Saturday, May 31, 2008

Evals Galore

Today JT had his speech eval (yes, on a Saturday), and Monday night is his behavioral eval.

The speech evals are always really hard. It's heartbreaking to have to answer 'No' so many times... And there's no way around that. Plus, the observation when she's trying to talk to him, get him to do things... And he just won't. Or can't. It is so difficult to watch your child fail a test... Even if it's not a pass/fail type deal - it just means more services. It's still hard.

I am having a harder time with this now... I guess because I'm having to actually deal with therapies and services and all that... Before, the waiting to move kind of saved me... I didn't really have to deal with it all that much. On top of the fact that we've had so many evaluations, and he doesn't score in the 'normal' range for any of them...

Today was the first time I've ever cried during one of his assessments. I don't know why it hit me so suddenly. I HATE crying in front of people, and this sweet lady is telling me it's okay, that I'm a wonderful mom, that my son is doing so great... And I just couldn't keep a straight face. I am so not the type to cry, but for some reason, it happened.

We had our first visit to the Williamson County Medical Center Emergency Room two days ago... JT has a sprained right ankle/foot and a jammed toe that is black and swollen. Poor kid - he just is so wild he always hurts himself. I don't even know what happened... He was sitting on our bed holding his foot when he started crying... And he can't tell me what happened, so I just assume he jumped off the bed and hurt it.

We are still loving it out here... I'm doing a duathlon (the DuRunRun in Nashville) on Father's Day. I'm pretty excited .

Anyway, I hope everyone else is doing well... Hopefully the therapies will start soon... We have one more eval we have to go through (Occupational Therapy) before they're all over. And it's an ugly one... Little Weedoh has major sensory issues.

I have been reading all these awful stories about teachers and how they treat the special education kids... And realizing my son will be one of them, it is just gut-wrenching. I hope that all my parent friends teach their children to respect all people, even if they are different... Because they are all important... And they have feelings, too.

Love to everyone,


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Momma on a Mission

I just read the most heartbreaking, horrid story ever.

I just cannot believe that a teacher would do this. It absolutely terrifies me.

My son is indeed 'trying' at times... Putting it nicely. I am certain that he will lose his temper at school, and I am prepared to deal with some parent teacher meetings and even possibly meetings with the principal. What I will not accept is a teacher mentally abusing my child, using his peers as a weapon. How unbelievably cruel and vile this woman is.

What in the hell was this woman doing teaching? Your job as a teacher is to control your class, but above all to CONTROL YOURSELF. If you can't do that, you are in the wrong field.

I hope that mom sues that school district (aka the state) for all they are worth and then some. How shameful they would hire someone who would do this to a child, no matter how much they were tested.

The scary part? That little boy has made it 5 years without a diagnosis... So odds are he has Asperger's Syndrome, which is milder than Autism. They integrate special needs kids nowadays, so my son may very well be in a 'regular' classroom even if he is special needs. And he's NOT a mild case (although I know that may change, you get my point... This kid was not the worst that woman - no, b*tch - would come across).

So, on my latest 'what's wrong with the world today' rant, and how we abuse and take advantage of our weakest members in society, I give you this.

The teacher has also been 'reassigned'. Great, so she's torment some other kids... How about FIRE HER!!!

Please please please - go to this link and sign the petition. The people 'higher up' have GOT TO KNOW THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE!!!

Just in case you couldn't click the link above, here's the story:

PORT ST. LUCIE, FL -- A Port St. Lucie mother says her five-year-old son with special needs was voted out of his classroom by his peers at the behest of the teacher, who has since been reassigned.
Five-year-old Alex Barton will be starting his summer vacation early. His mother doesn't want him to to return to school after what allegedly happened in class at Morningside Elementary Wednesday afternoon.
"I'll never be able to send him to school again without worrying if something is going to happen," says Melissa Barton, Alex's mother.
She admits he's had behavior problems, and can be difficult at times.
She says he's undergoing tests to determine if he suffers from Autism and other disorders.
But, she claims a Wednesday incident pushed the lines of discipline into the realm of abuse.
"(She) took him and stood him in front of his classmates this week, asked every single child to tell Alex why we don't like him... in his words, tell Alex why we hate him," she explains.
After having each child ridicule the boy, she says the teacher continued belittling him.
"Then they had a vote on if he deserved to stay in the class or not," says Barton.
Like a twisted reality show, Barton says in a 14-2 vote, his classmates voted the five-year-old out of the classroom.
"I never thought she would subject my child to such mental abuse," says Barton.
Barton filed complaints with the Department of Children and Families and police. She says the teacher overstepped her bounds.
After conferring with the State Attorney's office, police found no grounds for charges, but the school district is investigating the incident and these teaching practices. Barton suspects other students may have suffered as well.
"If other parents who have this teacher or have had this teacher, come forward talk to your kids because this is wrong," says Barton.
The St. Lucie County school district is investigating the incident and released a statement Tuesday afternoon that reads:"The St. Lucie County School District received a complaint about a kindergarten teacher, and is investigating the incident to determine if there is any violation of policies, procedures or ethics. The teacher has been reassigned outside of the classroom at the district offices until further action is determined."

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Happy Anniversary!

Today is our 6th anniversary! I can't believe it's been 6 years since we got married...

So many memories...
1 proposal.
2 babies.
3 different cities.
4 different cars.
5 different houses.
6 wonderful years.

Marriage is a wonderful, crazy thing.

Lucky I found my perfect match...

Love to everyone!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Ready, Set, GO!


Today we signed the papers to get JT started with his therapies - ABA, OT, and ST. Within the next week he will get his evaluations by therapists from each of the three areas, and they will recommend how much he gets. I am just SO excited to get it all started!

I realized I haven't updated much on Audrey (bad mommy!). She can write all her letters now, and has taught herself how to write all the numbers. She is amazing! She reads all the letters, and kind of sounds them out... I swear she's going to start reading anytime. She is SO interested in words, letters and what they mean and all - she is just flat-out amazing. Such a smart little girl.

Here's the funny story of the week:
In the car, Audrey is talking non-stop (this is normal anywhere, but gets really old really fast in the car). So, her daddy, being the joker he is, says "Let's play a game! QUIET AND STILL!!!" Well, little miss diva was way ahead, and shot back about 20 seconds later "Nah, I don't like that game, daddy. How about LOUD AND MOVING?!?!" I just looked at him. He asked for it!

JT's new 'stim' has surfaced, and it totally baffles me. He 'ear flicks'. If you don't have a kid with autism, you probably don't know what this is. It's not near as publicized as toe-walking or hand flapping... But it is VERY common with autistic kids. Anyway, he takes his hand, and in a VERY fast movement, moves it palm-forward from the back of his head to his cheek, 'flicking' his ear. It's so weird that all these kids do this, and I don't understand how it starts... He's still doing his flapping and toe-walking, and vocal stimming (wee-doh, wee-doh, wee-doh and right now something that sounds like 'i do' ?). BUT - he is starting to want to do 'mirror me' games. He likes to stick his tongue out and for us to copy him - SO AWESOME! He is also getting better about listening... As much as a 2 year old would listen. Actually, I honestly think he listens BETTER than most 2 year olds. He is a very good little man. And SO big... He will be bigger than Audrey by this time next year easily. His foot is already the same size as hers!

Our 6 year anniversary is this Sunday (May 25). It's so hard to believe that we've been married 6 years already! We have absolutely no plans, since we don't really have anyone that we trust to watch the kids here... I would trust Beth, but she's out of town... Plus, (this is crazy) her anniversary is the same day as ours. Not only that, but it's their 6th anniversary, too. The Hubs's off all weekend for the first time since we moved here. He wants to come on my trails with me, so we'll take the kids up the short trail and wear them out sometime! Mostly, just hang around our house and take it easy...

I hope everyone has a happy and safe Memorial Day weekend!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Tomorrow's the BIG Day

As in, the day the TEIS coordinator comes over and we get JT's IFSP started! FINALLY!!!

I talked to our coordinator a few days ago, and YES, JT qualifies (and will receive) ABA! I am so excited! Of course, until we go over everything tomorrow and do all the paperwork, I'm not sure how much he gets (in hours). I'm hoping for about 10 hours ABA, and 2 hours each of speech and occupational therapy... Which would take our therapy totals to 14 a week of state-provided, then I'm going to try to wrangle with our insurance company for some more speech, occupational, ABA and maybe music therapy... We'll see. I am just so excited to finally be making forward progress.

My mom was in town for a few days, and we had a great time! JT talked a lot, not sure what all he was telling her, but I'm sure he was telling on his mommy and daddy for something! Funny man!

I'll update again tomorrow... For now, I am just in the BEST mood :0)

Oh, and my dad and I are both signed up for the MS150 October 4-5. It's the Jack and Back ride, from Franklin, Tennessee to the Jack Daniels Distillery and back (150 miles in 2 days, hence the name MS150). If you want to make a donation to support me, I'll put the link up... And if you get emails from the MS Society, it's probably me begging for money!

Hope everyone is doing well... We certainly are!

Here's the latest picture of JT -

Monday, May 19, 2008

Fun in the Sun!

Well, warm weather is finally getting here... Kind of!
The kids have been enjoying the great outdoors. Our neighbors built our kids a real tire swing (how sweet!), and they love the horses and all the other animals out here.
Audrey got her first tick (at least the first one she knows about). She completely lost it, and four days later, she's calm until the word tick comes up.
JT has been eating his weight in food daily. He's ALWAYS eating! He is only about 1/2 an inch shorter than Audrey now, and definitely a few pounds heavier... And 16 months younger. He is also extremely strong, and throws a mean sidearm you wouldn't believe. WITH AIM.
We had his Tennessee Early Intervention evaluation last week. Hopefully his therapies will pick up soon here. I am having a few 'complications' with TEIS. See, our coordinator told us that behavioral therapy (ABA) wasn't covered by TEIS. Then, the lady that did the eval last week told us that it IS, and several of her clients receive this therapy through TEIS. Well, ABA is the ONLY therapy proven to actually help autism, so now I'm a little angry. Angry that she lied to me, and confused as to why she would do that? The evaluator said she would speak with our coordinator about ABA and recommend it. If it's not on our 'Plan', I'm not signing it. I have already looked up the Autism Society here in Middle Tennessee and I'll call an advocate if I have to. I don't understand why they try to screw kids with disabilities out of services the government covers... I mean, what does that say about our society? We take the weakest, and we take away what they're entitled to legally? No better than the playground bully, really.
I'm sure there will be plenty more rants about this if our coordinator doesn't include ABA in our plan. But, for now, I'm going to try to be calm.
JT's tantrums have gotten worse. I don't know if it's his age, his inability to talk, or a combination of both. He has the most shrill scream I have EVER heard... And I have worked in day cares, so I know kids screams! He did sit on the potty a few days ago. Didn't go, but it was a great start!
The Hubs loves his job! Dillard's had swim day Saturday, and The Hubs's store got first place in his division (sales in swim were over $14k just that day!). He was so pumped!
I've found my trails on the Trace. I run every other day out there... It is so beautiful. I'm always alone on the trails, and there's something about being out there with all the sounds of the birds and the trees - it's impossible to explain. It's an instant mood-lifter. I also got my bike out, and rode up the Trace a little. I'm glad I didn't try a long ride, holy moly my bottom HURTS! I have to get on it soon, though... My dad are doing the Jack and Back MS150 bike ride in October!
So, there ya have it... The Duzan family update.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Tennessee Living

We have officially made our move to Franklin, Tennesee, and we all love it here! We live WAY out in the country. Ten minutes from the nearest gas station, and about twenty minutes from the nearest Walgreen's (which, for future reference, is NOT open 24 hours!). The Hubs has to drive half an hour to get to work, but it's completely worth it.
Across the street from us, there is a horse farm. Audrey adores those horses. She lets them eat from her hands, and kiss her head! We have space to play, run and be goofy out here! The neighbors are awesome, too.
Complaints? Ticks. Lots of them. We are in the country, so we're outside a lot. Blech! And, my cats killed a field mouse in our house. IN our house. Audrey, surprisingly, was completely calm about the whole thing, which is amazing since the mere sight of a bug freaks her out so bad she is inconsolable. But put a headless mouse on her floor (did I mention my cats ate the head off? Yeah, they did.) and she's congratulating and praising the cats. In fact, she thinks that the mouse was stealing food from Beezy, so Beezy was simply getting her food back.
The Natchez Trace is about two miles from our house. It is the most beautiful road I have ever seen. Gorgeous! They have parks and trails set up off the Trace, and I took advantage of one last weekend. I went trail running, and it was SO fun. Mostly on the Trace, you see cyclists and Harley riders.
Other interesting facts about where we live:
Our address is Franklin, but you have to go through Leiper's Fork to get to Franklin.
We don't have trash service. We have to take our garbage to the landfill ourselves. You're limited to 9 cubic yards of trash per day. We're still trying to figure out if it's possible to do...
We have well water. This means no water bill! And it's actually really good, surprisingly!

After our initial car troubles, the Duzan Van seems to have settled down. Thank God, we didn't have the money to invest in it if it didn't!!!

I'm taking the GRE around June 1st. Which means I'm studying a lot right now, but the kids don't mind since we can play on the back deck and in the yard while I go over vocab words.

We miss our family and friends in the Rock, but anytime you guys want to visit, we've got a couch with your name on it!

Love ya - Kate