This blog chronicles the miracles and struggles of our daughters, Emily and Olivia. Emily was born 15 weeks early and had many complications, but she continues to amaze us! Olivia, born in China with heart complications, is also beating the odds. She joined her forever family (us!) when she was four years old and has been doing wonderfully! UPDATE: We started homeschooling August 2009 :)

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

More good news from school

Not to forget our first born, in addition to our adoption excitement, Emily had a milestone week, too! I'm happy to report that we had an IEP meeting at school during which they officially reduced her services because she is doing so well and no longer needs as much support! She now meets or exceeds the level of her peers in almost every academic area and has become quite confident and independent. There is a classroom aide at her disposal, but she has not been needing or using her assistance. Amazingly, her teacher made no mention of any distractibility and instead assured us that Emily is staying on task and is a good listener :) Based on how well she's doing, they no longer classify her as a "supported ed" student (one who needs support for 60% of the day or more) and at the meeting, her status officially changed to that of a "resource" or consult student. That means she doesn't need much special support, but will be kept on their radar in case she should need more help with the transition to all-day first grade next year.

Her pull-out time (for OT, PT and speech) was also drastically reduced since her fine and gross motor skills are now in line with her peers. Her handwriting has really improved and she LOVES spelling new words on every scrap of paper she can find! In fact, sometimes when I ask her a simple question, she runs to find paper and pencil to WRITE her answer. I've also noticed a big improvement in her ability to listen and understand when I read her stories (her biggest weakness has always been auditory processing). Reading to her used to feel like a frustrating waste of time since she couldn't pay attention and everything seemed to go right over her head. But now I'm actually enjoying reading Junie B. Jones books aloud (sometimes a censored version!) because she's getting it! It's so neat to see her moving towards just being a good 'ole "regular" student! She doesn't even qualify for summer school anymore :) She will still get pulled out 30 min/week for speech to improve her auditory comprehension, but that's about it. Hooray!

I'm SOOO glad we stuck to our guns about wanting her to stay in kindergarten again this year!! I've seen absolutely no adverse effects (at this age there is no stigma or realization that she's doing anything unusual) and yet we've seen so many benefits. With all her preemie issues and hospitalization she essentially lost a year's worth of development and simply was not able to magically catch up for that lost time. Since it was clear that she was still developmentally delayed in some areas, it just made sense (to us anyway) to hold her back a year. Being with kids her developmental age has made a world of difference for her confidence and we're thrilled with how well she's doing.

I'm in awe of God's work in her and also how He's expertly managed to time and arrange our adoption around her needs. Instead of seeing the adoption slow down as a negative, I can now see how His hand was in every step of the way. China's delays allowed us to really focus on Emily this past year and set her on a better educational footing. Now that we're all feeling more comfortable with her educational prospects--and future in general--we're more ready and able to expand our focus to include another child. I just love the way God works! When I let Him lead, He leads me down better paths than I could ever find on my own :) Note to self: Remember this. Learn from this.

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