Sunday, October 7, 2012

You've got the RUNNER of the group :)

Michael had soccer yesterday and had a blast!!! He had three volunteers who were from Lindenwood University to assist him throughout the hour. Michael likes to 'pick' his volunteers... he usually pics guys and he pointed to them and they were off!!! Michael doesnt slow down at all! he runs the whole hour and I just sit back and watch these volunteers try to keep up with him!! Its the most entertaining hour I get all day! Yesterday was a little different, Michael was listening and they were eager to help him in the actual game of soccer. They didnt just chase him around, they were showing him how to pass the ball and Michael was soaking it all in!! At mid point, when all the kids are suppose to play an actual game, Michael didnt want to participate, and his volunteers were onboard. They wanted to play with him as much as he wanted to play with them. They set up cones in his own goal and let him knock them down every few minutes. Genuis! that was a way to slow him down! ha! Michael loved every minute of it. At the end of the hour, one of his volunteers approached me to find out about Michael... what was his diagnosis, had he played soccer before, had he been involved in this program before. I told him that Michael has speech apraxia, and that yes, he has played soccer since he was 4, and yes, this was our third year in the SPENSA program. His response: Its funny, cuz when Michael picked us, the group leader said, "Good luck, you've got the RUNNER of the group". and he was right!!! Out of the over 100 special needs kids, Michael stands out! and I couldnt be more proud!! Because everyone in that program knows that Michael absolutely LOVES to play soccer!!! :) So proud of you little monkey!!

Friday, September 28, 2012

A sentence or two and an IEP

First let me start off by saying thank you to those that read this blog. I appreciate the time you all take to read my ramblings and see the progress that my little monkey has made over the years!!!(: Michael has his 4th grade IEP today. Usually, I'm a basketcase... Full of anxiety and nervous and easily offended when I have to sit back with Brad and hear all the professionals list what Michael CAN'T do. But today I have a good feeling about this!! The thing is.. We know Michael has so much potential. We've seen it. We know he wants to talk. We are going to continue to fight the fight and we know we will be successful in getting Michael the appropriate education!! Go Michael Go!!! So why am I so sure of myself??? Why do I feel so confident in my nonverbal, speech apraxia child, who has never spoken a sentence in his life or more than a handful of words in the 9 years he's been with me, how am I so confident in his abilities??? Because although Michael can't communicate with us like everyone else... He's making huge progress talking via his iPad. He isn't just pushing pictures and having those pictures say the word... He's creating sentences. Noun. Verb. Appropriate sentence structure!!! On Wednesday, I was busy with Cam, Michael was on the couch with CJ and we were just watching tv... Michael had his iPad in hand, and without any prompts, he spoke a sentence. I WANT COOKIE.... And then later I WANT CHOCOLATE MILK. Wow!!! Two sentences!!! And both were appropriate. You see, we had a cookie cake and I had told Michael he had to wait... And he kept pointing to the cake, but I made him wait. As soon as he spoke those words... I caved!!! I'm going to get that boy his cookie cake because he SPOKE a sentence. He created a real sentence!!! I'm so so proud of you!!! My little monkey is growing up and I'm so excited to hear what words he speaks next!!!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Soccer is FUNNNNN

Michael started his FAVORITE fall sport last weekend! SOCCER!!! Michael has been talking about soccer for a couple weeks, in his own little way... he shuffles his feet and points to the ground. (Soccer). Jacob had basketball tryouts and Michael signed 'basketball' and I said, no buddy, you have soccer on Saturday. you start Soccer really soon. On Friday, I picked the boys up from school and as soon as Michael got in the car, he shuffled his feet, and lifted his pointer finger (1 day). "Yes Michael, one day and you play soccer". He started smiling and clapped and clapped his hands! He knew, hes been waiting for soccer to start for a while! Saturday morning at 6am, Michael came in my room like always, and woke me up. I looked up at him and he was smiling and holding his soccer jersey from the previous year!! I said, "Michael, do you want to wear that today??" "yes" with a knock of his right hand. Alright- we are dressed and ready to go. Sissy is with us and we make the 45 minute trek to the soccer park!!! We are so fortunate to live in a community with resources like the SPENSA program that has so many volunteers and staff to help special needs kids play soccer. Its actually pretty overwhelming to see how many groups of kiddos are there to help assist people like Michael. Soccer lasts an hour with about 45 minutes of time to let the kids prepare for the game. They learn the logistics of the game, kicking the ball down the field between cones- Michael's not a big fan of the cones- he just made a b-line for the goal.. Then the group broke into two groups and played a real game. Michael did really well! He got the ball away from a kid a couple of times and scored a goal (wrong end for the
goal, but really who cares!). The only thing we are really going to have to work on is him hogging the ball and trying to make everyone move out of the way so he has plenty of room to kick. HA! he gets the ball and he will stand there and wave his hands back and forth so the kids know to give him space. And he wont move until he's content with that. You have to imagine the ref "Cmon Michael, kick the ball". Cam and I saying, "Michael, Michael, you've got to kick" and hes just standing there waving his hands, and shaking his head 'no'. He was going to kick the ball when he was ready!!! It amazes me how well Michael can communicate with people that dont know him. He amazes me everyday! Proud of you buddy!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Goodbye Summer 2012

Michael had a GREAT summer! I cant believe how fast three months went by! Michael played baseball with the Catch 22 Miracle league in Chesterfield and was an AMAZING catcher! He could always run and pick up the ball and run after whoever was on base... but towards the end of the season, Michael was actually fielding the ball!!!He also learned to throw the ball to the pitcher, instead of at the person running the bases. Ofcourse Michael's favorite thing to do was try to catch people in a pickle!! He would hold onto the ball and try to force out the runner at either second or third base. The sweetest thing I saw all season, was when Michael would help his other special needs friends from third base and help them come home. He had a special friend named Adam, who had down syndrome, and he would hold his hand and 'assist' him home! super cute!! Ofcourse Michael loves all sports, and basketball was a favorite and I think it will always be! he also played football with friends and family in the backyard. He likes to hold onto the football and run and ofcourse tackle!! Summer school was exciting for Michael, he loves to interact with his peers and teachers. He had a 15 year old that liked to play basketball with him in the gym, and I would guess that if you could ask Michael what his favorite thing was, he would say being able to play basketball or the bus ride to school!!! Michael continues to inspire me and those around him.. I wish I could capture all the compliments that Michael gets at any given time...people say how sweet he is, or how kind he is, or how even though he cant speak, you know his mind is constantly working overtime. that he is constantly thinking and there is a voice in Michael, he just cant get it out. So goodbye to Summer, we had a great time, with family and friends! :)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

An outside look at Michael's potential...

I've spent years fighting with administrators, insurance companies, therapists, teachers... Fighting to stand up for Michael's potential....for My son who can't speak a word, but is so eager to be a part of everything surrounding him. Recently, someone told me what they thought Michael's future held. A place where he can live independently, maybe a girlfriend, kind friends that love him and a limitless world full of possibilities. This person is an outsider to Michael, not a relative, not a doctor or a therapist. Just a person that spent time with Michael and sees what I've said all along. There is so much going on in his head. There is so much he wants to do. He wants to do what everyone else is doing and he craves that! Life has changed for Michael and he really wants so much more than he's been told he can do. He won't sit back and let life come to him.. He's a fighter. He's determined to change his life and make a difference. He changes people's lives everyday. I sit back and am so grateful for the people that interact with Michael and play with him just like he's an average nine year old. I'm grateful for the people that can talk to Michael and really understand him. And I'm most grateful that Michael isn't limited by the things he can't do, instead he thrives on the possibilities. Which are endless(:

Monday, May 7, 2012

A mother's tea.... Free of anxiety

On Friday, I went to Michaels third grade classroom to have 'Mother's Day Tea'. All the mom's were there and we all watched as our kids put on several presentations for us. To be honest, things like this make me very anxious.... I get nervous, I spend so much time worrying about Michael and how he acts compared to the other kids that I rarely enjoy myself. It's certainly not something I'm proud to admit...but that goes with the territory of having a special needs child. As much as you try to put perception aside... You do still worry about how other people react to a child that acts different than their own. Friday was different. I sat there and listened to the poem that was on Michael's computer. I looked at him as he waved to me and was so proud of him and proud of how well he stood in line and was patient for his turn to present his line to the class. He drew a picture of me and I was suppose to guess it, but Michael was so proud of his picture that before it was my turn to guess... He raised his hand and pointed to me to let me know that it was his picture the teacher was holding. It was sweet. It was nice and everyone in the class embraced Michael the way I've always wanted them to. So it was a great day. I'm so thankful to the people in Michael's life that treats him like a 9 year old. And embraces him for the amazing kid he is. So proud of you little monkey!! Side story: we were at dinner last week and Michael was drawing on his paper the waiter gave him... He grabbed my arm and pointed to Jacob. I looked at jacob and then looked at Michael..... I didn't see anything. "what buddy??". And without hesitation, Michael pointed to his paper and smiled and then pointed back to his brother. On the paper in from of him read "j a c o b" How cool is that?? Everyday I'm amazed at how far we've come. This has been a great year for Michael!!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Educate...Entertain... Oh how I love clocks!!

Michael has been so busy at school this year. He's learned so much and has matured so much this year!!! I couldn't be more proud of the accomplishments Michael has made. He can write his first and last name.(first name he can spell without any assistance). He can write"mom" "dad" and he's working on sissy now!!

But the coolest thing he's learned and RETAINED is counting to five. For a long time it was matching numbers. Michael does fantastic at matching!! But recently, they've taught Michael to count on his hands.
Ofcourse counting on his hands is not like you or me...

He counts one with his right index finger.
Two consists of both right and left index fingers.
Three is the last three fingers on his right hand with his left hand holding onto the other two.
Four is all the fingers on his right hand with his left hand holding onto his thumb.
And then five is easy right?? Yah!!

But what I find so amazing is no matter where we are... The kitchen, the car, anywhere there is a digital clock, Michaels eyes light up when he sees a number he recognizes. But that's still matching right??
Yes and no. Because I watch him, and I see him point to the number he knows and then he puts the next number up... Like he's waiting for the clock to change and when it does, he puts the correct fingers in the air and let's out a yell. Oh yay! He knows he got it right and he wants to make sure everyone knows that he got it right...and it continues every five minutes!!

It's a small step but I couldn't be more proud of him, because it's an accomplishment and no matter how small it seems, it's huge for Michael.
So keep counting little monkey!! I love you buddy!!!