trip adventures.  Going from 5 days to 4 is a big deal for her therapists since her IEP has a lot of therapy time scheduled and they are worried about her missing too much of the typical classroom time.  One option we are exploring is me taking Emma to school on her day off for some therapy appointments only.  I'm confident we'll have it all worked out soon.  I'm thrilled she will be challenged a bit more academically while working with her same aide, teacher and team of therapists.  It takes Emma months to warm up to new therapists - she tries to skate through sessions until they catch on that she knows more than she is showing them.  None of that will be happening this year because they know more about her strengths and weaknesses.  Already she has been demonstrating how much she knows by answering correctly 100% of the time in her last three speech sessions.  Way to go, Emma!

Julia loves school and has settled into the new routine of 1st grade.  When Chris drops her off in the morning she wants him to move along on his way and doesn't want him to hang around for 5-10 minutes like the parents do in kindergarten.  She started taking the school bus home from school a few days a week and getting home about an hour earlier than she comes home with Chris.  The bus picks her up at school and takes her to the high school where she boards a different bus to her stop near our house.  I was a bit worried about the transfer of busses but she seems to be an old pro at it by now.  Another first grader in her school takes the same first bus and they like to sit together.  It's fantastic she has a friend to ride the bus with considering she goes to a private school quite a bit out of our school district.  The whole bus adventure is working out quite well.  Julia also stared religious education classes and she really loves it.  When I asked her what about it she loved the best she told me it's when she gets stickers.  Aha...it's so easy to please a first grader!  Our neighbor is teaching the class and I'm the aide so she also thinks that is lots of fun to have us in there with her.

We went away this past weekend to a wedding.  It was lots of fun!  The girls came to the service with us and loved looking at all the girls in their dresses.  My niece joined us on the trip and she watched the girls while we went to the reception.  They loved hanging out with their cousin and we really enjoyed the night out.  I think we'll have to do it more often!

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