Thursday, July 8, 2010

Happy Summer!

We have been so busy having as much fun as possible as a family. We've visited Madison with Uncles Matthew and Kevin for the Farmer's Market - it was a hot one that day! We also went to Milwaukee Pride with the Uncles... not as much fun as our younger years and too many pride goers smoke but we enjoyed our time with the boys!

Addy has a Summer membership at Make-A-Messterpiece in Glenview and we've been sure to visit and make a mess every week! She just loves art so much and is her happiest when she's making a mess!

We went bowling with Aunties Shelly and Cordy. Addy just LOVED it! In fact, my SAHM Mama business card won us a free bowling party for Addy and her friends.

Addy spent time with both Grandpas for Father's Day and especially loved getting Grandpa Wally all full of cake!

We recently bought a MV. Yes, folks these Moms bought a mini-van. I know, we said we'd NEVER be "that" mom, LOL! However, Grama Rose and Grandpa Wally found this van for sale near their house and had been talking to the owner - turns out he was willing to sell it to us for a reasonable price. The best part, it is ACCESSIBLE!!!!! It has a lift to get Addy into the van in her wheelchair and it has all the necessary tie downs for safety while she is riding in her wheelchair. Addy absolutely loves it and we couldn't be more proud to drive her around in her own personal MV!

Addy and Mama visited the zoo with Auntie Shelly and Grama Rose. Although it was a nice day, it was still pretty warm out. We especially loved the dolphin show, well, except for Addy who screamed herself to sleep.

We've had a couple playdates so far... We messterpieced with Haruka from aquatic therapy, we also messterpieced with Isabella and Bryanna and their mom, Tiffany. We have plans to messterpiece with Zachary from the NICU and Owen and his mom Joanie this weekend. We also plan to meet up to do Ikea with Sadie from the NICU and her Mommy, Michelle.

Addy loves to read and to go to the library, we try to make it there at least weekly. Addy is in the Summer reading program and she's read 25+ books already! She visited the library to claim her halfway prize and was very excited to be awarded gift certificates for cookies from Mc Donalds, an icecream cone from Culver's and a hotdog from Photos!

Addy was recently pretty sick... she had pneumonia and it exacerbated her CLD, BPD and RDS (lung conditions) quite a bit. She had such a yucky cough but she is on the road to recovery now and feeling much better!

We went to the Taylor's house for their annual Independence day parade and party. It was great to see Lindsay and her mom, Nancy. Everyone always loves to see how much Addy has grown. We bought her some new ear plugs and she really enjoyed herself and did not cry at all with the sirens and honking. She was dancing and smiling the whole time!

Today was Addy's annual review for her Early Intervention services. Her therapists had nothing but good things to say about Addy's progress. She will continue with her services until her 3rd birthday in November, then it is off to school on the bus! Oh my gosh, I seriously can't believe it, she is getting so big so fast!

Physical Therapy:

Addy is seen at home twice a week and once a week in the pool. Her therapists have seen considerable improvement with her head control since they started working with her (November 2009). They both agreed that introducing theratogs have really helped her to improve in this area. They both feel that her overall control has also improved. Her strong area is working in extension (standing) and she actually enjoys standing. Her most recent new gain is in facilitated walking. She initially was straight legged and now she is bending her knees slightly as she takes the steps. She continues to learn to use her tone to her advantage and she listens and follows directions well. The ability to use her tone to her advantage and to know how to do that was indicated to be well beyond a 2.5 year skill. Overall they are thrilled with the improvements they've seen especially with her head control. We are working to get the same head support that she uses in her Wombat chair and her wheelchair for her stander, we are hoping this will allow her to feel more comfortable and like using it more.

Occupational Therapy:

We increased Addy's OT services to twice a week 4-6 months ago and she is really doing well with it. Her therapist was very happy with Addy's abilities as well as her drive and motivation. She commented that she is very smart and knows what to do but has difficulty actually performing some actions due to her motor challenges. She absolutely loves Addy and enjoys working with her. Addison knows her colors, animals, some letters and is starting to learn to identify her written name. Thankfully, Addy does not exhibit any sensory defensiveness at this time, she tolerates sensory experiences well. She also does not exhibit any separation anxiety, however, appears slightly less motivated without Mama's presence in therapy. Her most recent new gain is using her left hand more often, without prompting.

Developmental Therapy:

We also increased her DT services from monthly to weekly and this is our favorite therapy because it is all about P-L-A-Y! She recently switched therapists since her previous DT took the Summer off to spend with her kids. Her new therapist reported that Addy understands concepts at her age level. He also indicated that he's learned a lot from our family, such as patience and how to read Addy's subtle cues. He also noticed that she is using her left hand more often without prompting. He was most impressed with Addy's ability to do the fishing game - the game that you fish with the small magnetic fishing pole! He is certain that she uses her strengths and abilities the best she can and follows directions very well. He noted that she is very social, happy and always eager to play. Her physical challenges do impact her ability to perform self help skills but she always is determined to do what she can, such as clean her tray with a rag or put toys away into a box or bucket. He was overly impressed with Addy and her ability to communicate her wants and needs and her extreme dedication.

Speech/Language Pathology:

Addy's current therapist is very impressed with the improvements she's made with her toleration to oral motor stimulation. Addy allows vibration, massage and stretches in her mouth and will now smile and get less frustrated with these therapies. She is also closing her mouth more, especially when giving kisses and pouting. A definite goal in this area is language and communication skills. Addy can say "unh unh" for NO and routinely says this word when she in not interested in doing something. "Addy, please lift up your head." "Unh unh." LOL. We are working for Addy to be more vocal and we've found that she will make more sounds in therapy if she is comfortable and not in her positioning chair(s). She will now use sign ("more") and make a sound simultaneously to show she would like to continue an activity. She routinely waves hi/bye and will do high-five! The team agreed that SLP should remain once weekly.

We are so sad that Addy's speech therapist from Lake in the Hills, Gail, passed away. She fought a very difficult battle with Cancer and complications from related surgeries. She was a very special woman and is definitely in Heaven working with Riley and the other angels. She had such talent and an incredible gift and we were so sad to see her go. She will definitely be missed and will always be loved.

Overall, the meeting went very well and many compliments were expressed from the team. They all love Addy so much and are so happy to see her growing in leaps and bounds. All of her therapists complimented Addy on her determination and motivation and very much enjoy working with her. Our goals for the remainder of her time in EI are to continue to increase her head/neck and trunk strength, become more independent, continue to advance her communication skills and work to build more stamina with eating.

We couldn't be more proud of our little girl (no longer a baby ::sigh::) and all her continued accomplishments. We are so happy that her cognitive abilities are her strongest abilities and we look forward to continue working with her to enhance all her skills. We are certainly nervous about the transition to school but we know she will do well and will love it there! She is our world and we will continue to ensure she experiences everything life has to offer.

The rest of the Summer will be spent with our multiple therapy sessions, trips to the zoo, messterpiecing, visiting the library, going to the aquarium and probably a trip to the planetarium.

Much Love,

The Gile Family