Thursday, September 27, 2007

card and my state of mind

Stamps are Character Constructions, pp is DaisyDs, stickers are Martha Stewart and Making Memories.

I am so all over the place with my emotions. I love Taylor so much and all this uncertainty is so tough. I wish our Children's Hospital evaluation was before November. It is sort of looming over my head. I guess I need that to move on to a real acceptance phase of whatever label they give her. Not an acceptance of her (she'll always be the love of my life) but an acceptance of a different life. An acceptance of different obstacles to overcome. An acceptance of what life has dealt. I feel stuck on an emotional roller coaster---a ride that seems to never end. I need some sort of final word- so to speak. The label won't change a thing but it will give my head something to wrap around, some way to move forward instead of just wondering all the time.

I just wanna know if there's gonna be ONE night I don't think to myself as I close my eyes to go to sleep----- what in the world will happen to her when I die? if she only improves to a certain extent who will take care of her and love her like I do?

Like I said---emotional roller coaster.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Update for family and friends

Mark and I have made some decisions regarding Taylor and therapy. For now we will be having Early Intervention come on Monday and Wednesday. Tracy will come on Tuesday. I'll work my nursing job mostly Thursdays and Fridays will be Little Gym. Our Monday gal's appointments are all scattered in October but November will be on a constant Monday schedule. We will continue to work on ABA at home all day.

We decided to wait on Children's Therapy Center until we go to Children's Hospital in Pittsburgh in November. Tracy, Mark, and I all agree that a gradual entrance into therapy is smart for Taylor---not for everyone--but for Taylor. My gut feels this is what should be done.

Her and I work well together using ABA at home and I don't want to entirely throw that off with an abrupt entrance into therapy every day for hours. That may all change in November when we go to Children's. I'd like to see what they personally recommend first. For now thank God that we met someone who could basically give me a crash course in the ABA arena. This is not for everyone. It's tough. More tough to do on your own kid than anything. Thank God for mini M&Ms.

I just want to say these decisions are right for my kid--each and every kid is different. If you are reading this and going through something like this just keep that in mind. I am in no shape or form trying to guide anyone. This blog basically keeps friends and family informed of OUR situation.

In 5 weeks we have made significant progress. She will now scribble with a pen (crayons not a favorite here), use her Magnadoodle to stamp shapes (was clueless what this thing even did a month ago), loves the slide, can swing on my lap for a couple minutes, is pointing to request food and drink, and is babbling on and off. We have also heard the words "da-da" and "ma-mum" again. She can say "dup" aka pop if prompted. We have also heard cake, up, bite, coo-kie, and a few others that are questionable but I think are words that just need ironed out. We can also do matching puzzles, some gross motor imitation, etc. We have came a long way without conventional therapy. This is all at home! We are working so hard. We learn in very small steps so the above accomplishments are very big and take time.

We do still have the shadow play a lot but I always try to redirect her. We now have Halloween window clings on each and every reflective surface of the kitchen. I'll be glad when fall comes and the sun doesn't shine as much. No doubt SOME of this is play but some isn't. When she starts that methodic back and forth it's time to do something else.

We have had a couple great playdates with Tracy's 4 year old son. She is very comfortable with him. He is a very well- behaved fun boy! It's great for her to see him pretending. They sat side by side in the car yesterday---very close in the carseats. She was very okay with that. I think she was saying the "k" sound for his name also. We continue with the Little Gym and playyards and playgrounds and restaurants. Little at a time with gradual increases here and there. She does well.

Thought I'd throw in a little Halloween card for fun. Stamp is Amuse. Cards are from the dollar spot at Target. I just added the scallop part.

More later. I have several Taylor photos to post---all her new accomplishments!!!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Couple more ink blot characters

Mona is from the Stamping Zoo which I believe is now closed. All other stamps are Character Constructions. I have boatloads of Halloween cards to share. I'm not in the mood to scrapbook so I've been taking an hour each night to do a little stamping aka stress relief. :)

Autism on Oprah today

Just thought I'd throw that out there if anyone wants to watch. :)

Monday, September 17, 2007

Good/Bad news

Good news---we qualified for the medical assistance card based on the letter from Taylor's pediatrician. This means all these evaluations should be covered. Of course ABA therapy is never covered but this means as of now we won't be receiving a boatload of bills in the mail. It's retroactive back to August 31. :)

Bad news (but not really)--I don't know where my head was this morning. I pulled out of the garage and left the garage door open. This means the house was left open the entire time we were gone. I then came home and kinda chuckled to myself that I left the garage door open and then proceeded to drive the Escape right into the brick while pulling it in the garage. Did nothin' to the house but scraped the plastic pretty good on the vehicle. I looked at it and thought, "ah, it's just plastic" and proceeded with the rest of the day. Six months ago I'd have been beside myself and today I just blew right past it without much thought. In fact I thought "whateva---just a car." lol. Priorities have changed significantly.

Great day at the Little Gym. T and I had LOADS of fun!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Something Fun---Crush on You Crusade

Michelle Ward's Green Pepper Press Street Team blog has new crusades each month. Just little fun challenges to encourage us all to share information and art. This month is titled "crush on you." Michelle's crush is red so I dedicate this one to her. I was totally inspired by Sandra Evertson's ink blot characters in the current issue of Somerset Studio magazine. So fun, easy, and fast. I will be posting more of the eery creatures toward Halloween. Keep checking back. This blog isn't all serious ya know. Gotta take a break from conventional therapy and do some art therapy. :)

All stamps Michelle Ward for Stampington aside from the skull which is Inkadinkado. Isn't this little she devil cute with her Prima flower skull hat!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Physical Therapy eval

Taylor will also have physical therapy 2x/week. We have the occupational therapy eval. the week after next. I'm thinking they will definitely want to see her for that also. So it's gonna be 1.5 hours 2x/week for them and whatever Early Intervention wants (guessing 2x/week also) and our ABA gal 1x/week with me doing ABA each day also. Are you tired yet? lol. The one day that is left will be the day I work---hopefully.

The therapist was concerned because Taylor toes in so much. She has from birth. I thought they might want to work on that. They also want to work on jumping. They are not at all concerned with her strength. Trust me---she's strong. She gives me a workout during these evaluations.

I told them I want Speech therapy to be the first component of her day. If it's in the middle or last she may have already had a meltdown and nothing will get accomplished. At this point communication is the focus. I also told them I want the SAME therapists each time. If not she'll spend each session just fighting a stranger. She doesn't care much for strangers especially strangers in an office that sorta resembles a doctor's office and an office associated with work. After all---what 2 year old WANTS to do these things? The best 2 year old on the best day might be a little irritated by the whole process.

These CTC evaluators all have a week to write up their reports and then we'll get a feel for a concrete schedule. I'll feel a little better when I know what I'm going to be doing weekly.

Next week-----ABA gal on Tuesday and planning meeting with Early Intervention on Friday with the ABA gal present. THANK THE LORD SHE IS COMING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You see---the conventional speech therapists sometimes don't favor ABA. (This is just my opinion so no nasty emails from anyone, ok?, every kid is different). ABA is very very expensive also so we are just gonna approach the subject with Early Intervention because there are ABA therapists in the area - some division of UPMC provides them in-home. I don't think any insurance companies cover ABA. Basically our ABA gal is gonna be my parent advocate to try and acquire ABA therapy through Early INtervention for free. It's a longshot but worth a try.

Haven't heard anything about the medical card. Plan on calling them on Monday. I know our caseworker was on vacation this week.

We have a playdate today with our ABA gal and her 4 year old son. Fun. That's it. Fun. Ya see---it's real tough getting caught up in all this and remembering a 2 year old craves FUN. We are also going to the Little Gym on Monday. It may be our last time because of scheduling be we are goin' on Monday for fun.

That's all folks. Hope this blog is keeping family informed and will someday help someone else who is feeling lost.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Speech eval at Children's Therapy Center today

The therapist scored her around 8-12 months on receptive language and somewhere between 12-14 months expressive. I think that was it. We talked about so much I had to ask twice but they will send me a full report within a couple weeks. We will go there twice a week for speech therapy and I'm guessing Early Intervention will want to do speech once or twice a week in the home plus another person will come through their agency (forget the title but they are like a catch-all to sort of help you with a little of everything). The speech therapist at Children's Therapy Center seemed to think the occupational therapist will probably recommend OT twice a week also. We are lookin' at 4 days/week of various therapies and I'll work one day. I'm trying really hard to keep my job. Oh, we'll have to fit ABA therapy in there also. So, another afternoon plus any of our free time will be taken up by ABA.

Taylor took a tantrum in the middle of the eval today and started some of her hand motions. Wasn't too bad. A couple months ago she'd have screamed the entire time just being in the room with a couple strangers.

In case you are confused between Early Intervention and Children's Therapy Center- it's easy. Early Intervention is home-based and free through the county or state--one of those. Children' Therapy Center is an outpatient service of The Washington Hospital. Not free so let's hope we get that medical card. The paperwork was all in as of Friday.

Our ABA gal comes tomorrow and we have a physical therapy evaluation at CTC on Thursday. We have a planning meeting with Early Intervention next Friday to determine exactly what they want to do but my guess is what I listed above. We briefly touched on what they would want during the eval yesterday but the "formal" meeting is next Fri.

Met a couple Moms in the waiting room today. They are surviving and so will we. Taylor was surprisingly at ease with the children in the waiting room. :)

Let's change direction for a moment

I'm gonna share the last of the Taylor layouts from a crop I attended weeks ago. This blog has to take a more positive turn.

Monday, September 10, 2007


Early Intervention came today. It was tough.

Scores (keep in mind she is 25 months old chronologically):

Cognitive (thinking, problem solving, play skills)----8 months
Communication (understanding and expressing needs and wants)--receptive 15-16 mos.
expressive 14 mos.
Social or Emotional(engaging others and interacting)--18 months
Physical(large and small muscle development)---gross 17 mos. , fine 15-16 mos.
Adaptive (self-help such as feeding/dressing/etc) -- 14 months

Well, there ya have it. Had we not had help from our friend in teaching her how to point and respond to her name she would've scored lower.

Was strong and okay with those results till afternoon and then I felt it REALLY hit me. Life will be lots of therapy for quite a while and lots of hoping and praying for progress. I'll apologize up front for not wanting visitors and not visiting or making return phone calls. I don't have the energy today to call my own mother. Some days I just can't think or talk about it for another second and I can just deal with getting through what I need to get done on a daily basis. I have to teach her what I can with what skills I've been taught by a very generous soul and it takes time and persistence. Sometimes what the system provides is just not enough. I have to get it together. There are so many more people out there having an even tougher time. Feels selfish to actually type out some of these feelings but they are real and they hurt a lot.

One evalution down----3 more to go this week and one next week. One day at a time. Let's make this blog realistic----today just totally sucked. Sucked, sucked, sucked.

Tomorrow is another day.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Next week

Mon.-----Early Intervention complete evaluation
Tues.----Speech Evaluation at Children's Therapy Center (totally lucked out here as they had a cancellation and our original appt. was for December AND I found someone to work for me)
Wed.---ABA therapy with our friend
Thurs.---- Physical Therapy evaluation at Children' Therapy Center

Sooooo check back next weekend if you are following this blog to check on Taylor. :)

Friday, September 07, 2007

Each day

Made this collage last week. Good stress relief. Lady and bird stamps are from Character Constructions and the days of the week stamps are from Purple Onion Designs. These photos are a bit blurry. Should've waited for better lighting. Also used some vintage wallpaper for the base. The flower was originally white but I spritzed it with Adirondak color wash.

The matted photo in the background was inspired by Karen Michel from her Altered Imagery book. You basically take a regular film photo (no digital)- soak in water and scrape with a paper piercer or anything sharp. This shrub is right outside one of our windows. I was hoping to get a window effect by placing it just so. This collage has special meaning to me so it will stay here. :)


My friend will bury her 28 year old son tomorrow- her only child. Unexpected tragic accident. She lost her husband last year unexpectedly. Found him dead in a chair. She has lost her entire immediate family---basically everything. She is one of the nicest people I've ever met. Totally does NOT deserve this.

Puts things into perspective, doesn't it?

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Quick update

The hearing test determined Taylor is able to hear normal speech sounds. Couldn't really complete the entire thing because she was crying and afraid of the room. Honestly I thought it was a little closed-in and dark myself. We were there for 2 hours. lol. The lady kept trying but Taylor didn't want to have much to do with the whole procedure. She wouldn't keep the plug in her ear for the computer to test her hearing. Basically there are 3 ways they can test for hearing deficit---her turning her head towards sounds in a soundproof room, the earplug connected to the computer, and testing under general anesthesia. I saw her head turn enough times to be satisfied with the results and confident that she is hearing. Anesthesia would just be ridiculous. The lady was also very confident that she is hearing normal speech sounds.

We have had the BEST weekend. We went out to dinner twice with Taylor and she did SOOOO well. She sat on my lap the entire time but who cares. She actually enjoyed herself. And----for the BIG BIG news------Taylor went down the slide 4 times and kinda enjoyed that too. She also sat on my lap and let me swing her for a brief moment. She is babbling more too. We work with her every day and I am seeing a big difference. :)

Mark took me to the Waterfront for an early birthday. We ate at Rock Bottom and went next door to see the dueling pianos at Sing Sing. We had a great time. Just the 2 of us. The piano players were very entertaining and I would highly recommend it. Fun stuff. We needed it.

Early Intervention comes next week to fill out paperwork and our ABA therapy gal comes also. She's gonna be so proud of Miss T!