Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Progress and a Plan

My sweet little man.
Noah has done some amazing things since he was born. I still get amazed when I think about how sick he was and how close we came to losing him so many times and yet now he's the most energetic little man I have ever seen. His capacity to love is extreme. His tenderness is unmatched. He teaches me so much, every single day. I am truly honored to be his mother.

Right now, Noah is coming to the end of his first year of preschool. While he's made tremendous growth during the past year, I can't really attribute any of it to his schooling. Most if his progress is from things we have worked on at home or in private speech therapy. This has left me with some concerns over how I should address his education in the future. Homeschooling has been very much on my mind but I worry that I'll have enough time to really focus on it while also working full time.

In preparation for his next year of preschool, Noah had his IEP (Individualize Education Plan). For those of you not aware of what an IEP is, it's basically a plan put in place with the school to address Noah's personal needs. It lists his goals and what items or accommodations he might need to reach those goals. After considering what might have contributed to this past less-than-stellar year, I decided that Noah's original goals, and how they were addressed, was the underlying problem. They had been working on basic low level goals and when he wouldn't participate due to sensory issues, disinterest, or even just because he's 3 they  assumed he couldn't do it and never pushed for more.

This year, I went in prepared to really lay out what I felt he needed to be successful. And also some items that would help me track his progress and work. I suggested his ultimate goals be age appropriate based on requirements for starting school in an average kindergarten class. Even though these goals will push him, I am much more comfortable with a 50% attainment of something that is a challenge than 95% attainment of something easy.
I now feel much better about the whole thing. While I still have a few reservations about how much the teacher is actually involved in the class, at least now I have a legally binding contract to help get Noah what he needs. It also addresses his personal learning style. See, he is very HIGH-INTENSITY! He needs positive reinforcement. Lots of cheers and high-fives and screams when he gets something right. Without it, he quickly loses interest and shuts down. He also needs sensory integration assistance like jumping on a tramp, swinging, throwing balls. Without it he can't focus or pay attention.

But all in all, I really am amazed at all this kid can do. He knows his entire alphabet. He can recognize all the letter. He can count to 12 all by himself. He can count items (not just saying the numbers). He's almost got all his colors memorized (this has been a hard one for him. I've often wondered if he had some colorblindness going on).
His speech is AMAZING! The other day, when I told him we were going to a movie and would get popcorn, he said "Pa cor?". I about died! Yes, he still dropped the last consonant but he said a double syllable word which is really hard for him. The day before he said "Happy" when usually it's just "Haa". A typical conversation with him goes something like this:
Noah: Give Da Hu (I want to give Dad a hug)
Me: Okay, when Dad gets home from work you can give him a hug.
Noah: Da hoe wor hu me? (When dad gets home from work he'll give me a hug?)
Me: Yes, When dad gets home from work he'll give you a hug.
Noah: Okay, nie ma. (Okay, goodnight mom.)

Uhm... hello!! That is absolutely AMAZING!! Even in just the past few months he's made tremendous progress with his communication. There are still many times and circumstances when communicating his hard for him. If he's upset, embarrassed, sad, tired etc. he may not even be able to get any words out. He relies on gestures but sometimes even that doesn't work. It can be very frustrating for him. But he's learned ways around his mouth not working. For instance, there are certain sounds that his mouth just has a hard time making. But he's learned that if he plugs his nose, it helps the right sound come out. So now, every time he says Shoes, he plugs his nose. Sure enough, instead of saying "Goo and socks" and plugs his nose and says "Shoes and socks". Just goes to show that even though his brain and mouth had a hard time communicating, he is a very smart and resourceful little guy.

But one of my greatest joys with his development is his interaction with Lilly and Allie. He follows Lilly around like a little puppy. They play games and even argue over whose turn it is to pick the movie. He's sweet and gentle with Allie. Gives her kisses and always asks me if Allie is sleeping so he knows he needs to be Ky-It (quiet).

I think about how much desire Noah must have had to be here on earth and experience life to get him through the pain he experience during the first year of his life. Of how much he continues to fight to be here and learn and grow. Things haven't been easy for him by any means. And yet he keeps fighting. He keeps trying. He never gives up. I am in awe of his strength and determination. And I'm humbled by his sweetness and tenderness. It's impossible to be around him and not know that he's someone very special. I am truly blessed to be his mother.



  1. What an amazing post and beautiful family. I like your IEP ideas...better to challenge him than have him not reach his true potential. You are a great mom!

  2. I am so touched Crys!!! Your an amazing mother to three amazing kids! I have a learning disability, and one thing my Mom did with me (rather than home school when she had 4 other kids taking her attention) is supplement! Whatever I was really struggling with (she kept in constant contact with my teachers) she would really push me with at home. It worked. You will do whatever is best for you and Noah and you will both succeed with flying colors. Cause THAT'S how you roll!!! He is amazing...and growing so well! Love to you both!

  3. Ahhhh. I LOVE this post. It makes my heart smile. It's been wonderful, seeing him progress from that tiny baby to the little boy, making such wonderful strides. I love you, My friend.

  4. Crystal,

    All three of these children are SO beautiful(but, of course, it is Noah who has most stolen my heart). I am so thrilled that he is doing so well and learning so much! Alan is in his first year of preschool, too. The biggest gains he is making is with speech! You are right to push for more for Noah and not to "settle". You just want to see him be all that he is able to be...that's what we all want for all of our children. He is blessed to have such a loving and "tough" mom. BTW, I've homeschooled for 7 years now and can share my experiences with you if you're interested.

    Bless you all!

  5. Such a great post! I LOVE all of the pictures. Your kids are so cute! You're right to push for harder goals for Noah. Stick to your guns and listen to your instincts as his Mom--they will lead you to what you need to do. And the parents who add to what the kids are learning in school are parents who find success. Edhelper.com is a great website for supplemental stuff. Hang in there!

  6. Bless him, he is growing up fast, such a gorgeous little man :O) Xxx

  7. Hello Noah and family,

    I just came upon your blog and am so glad I did.

    When we first found out that our baby girl had a severe congenital heart defect, the pediatric cardiologist instructed me NOT to google heart defects. I know he was just trying to protect me from worrying, but that advice really wasn't the best.

    Ten months after baby Gracie's birth, I AM JUST NOW FINDING THE HEART COMMUNITY THAT EXISTS OUT HERE. Thanks for your blog and for the hope that you express!


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