My Girl

My Girl

Friday, September 25, 2015

Faithie's last IEP meeting

ife 7 years later

 Seven years ago this was my "Baby Girl" (and I still call her my "Baby Girl" because she'll always be that.  She does correct me at times with, "I'm a big girl now")at 2 1/2 years old.  She had a thing for bubbles and loved the big bubble exhibit at the Grand Rapids Children's Museum.  This picture is about a month before she was officially diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder.  Jamie and I for years were trying to figure out what was different about our girl.  We thought she couldn't hear because she never responded to us or noises.  I knew long before my sister in law, Brooke, told me what she thought what was going on with Faith. I just wasn't ready at the time and we prolonged the evaluation for a year because of me. 

Here in this blog I wrote about us finding out she was autstic:
 http://halloddfamily.blogspot.com/2007/02/faith-austim-spectrum-disorder-and-life.html

Our life changed then.  Faith started attending school at Croyden before she was three.  I remember crying so hard her first day of school and so scared to put her on the bus.  Jamie wanted me to get her into the routine of school right away and put her on the bus.  I am so thankful to this day that God made it snow and snow and snow.  It was because of that snow that Jamie was nervous about putting her on the bus and came home to pick us up.  It was April 11th, 2007 that we took her to school.  She'd be at Croyden until she started Kindergarten in 2009.

Here is an entry I wrote in my blog in August of 2008:  (It shows some progress she already made at Croyden)

Faith is moving up in school!! She will be graduating from the tutor part of her school and move to the Early Learning Skills class. It is basically a very structured preschool with focusing on each child and their IEP goals. Her teacher told us that she is involving herself in parrell play with another child and they have created a game together!! It is the "Wake Up" game. Faith actually learned that at home b/c one of us will fake sleep and the other will yell "wake up". It's exciting to see her progress.

I am writing today, 7 years later and 7 IEP's later to say my "Baby Girl" is moving from regular speech therapy and OT monthly/ weekly to consultative.  She has progressed so much that her two therapists have decided she no longer needs them.  This is both a very happy and scary thing.

Mr. Casey, her OT, has been with Faith I think since she started kindergarten (and maybe a year before that).  He has helped her writing and everything else an OT does wonderfully.  I am so thankful for his constant prescence at our IEP meetings and the stories he's shared with us over the years of what Faithie has done at her sessions.  Jamie and I are so thankful for Mr. Casey in his love for her, patience and teaching her.  He will be missed but I know he'll help another set of parents reach this exciting time.  Below are two examples of Faith's writings now...
Faithie loves doctoring people.  She even plays virtual doctor games on my phone.  Here in the picture above she made this picture for me and wrote clear as day, "Doctor" on it.

The picture below brought tears to my eyes.  She brought this worksheet home in her first week of school.  My lovely girl is dotting her i's with hearts!!! SO EXTREMELY AGE APPROPRIATE and something I never knew if we'd see out of her.   So thank you so much Mr. Casey!!!  I pray you have this kind of success with all your other sweet children you're helping.
 Now for Miss. Sarah.... She has been Faithie's speech teacher since Faith started Croyden (7 years). Sarah told us, and Mr Casey too, that Faith has made amazing gains over the last few years on her IEP goals with them.  They both warned us that this day was coming and Miss. Sara (please forgive me if you spell this with and H or not), teared up thinking about it.  She also told us, as much as she didn't want too, that she feels Faith would benefit from ADHD meds.  (Again this has taken me a year to actually follow through, but I am thankful for her honesty).  I know it was hard for her to say because she also teared up telling us that too.

Miss. Sara I am so thankful to you for taking all this time with Faithie.  I understand it is your job but you do it with love and I can see that.  Faith went from maybe only saying, "yeah, mama, dada" at 2 to having conversations with me.  I know I have to pull the topics out of her but I want you to know I don't think we'd be there if it wasn't for your very hard work.
In fact Faithie is cheerleading this year!!  If she wasn't able to talk or communicate, we'd probably not be able to have her to do that!  You're hard work (and those of your student teachers/interns) has paid off.

Yesterday Faith and I had a momma/ daughter date.  We went to Culver's for chocolate ice cream.  My girl placed her own order to the cashier, "I want chocolate with Reece's Peanut butter cup, Please"

After ice cream we drove to pick her brothers up from Cub and Boy Scouts when I asked her about band.  She said no she went to STEAM.  I truthfully didn't know what she was saying so after me asking her about 5 questions I think out of frustration she did this, "I went to steam.  S-T-E-A-M" spelling it to me.  I was floored that she knew what to do to get me to understand.

She then initiated echoing talk on the way to pick up Elijah. It went like this, "wwhhheeeerrrreeee aaaaerrrreee wwwweeee ggggoooiinngg?"  It was a fun 20 minutes of talking like we were in a cave with echoes and even better that she initiated.

So today is a big, wonderful day for Faithie and her IEP.  AND I am so grateful for Miss Sarah and Mr Casey for teaching her.  Thank you isn't enough.p