So, as I mentioned in that oh, so important very first blog post, we are having a very difficult time finding a way for Vivian to effectively communicate with us. And by effectively, I mean a way she is interested in. We’ve heard Vivian use words before, but it’s been over a year since Shawn or I have heard her use them, and to be honest, they were generally out of context. We’ve tried, with the assistance of her previous Pre-K teachers and Speech therapists, PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System) and have mixed success with the paper PECS format and the ipad format.
Knowing this, I researched trying to obtain what the insurance company would consider a communication device, and our insurance company. The device we are trying to obtain for Vivian is the Tobii Dynavox, an all-in-one speech tablet created specifically for for augmentative and alternative communication, created and designed for children like Vivian who have non-verbal Autism. Since Vivian is a visual learner and is attracted to electronic devices (likes most kids), we are hoping she will take a liking to the Tobi and will use it to communicate.
Until next time…
Yay! It’s the very first post of the new blog! How super exciting! Now, what to write about? Well, what would be more appropriate than to introduce you to my family you’ll be hearing all about in the coming posts, so, here goes…
Welcome to my “little” family. We’re a nice small family of six. Yeah, OK, I guess for American standards that’s a big family, but who’s counting, really?!? And we’re what you would consider a “blended” family. But as the saying goes,
“Being a parent requires love, not DNA.”
My husband and I love all of our children equally. That’s all that matters. And if you think about it, blended families are brought together by choice, then strengthened further by love. Other than the fact that three of out children our special needs kids. Let’s face it, it take a whole heck of a lot of effort to run a household with four kids in the house — then think about it three of the four kids are special needs kids. Yeah, put more effort into it. But you know what, I don’t know how to do it any other way, and I wouldn’t want it any different.
So, let’s start with a little bit about me – I’m a thirty-something stay-at home Momma of four adorable little ones. They are my life through and through. I grew up in Maryland and in my work outside of the home years back. My hubby also grew up in Maryland, and actually we knew each other waaaaaay back in those old high school years. We kept in touch over the years and reconnected a while back and, well, thank goodness we did, because look at where we are now. We fell in love, and made one big, big happy family! My hubby works outside of the home, and is away occasionally for work (Boo!!!)
And for our kiddos… As I may have mentioned before, we have four wonderful littles, three beautiful daughters, all on the autism spectrum at varying levels, and one handsome rambunctious baby boy.
Our eldest daughter, Jen, is a gorgeous, creative, thirteen year-old teenager obsessed with the typical video games, everything Lego (currently it’s Ninjango stuff), Marvel and DC Comics. Jen love to draw comic book and super her characters and she is very good at it! If you were an outsider, you would not know she had autism, I would say we are lucky in some ways because of this. However, having an ‘invisible disability’ does have its own challenges. I’ll talk about about that in another post, though. I would say her biggest struggles are social interactions and conversation skills. This is Jen’s last year in middle school and so far in the eighth grade, she is doing great! With very few accommodations in her classes, and being in all standard classes, I am vary proud to say Jen has all A’s and B’s in her classes thus far.
Emma, our next eldest daughter, is a very, very, active, funny, cute, inventive, and did I mention active seven year-old little girl. She loves to play video games (namely in her big sister’s room, of course), is excellent at drawing and coloring, and Emma is extremely creative. She is in the first grade this year and is in a self-contained classroom specially designed for children on the spectrum, however she is studying what all the other children in the school are studying, and is on pace with all the other kids. Emma is actually doing very well in math and reading for her age (even for a ‘typical’ child). Just two years ago, she could barely speak twenty words, and now, she is speaking in almost full sentences. She’s come quite a long way. We are very proud of Emma.
Then comes our youngest daughter, Vivian. Vivian is our five-year-old absolutely beautiful little girl who loves to be held, give and be given hugs and kisses. She loves stuffed animals, little people, Care Bears, and Minnie Mouse. Vivian is in Kindergarten this year, and although she had about a year and a half of Pre-K as an ESE student, she is struggling in school. My little Vivian hasn’t spoken any words in over a year. We haven’t been able to find an effective and easy way for her to communicate with us as of yet. This has impeded many things. We have found that Vivian is a very visual learner, and that is how she has learned her ABC’s and her 123’s.
And there’s the youngest of the family, baby Shawn. Shawn is about to turn one in a few days. Very hard to believe he’s turning into a toddler, already! Shawn is definitely ALL boy…loves to roll cars and trains around on the floor, is beginning to stack blocks and legos, loves to chase his sisters around, and his favorite pastime is pulling everything off any shelf within reach. He recently had a visit with the developmental pediatrician and he shows no signs of having autism, sensory issues, communication issues, or social issues.
And there’s that. Our family of six. With that, the first blog post if done. Next up, our quest for a communication device for Vivian, and other quests our sweet Little Miss Vivian.
Until next time….