Saturday, October 15, 2011

speech therapy

Dearest Lily,

Thursday you had your twice monthly therapy with Karen. I've talked about it before, but I used to wonder how we were going to fit therapy sessions into our already-overfull life. And while it has stretched us a bit, I am so thankful for the added opportunities for you to learn and grow. It helps so much to have an outside perspective on things, someone to notice things I miss or suggest ways to correct things I never would have known were wrong in the first place. Karen sees your strengths and areas of improvement as well, and she is always sure to remind me of them.

And it helps that you adore Karen. You go to her so easily, and it's obvious that the relationship between the two of you is so special.

This week she worked quite a bit on speech. We talked a lot about my concerns, and Karen told me some things to factor into the big picture. It really went a long way in reassuring me that you were going to be just fine in this area.

One of the things she reminded me of is that you are a cautious learner. There are different styles of learning for every child, and you definitely have your own. Some children are very experimental and aggressive when it comes to learning. They launch right into something even if they don't get it right the first time. But you have never been one to jump right in and try a new skill- you want to think about it first, and you wait until you are quite confident that you can perform the task we're trying to teach you before you attempt it.

Case in point: standing. It seemed hitting that milestone was months off- you weren't even trying to stand on your own. And then one day, out of the blue, your brothers and sisters were yelling from the other room, "Mama, come quick! Lily is standing!!" And there you were in the middle of the room, standing on your own, and grinning as if to say, "I knew how to do this all along. I was just waiting til I could nail it."

So Karen explained that this is probably your approach to speaking as well- you don't always try new sounds or signs right away. It seems that we teach you a new sign or word, and we don't get much response...until a week or two later, and then boom! There's an explosion of signs and words, seemingly out of nowhere. But you knew them all along, didn't you? You were just waiting til you knew you could say or sign them well. Our little perfectionist:) 

Karen worked on the sounds of animals with you on during therapy- baa baa, moo moo, nay nay. She used the cards we've been using with you, and got out some plastic animals as well. She tried to get you to ask for the animal by making the sound that went with it. You were pretty timid about that, but even if you started to form the shape of the sound with your mouth- mmm for mooo or bbbb for baa, she would reward you. Mama made mental notes while I watched this process: repetition and reward are the obvious keys to success.

The next sign she worked on was a new one for you:  GO.

Karen gave you a car that moves across the floor if you touch the top. You were fascinated with that little car! Karen watched you play with it for a little while..

And then she came over and asked you to make the car GO.

"Let's make the car GO, Lily. Do you want to make the car GO?" She signed the word for go, and then pressed the top of the car.

You instantly army crawled across our kitchen floor to get to the car, and Karen repeated the process again. Repetition and reward, repetition and reward. And while you didn't sign the word GO on Thursday- or even attempt to...Friday morning you showed us that all along you were making mental notes as well..

And again last night, you signed your new word perfectly...

You know, Lily, you're always teaching Mama something. My girl is going to do things on her own time table, and I'm just going to put all of my preconceived notions of what you are capable of- or not capable of- on the shelf.....

I'm going to just let you show me how far you can go.

Loving you always,

Mama oxox


P.S. Please don't forget about our FIVE DOLLAR CHALLENGE for Artem.

His grant fund is currently at $9,146- just $854 to go until we hit that ten thousand dollar goal for October.

Why $10,000? Because when I interviewed Andrea Roberts, founder and executive director of Reece's Rainbow last month, she said something that stuck with me. 
"Ten thousand dollars seems to be the tipping point for these older kids."

So being the crazy go-for-broke kinda gal that I am, I decided- I'm not going to wait for the Angel Tree project on Reece's Rainbow to begin...I'm going to implore Lily's readers EVERY DAY for the month of October to pray for and give to Artem.

We can do this, friends. With God's help, a lot of prayer, and by spreading the word, we can raise Artem's grant to the tipping point in 31 days. I truly believe that with all my heart.


Back in February Artem had a decent sized little chunk of a grant. We added him in during our Pure Love Giveaway, and thanks to the generosity of so many like-minded people, his grant fund rose to over four thousand dollars. Last month a little boy on RR went home to be with his birth family...Andrea allotted that little boy's grant fund to Artem, and as of October 1st he had $7,423.

We have 16 days left to raise that grant fund to $10,000.

Do you believe we can do it? I DO.

FIVE DOLLARS is all I'm asking. 

I asked my wonderful friend, Michelle Z, at Reece's Rainbow to hook me up with a paypal gadget for Artem for my sidebar, so that you can donate right here, and watch his totals rise each day. 

Lily has 634 followers. Multiply that times 5 and Artem will have well over $10,000.

My sweet friend Julia has quite a large following on her blog as well. Multiply those followers by five bucks each and Artem is well on his way to $13,000.

And honestly? That size of a grant will guarantee him a family.
I've said it before, but it's not a lack of families that stops these kids from being adopted, 
it's a lack of finances.  


What is five bucks? It's a Starbucks latte. A burger and fries. A magazine. A tip at a restaurant. 

A little boy's life.

Because five dollars multiplied by several hundred readers will literally save Artem's life.

I can't think of a better way to raise awareness for Down syndrome, then by ringing the bell loud and strong for one little boy, waiting thousands of miles away in an orphanage
for his mommy and daddy to claim him.  



nicole said...

Loved the videos! Lily's hairdo is sooo cute on her ~ she looks like a big girl. This taught me something about my Simon in that he too waits until he knows he can do/say something well before he does. Thanks!

Shauna said...

That's how Clarisse learns. Cadence is a jump right in kinda girl. And Reagan? I haven't quite figured out what kind of learner she is past the stubborn streak she has, but I know she's smart and paying attention to everything. Hey it sounded to me like Lily SAID "go" in the bath as well as signing it :) I so want to meet your little girl!

Rochelle said...

Love how she said the "o" sound as she signed go! Go Lily!

Letters to you said...

Aw the videos are so precious!!!! Haha on the last video when Lily signed go, than laughed and clapped, I found myself doing the same thing :D

cara said...

SO WONDERFUL!!!! She is SO smart and cute and perfect.

CM said...

Love this post~ what a great reminder to us that our little ones are always watching, processing and learning...and then will do things on their own time frame. Bailey recently started signing more and all done, and looks SO proud of herself each time she does it. It fills my heart with joy!!

Just Trying Not to Blink .... said...

What a smart little girl she is! And it looked/sounded to me like she was trying to say "go" while signing it, too.

Becca said...

FABULOUS signing, Lily!!!! Wow! That's really interesting about "cautious learners." Some of Sammi's friends didn't walk until they were nearly 3, but once they did, they went in full-force and now run circles around her. It was pretty astounding. The cautious learners are just storing it all up until they're ready, and when they are, *watch out!!!!*

Mrs. K said...

Grammi definitely heard Lily Anne say go while she was in her bath. I, too, clapped and cheered when Lily was so exited. Mama, please hug my little yellow bird for me.

Kristen said...

Yay, Go Lily!

Love the new header. She is such a sweetheart :)