Monday, September 26, 2011

{Play Time and Other Progress}

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I just wanted to take a second and thank all my blog readers for your amazing support and excitement over our decision to adopt and welcome another amazing child into our home and as a part of our family.  We are so excited and eagerly await finding him or her.  For now, we simply trust God -- easier said than done, but we really are sitting back and enjoying the ride and trusting in His perfect timing.  

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Things are going so amazing with Angela right now.  After deciding to steer away from Angela's IEP and create our own plan for her I have felt this huge weight lifted off my shoulders.  It was just not right and the way we feel now as a family confirms that we were not ready to start the educational services just yet.  Angela will begin outpatient therapy at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia on a weekly basis, which frees up so much of her/our time for doing things like we did today and continuing to make amazing progress.

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Today Angela had her first preschool class at the YMCA.  The class was called Alphabet Soup and is basically a short hour long preschool setting.  The class was not a special needs type class, which we were really excited about.  We began with coloring, moved on to the welcome, story time, a little group activity and then we finished up with a craft.  Obviously I needed to stay with Angela but I provided her with little support and she really held her own socially.

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I was really so impressed.  Because Angela has had limited exposure to social situations in her first two years and also due to her visual impairments she has really struggled in group settings.  Due to her vision impairment, when there is lots of noise that she can't visually understand, she begins to withdraw and reverts to some old inappropriate self soothing behaviours.  Today I didn't see any of these behaviors but rather she was very vocal.  At one point in the class they were passing around a bag that each child could pull an item out that began with the letter of the day, which was "D".   After the first child got a turn Angela began to vocalize, signally she wanted a turn!  I reminded her she needed to wait and was very happy when it was her turn to pull something out of the bag.

I already have plans for next class to better adapt things so Angela can participate even more.  It is very difficult for her to hold crayons, so I plan on getting those cool Tadoodels so she is better able to hold them and create her very own works of art. Also, tapping down the paper is essential -- otherwise she just grabs the paper and starts waving it in the air!  The Childrite seat worked out beautifully during circle time and allowed her to participate without having to need mommies help.  

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Physically Angela continues to make progress, but it is her social progress that blows me away.  This weekend we attended my cousins wedding and despite the loud crazy reception setting she thrived!  She loved the music and lights and instead of getting overstimulated she danced her heart out on the dance floor. She is continuing to nod her head yes and no and is really letting her wants and needs known -- very well.

Can't wait to see what these next weeks bring as we go back to class and try to add more social activities into her world!


12 comments:

Amanda said...

I'm new to your blog and have been busy on reading old posts and getting caught up. Thank you for taking us all on this journey with you! I'm a mom of a child who has CP, and we too would like to adopt someday, and I feel so connected to and inspired by your journey. Thank you for sharing your story, for your honesty and the beautiful pictures!

Amanda Tirado

Jill said...

I am teaching a preschool class right now that is combination of special needs and typical peer children who are 3 and 4 years old.

Something else that may help with the coloring is a slant board. Which you can easily make by using a thicker 3 ring binder. Just tape the paper to the outside of the binder. Having the paper on the flat surface is tough.

You are doing an amazing job with your beautiful little girl!! I love reading your posts about how much she is accomplishing :)

Amanda said...

I'm new to your blog and have been busy on reading old posts and getting caught up. Thank you for taking us all on this journey with you! I'm a mom of a child who has CP, and we too would like to adopt someday, and I feel so connected to and inspired by your journey. Thank you for sharing your story, for your honesty and the beautiful pictures!

Amanda Tirado

Karen Owens said...

@Jill -- Thanks. We do use a slanted surface here at home but I forgot about that for the "classroom" type setting. Guess I'll be packing a whole suitcase for this class!! :)

Karen Owens said...

@Amanda -- Thanks for reading! I stopped over and took a peak at your family! -- very beautiful!

Phyllis said...

That is so awesome Karen! Maybe our super loud DJ at Make A Splash prepared her...lol. Very excited to "meet" the new Owens family member. I admire your ability to keep an open mind and wait for God's perfect timing for your family.

Jade said...

Wonderful! So awesome to hear that Angela is thriving. Also very wonderful to hear about all the support you are receiving. I pray both continue for your family.

Melissa said...

I've followed your blog since before Gavin's passing and can so appreciate your insight into your own grief journey as I navigate my own personal journey. However, my point for posting is how proud I am to see you stand firm in what you believe to be the best for your daughter's progress even if that means moving away from an IEP (with, I am sure, some big frowny faces from "experts"). Way to go!

Jennjilla said...

Yay Angela! I'm glad she liked class, sounds like lots of fun!

JayCee said...

You have an amazing family!

Anonymous said...

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http://livesayhaiti.blogspot.com/2011/09/he-sets-orphan-free.html

Molly Owens said...

So glad to hear how well Angela is doing. I know all the Owens family is looking forward to meeting her at Thanksgiving. Also excited to learn about Owens #6. Love, Grammy Owens