Sunday, November 27, 2011


Ronan and Natalie helped Cook make her bread tonight.  They're such good little helpers!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Little Turkeys

Aunt Lauren made the 3 girls these adorable turkey shirts and tulle skirts to wear yesterday for Thanksgiving. Thanks Aunt Lauren and your love of Pinterest!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Natalie update Part I: School

So, here it is.. the first part of a long overdue update about Natalie's life as a FIVE year old!  I still have trouble believing that my once tiny little baby is so old now.  Definitely not a baby anymore, she looks so tall lately and she doesn't have any chubbiness left at all (not that she ever really had much!)
Obligatory first day of school pic
Natalie is now in her third and last year of preschool.  She is once again in a different school and I'm pretty happy with that decision so far.  She is now able to take the bus to school and she seems to really enjoy that.  More importantly, she appears to be enjoying school a little more than last year, evident by the fact that she's never cried or totally resisted walking into the building as she has done in the past AND by the fact that she cheerfully climbs on the bus each day.

Natalie's bus
 I had a long parent teacher conference last week and her teacher does have some concerns, which are the same as the ones she has had since the beginning of the year, namely fatigue and lack of attention.  Her teacher's initial suggestion was to try moving Natalie to the AM class to see if she would be more alert and attentive.  I've given this some serious consideration but I honestly think that being tired is not the main issue and I am not sure that doing this will yield any significant change.   Natalie tends to appear tired or zoned out when she gets bored.  My thought is that maybe she's getting a little bored and frustrated in school.  Due to her motor skill deficits she simply cannot participate in all the classroom activities in the same way that a typically developing child can and it's evident that Natalie's becoming more aware of this as she gets older.  She needs some help with most classroom activities like cutting, pasting, coloring, etc and I think that doing these activities with help is simply not very interesting to her.  We've been working on coloring more at home and her attention for this activity is pretty short.  It takes A LOT of concentration for her to even hold a crayon or marker in a way that allows her make marks on the paper let alone have any sort of precision with it.  She is definitely making progress but it's slow. 

Don't let this look fool you, she always knows what's going on..
The good news is that Natalie has a very caring teacher who is very interested in making any accomodations necessary to help her participate fully the classroom.  The school staff has been very interested and good about incorporating Natalie's use of the ipad speech program(Proloquo2go) in the classroom.  She uses it at circle time especially to participate in singing, saying her name, and talking about the days of the week and the weather.   The best thing about her teacher is that she really listened and believed me when I told her from the beginning that Natalie's cognitive skills are typical for her age.  Natalie knows all her colors, shapes, letters and some sight words.  As we discussed at the recent conference, Natalie came into the school year having already mastered several of her IEP goals, and we are going to work over the next few weeks on coming up with some new goals to replace these.  Her teacher wants to focus more on "social" goals because Natalie does need some improvement in this area.  She's not always interested in interacting with other kids in the classroom and her lack of speech only makes it more difficult.  I was torn during this discussion because I would like to add additional academic goals while her teacher feels that this is not necessary as Natalie is already demonstrating age-appropriate cognitive skills.  My thought is that it wouldn't hurt to have Natalie get ahead academically because there will likely be a point in future years as academics become more challenging where her motor skills will interfere with her academic progress.  So, it seems that getting ahead now would only be a benefit down the road.  Does anyone have any thoughts on this?  I'd love to hear other opinions, especially from those of you who know Natalie or have experience with your own child(ren).   
Finally, I can't talk about school this year without commenting on Natalie's therapists.  I have been very pleased both last school year and this year with the dedication that all of Natalie's therapists have shown.  They have been so helpful, willing to communicate with me about her progress, and open to brainstorming ways to improve Natalie's ability to participate in the classroom.   I will say that the school PT initially put me off with immediate talk of having Natalie evaluated for a wheelchair.  There may be some future issues related to this but I'll save that for another post.  Overall, I think everyone is working toward the most important goal - to make sure that Natalie has a successful school year!  
Just off the school bus!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Please, just a short nap?

Some Friday mornings, like today,  PT is the last thing that Natalie wants to be doing. 
Bobbi had Natalie working hard today and by the time her session was almost over, Natalie just wanted to take a nap instead of doing exercises on the big red ball!