Monday, August 20, 2012

Because you asked.....

A friend and fellow adoptive daddy asked me a great question that I wish to share about on my blog instead of just replying in a comment.
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Great update!

May I ask you a question regarding him and Gracie? What do you do in homeschool for them, especaially Andrew, as that must be a lot more challenging? How do you devise a curriculum, or what method do you use for education?

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I am glad you asked this question and I will share that our choice for both of them to be homeschooled and how we do it depended on many issues. For Andrew we had to first get him healthy. He was only 17 lbs when he came home at 5 yrs and 2 months. He was bottle fed only, He was also on 2 meds. that the orphanage gave him to sedate him- one of which we had to wean him off over a 3 month period. We had lots of evaluations and he did well. After being home for 6 months he began to vomit many times a day. So again we had to figure it all out and then treat his medical condition...which took over a yr and we still are dealing with it...but he no longer since May has been vomiting thankfully. One of his evalutations was with a child psychiatrist and after 10 months we have for now the correct meds. and dose to help calm him and at nite to help him stay asleep. So we now have him healthy and most of the time peaceful and happy.

Our home school for him has really been no curriculum or method that is formal. We just evaluate what he needs and come up with a plan amongst ourselves. Like at first we needed to get calories in him and nutrition that would help. So we decided what to feed him based on the food groups and a multi. vitamin plus a high calorie drink mixed in the food we made 3 x a day and fed to him thru bottles. He needed to move his body and discover his enviromnent. So I bought at a consignment sale many baby toys, and big baby toys like- swings, exersaucer, walkers, bumbo seat ect...to encourage him to move his body like he would have if he had been allowed to as a baby....He advanced thru them quickly and we got him upright and even walking in months. He had been in a fetal position at his time of referral and so this was a huge step for him. Then we moved to other life skills like eating his meals from a bowl with a spoon, drinking from a cup instead of getting all your liquids from your food...to now we work with him " playing" with a toy- rolling on a ball, jumping on the trampoline( I have one inside as well for him). We also work on appropriate behavior but we have had not much success :) So his school has been just basic life skills- not much to figure out and be able to do with him. I have always taken a very active roll in all of our kids therapies. I do speech and physical therapy ( after being taught ) when we need them. I would love some day to be able to share that I am now using a curiculum because that would mean he has gotten that far but I am not sure he ever will be to start any academic program with him. We have looked in to what the public school system has here for a child like him but honestly it is not much. He was tested, and evaluated for a class last yr. but after Paul and I went to meet the teacher, principal and see the room we decided against placing him in that program. I wrote about it here http://blessedbyachild.blogspot.com/2011/11/they-are-staying-home-and-we-couldnt-be.html 

Gracie was fairly healthy when she came home. She is non verbal and we have had her evaluated and their is nothing wrong medically with her that is causing her not to talk. We also had her evaluated for a placement in school last year but chose not to then. So we did baby sign with her as well as a sign language class that several of the older girls went to with her, and she was taught from pre-school materials not any one in particular. She did very well and she was also evaluated by our child pschiatrist and she is on meds. for ADHD and it is helping her to concentrate and do tasks and skills so much better. We have contacted our special ed. dept. in our county and are trying to decide if we will try a placement in the public school for her. We have not decided and we are meeting this week with a new school.

For all of our kids and often for our family we have chosen the unconvential ways to school, to accomplish therapy in another way that works better for us and for the child to be home in a safe and loving environment and to live our lives in a different way than most do. It has worked amazingly well for us and all the kids are thriving, learning and healthy.

6 comments:

Mike and Christie said...

Jeane, you are awesome! :)
I used to work in the "special ed" department of a public school when our boys were little. THAT experience gave me the desire to home school my boys. I do not trust for a MINUTE my special kids, ESPECIALLY if they are non verbal. After the incidents that went viral about kids being abused in school, and my own personal experience being a teacher's aide, I am SO GLAD your children are at home.
I'm glad MY children are at home!

It is amazing what you have been able to accomplish with Andrew AND Gracie. She wrote and signed her name on the card she sent to Erika and it blessed us so very much. :)

The LOVE you have for your children, is from Heaven. You are the hands and heart of our Lord to them. :)

Hevel Cohen said...

Thank you so much!

The progress for both of them has been remarkable.

Hevel Cohen said...

I have been thinking a bit more about what you wrote about Gracie, and I'm wondering if the public school would want to give her any academic teaching, or just life skills. By what you have shared about her, I firmly believe that she is more capable of learning than probably given credit for by earlier evaluations. (That is... self contained class...)

mommajeane said...

Hevel- actually we had our first mgt. this time around and we loved her school, room and teachers...So we have decided to give it a try. She seems excited to go for now. They work in both areas you mentioned. I agree she is definitely very capable to learn . We have seen her transform in 2 short yrs...Even the special ed. coordinator agrees about the evaluations. It is just a starting point. We happen to like the school authorities and they us :) Which is rare. Actually this coordinator was sharing about our family,home and home school with the principal and school psychologist- She said that last when we called the other psychologist and her had their doubts about this family with then 27 kids but when they came to our home for the evaluations ( on several occassions) she said it was the most orderly,peaceful,home.All the kids were doing their school. They went away amazed and then she said, it was better than many of our classrooms in school. They totally respected our decision last yr not to send Gracie or Andrew and were in agreement that we were providing a healthy learning environment for them. It helps to have "them" on your side. We praise God for that blessing. I am ocd about organization and the Lord knew I needed this many children to use my ocd "gift" :)

CrazyforCosmetics said...

Hi there, I just stumbled across your blog and i'd like to let you know what a wonderful woman you are! You are truly an angel, and it's nice to see that there are people like you in this world :) The reason I chose this post to reply to is because I have a Special Needs Niece, she is unable to walk, use her hands or talk, and she's going to school. I always thought to myself that there wouldn't be much in the way of academics that we could teach her. Boy was I wrong, this kid never ceases to amaze me! She's working on nouns currently. Most of what we do with her is using flash cards with pictures, words, letters, colors and such. We will ask her which is which (after teaching her ofcourse) and she will tell us using her eyes. She will look at the correct card and smile like nobody's business. You've accomplished so much with Andrew & Gracie from what I can see on your blog, I saw that Gracie is going to school :) Maybe one day he can do some academics as well during his homeschooling. Wishing you and your beautiful family all the best!

CrazyforCosmetics said...

Hi there, I just stumbled across your blog and i'd like to let you know what a wonderful woman you are! You are truly an angel, and it's nice to see that there are people like you in this world :) The reason I chose this post to reply to is because I have a Special Needs Niece, she is unable to walk, use her hands or talk, and she's going to school. I always thought to myself that there wouldn't be much in the way of academics that we could teach her. Boy was I wrong, this kid never ceases to amaze me! She's working on nouns currently. Most of what we do with her is using flash cards with pictures, words, letters, colors and such. We will ask her which is which (after teaching her ofcourse) and she will tell us using her eyes. She will look at the correct card and smile like nobody's business. You've accomplished so much with Andrew & Gracie from what I can see on your blog, I saw that Gracie is going to school :) Maybe one day he can do some academics as well during his homeschooling. Wishing you and your beautiful family all the best!