Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Finley's First Day of Preschool

Monday marked Finley’s first day at her new preschool and of course it just happened to be the first day of an arctic cold spell that hit the city.  It is insanely cold out!!  Regardless, Finley got already to go and was so excited.  Greg took the day off so he could come check it out.   
Finley with the new backpack she picked out on thursday.  She loved the princess bag!  She was also happy with her hair tie.  I bought it on boxing day at TCP but lost it until Sunday so she thought it was new for today.
She picked out the shirt too.  We bought it the same time we bought her new bag.  I knew it was Minnie Mouse but had no idea that it was school related until she was getting dressed yesterday.  She was quite enthralled by it.
We went into the school and took off her winter clothes and put on her indoor shoes and she was off and running and never looked back.  I got there a little early to pick her up and was able to watch her in the gym through the special observation glass and she was playing What Time Was It Mr Wolf and then Follow The Leader.  She looked like she was having a lot of fun.
The teachers and Aides said that she did fantastic for her first day and was really co-operative and eager to learn.  They were impressed that she had no issues being away from us and told me that this was fantastic becuase it meant that she was a very confident young girl.  That made me very happy.
She looked pretty tired when I picked her up and she slept all the way home and was not happy when we woke her up after we got home.  We asked her if she liked school and she said she did. 
Monday, Wednesday + Friday’s are regular school days so it will be her and 8 other kids (approx) and will have regular days.  On Tuesdays, it is just Finley and an aide.  Thursdays it will be her and another girl with a different aide.  I think these 2 days could be very beneficial to her – especially Tuesday. 
I found that if I leave immediately at 3:50 after picking her up I beat rush hour traffic coming home.  On my way home I will be picking up Greg since it is almost on the way.  It works out quite well for him.
Will keep you all updated

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Finley's Speech Therapy

So yesterday afternoon we headed down to Finley’s soon to be new preschool.  It was a 32 minute drive from our house and is 110 blocks from our house – approximately.  So starting on Monday I will spend 2 hours each day commuting.  I think all the  money I am saving in preschool, I will be spending in gas.
We were immediately greeted by some great staff and a very brightly coloured, inviting area.  The walls were full of colour, life and so vibrant. 
In the afternoon they have 2 classes running.  One is for 2-3 year olds and the other is for 4-5 year olds.  They put Finley in the 2-3 year old class first and she went in and participated in circle time.  The whole time I was thinking that this is not what she needs and I am going to find her a private school and speech therapist.  The kids were far more in need of help then she was.  And more help than just with speech development.  So I left her in there and Penelope and I went to fill out a gazillion (no exaggeration) forms.  Most of them ended up blank because all she has is a speech delay and no other medical or physical ailments. 
When we finished filling out the forms, one of the teachers came and found me and told me that they wanted to test Finley with the older kids which made me much happier.  There is another 3 year old in the class who happens to be a girl so that is good.  And she (or her parents) seemed to have great fashion sense too!  They have an observation room where you can watch your child without them knowing.  They also have a headset that you can put on and listen in.  It was really good.  She really enjoyed herself while we were there and was sad when it was time to leave.
The school has a full time speech therapist, occupational therapist and physiotherapist, several aides and teachers.  The staff is fantastic and I really enjoyed meeting them.  The principal was super friendly too and all of them are involved in the learning and development of the kids.  Since Finley doesn’t need to see a physiotherapist she gets gym time.  And I have no idea if the occupational therapist will help Finley or not but if not, then she just has one on one time with one of the teachers. Some kids have aides with them all of the time but Finley isn’t one of them. 
They have field trips once a month and this months is at the Southland Leisure Center on a Friday that Greg has off so that will make Greg very happy!  And she has show and tell on Jan 25th.
The school operates 5 days a week.  Some kids get 3 days at school and 2 days at home while others get 5 days at the school.  Finley will be coming to the school 5 days a week, every afternoon from 1-350pm.  On MWF, she will be with her regular class and on Tues and Thurs, it is just her and the other 3 year old girl and one other 4 year old girl that will be there so it will be really good for her.  Because she only has speech delays, she doesn’t qualify for the home visits which is good because that isn’t something I was interested in.
I asked about registering her for regular preschools in the fall because they don’t do their testing until May/June for the following year.  She told me that I don’t need to worry about it because they usually fund kids for all three years and only once does she know where the child advanced so much in a year that he didn’t need to stay.  I think I still may be register at Apple Tree anyways because I am just too paranoid.  I have to have some kind of back up plan.  I am also going to see if I can get on the wait list for a specialized pre school that is right beside Greg’s office – which would be fantastic!
We went shopping this morning and she picked out a new backpack (princess of course) and a new shirt (Minnie Mouse) so she is already for school on Monday and is very excited about it.  Hopefully we see some improvement sooner than later.
I think that’s all the info I have.  If I remember anything else I will let you know but before I go I have to thank each and every one of my blog readers, friends, and family.  It was tough last week hearing how severe Finley’s delay was and I was able to get through it because of you.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.  You provided me with encouragement, kind words and love.  Thanks again!

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Big Girl Bed

The day after we returned from SK at Christmas time, we moved Penelope into her own bed.  As you will note, it is the same bed that Finley has.  Oh and we and have this bed in brown-black in a queen.  We apparently love our Malm’s!
She had been hating her crib for some time and refused to wear a grobag and continuously got her leg stuck in the crib slats and went ballistic.  I was at the point of rocking her to almost sleep when putting her to bed. 
Having second thoughts about this whole bed thing
What…I can escape so much easier than i could in the crib :)
Ok, ok, I will go to bed.
I cannot believe how successful she was in the transition.  She was a million times better than Finley.  No sleeping in closets or dresser drawers, no emptying her book shelf or her drawers.  Ok she did that once but that was because I put her down for a nap before she was ready because I was ready!  
She has slept an extra hour each morning on average since we made the switch.  There have been no fall outs, no traumas, no nothing.  It was awesome!!

Friday, 6 January 2012

Speech Assessment

This morning we finally had our appointment to be assessed by a speech pathologist.  It had been a long wait.  7 months to be exact and not to mention copious amounts of bagging to my family doctor to actually do the referral.  In retrospect, it was probably the most worthwhile bagging I have ever done.
Finley co-operated very well but the end results were not good.  Devastating would be a good way to describe it.  There are three areas that you get scored on:
Receptive Language (Understanding words, sentences and conversation)
Expressive Language (saying words and sentences to communicate)
Speech Sounds
Finley was scored the following:
Mild Delay in receptive, Moderate Delay in Expressive and Severe in Speech sounds.
I was devastated.  I felt like a failure, like somehow I messed up in the last few years.  Did she watch one too many episodes of Mickey Mouse?  Did we not play enough puzzles, not enough play with other kids her age?  It took every ounce of strength I had not to cry in the little room.  But trust me, the tears started flowing as soon as we reached the parking lot, all the way home in the car and into the house.  I cried for a good hour. 
Because of the severity of her delays, Finley qualified for government funding to attend a specialized program to receive speech language services so I was given 2 options: put her in a specialized preschool immediately or wait until the fall to put her in and come to therapy between now and then.  I chose the immediate enrolment of preschool because this is something I was really concerned about. 
Funding is available for kids 2.5 – 6 years of age or the end of kindergarten and is provided by Alberta Education.  Each year Finley has to re-qualify. So the testing today qualifies her for this term and then she will be re-tested again in March to see if she qualifies for next year.  So I have to register for both this pre-school and our community pre-school because I don’t know what she will test at although I have a strong feeling she will be at this school in the fall.
I was given 4 pages of places that I could call to see if they could get Finley in immediately.  Of the 4 pages, only 4 were anywhere close to where I live and they all had waiting lists.  Finally, I got her into a school on Macleod Trail + 50th Ave.  It’s a bit of a drive but it will be worth it.  We had Finley’s report sent to her and now we just have to wait for the Government to decide if she will go 3 times a week or 5 times a week.  If they decide only 3 days a week then I will enroll Finley in a regular pre-school as well.  I go for a tour of the facility on Wednesday and will have more information then.
Finley can say all of her sounds that are required for her age category but she skips syllables and leaves off the endings of words which is why she scored as severe.  She says soa instead of soap, gilk, Gickey, Mimmi for Milk, Mickey + Minnie.  When you ask her questions about her day, she doesn’t answer with specifics which is why she is moderately delayed and she is mildly delayed in receptive because she didn’t focus properly on the flash cards she was looking at. 
Don’t get me wrong.  I knew she wasn’t where she should be or at the same level as the kids her age.  I knew that.  I really did and I certainly was never in denial about it.  I honestly didn’t believe that the word “severe” would be used to describe her delay.  I really didn’t.  But I still believe that Finley is smart but perhaps lazy.  Greg has said himself that he was a lazy kid and even continued to be lazy throughout all levels of school so perhaps she comes by it honestly.  We will continue to work at it at home as well as to make sure she gets all the help she needs from her new pre-school.  I will do everything I possibly can to ensure that this does not get in the way of anything she wishes to do as she gets older.
So as you can tell, I had a really crappy day.  Greg came home with sushi from our favorite sushi place for supper which helped a lot and I found a cupcake maker online that I saw on The Price Is Right last night that I just have to have even if Greg does think it’s just a gimmick.  Anyways, I will post more information after I tour the place on Wednesday.  Fingers crossed Finley likes it and the funding goes according to plan.