Saturday, February 15, 2014

"I love..."

Stephen's Kindergarten class got up at their school assembly, telling everyone what they love, in honor of Valentine's Day.  Stephen helped me to create 9 different options for what he would say, and we had no idea what he might choose. 

Turn up your volume - it's hard to hear.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Time marches on...

... And I run out of time for blogging.

Our holiday break was chock full of fun adventures, but I know people are here mainly to her about Stephen, so we'll start there. 

About a week before school got out, Stephen's special education teacher told me that the Kindergarten class would be performing a few Christmas songs at their class party.  Besides the fact that we would have practiced at home if we'd known sooner, we had some anxiety about how Stephen could participate without being able to sing... I came up with the idea that Stephen could emcee, but his teacher forgot at first, and it wasn't his smoothest performance.

The following Monday, Stephen had a low-key birthday party with some friends, who came over to watch some movies.  A fun, and stress-free time was had by all!
Christmas was a lot of fun too!  Stephen was finally interested this year in unwrapping his gifts, and was enjoying the anticipation of his surprises!! 

After Christmas, we took Stephen to a nearby Children's museum.  We had a TON of fun!!!

One of Stephen's favorite exhibits was an outdoor maze.  He insisted on going through twice, and probably would have gone again if we weren't going to go on a train.  He discovered that he could look under the walls to figure out where to go - clever boy!!

We are all back at school for the spring semester, and it is going well for everyone.  We are looking in to increasing Stephen's time in his Kindergarten classroom since our last increase has been going so well.  Hopefully that will work out!!

Sunday, December 15, 2013


Seven.  This child is seven years old.

It seems as though no time has passed at all since he was a tiny little newborn, but at the same time, it sometimes feels like decades.  I supposed that's just the way of things, though.
So what have we been up to lately?  Well, we've had another meeting of Team Stephen, and we've increased his time in the general education classroom, to equal half days.  In addition to the group learning time he's been spending in the class, we are adding in literacy centers 3 days a week (starting at one, working up to 3), as well as PE, art, and music.  After seeing how much Stephen has matured and blossomed over the last month, we are very excited to see how he does with this additional time with his typical peers.  His beloved special education teacher, Mr. G., said that Stephen has a buddy in the Kindergarten class who has taken it upon himself to be Stephen's "helper" when he sees that he needs it.  With friends like that, I think Stephen will continue to do well.
Pa came to visit before Thanksgiving, and we had a good time together.  He was only here for a short time, but hopefully we'll be able to see him again soon!

Stephen continues to enjoy swimming, and his latest accomplishment is the ability to float on his back without any assistance.  He is able to get himself into a floating position now, as well.

We went to see Santa last weekend, and saw a "Caring" Santa as part of a program designed for special needs individuals to see Santa in a less stressful environment.  This was really good for Stephen, because we were able to make an appointment, and he didn't have to wait in line and get upset about that.  Stephen was even able to use his talker to tell Santa what he wanted for Christmas (legos and books, FYI).
So we've had a great couple of months out here.  Stephen's growth these last few weeks has been nothing short of amazing, and we are all just so happy.  

Friday, November 1, 2013

School, Soccer, and Halloween!

Whew!  Between my school, and all of our Stephen-y activities, October was a busy month!  We finished soccer, made some school changes for Stephen, and had a fun time with Halloween.

Stephen finished his first season playing soccer this month.  He acquired two new buddies after the first session, both of whom are studying to be speech pathologists, which is exciting!  He needed a lot less assistance by the end of the season!

 After the last game, all of the players got medals, but Stephen wouldn't wear his.

 We are looking forward to seeing our girls again when soccer re-starts in March!

Stephen also had a Special Olympics "Stars of the Future" event this month.  Stephen did really well, and was much more confident in his ability to participate in the various activities.

Obviously, we also did Halloween.  Stephen dressed as a Green Lantern this year, and was thrilled!  I was at school, but Erik took Stephen out to trick-or-treat, and said he did really well!  Again, he used his "talker" independently to say "trick-or treat, thank you," and "Happy Halloween!"  We are so proud of him. 

We made some changes at school for Stephen his month too.  After multiple meetings with "team Stephen," we have started transitioning Stephen into a general education setting (also known a inclusion).  For now, he is spending an hour each morning in group learning in a Kindergarten classroom, with an aide.  We opted to have Stephen repeat Kindergarten this year because there were some state-wide curriculum changes and we felt that he might struggle with the 1st grade curriculum while also trying to learn how to behave in a traditional classroom setting.  So far, Stephen is performing MAGNIFICENTLY!  The teacher sends home the curriculum the weekend before so that I can program his talker for him so that he can participate appropriately, and he does that very well.  In fact, when called upon one day this week, Stephen read a book OUT LOUD to his class.  We are just thrilled with how well he is doing in this classroom, and in his other class as well.  The current plan is to have him spending half-days in the Kindergarten class starting in January.  It's all been so exciting!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


We thought it would be a good time for Stephen to start exploring the world of organized sports.  At almost 7, we figured he was ready to learn, and we decided that soccer would be a good place to start - he loves balls and running, so it seemed logical!  We found a buddy league that meets on Sunday afternoons for skills work, and then 45 minutes of scrimmages. 
Our first week, Stephen had one buddy, and was a little hesitant, so Daddy went out and helped.  Stephen has demonstrated an excellent aptitude for dribbling the soccer ball in a straight line.  Steering and big kicks are works in progress, still.

This is just to give a good shot of how cute Stephen was in his soccer uniform.  He loves it.

Our second week, the first buddy wasn't there, so we were assigned TWO buddies, and they are awesome.  These two young ladies are speech pathology majors at a local university, and are so excited to work with Stephen (and he LOVES them!).

(Stephen was trying to read what his shirt was saying while he was supposed to be scrimmaging.  Silly boy!
 That second week, he scored his first goal!  I wish I had gotten a picture of the pride on his face, because he was so excited.  During week 3, he scored 2!

Our other new accomplishment is this:

Not totally independent yet, but he's been doing really well floating like this, so he's finally starting to relax more.

Soccer runs through mid October, but then starts up again in April, so I think we'll stick with it.  He has been telling us with his talker that he likes playing soccer.  We love that he's having so much fun and learning new skills in the process!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Team Stephen

This sweet boy started First Grade yesterday.  First Grade.  I can hardly believe that he's old enough for that, and yet, he was more than ready.

We met "Team Stephen" on Friday for the first time.  All but one member of the school team is new to us, and I think this is probably going to be to Stephen's advantage.  Every single person on his team believes in Stephen's abilities and intelligence, and our hopes for his future, which makes it a lot easier for us to send him off on the bus to his new school each day. 

Stephen has an iPad with his speech program on it available to him at all times during the school day, and even on his first day, he was communicating well with his teacher, and advocating for his own needs.  He also made sure to show off everything that he learned in Kindergarten last year, and impressed his teacher quite a bit.  Stephen is currently in a combination of special education classes and inclusive (typical) classes and activities, and once everyone has gotten to know each other, and we figure out what kind of supports Stephen will need, we will meet in a month to make a new plan for Stephen.  With the ability to communicate better, Stephen is much more confident and sure of himself, which has been such a joy to see.  This kid just amazes us every day.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Summer fun

We've been having a lot of fun this summer...
Learning how to do the back float (finally!!!) - Stephen is so funny about floating on his back.  He is very confident, right until he feels his teacher is starting to move his hand... then he starts to laugh and tries to swim away.

We've been playing outside with no shoes on.  This is a new thing for Stephen this summer - he used to only want to play when he had shoes on, but now he'd prefer to be barefoot.

 We've enjoyed a few lazy days when it's been raining...

 AND!!!  We finally made it to the dentist so Stephen could get his space maintainer put in!  This is the before picture.

And... after.  Stephen was sedated during the procedure, and took a nice, long snooze after it was over.  We stayed at the office for a little over an hour afterwards, and then we came home and he slept for a couple more.  I don't have any good pictures, yet, of him smiling with his new tooth - not because he isn't smiling, but because I'm not fast enough with the camera, and he's always on the move.  Stephen is THRILLED to have his "tooth" back and doesn't mess with it at all.  It is a resin "tooth" connected with wires to his back molars, so we are being very vigilant in his brushing. 

 We've also spent some time at Frontier City with Stephen's grandparents... they usually don't come to visit in the summer...

Which leads me to my next little bit of news!
Back in May, Mom and Dad sold their house!!  They decided to move here to be closer to us, and help out with Stephen while I return to school next month to pursue my Master's Degree.  Thanks to Erik's job, I can attend an accelerated program, and in a year, will have a Master's of Education degree in Applied Behavioral studies.  They close on their new house here next week, and we are all very excited!  They have been living with us for the last month of so, which has also been fun.

So that's what we've been up to - swimming, and fun!!