Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Not blending in anymore

Wow, it's been a while since I have posted here. It's definitely not because things have been slow around here, but maybe more because we've had so much happening with Allison that I'm not sure where to start.

Allison is about three weeks away from starting kindergarten. Wow. I am blown away by the fact that she is already starting "real" school. It has also been pretty emotional for me because, in a lot of ways, I feel like once she is in real school she will start to fall behind more and more from her classmates. In preschool, it doesn't really matter if you need help eating, or still wear diapers, or like to sit on someone's lap during circle time. It also doesn't really matter how different you are because the other students don't really see you as different, or if they do they don't care. In kindergarten the other kids will start reading and doing simple math. They will write their names, draw pictures, and do science experiments. Allison will be exposed to all of that, which I know is good for her because I believe she is really in there learning, but she won't be participating the way the other kids do. She can't or won't hold a pencil or fork. She doesn't talk. She won't respond to math problems or science experiments. But she'll listen and learn.

Thankfully her school is wonderful in that she can be in a regularly paced kindergarten classroom with typical kids. They have a low enough teacher-student ratio so she doesn't have to be pulled out into the special class. It's bittersweet because I know she is in the best possible place but I had always dreamed of her going to my school, which is kindergarten through 8th grade. I was so looking forward to seeing her in the halls, lined up with her class. I wanted to peek in on her during art or pop over to help in her room during planning. Oh well. I will get over it.

Also new for Allison are leg braces. She walks wonderfully for a girl with Rett Syndrome, but she does walk on her toes a lot. Toe-walking puts her at risk for muscle shortening which could cause her to lose her mobility over time. Even though she currently has full range of motion in her ankles the doctors want her to come down onto her heels. Therefore, she is getting leg braces. Thus the title of this post. Once she gets leg braces she's not going to "blend" anymore. Maybe she hasn't been blending in for a while, but I can pretend sometimes that when we're in the store and she's walking by my side that maybe people think she is just like any other kid. With leg braces, it will be apparent that she isn't. I'm not even sure if this bothers me, but it's still something I have been thinking about.

Lastly, we are trying a new medicine for Allison. She has been on it almost a week. It is a medicine for ADHD. Since Alli is in constant motion, the thought is that the medicine will slow her down and allow her to focus more, learn more, and become more cooperative with her teachers and therapists. The first day I gave it to her I was a nervous wreck all day. I felt like I was giving her speed or something! I had to have a drink that night just to calm down and go to bed. Of course, Alli did fine with it despite a lower then normal appetite, which is expected on those type of meds. As the days have passed she seems to be doing better about eating and is even napping again at school. At this point I can't say that the medicine is even helping her at all as she still seems to be her usual bundle of energy and motion. We are going to keep with it though, at least through the next month, to see if it helps her in her big kindergarten transition.

So that's the news about Allison in a nutshell. I have pictures I want to share from our summer vacation, and several more posts brewing in my head.

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