I really believe our oldest daughter Michaiah is functioning so well and at school in her daily life because of the encouragement and the fostering of her development. Michaiah is receiving both speech and occupational therapy at the school. Though she is in a contained class, she still has general education curriculum along with sensory breaks and opportunities to use coping mechanisms that will allow her to better regulate her behavior. Michaiah must learn how to cope and self soothe if and when she were to ever integrate to a general education classroom. Though she does do this for the most part, it is not yet fully consistent at this time.
We also notice as parents, just like any other child, she is her own little person. A diagnosis or educational classification in this case, does not define who she is. She still has her likes and dislikes just like you or me. We do notice she is more motivated to work at something when it is a particular topic of interest. In her case, she is extremely motivated by both math and science! She also really enjoys art! We work on cultivating her gifts as parents. There are no limits that we place on her. We look to the potential of her overall full development, yet love on her where she is at. No matter how long it takes or the effort, the more we stick by Michaiah as parents, the more we see her desiring to learn and grow! Boy does she ever ask a TON of questions; especially lately! Everything is ‘why’ these days! Though it drives us crazy as parents, we are grateful she can even have conversation. Can you imagine how frustrating it would be for her not to verbally be in a position to communicate with us? It was not long ago that she had an extremely limited vocabulary! Having in-home therapy and advocating for her classroom program at school has made all the difference! Yes there are so many meetings and meetings for meetings. It can be draining, but when you see your child getting proper support and help in a way that you can truly see effective change like we have, it sure makes our hearts sing! We are overjoyed at all the progress she has made in the last few years of her little life!
We don’t know what the future holds as of yet. We were able to go through our local community health for an actual medical diagnosis. Had we not done this, we would be on quite a waiting list. Michaiah also has an acting neurologist who checks in on her and will be evaluated for genetic testing here in the month of March 2018. We will for sure keep you posted. Us parents sure are looking forward to some answers that only certain blood tests will ever reveal. It’s been a bit of a battle with the insurance approving it, but each step we take, we are getting closer to an answer. Knowing we may have some answers soon makes the fight worth it all. As parents, we know and have come to expect that this is a day by day journey. We do know one thing, our love for one another and the hope that each of us shares together. We did not ask for this, we did not expect this as parents that we would ever be faced with some of the decisions and choices we have had to make it. I can honestly say as a mother, there isn’t any regret that either of us have as her parents. We embrace it, all of it, the challenges, the tantrums, the laughter, the silliness, and the love! Both of our girls were the best thing that ever happened!!! Now lets get this journey started!!! <3
It was important for us parents to not lose sight, not lose her as number amongst other students. As a matter of fact, her father and I have continued to work diligently in advocating for the best possible care for her and her education according to her individualized education plan (IEP). This would ensure her care from down time, to alone time, sensory breaks, additional supports and assistance with transitions in and outside of the classroom as well as ensuring her safety.
We have always believed as parents that the sky is the limit for her. Not only is she not defined by ASD, but she has come so far! I remember when Michaiah was limited in the words she could speak and how she could express herself. She was great when things went her way or if it was something she wanted to play with, but it always had to be her idea. As soon as a new toy was introduced or play was interrupted, that could not be such a great thing. Big spaces and loud noise would also adversely effect her negatively. Michaiah would want to escape and calm herself. She has always been more than capable academically and is very smart and bright! Her classroom is designed to instruct her and her friends on general education curriculum with mild modifications as necessary. Michaiah also qualified for speech and occupational therapy in the school for x amount of hours a week/month. These services started in preschool, where she attended for two years.
In addition, through her school ISD, we were referred to our local community health and were able to connect Michaiah with therapists who could provide her with Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA therapy). Michaiah’s issues haven’t been so much academics as much as the ASD has effected her behavior. The therapists have been working on many things including behavior modification. I can’t tell you how many times therapists have sat for hours instructing her therapy sessions! Michaiah is thriving and particularly loves the outdoor and craft activities they do together between 9-13 hours aweek in our home given the week and what all is going on.
Michaiah is now in 1st grade and is doing so well. Michaiah is able to talk in full sentences and have full conversations. She loves school so much she asks to even go to school on the weekends. I really think this is because…
Stay tuned for more….
I just first want to share what a joy and honor it is to share on the journey with you; the journey of 2 very special needs children, our children, Michaiah Cherie & Alexis Ann.
Some of you may or may not know, our family moved states almost 4 years ago to be closer to relatives back in the Midwest. Our oldest, Michaiah was only 3 years old at the time the doctors wanted to have her evaluated.
We were first time parents, we really had no idea what to expect nor anticipate. We first noticed Michaiah had a ‘different’ set of special gifts on a very special level when we took her to her first structured musical class. Most of the children and their parents were doing things that Michaiah was not yet doing. It was uncomfortable as I got stares at times and parents distancing themselves from us because they didn’t know what to do or say or how to interpret us. I’d like to believe they were giving us space to navigate ourselves. A few of the mothers were very kind and reached out to include us regularly. As parents, we noticed then that the world of Michaiah was delicate and unique, like a flower blossoming; we just needed to get to the layers of who Michaiah really was and is. We so desperately wanted to see Michaiah unlock; we knew she was so full of life and on her time and terms, she would be ready to share.
When we settled in our place, closer to family, we right away had Michaiah evaluated. Though it is clear that we distinguish a diagnosis certainly doesn’t define any child, including Michaiah. We are believing, as believers, for full restoration and healing for her to the level that God sees fit (not looking for criticism, this is a personal belief). It was determined upon closer examination, that Michaiah received an educational classification of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). As her mother, at first, this crushed my heart. It took a lot of prayer and time to process this new meaning and life for Michaiah. Over time I learned to separate the emotion of it, a spade was a spade. I started to see what the educational classification was meant to do, just that, provide extra tools, resources, and supports for her in the classroom.
It was important for us as parents…..
TO BE CONTINUED.
Hey friends thinking of you today! This weeks topic is on trust. Trust is something that involves two people and is earned. It takes time to trust. With proper rapport building, your relationships are destined to prosper beyond your wildest dreams. Without trust, you really have nothing to go on. What relationship do you know of that needs some tweaking and improvements in your life?
Words from my long time mentor and coach, Dani Johnson:
Last post we were talking about the desires of your heart and that there is a reason for them being there. We covered the first thing you should know about that and here is the second half to that….
Secondly, it’s not necessarily about who you know or measurable your credentials are! There are plenty of people out there with credentials and degrees that they are not using for their intensive purposes that school was supposed to prepare them for! There are also plenty of people who have knowledge and skill in certain areas, but their people skill and their willingness to remain teachable is lacking.