Sunday, April 19, 2009

I Spy...

Can you see what's missing? Caitlin's bottom two front teeth! After her dental appointment x-rays, we saw that her permanent teeth were coming in & that the primary teeth should be coming out soon. Barely two weeks later and both little pearly whites were wiggling. Caitlin went off to school on Friday with two very loose teeth that were stubbornly hanging on to their territory in her mouth. When I came to pick Caitlin up from school that day, she came running at me with a cute little pink treasure chest and a smile that looked slightly different than the one that she left with 3 hours earlier. So, I learned, that while in class, she had been wiggling one tooth with her tongue and then, was surprised to feel something on her tongue. The second tooth came out after a journey to the bathroom mirror to get something out of her teeth, only to realize that this "something" was the other tooth!

That night, after tucking the little pink treasure chest under her pillow, the tooth fairy proudly rewarded Caitlin with two gold dollars!

Caitlin was so proud of herself and to join the ranks of her classmates who have all previously lost their first teeth. It was a bittersweet moment for Ben & I however, because, no matter how much we try to deny it, Caitlin is growing up.

Friday, April 17, 2009

"New Patient" Neurosurgery Visit

After our initial visit was canceled due to a bad spring blizzard, we were anticipating our rescheduled visit with Cara's new neurosurgeon today. The doctor that consulted with us and put in her shunt back in 2007 has pretty much retired from operating and has switched to another hospital. When we were up in neurosurgery last year to have Cara's shunt reset after a CT scan, we got to talking to our Physician's Assistant about finding another neurosurgeon to take over Cara's care. Knowing that we like to be able to ask questions and openly converse with our doctor, she recommended Dr. McNatt for Cara. I have to say that we immediately felt at ease with him--both Ben & I got a great vibe. He shook our hands and then Cara walked right up to him to shake his hand too! We had a great talk about Cara's progress as well as some concerns that we have. He pretty much reassured us that Cara is doing very well, all things considered. Her head circumference (51.3 cm) has stabilized and obviously, her shunt continues to do it's job. Unless something comes up in the meantime, we do not need to see him until a year from now! *knocks on wood* I have a feeling that this is the start of a great professional relationship.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Well-Child check ups

Both of the girls went in to see our faithful family practice doctor on Friday 4/10 for their well-child check-ups and immunizations. I'm proud to report that the girls are fine & dandy. Their doctor is very pleased with their health & growth. I asked, and received some advice on Cara's thumb-sucking and biting and about Caitlin's snoring. Cara received two shots and took them like a champ. She is now done for several years. Caitlin received one shot, cried slightly, and is, most likely (unless they change the current immunization recommendations), done until she is 11.

Here are their stats--
Caitlin (5 1/2)
Height: 3 ft 5 in (65th percentile)
Weight: 48lbs (50th percentile)

Cara (3 1/2)
Height: 36 in (70th percentile)
Weight: 29 lbs (50th percentile)
Head circumference: 20 in (95th percentile--while this seems bad, we are actually pleased because her head has pretty much stabilized!)

The girls do not need to return for a year, unless they come down with something.

IEP Evaluation 4/10

Cara had her first, of what will be occurring annually (at minimum), IEP evaluation at our school district's Child Find office on Thursday. We met with her Developmental Pathways service coordinator, a school psychologist, physical therapist (PT) and speech & language pathologist (SLP) to evaluate where Cara was in all areas of her development and come up with a plan for services that she will need this fall, when she starts preschool. All of the therapists worked with Cara on various tasks and she did very well, and, at times, shocked me with what she was able to do! For the first time, she was able to make a very tall tower, for example. The therapists also asked me questions about skills, tasks and overall development. We are to meet again, in May, to go over their recommendations, formulate a plan and decide on services as well as preschool options available to us. Cara also has to undergo a hearing screening as part of the evaluation process. I have no doubt that she'll pass with flying colors.

I am very anxious to hear what the therapists recommend and how these recommendations would be carried out in a school setting as I have become so accustomed to the clinic or home settings over the past year.

Vision Therapy Playdate

Vision therapy was just one of our "activities" last week. Here is a run-down:

**Vision therapy @ the Anchor Center on Wednesday 4/8. This was our first visit and I think it went pretty well. Unfortunately, we arrived about halfway into the session due to the conflict of the starting time with dropping Caitlin off at school. The sessions start @ 11:45 and go until 1-1:15. They start off with a snack in the cafeteria, move on to the motor/open play gym, then to a small group discussion time and, finally, wraps up with the light room. We got there just as the small group discussion was started. The topics were--1. What do you know know that you wished you'd known then? 2. How do others in your life (spouse, siblings, parents, grandparents, strangers, etc) deal with your child's disability. There were 4 other families in the group and despite being the only native English speaker, we had a very good chat. Turns out that 3 out of 4 kids also have shunts and one has hydrocephalus. Due to the language barrier, I wasn't able to openly talk with the parents, but we did share the challenges of having children with a condition that the mainstream public hasn't heard of. It was so comforting to know that I am not alone in dealing with Cara's multitude of "delays". I have met very few people, locally, who understand what life is like with Cara. Next, we rotated to the light room and this was, by far, Cara's favorite part of the playdate. The light room is moderately dark and filled with black lights, holiday lights, mirrors and objects of different shapes, colors and textures. They were doing a "color of the day" while we were there and it was blue. Out on the mats were tons of things all having blue in common. Cara loved the beads and these plastic "rocks". She did very well with moving objects back & forth between cups and dishes as well as manipulation several "stations" in the room. At the conclusion of the play date, Cara was given the Teller Test of Acuity by one of the teachers. We learned that her vision is about 20/90 assisted with her glasses. This means that what someone with "normal" vision would see at 90, Cara would need to be at 20 feet to see clearly. The test also confirmed Cathy's findings during the home visit.
**We had vision therapy again today (4/13) and while we started in the Light Room, we also got to go to the motor gym. It was just open play today due to a "Parent Pull Out". They have these once a month for parents. It's a chance for the caregivers to get together and discuss issues and ask questions. I chose to opt out this time as we were very new and I knew that Cara would not cooperate if I were to leave. I am hoping to participate next month, once Cara is more familiar with her surroundings and therapists there. I should mention, that during the sessions, there are PTs, OTs and SPTs on hand to work with the kids.

I am going to go a few more times and then evaluate on whether or not I think the sessions are helping Cara. Hopefully, the therapists will work with her more in the coming weeks, once they get a feel for her abilities and difficulties.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter!

Wishing all of our friends & family a wonderful Easter!
(I will post pictures of our Eggventure in a bit.)


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