The Good Life is pretty busy with three boys. Dealing with three different birth families, contact visits, extended family, the department, the support agency, disability services, medical and therapeutic appointments and more means the week can be very full. Do I actually have a social life, you may ask? Not really, I may answer.
But…on Monday afternoons we have a regular visitor – our Pyjama Angel Tracey. Pyjama Angels are volunteers who once they are trained and approved, commit to a weekly visit with a child or children who are in foster care. The goal is to narrow the well documented literacy/numeracy gap between children in care and those who are lucky enough to grow up in a loving birth or adoptive family.
So each week, Tracey comes over to our little house and spends an hour or so with the kids. The boys all have a lovely time exploring and make a great big mess as they go through Tracey’s box full of books, games and puzzles from The Pyjama Foundation’s library.
Tracey has been coming to us for around 2 years now. She’s been incredibly patient, getting to know L, building a relationship with him, following his lead and his interests, chasing him around the trampoline, putting up with the pinching & pushing, diverting him on to activities he enjoys. Coming back for more, consistently.
What a wonderful gift that hour is. We love having a Pyjama Angel and love Tracey in particular – she’s good! She’s very good!!
The Bad Now that the school year is well and truly up and running, I have wanted to set some of L’s extra-curricular activities and therapy sessions in place. School commitments mean that there is precious little time during the week to squeeze them in.
Before starting at AEIOU where there are in-house therapists, L was going to a practice which included speech, OT and physiotherapy services. L’s OT there was very experienced and she certainly helped in getting some functional skills off the ground if not perfected. This year, because of his sensory seeking behaviours I have been looking for an OT who takes more of a sensory integration approach.
A couple of weeks ago we headed off to a new OT with high hopes. After two sessions though, I gave him the sack. The main reason being that I was coming out of these sessions feeling really depressed. To me, this OT seemed to be out of his depth, overwhelmed by L’s behaviours and even worse, he felt the need to tell me how ‘low functioning’ he was. Thanks for nothing – I don’t actually need to hear that. This was making what is already difficult feel bad, really bad.
This OT was clearly not a good fit for me. I need someone who can relate to my boy, find the little rascal within and enjoy the work they do with him.
Today we have headed off to a new OT. I already feel uplifted after just one session. She quickly showed her understanding of where L is coming from. No more clinic sessions (oh joy), she will be visiting him at school and at home. This is looking good, very good!
The Beautiful This week has been an amazing week for little N. He will be 2 in another week, but this week was the real milestone. He’s been working up to talking for quite a while. After all the speech therapy and language development training I have done with L, I am very aware of the signs and stages.
Knowing that he was understanding a lot of what was being said, I knew that his expressive language wouldn’t be too far away. Well…this week he has really started talking. It’s so exciting to see how easily it is coming to him.
Every day he is saying a minimum of about 20 new words. It’s incredible. He’s gone from a vocab of about 20 words to over 100 in a week. Last week it was pointing at what he wanted and saying ‘this, this, this!’ This week he is pointing and saying ‘snack, drink, book, stuck, open, more, yoghurt, brekkie, grapes’ and on and on.
This morning we were looking at a flash card app on the ipad – he copied every single word. No matter how hard they were to say, he gave it a go. He was putting the sounds to the animals (you try making the sound of a camel!) and even a few actions that we have been doing.
How beautiful to see him truly discover the magic and power of language. Very beautiful!!
And that was the week that was.