Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Latest Program

This has been a long month, and we're only 3/4 of the way through it! For the past two+ weeks, I have been very ill. Noah was sick last week too with a bronchial virus, but fortunately, he recovered very quickly. I, on the other hand, ended up with a walking pneumonia!

So, what better way to spend my time in bed recovering than working on organizing Noah's new program this quarter from the NACD. As he gets older, the program continues to expand with more and more tasks. This quarter, there are 39 activities to be completed each day, multiple times. That doesn't include the Listening Program, which I'll have to describe in another post.

So, I need to organize these 39 activities to be completed sometime between Noah going to school, going to horseback riding (hippo therapy), attending music class and my work schedule. Notice I didn't mention speech therapy? The NACD has a speech Pathologist that has reviewed videos of Noah's current abilities and set up a speech and oral motor program specifically for him.
We are very grateful for this!

Speech has always been one of our greatest concern regarding Noah. We began taking him to Tucson when he was four months old to see an oral-motor therapist at Talk Tools with Sara Rosenfeld Johnson. Oral-motor therapy addresses the physical movements of speech and feeding. A strong oral motor is the foundation to proper speech acquisition and this is used in conjunction with speech therapy. Over the past three years, we have seen three different speech pathologist's in town. This can be very expensive, but to acquire the tools for verbal language is priceless!

So, for the first time we are going to implement the speech activities from NACD and are excited about future results.

It has been suggested by two different speech pathologists that Noah may have verbal apraxia. This is a motor planning issue where the person has a difficult time saying what they want correctly and consistently. So, to help Noah to overcome this it will take a lot of repetition of very basic sounds. NACD will help Noah to progress by increasing his auditory skills along with verbal cues and sounds.

On his new program, there are 11 activities dedicated specifically for speech enhancement. There are a couple of different facial massages, and mouth stimulation activities along with chewing exercises. (This is reinforcing the oral-motor activity).
He has an activity of sound effects: verbalizing actions throughout the day, "weeee!" and "uh-oh" as examples.
We need to work on predictable phrases... mom and dad, up and down, ect. The point is to then leave the last word of the phrase out so he will say it. After many repetitions of the phrase, the goal is to test him by saying "mom and ..." hoping he will verbally say "dad".
We need to read books that rhyme a lot so he is very familiar with them for lots of input. Then we will begin to leave words out and hope he will fill them in verbally with the proper response. Ex: "Brown bear, brown bear, what do you ..." then Noah will say "see".
A lot of face to face verbal activity. I say a word and then Noah will repeat it. We also do this with the alphabet.

The last activity is one using flash cards, which Noah loves to work with. This is called syllable repetition. Right now we are on Step #1. We are working with the "B" sound. I made up flash cards of both a sheep and a ghost. The goal is to have him look at the sheep and say "baa" and look at the ghost and say "boo". We are to set up 5 flash cards of the same image to reinforce the repetition. The goal is to work with the same consonant but changing up the vowels until he is consistent with the sounds.

Well, I'm excited for the beginning of next week, as I have hopes of accomplishing and conquering many expectations!

First and foremost, I hope to be healthy and back to the world of the living!
I am hoping to hire the nanny that is right for Noah, as I have two interviews next week that I am very excited about.
Last but not least, Noah's new program begins!!! I have it all organized and ready for our days; hopefully we are able to implement it in real life to mirror the written sheet of paper!

Someday I will have to get back to work, but today I am going to smile and give blessings for all the joy in my life!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Grandparents Day

On Friday it was Grandparents Day at Noah's school, Community Montessori.

Ever since Noah was born, there has been such "guidance" in our household surrounding our little man. It began with doctor appointments: I would call a specialist to make an appointment, only to learn that the doctor had a waiting list of two months before the next appt. I would ask to be put on a cancellation list, and sure enough, within 24 hours, the office would call to tell us of an available appt., or sometimes a different doctor would become available and it would turn out to be the best for us after all. At first, it would really surprise me, but now, I have just learned to say "Thank You".

This past fall, when Noah turned three, we had the decision of pre-school. There was the option of our local school district, where they have a wonderful Developmental Pre-School program, or we could go the private route. We decided we would really like to try a private school environment for Noah where he would be surrounded by his typical peers every day.

Our first choice was to enroll him in a private Montessori school in town. This school has an amazing reputation, has been in the Valley for many years, goes from pre-school through 8th grade, and this is the school I wanted Noah to attend. Well, we applied, they were great with accepting Noah in their school, but they have a very long waiting list, so the virtue of "patience" began.

Heaven forbid my three year old not attend school right away...I began searching throughout town to find an alternative that would work until we were accepted at our school of choice. I interviewed and visited with eight other Montessori schools, but none of them felt like the right fit. We figured we would just wait until the other school had an opening, even if it wasn't until Noah was four. He's only three! Sometimes I feel like I need to hurry up, or we'll miss the _ _ _ (whatever it is at that moment)!!
There was one last school in town that I wanted to visit. By this time I was more than removed from this process. But when I spoke to the director, she and the school sounded almost perfect. Hmmm, is skepticism a virtue?
Well, I made my appt and drove to the address - it was ran out of the directors home. Uh-oh... there is that other questionable virtue...criticism.

I walked in with an open mind. I met with the director, Janet, and it was the perfect fit for Noah! It was a small environment with a total of 30 kids, ages 3 -6. It was intimate, yet incredibly organized. Being in a home was actually a perfect transition, as Noah had always been at our home with a nanny his entire life. All of the teachers were kind and loving and very open and excited to have Noah attending their school. Noah was the first child they had with any kind of special gifts. There was one spot left when I met with the director and we immediately took that spot! It was yet another divine guidance for our little man!

We have tried to do everything we can to make Noah's attendance at the school positive for all involved. We hired another nanny to attend school with him as an aid, help him in the potty and help to keep him focused on his work. The director and the teachers have been wonderful, working with us to help to teach and guide Noah on the path that is best for him! Last weekend, the director even came to our home and spent four hours here observing Noah in his own environment to help better understand his focus and work skills to help to create a better work environment for him at school. She is an amazing person, and I feel like we have been so blessed to have found this wonderful school! He attends daily from 10:30 - 12:00, and we will eventually increase our time when we feel he is ready. Right now, this is perfect!

Since attending Community Montessori, Noah has learned many tasks. He has learned to be kind and patient with his peers. He has learned and is still learning to do independent work, thinking independently to make the decision as to what work he wants to complete, picking it off of the shelf, bringing it to his table or mat, and completing the work. Once he is done with a particular task, he must put that work away. This has taught him extreme independence not to mention so much confidence!!!

At home, we have his playroom set up as a Montessori environment. One side of the room is for independent work, and the other side is work that he can do with help from someone else. At home Noah has learned many self help skills... he puts one work away before pulling out another work. He clears the kitchen table of all dishes, place mats, etc at the end of a meal. When we walk in the door, he hangs his jacket up on a hook by the kitchen door. He helps me to put away the groceries. He sorts the laundry. He can now successfully take his pants and underwear off. He is starting to pee standing up (yeah, I am so over the little doughnuts that sit on the toilet)!! Once his shirt is over his head, he can take it off or put it on. He can put on his socks when I get his toes inside. He can also put on his own pants now with minimal help.
Academically, Noah can read 40 -50 words. He knows all the colors of the rainbow, plus black/brown/white. He knows and can put in sequential order the numbers 1 - 10. We are working on the alphabet and on holding our pencil the proper way for drawing. He can draw lines, horizontal and vertical and he is beginning to copy our circles. He is doing fantastic!!! Our main delay is his speech, and we are working diligently on that every day (along with everything else)!

So, Grandparent Day. Friday was a day to honor their grandparents with songs and a picnic. Noah's grandparents came all the way from Idaho to help celebrate this day! The kids had been practicing these songs (a total of 12 songs) since the beginning of January. What I learned later was Noah had never practiced where he needed to stand. The kids were practicing the logistics of the concert in the afternoon, after Noah had already gone home. He still did amazingly well in the concert, and below is one of the songs they sang... "We have the whole world in our hands".
Noah is on the end wearing the brown plaid jacket with the orange hood and cuffs.

This is just the beginning of many more concerts and school events that we will observe with Noah, and I can't wait!!!!
Life with Noah Bryce is perfect!!! (is perfection a virtue)?? :-)