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Sunday, April 28, 2013


As mentioned in my previous post, both kids started preschool on April 8th.  I was excited and terrified at the same time, plus a little sad.  Since Reagan was born she has been home with me, her dad or close friends.  Of course Trevor was too and these arrangements were great for us all.  I started looking at preschools in February to get a jump on picking one for Reagan to start VPK (voluntary pre-kindergarten) in August as I was told that if you wait then your first choice may no longer have open spots.  I have a tendency to procrastinate so I wanted to get the choosing and registering done well before August approached and sent me into a panic-driven choice. 

After visiting several daycare centers and talking to other moms who already use daycare I narrowed down my choices to tour.  The center I decided on is small (no children under 2 and no children older than VPK), has lots of teachers and assistants in ratio to the number of kids, does not do field trips and is right across the street from where I work.  I was very happy with the "vibe" of the place, the availability of the director and teachers for all of my questions and their rates are very reasonable.  I sealed the deal in March by filling out the VPK registration forms and getting our list of supplies. 

Meanwhile, back at the home front, Trevor was participating in his weekly speech therapy.  His therapist and pediatrician both agreed that at home Trevor just doesn't really have any motivation to communicate.  He gets fed when everyone else does, he has a sippy cup available at all times, he naps and sleeps on a regular schedule and diapers get changed as necessary.  This also meant that he would frustrate easily during those times when communication would be helpful and have himself some pretty big, but short, tantrums.  After many discussions it was decided that he would benefit from being in a small preschool class.  In Florida the rules are 11 two year olds per teacher and many centers will put 2 teachers in a room with up to 22 two year olds.  While legal and fine for most kids, the larger scenario would actually be worse for Trevor's communication efforts.

The center where Reagan will be attending VPK has one teacher and one assistant and 8-10 kids on any given day in the 2 year old room.  Trevor's therapist deemed this perfect for him and felt he should start as soon as possible.  I had also been told (by moms and teachers) that since Reagan had never been in a daycare setting that she should start at least a month before the actual VPK started so that she could have some time to adjust.  I spoke to the director about possible start dates and she informed me that she had openings starting that next week and could take Trevor legally now since he was past 22 months of age even though she normally didn't start kids until they were already 2.  After some internal agonizing and over-analyzing and talks with his therapist, both kids were set to start that coming Monday.

Here is Reagan the morning of Day 1 - she was SO excited to be starting school!
I couldn't get Trevor to stand still long enough for a morning Day 1 picture of him and of course getting out of the house in the morning with two kids and all their stuff took way longer than I anticipated - it always does!  Drop off went great.  Reagan happily went into her room and began to get acquainted and barely even said good-bye.  In fact I do believe she shot me a look from across the room that said "don't you DARE embarrass me Mom!".  Trevor happily trotted off to play with a group of little ones once we got him to his room and never looked back.  I was happy that they were confident enough to not melt down but my mommy-heart was a little traumatized at the lack of their trauma. :-)  They both got good reports and were happy to see me when I came to pick them up.  It sure looked like they had fun:

Day 2 was more of the same - they both happily joined their classes with quick waves and hugs and kisses.  Here they are on the morning of Day 2.  I snapped Trevor's from his crib after getting him dressed so he couldn't run off without a picture!

By Day 3 Trevor had caught on to the routine and started to cling and whine during drop-off.  I knew he'd be fine after I made a quick exit but hearing him cry was not fun at all.  By Day 4 Reagan had caught on and while getting ready in the morning she loudly announced "I HATE school!!!!".  Ahh, so much for easy drop-offs.  Both of them have adjusted now but it was a rough road for a bit.  I'll save that for another post as well as Trevor's speech progress from school.

Thursday, April 25, 2013


Well my baby boy is almost 2!  I can hardly believe it.  He is such a joy and growing leaps and bounds, of course, and continues to be a pretty easy going little man.  At his 18 month well baby check I knew there were going to be concerns.  Even though he started on track verbally with early babble he kind of stalled.  He was late to say his first real word - Eat - but he didn't continue to say it.  Instead, everything was "Ma".  Everything.  Me, his dad, his sister, his cup, his pets, his toys, his bed, food - everything!  When he wanted to express that he wanted or needed something he would only say "Ma" with an occasional "Mama" thrown in. 

I remembered counting up the number of words Reagan was saying at her 18 month appointment and quit counting when I was well past the number of words they hope they can say by that age.  His one single word was not going to be good news to his doctor.  At his appointment they gave me a sheet to fill out that had different questions that they use for an early autism screen.  He missed 3 big ones - all somewhat related to communication.  He did not have the desired number of words, he did not point to objects and he did not follow a point.

His doctor spent lots of time with us (love her!) and decided that yes, he did have some communication related delays but that she would be surprised if he was actually autistic since he does have great eye contact, recognizes emotion, isn't repetitive other than age-appropriate repetition, etc.  She referred us to Early Intervention for more testing.  I was glad for the referral.  I am the type of mom who is driven by information.  If there is a problem, I want to know what it is, how to mitigate it or fix it, what we should be looking for in the future, etc. 

I was expecting some difficulty with Early Intervention only because it is a state funded program and I knew the program had to be understaffed with overworked people.  I was pleasantly surprised when we quickly got an appointment (after some phone tag) for a worker to come assess him at home.  She ran through a bunch of questions, observed Trevor just being him and then attempted to engage him in several simple tests with toys and commands.  His worker felt he did need services and set us up for a more in-depth assessment with other therapists.

We went down to a great looking DCF center (the waiting area was SO cool with tons of fun stuff for the kids!) and met with his worker and two therapists.  They ran Trevor through some more tests with toys and commands and asked me questions throughout.  After about half an hour they agreed he needed services and wrote up his report.

For the scale they use, there are 5 categories.  A child must score 75 or below in two or more areas or 70 or below in one area.  Well Trevor ended up qualifying both ways. :-(  He scored 71 in Academic/Cognitive (Playing, Thinking, Exploring), 70 in Self-Help/Adaptive Skills (Eating, Dressing and Toileting) and 59 in Receptive and Expressive Communication (Understanding and Communicating).  I was not at all surprised at the Communication score but the other two did take me by surprise.  The other two were mostly because he wouldn't transition during play when prompted (at all and would melt down when further attempts were made) and he didn't yet take his shoes off properly or use utensils in an age-appropriate manner (totally my fault on that one as I hadn't really ever given him the opportunity to practice).  He was 20 months old at the time of his evaluation.

Since then he has a therapist that comes for an hour once per week to work with him and give us ways to help him when she isn't here.  His therapist is an incredible woman that we all like very, very much.  We also enrolled him in preschool earlier this month to help with peer modeling and exposure to other people that he has to communicate with to express his needs since family tends to anticipate his needs and he never really needs to ask for anything (more on preschool in another post).  He is making progress and we are thrilled!  He now says "Ball" (his favorite), "Bye" and this week started saying his version of "Yellow" - it comes out el-LOOOOW.  He also uses some signs - eat (of course!), please, all done and hi/bye.  Overall we believe he just needed some extra help and motivation to communicate and opportunities to develop his other skills (he uses utensils now and tries to put on socks as well as takes off his shoes properly some of the time).  We are looking forward to seeing how he progresses from here and what strides he will make from being in preschool. 
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