Friday, April 29, 2016

All I can say is ADAPTATION ADAPTATION ADAPTATION!!!

When I go walking in the toy section of the store and look at toys, I usually end up walking away in frustration. Then after searching a teacher supply catalog, or even a special needs catalog, I still feel so much dissatisfaction in the choices and the prices.  I'm at a loss, almost nothing will fit the needs of my kids.  In fact all three of them need something different educationally. I also get very frustrated when my children come home from school with worksheets like the ones below, almost daily with different content.  Don't get me wrong some day I would love for my children to be able to do these kinds of activities but for right now none of them are in a place to do so.  And then these papers are not adapted for a child with a significant visual impairment.  So I am learning to do the best I can as my child's advocate in the school, but at the same time I am learning what I can do at home to help them increase on the skill set they already have.  The entire point of my blog from this point forward will be to show you all how I adapt, and to show my children learning.  With snippets of information regarding trauma in children with multiple impairments and how to make connections with them.


Today I want to talk about adapting a product to meet the needs of kids with many disabilities.  I came across the product Hot Dots years ago when I was teaching.  I loved using them to reinforce skills.



 When I looked at the teaching that is being reinforced, in the kits Hot Dots sell, they will not work for my children, but I love the concept of reinforcing a correct answer with lights and music.  The pre made kits I find are not repetitive enough for my kids.  On one page you might be matching numbers and on the next page letters or words.  I see to many choices for my kiddos and way to many pictures of things that are confusing for my kids.  Also for my visually impaired daughter the photos are not big enough or have enough contrast.  But I really like the concept of the pen that reinforces the correct answer.  So I did some digging and ended up purchasing a different Hot Dots product.    The Hot Dots Make Your Own Kit.



I'm starting a new unit with the kids that uses buttons, and so I made my own sheets and put them in plastic protectors for durability.  For my VI kiddo, I make the image larger and separate and put a black background.   The great thing is after they master this skill I can go back to my pdf file, add another option, add words or whatever skill I want them to work on next. The entire reason for doing this is repetition.  My kids could work on this for weeks, over and over.  We repeat until it is mastered and even continue after mastery for review.   When I post my theme in a week or two, I will video how Bella does with this activity. soon.






Sunday, April 24, 2016

So Sorry, It has been so long!!!!!

Update:
I'm not even sure what to say it has been so long.  I remember thinking that I wouldn't be that parent.  I wouldn't be the one that once my kids were adopted I would go silent.  But the thing is, life happens, life gets hard,  and suddenly spending time writing blogs becomes the last thing on the list of things to do during the day.  So today I figured a quick update was better than no update.

Bella is growing and learning so much.  She now has a communication device and knows a ton of signs.  She communicates and interacts, and completely tells us how she is feeling.  She is so dramatic and hard headed.  She loves to swing, and spend time at the park.  She loves school, food, and family.   She is a snugly sweetheart.

Gracie is the most joyful child I have ever met.  She lights up the room when she walks in.  She had a long road to recovery, but we are getting there.  She has had many many doctors appointments over the last few years, and we continue finding ways to help her communicate.  She loves the sun, has favorite toys, interacts with people, and knows she is loved.  She is learning daily, and has even started saying sounds, we are hopeful that one day she will talk.  Even if she doesn't we love her where she is at, and for all that she is.


Last time I wrote, we were headed back to Ukraine to adopt again.  Plans changed and we actually are almost finished with an adoption through foster care.  Gideon has been in our home for almost a year and hopefully we will be headed to Kansas to finish up his adoption within the next month.  Because of the nature of Gideon coming from foster care I really can not give any details until his adoption is finalized.  He is a blessed addition to our family. 

On another note, I'm planning on blogging more often.  I will be changing up the site, and posting educational things that I am doing to help my children learn. Having three children who have multiple disabilities has been challenging to find services that do a great job of teaching. Things like tactile books, position boards, tactile schedules, and story boxes.  Teaching tools that teach to the varying strengths of my kiddos.    So stay tuned.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Life keeps me on my toes.  This blog has been on my mind for a while, but to find time to sit without interruptions seems to be a rare occasion.

Here is the promised update:

GRACIE:
Home almost 18 months.  She is so much fun, she is always smiling.  Gracie is at a stage full of curiosity, she roams around this house like she can see like the rest of us.  She loves to throw my clean laundry on the floor, get into the toy closet and pull out all of the toys.  She is developing and changing, even though sometimes the process seems slow going.  I often get asked when is she going to talk.  Honestly I have no idea, maybe she will never talk.  We love her no matter what, if she speaks someday that will be wonderful if not we love her no less.  Some days I forget that she spent the first 6 years of her life in an orphanage/ institution.  Then other days it is hard to forget because the past life leaves scars that will take years to fade.  Watching her grow though is just so precious


BELLA:
Home almost 18 months.  This one is a drama queen.  She has learned how to push my buttons, and thinks she is so funny.  (Well she really is.)  The looks she gives me when she knows she is doing something wrong, well they are just to much.  In the last few months she has grown so much, I think it is mostly because SHE IS WALKING.  Yes you heard that correctly my girl has learned how to walk.  She has overcome so much, last year she got really sick and she regressed so much.  We are thankful now because she is doing very well, and as far as communicating she is signing a ton. I have so much joy watching her explore her world.

Friday, May 30, 2014

We Are Headed Back!

Ok, I spent a day trying to make my blog look cute and failed.  I have way to much to do, so it is just going to have to stay plain for a while.

NEWS!!!!  We are headed back oversees to adopt another child.

Let me go back and start at how this came to be.  Dan and I  several months ago decided that we wanted to adopt again, however we were going to do a domestic adoption.  It seemed simple, easy, no fundraising, no dossier!  It seemed like the thing to do.  So we went back to our social worker and she approved us to adopt one more child.  It wasn't to hard, we didn't tell anyone, and we registered online to adopt a child with down syndrome through foster care.  This is where our story changed.  The process is different and we just couldn't go with it.  There are people in the United States waiting to adopt children with down syndrome.  We were just another number on a list.  Dan and I both just couldn't wrap our heads around that.  Where our girls were born they were stuck, unloved, nobody wanted them, and they definitely didn't have a list of people waiting and ready to adopt them.  Together we decided we just needed to go back.

So the last few weeks have been a blur.  We updated our home study for international adoption, and have done several of the initial things to get the process started.  We are a home study ready family and this process is going to go quickly.  We will be sending off for immigration approval soon, and about half our dossier will be traveling to Eastern Europe next week.

Dan and I have a few fundraisers going on.   We need to come up with 2000.00 quickly.  So if you feel led to help we are extremely grateful.  We are extremely blessed to be headed down this road again, and know that we couldn't have adopted the girls without you.  So thank you.

I do have a t-shirt fundraiser going but it ends in 12 days, so I need to sell 45 shirts in 12 days to raise the 500.00. Please, share, pray, buy a t-shirt.  My other fundraiser will start tomorrow!  (Details coming soon.)
.https://www.bonfirefunds.com/public/shirt_designs/13432/400x400_13432-4-blank-5.png
Update on the girls to come soon!  They are doing great!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

We have news!!!!!!    A quick hint, I need to change the header of this blog!!!!   Update on the girls to come soon.

Friday, August 23, 2013

8 Months Home. A quick update.

Time just keeps zooming by.  It is hard to believe that Bella and Gracie have been home for over 8 months. They are growing, learning, and it feels like they have always been here.

GRACIE just a week ago has learned to give hugs.  She knows she is loved, she knows after a session of therapy that I am there for a hug.  She knows when she gets off from the school bus that I will meet her.  She knows that whatever happens that she can snuggle and now the hugs are given and received so freely.  This is a huge milestone for her, she is comforted by her parents.  This was not always the case for the longest time she comforted herself from the stress of life because that was all she knew.  She now knows differently.  My daughter knows what it feels like to be loved and it is really wonderful.

 Gracie turned 7 this month.



BELLA is doing wonderful.  We have gotten past almost all of the medical stuff she was dealing with, and she is back to her happy self.  She is working so hard on mastering walking, and she does it with such a joyful spirit. 




These two love each other. 
Gracie's hair is growing out!

Bella playing with a toy appropriately.





Sunday, May 19, 2013

5 Months Home.

I can hardly believe the girls have been home for 5 months.  These months have been filled with doctors appointments.  It can be a bit overwhelming with how often we have gone to the doctor.  They both have had dental surgery, they both have had there tonsils and adenoids removed, they have both started therapy 2 times a week.  We have our up's and downs, but one thing that is constant is that they are both blossoming.  Oh my goodness my precious Gracie.  She is a different child, she is no longer the self stimulating child who wanted to sit in the window for hours at a  time.  She is talking, imitating more and more words daily.  She is eating big people food (chewing food),  she is going to school everyday, she roams around the house going up and down stairs. She seems to get taller and taller every day.  She is joyful and always laughing and giggling.  It is so wonderful watching her interact with her brothers, they all love her so much.





Miss Bella has had many ups and downs over the past few months.  After her tonsil were removed, we have spent a great deal of time at the doctors, including a stay in the hospital for dehydration.  She is such a fighter, and she knows she has our love even through all of the sickness she has gone through.










I can say I am amazed daily by these two sweethearts, they bring our family and those around us nothing but joy.  Every bit of stress that we went through to go get these two was completely worth it.  We are loving life and cant wait to see what the next 5 months bring.  I have watched as these two with proper love, and nourishment have blossomed.