jadedmusings: (ATLA - Chibi :D)
Yesterday was our annual IEP meeting at the school for the kiddo. I went in anxious because the last couple of years have been us going round and round about them insisting the kiddo is on the autistic spectrum while I (someone who has actually worked with children on the spectrum) plus a couple of doctors have said he's not. Last year they were very pessimistic about his social skills and, well, I was on the verge of pulling him out and homeschooling until we found a suitable private school for him if we had another bad year.

Yesterday it was like I went to a meeting for an entirely different child. In May, they were convinced he was never going to get any better without a lot of intervention and assistance (even hinting at the possibility he might need an aide, or someone to come in every now and then). Yesterday, a mere five months later after he's had a summer break, they remarked that he's now eating lunch and talking with his peers, playing with them at recess, and he's even been giving at least one presentation in class where he's had to stand up in front of everyone and talk. He's, for the first time, spontaneously saying "Hi, Mrs. [Name]," to the teachers and principal when he passes them in the hallway, which catches them off-guard because he's always needed to be spoken to first. He's socially caught up and making friends.

One story his teacher told us was that one student in his class had his snack, but didn't want to finish it because it was too sweet. The kiddo saw and heard him say this and went over with his snack (cheese nips) and said to the kid, "Here, we can share mine if you like." Last year he barely talked to any of his peers and was a loner.

Academically, his math scores are damn near 100s (and have always been high), but it's reading where he's always lacked that he's picking up steam. He's reading consistently at/a little above grade level for the first time plus demonstrating far better reading comprehension (and his teacher says it'll only improve the more he reads). He's gone from reading the bare minimum required by his teachers to having to be told in class to put his book away and complete task. Now, the focus is on getting him to be better organized and to remember to turn in his work. (He even comes home and tells me, "I'm turning off the TV so I won't be distracted while I read." No, I am not making that up. Yes, I do consider myself lucky.)

As of yesterday he has completely exited out of the occupational therapy portion of his in-school therapies, and they are scaling back to one thirty-minute speech session per week. Since he was three years old he's been going twice per week, and for the first time this year his speech therapist mentioned the possibility of him exiting the speech therapy program next year. I nearly fell out of my chair when I heard that as last year had me worried he'd be going to speech therapy through middle school at least.

He still obviously has speech issues, and verbally he doesn't like to speak more than one to three words in response to questions (unless he's the one who started talking first); however, when asked to write a paragraph about something, he will write several sentences that are punctuated correctly with proper grammar and sentence structure (despite still sometimes using improper grammar in his speech, i.e. "She seen a bird."). His occupational therapist read one paragraph he wrote about his field trip and said, "I know children in middle school who couldn't do that well." His handwriting is improving and letter spacing is damn near perfect, and he's catching up a bit to his peers by practicing cursive.

At home we're going to start working on his reading aloud. He still has a tendency to want to rush through words and trying to speak while inhaling. So every now and then I'll ask him to read a paragraph of what he's reading to me and I'll be helping him with projection and pacing (as well as occasionally reminding him about his "L" blends/sounds, one of his weaknesses).

As for the transformation, I credit the teacher he has this year. Technically she's a substitute for the fourth grade teacher who had a serious accident or medical injury before school started. This substitute took over for his teacher last year when she was out on maternity leave and is there at least through the holidays. She knew about the kiddo and his limitations, and he really connected with her last year and this year. She has let him sit with her on school trips and at lunch, and has encouraged him to be social. She loves him so much that I think she'd kidnap him and take him home if she could. I'm going to be keeping an eye out for a holiday present for her, something nice she can use along with a letter explaining to her how much this means to us. (There's no idea if the "real" teacher will be able to return this year, and the consensus seems to be there's now a possibility she will not return for the school year at this point.)

When we were walking to the parking lot after the meeting Sam said, "It took everything I had not to tell them, 'We told you so!'" Me, I've been too ecstatic and overjoyed to gloat about how we always believed in the kiddo and knew with the right amount of patience and understanding, he'd pull through. He's always blown away everyone's expectations of him, always surprising everyone (including me) with what he can do.

I worried yesterday was a dream so I've been telling everyone I could about it. Sam's mom gave me a hug and said, "You knew it all along," and she'd been someone to always back me up in my belief the kiddo was capable of far more than the school seemed ready to believe.

So my son has a bright future ahead of him, and he's really coming out of his shell socially and academically. It's been a long, very bumpy road, but now I see an end to it and I slept better last night than I have in months. To celebrate yesterday's news, we're going out after school to the mall, maybe a movie, and then some clothes shopping (which he won't be as happy about, but he needs new jeans since he's managed to put a hole in nearly every pair he owns). He's earned a huge treat.
jadedmusings: (Supernatural - Dean Oh My Gravy)
This year for his spelling assignments, the kiddo only has to pick one activity from a list and do it each week. (However, after September, if he makes 85 or better on the previous week's spelling test--and I feel compelled to add he's never scored lower than an 88 on a spelling test--he won't have to do any activity so long as he keeps testing well. Of course, being the mean mother I am, I will still make him take practice tests to be sure he's keeping up regardless of if he has to do it or not.) So, today, I'm looking over the list of activities and I see one that lets him write the letter of each word in a different color.

"Aha," I said, "this is quick, easy, and fun. He'll be done in no time."

That was about half an hour ago. Little did I know my son is an artiste and is carefully picking out the markers before he spells each word so he can make sure he has the prettiest spelling list in the world. Consider me rather chagrined, though I guess I do appreciate the opportunity to catch up on some blogs and see what news is happening. He's dilligently working and not getting distracted, so I'm not going to sweat it if it takes him a bit longer. If he were just doing it in pencil, I know he'd be finished quickly.

Oh, and by the way, we did math first, and he just sailed right through it like he never had summer break. The only place where he needed help was wording a response to one question asking what was wrong with an example number line. I questioned him first, and he knew the answer, but, per his disorder, he needed a little assistance making a coherent answer.

After this, it's reading. Last week he picked up Bunnicula, and we practiced retelling the story as we went along. It's a bit helpful when it's a chapter book as each chapter gives us something to practice recapping and retelling. This is his weakest area, but one he's determined to work through.
jadedmusings: (Default)
I have repeatedly been frustrated with the school. They refuse to acknowledge his initial diagnosis of Expressive Language Disorder and continue to insist he must be on the spectrum despite his lacking several key symptoms (and the opinion of other doctors). Frustrated again, this morning I just googled his disorder and found this video on YouTube, and...for the first time in a long time I don't feel so alone. I know, that's rather stupid and silly for a YouTube video, but I watched it and while this girl has better articulation than the kiddo (at the time of filming, she was two years older than the kiddo is now), the way she talks and the subtitles on the video explaining things hit very close to home.

This is the frustration the kiddo experiences, and he's developing a habit of trying to get out of having to tell anyone anything by saying, "I don't know," even though he does very well know and does understand, he just can't demonstrate it in a way that's satisfactory to them.

I've told the school that we are going to reschedule his appointment (or find a different place, perhaps involve a trip back to SC if I have to since I know the area there much better) and that I am looking into other schooling options for him. I don't know how we'll do it given how rural the area we live in is, but I'll find a way.

Growing Up

Aug. 6th, 2012 08:18 am
jadedmusings: (NCIS - Abby Unbelievable)
The kiddo started his first day of third grade this morning. (Yes, they start incredibly early around here, but then again he got out around May 18.) I swear I was just dropping him off at Kindergarten yesterday.

So far, his teacher seems nice enough, and, apart from a brief panic about not remembering his lunch/library number, the kiddo was eager to get back (they'll remind him what his number is). This afternoon we're going out to pick up some more pencils and a new backpack, and maybe a lunch time treat (today is only a half-day).

I'm anxious, and have been going over other options if he starts to have some of the same problems as last year, but the teacher seems different from last year at least.
jadedmusings: (Sherlock - Laptop intervention)
• I've finally chosen a night for a "free" RP event for Steadfast. Given that the Hallow's End world even starts tomorrow, I'm doing a masquerade ball. I'm a bit nervous about hosting this and hoping I can come up with something to at least get the ball rolling (pun unintentional yet no less hilarious), something that'll keep people interested and entertained. I've planned for three hours, though I expect that people will be coming and going. (That reminds me, I need to make a note of that on the announcement.) There's going to be a costume contest and we're coming up with in-game prizes to hand out.

• I am running on two hours of sleep right now. I couldn't take a nap because I had to pick up the kiddo at 11:30 and I have to leave here in about 45 minutes to get back to the school for a meeting with the kiddo's teacher at 1:20. I'm anxious about it, partly because I'm tired and partly because I'm worried there's going to be a need for me to once more emphasize that the kiddo can handle his workload. (Sam will be there, so that makes me feel a little better at least.)

• Due the aforementioned insomnia, I haven't trusted myself to try and write today. I do have questions for you, Solivar, but I might not be able to post them until later this afternoon. I can tell you I'm stealing the memories-in-a-soulstone idea for something Fol is doing.

• After the teacher meeting, we're all going out for a cheap lunch and then grocery shopping. During that I'm going to pick out a meal for Sam's birthday, though I still haven't the faintest idea what I'm going to cook for him. Bah, I took him out for a nice dinner Thursday. :p

• A pair of jeans I purchased last year around my birthday that were snug-fitting-but-not-too-tight have gone into the realm of, "Holy crap, I can put them on and off while they're still buttoned! O_o" So, yeah, I thought I was losing weight, and I know how I did it too. Not eating well due to stress. So, I guess it's kind of a double-edge sword thing. Good and bad, but really, I'm not eating a lot because I don't feel like it and I don't really feel any different, just annoyed that this wonderful pair of jeans is now sagging in the butt. (Dad's genes at work. The first place I gain or lose weight is my butt that somehow still manages to be rather round despite the way it seems to shrink.)

• Time to go wake the sleeping bear AKA Sam since we have to hit the road soon. More later unless I pass out this afternoon.


Sep. 26th, 2011 09:24 am
jadedmusings: (Supernatural - Castiel Air Quotes)
A couple of weeks ago Sam had a cold. This devious virus allowed me to think I'd escaped its clutches so that it might completely clobber me yesterday. I went from "Hmm, my throat is a little scratchy," late Saturday night/early Sunday morning to, "Mah doze doedn't work!" in no time flat.

Given that I couldn't sleep and I was afraid to take Nyquil since I'd rather be tired and coherent than spending an entire day in a medically induced fog (this is why I never wanted to try illegal drugs; OTC drugs can fuck me up just fine on their own, particularly the ones with sleep aids), I elected to turn off my alarm when I woke up at 4:00 AM. This means the kiddo who, apart from coughing and sounding only a little stuffy, is staying home from school today. He did have a stuffy nose this weekend and had trouble falling asleep last night, which knowing him will be the only symptoms he'll get and he'll be A-OK tomorrow.

He's not getting off easy, though. He has a project to work on for school and we have reading to do, plus I'm pretty sure I know what his math assignment will be. Also, I can log online now and he can do his spelling homework there, which doing it on my computer will be like a treat for him. (If only I'd had this back in the day, huh?)

Today's agenda is drinking water, lots of water (drank OJ yesterday), and resting a lot.
jadedmusings: (ATLA - Aang Water Octopus)
This being the second week of school, the students in the kiddo's class have been doing some assessment testing for reading and math so the teacher can figure out where everyone's strengths and weaknesses lie. Plus, she can design classroom groups to benefit students who might be lagging in one area or another. I have to say the kiddo's scores surprised me in unexpected ways.

On reading, he scored a 2.3 which translates into being at a "second grade level plus three months" and in the fifty-eighth percentile nationally. So, he's right on target for his reading level, which came as no real shock to me. What I didn't know is that he also had a math assessment, and today I learned he scored a 2.4 on and put him in the seventy-first percentile nationally for his grade. Now, at the end of kindergarten, he tested somewhat low in math and after last year, he was able to keep up though I was under the impression he was still a little behind. This assessment told me differently, and I have to admit it was quite surprising to see him performing better on math than reading. I was always the opposite on my test scores (math was always my weakest subject). I mean, it's not a huge difference either way and I know this wasn't exactly rigorous testing, but it was nice to see he's managed to catch up in math. I suppose I should have taken a hint when we did math homework this week that included word problems and also picking out the greater number and he flew right through it. Those are two things he had a little difficulty with last year due to his trouble processing language sometimes.

Also, he had his first spelling test of the year today. The teacher did accidentally mark one word correct that was spelled wrong, but other than that he got every word right plus the extra credit. His first test score was 109, and so we're starting the year off on the right foot, I think.

The other good news is that his teacher told me last week he had no trouble talking to her right away (usually he takes a bit to warm up to a teacher) and that he was initiating conversations with his peers. This was something that was worrisome last year, and he seems to be saying he's playing with others at recess so far. I'll speak to his teacher again this week to make sure he's still excited about socializing, but I take this as a positive sign and that he's continuing to improve with regard to his language delay.

I expect we'll hit a few rough spots about mid-year when the material becomes a little more challenging, though I'm not as anxious about it as I was after learning this.
jadedmusings: (BtVS - Buffy does not approve)
...someone who is not me.

I mentioned on Twitter that the kiddo spent his weekend in bed with a mild fever and stuffy head. Even though he was doing better by Sunday evening, I kept him home from school yesterday just to be safe and so he could go 24 hours without a fever. Yesterday evening the kiddo was back to his old self for the most part, and he felt well enough to joke around with Sam and me.

This morning, I get the kiddo up for school, and while he got out of bed with no problem, getting dressed was another story. He fussed immediately and said he felt sick, acting like he might vomit at any minute. Now, I already knew that there is a stomach virus that's going around the school, so I erred on the side of caution and told the kiddo that I'd let him stay home for a couple of hours; however, if he didn't start running a fever and/or throwing up, he was going to school. What followed was two hours of the kiddo trying to play games, flopping around on the couch, and in general Not Being Sick. Both Sam and I figured he just didn't want to go to school. So, when 9:00 AM rolled around, we packed up and headed for school.

When we got to the school, I noticed he seemed a little sluggish, so I asked him if he felt sick. "No. I feel good," which normally means all is well. I explained to the secretary and his teacher that he had been sick all weekend and that I kept him in this morning since he said he'd felt sick, but seeing as he wasn't vomiting or running fever, I brought him in. Everyone seemed to agree this was a great idea. The teacher mentioned she had seven students out yesterday and five today, and even the secretary apparently spent the weekend in bed due to this stomach virus.

Fifteen minutes later I pulled up to the house only to have Sam meet me at the door. "The school called. Not two minutes after you left, he puked. A lot." Cue me scrambling back to the truck and doing my best to get back to the school ASAP. When I got there, he was lying down in the nurse's office looking very miserable. I, of course, have been feeling so, so, so guilty.

The nurse reassured me that I had done the right thing and that the kiddo wasn't running a fever (she checked it after he got sick and then again before we left, it was normal). Once we got home, the kiddo gravitated toward the television and right now he's playing video games. Had he not gotten sick at school, I'd still suspect him of feigning sick so he could just stay home. Knowing how stomach viruses treat me and how he was last year when he had one, I bet he'll keep acting fine until the next time his stomach decides to heave its contents.

So, yeah, this weekend was rough and this week is shaping up to be..."lovely."
jadedmusings: (R&G Are Dead - Players Die)
Just a general update:

• I'm alive, things are stressful but survivable.

• Spent the last couple of days with Sam celebrating his birthday, which was actually on Sunday. He's 31 so everyone can point at him and say, "Ollllllld." His father was so kind to pull him aside and tell him, "Numerically you are now closer to 40 than you are to 20." (Now you people on IRC can see where Sam gets it from, and also maybe see why I like his family so much.) And ignore the fact that I'll be 30 on New Year's Day.

• There's still abunch of stuff happening within my own family and it is affecting me. It's getting so bad Mom told me today, "Be glad you're up there and no longer here." *sigh*

• Friday's Supernatural episode recap will be up either later tonight or tomorrow afternoon for all zero of you who read it. It was another decent episode.

• Kiddo is coming down with another head cold. This one seems to be starting out with some coughing and tonight is going to see me checking to make sure he doesn't spike a fever.

• Speaking of the kiddo, yesterday was Parents' Day at his school and his report card was awesome. We also went to the book fair where he got abunch of books we'll be reading together.

• I'm having a flare-up of the old anxiety possibly due to lack of restful sleep. I know I'll be better by this weekend, but until then I'm having to work my way through it which is never terribly fun.

• There's not much else going on. I'll probably be writing some silly posts and some serious "thinky" posts later about weird stuff like relationships, the paranormal, and parenting.

And now the kiddo is asking for a brownie (we have some left-over from the awesome dinner I made Sam on Monday) and it sounds so pathetic given that his nose is getting increasingly stuffy. I'm such a push-over...sometimes.
jadedmusings: (Default)

That's the kiddo holding up his medal. He earned the Principal's Award for August in recognition of his good manners and respectful attitude. According to the kiddo, only he and one other student got the award for this month, though I think there'll be one selected for each grade. Maybe.

Not bad for being in an entirely new school for not-quite three weeks, eh? Also not bad for a child whose first teacher thought he needed an aide and wouldn't adjust to school.

I'm so proud of him, I could burst.

Now to resume waiting for FedEx. (More on that continuing saga later.)
jadedmusings: (Default)
The kiddo is attending his first day of first grade in a new school. I'm, of course, feeling anxious and hoping he adjusts to a new place relatively quickly. Not sure when I'll meet his new speech therapist -- hopefully within the next couple of weeks. I did meet his teacher this morning and she seemed very nice and a couple of his classmates did too.

Anyway, to distract myself, I spent a little bit of time outside with the camera this morning. As usual, there's fog rolling through and it reminds me of why some of this area is known as the Great Smoky Mountains. We've only been here since Saturday and I still have a lot of work to do on the house in addition to finding a job, but in all honesty, I've never felt more at ease in a new place than I do here. And if nothing else, the view here is worth it.

From my front yard this morning:

Four more under the cut, including goats, and a baby cow! )
jadedmusings: (Default)
I got my truck back yesterday afternoon. The fuel pump needed to be replaced, and while it was in the shop I went ahead and got the front brakes done since those needed to be replaced for a while now. I also got an oil change. Let's just say there may have been some tears when I had to write the check for all of that. I am lucky that I have the funds to do it, though I didn't want to part with that much money considering the money I just had sent to my account is to cover utilities this summer and possibly deposits and stuff for renting and/or moving.

With the truck in working order, I was able to keep the vet appointment for the dogs. Penny's left ear was clear, but her right ear has one tiny spot of inflammation, so she's got to have the dreaded ear drops again to keep that in check. Sasha got her yearly shots and she seems to have evened out at 51 pounds, with Penny putting on another pound and weighing in at 50 pounds today. It turns out that heartworm medicine and flea preventatives are really expensive for bigger dogs. I got enough heartworm meds for three months for both dogs and I'm going back next month when the budget allows for me to buy three months worth of flea meds too (I've got a dose for this month, which is crucial since summer is a bad time for fleas and ticks around here - I've already spied two deer ticks as it is). But despite the expense, I have happy and healthy pets so it's worth it.

Speaking of healthy pets, do you know how "fun" it is to try and get into your vet's office when one dog is eager to go greet the nice people inside while the other dog remembers the vet's office is where they poke you with sharp things and there are strangers in there? Yeah, having two leashes tugging in opposite directions was kind of funny, but fortunately Penny listened and after her initial resistance, she came inside. She still didn't appreciate having to get up on the exam table, but she didn't even whimper this time. I suppose not getting poked with needles this visit went a long way in helping keep her from getting too anxious. Sasha on the other hand didn't even notice when the vet gave her two shots. She just sat down and kept looking up at him expectantly while wagging her tail. No one ever accused her of being the brightest crayon in the box, but she's still a great dog.

Thursday evening, Penny is going over to Mom's where she'll stay while we're in North Carolina. I made arrangements at the vet's today for Sasha to be boarded there while I'm gone, and she'll go in Friday morning before we hit the road. She's stayed there before and the price is very reasonable. What's even better is that they'll bathe her before I pick her up on Tuesday. The cats will be fine here with Mom dropping in to check on them once or twice.

The kiddo's last day of school is tomorrow. He gets out at 11:00 AM and then we have an awards ceremony to attend. Thursday afternoon I've got a parent-teacher conference where I'll receive his last report card for the year. Then, we'll be done for the year! Oh, but of course there's one more t-ball game to attend that evening, not to mention the errands I need to run after the meeting with the teacher (hooray for paying bills).

Friday morning is going to be...interesting. The plan is to get up early, drive Sasha to the vet/boarders, come back to town so I can run by the bank, transfer some money to a different account so I'm not going around with loads of cash on me, and then hopefully I can be on the road to North Carolina before noon. Heh.

So, things are moving along here. I'm about to get the kiddo up (he took an impromptu nap) so we can head to Mom's and have spaghetti for dinner before his t-ball game. That reminds me, I need to go bring in the cooler so I can put the drinks in it. Ugh.

Oh, and one final note: I'm having some internet issues. Pages and images are refusing to download, but I think I've managed to correct the issue. We'll see.
jadedmusings: (Default)
I am alive, if overwhelmed. We have been super busy and I haven't had the energy to do much more than read blogs. I haven't even been able to comment as I would like.

Next week is the kiddo's last week of school and his last week of t-ball. Friday, assuming all goes according to plan, we will be heading up to North Carolina for Memorial Day weekend to visit Sam and finally meet his family. (Oh yes, there is much trepidation on my part.) While there, I'll be getting started on looking at rental properties and getting a feel for the general cost of living. So, yes, still planning to move this summer. I'll be providing more details soon as well as posting about books and other things I want to give away.

Speaking of the kiddo, his final assessment scores for occupational therapy came back this week and they were astounding. He is now considered average for his age range in terms of fine and gross motor skills whereas back in November he was well below average. I'm not sure I can convey how huge this is, but I do know he's worked hard and it shows. His therapist still reccomends another year of Occupational Therapy to maintain his skills, but it looks like next year may be the last year he'll need the OT. Speech will, of course, be needed for a few more years, I think, though there is hope that he will be phased out of there before all is said and done.

I've been in a funk for a few months, I know, but now that there's a light at the end of the tunnel, and I know I can get out of here, I'm starting to feel better. Getting up to visit Sam next weekend will be a nice shot in the arm, and knowing school is out is putting a good sort of pressure on me to get off my duff and get to work.

I'll probably be quiet for another week as next week will be complete murder. We have things to do every single day next week, and even with the kiddo only going to school Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday for half a day, I'm still going to be running myself ragged. There's a doctor's appointment for Mom in Augusta (standard stuff, nothing serious), vet appointments for both dogs (again, nothing serious), and the kiddo's awards ceremony at school. Oh, and two more t-ball games, one of which I'm providing snacks and drinks for after the game. Thursday will be a parent-teacher end-of-year conference, plus errands to pay bills, handling banking stuff, and the kiddo's final t-ball game. And then, of course, Friday is when we'll be driving up to North Carolina after dropping Sasha off at the boarders since Mom can only handle Penny (Sasha can jump Mom's fence while Penny is calm and loves spending time with Mom). Somewhere in all of that I'll be squeezing in household chores and packing for the trip.

Oh man, I feel exhausted just typing all that. And now I go to bed so I can be up before the post office closes tomorrow to pick up a package. Fun.
jadedmusings: (Default)
My son's teacher is moving to a different town and tomorrow is her last day teaching at his school. Today, she sent home a farewell letter and I thought I'd share one little thing that caught my eye:

I will miss them greatly as we have all been such a close nit family.

Yes, I suppose some children can be like the offspring of parasitic insects. (In all seriousness, it's an amazing school with a good bunch of teachers and students.)

Cross-posted to [livejournal.com profile] wrongworddammit


jadedmusings: (Default)
Wrathful and Unrepentant Jade

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