My heart nearly leapt out of my chest as the read the email. I was bursting with pride. All of our hard work; yes our – Caroline’s, mine, her father’s, her sister’s and that of countless teachers and therapists – is paying off.
I am proud of Caroline every single day. She is full of life, love and happiness. Caroline is not deterred by the fact that she is pre-verbal, has major coordination deficits as well as sensory integration issues. She works and plays hard and enjoys all that life has to offer her. Caroline is unabashedly Caroline and that is just one of the million things that I love about her.
Our family and Caroline’s therapists share her successes because it is a team effort. We all work to not only meet Caroline where she is but to help her get where she wants to go in the most meaningful way possible. Sometimes that means trick or treating in January as a reward for using excellent communication skills other times that means throwing Caroline into a crash pit until my arms feel like they are going to fall off because she needs the sensory input. And from Caroline’s older sister, Vivian, it means spending countless hours at the aquarium even though she doesn’t care for it because her sister does or when Caroline decides to engage with Vivian, Vivian knows it will only be on Caroline’s terms.
But this week we are celebrating big because of this email from Caroline’s school-based speech therapist:
I wanted to tell you about an amazing thing I was able to be a part of today with Caroline!
We were in my office for our 1:1 speech session, when Caroline navigated into her “People” folder and began pointing to an empty box and vocalizing. I have never seen Caroline try so hard to use verbal speech! She was trying so hard to tell me something but couldn’t get it out, but she wanted me to add a button to her talker! After several minutes of guess (unsuccessfully) what the button was, Caroline touched the wiggles button, then touched the girl button, and then the color yellow. At this point that still didn’t mean anything to me.. but THEN she said “Lauren type.” So.. we went on the computer and I typed in wiggles yellow girl. And there it was! Caroline was so happy!! She wanted me to add “Emma” from the Wiggles. Once I added it, Caroline was beyond excited. I also added a button on the homepage that reads “Add a button.” This way, if Caroline would like new vocabulary added, she can tell us.
It was so amazing to watch Caroline find a way to communicate even though it was a bit of a struggle. And even better to see her trying to communicate verbally and using her talker. We are so proud of her and the progress that she is making. I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for her.
Have a great evening!
When I read this email I was so overwhelmed with joy and hope. There are so many skills that were demonstrated in this one small exchange. Skills that demonstrate higher level thinking, problem solving, communication and social acuity.
My last post was about how sometimes setbacks remind us how far we come. This post is about the power of having high expectations, never losing hope and knowing that all the hard work is worth it. Or put another way, this post is that about how a major breakthrough can be so invigorating it overshadows the setbacks.
Let’s give Caroline some digital love, like or comment on this post.