Sunday, August 24, 2014

Second Grade looks good to me!

Tomorrow is the big day!  First day of school!

I think he's a little excited.  He woke up telling us, "Don't say anything about what tomorrow is." :) But as the day has gone on, I think he's excited to see his friends again.  I just know it's going to be a great year!


Who said he could grow up?



They are so big!!

Let's hope they are this excited after the first week.  :)


Thanks Angie for the pics!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

first day jitters

Summer is coming to a close and Leeon and I have been working in our classrooms in preparations for school. The first day is in two short weeks. But Ben thinks he is just not ready. No one wants to give up the freedom that summer brings, but he seems to be really digging his heels in about school.

His reaction to the mere mention of school is met with either frustration and anger or tears.  His anxiety has heightened to the point that we even reintroduced his Prevacid prescription that he took towards the end of school for stomach issues.

We've had quite a few conversations about why he's so upset and he's mentioned that he is worried about a particular student bothering him. He has never talked about this student negatively before which is frustrating because there is little I can do now to help him.  The other thing he mentioned was the thought of kids making fun of his glasses. So we've talked through how to handle each situation.

We also talked about how God is our shield and will be with him every day at school.  He asked, "What if Jesus forgets to be my shield?".  I told him that is what makes Jesus so wonderful. He knows us by name. Numbers the hairs on our head. Collects our tears. Promises to never leave us.  He can't forget.

We are going to memorize Psalm 56:3. "When I am afraid, I will trust in you."

We are praying for God to give Ben peace and courage for second grade.

We are trying some positive incentives as well. He wants an iTunes gift card, so I told him that he needs to say something positive about school every day. So far, we have three things on the list. Can you guess what they are?  :)   Recess, lunch, and P.E.  Typical boy, right?

I hope and pray this this year is a great one for him. I can't believe he's headed to 2nd grade. Seems so grown up already.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Lemonade Stand - Saturday, July 26th

We have changed the date of the lemonade stand from Friday to Saturday, July 26th.

According to Livys Hope, there are only 6 states left to host a lemonade stand. Do you know anyone living in Delaware, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, or Tennessee?  Maybe they would consider helping out and turning the country purple for epilepsy awareness.

Go to www.livyshope.com to find out more!


Sunday, July 6, 2014

912

That's how many days it has been since his last seizure.
 
912 days!!!!

Two and a half years.

Things were at their worst then and even though we rejoiced about a "no helmet day", in my heart, I was so worried that things would only spiral downhill again.

But they didn't!

That's the part that still always amazes me. God can see further down the road than we can, but trusting Him is not always the easiest for me.  I'm thankful for His grace.

I'm also reminded that the fight is not over yet for too many kids.

That's why I'm so excited to announce our participation this year with Livy's Hope!  We are going to host a lemonade stand to help support the Epilepsy Foundation's fight against epilepsy. More details to come soon, but mark your calendars for the morning of Friday, July 25th!  We will be making the best lemonade in town for sure!

Take a minute to click on the link above and learn more about sweet Livy and her fight against epilepsy.  Her twin sister, Hailey, wants to see epilepsy cured.  Her goal is to turn the country purple by having a lemonade stand in each state. We are excited to help represent Texas!





Monday, June 30, 2014

how being a parent is helping me become a better teacher...

Working with children has been my passion for my entire life.  I love teaching!  As I’ve been reflecting on this past school year, I’ve realized that parenting Ben has given me a fresh perspective on the classroom experience.   We have been beyond pleased with Ben’s teachers and his school.  In fact, these things have been modeled all year by his teachers.  This list is NOT a reflection on his classroom experience.  It’s a reflection on my own classroom through the eyes of a parent. 
 
So here goes…in no particular order…here are 9 things that have become increasingly important to me as a teacher:

1.       The need for movement is non-negotiable.  I’m excited about GoNoodle and organizing a youtube playlist  that will help me with brain breaks for the kids. 

2.       Homework is harder than I realized.  I’ve never really been a fan of homework - kids work hard all day and really need time at home to just be kids.  But working with my own tired child at the end of the day has given me a new appreciation for how this routine really impacts the entire family dynamic. 

3.       ARD meetings (and parent conferences) are intimidating!  I am blessed to work alongside Ben’s teachers and therapists as both colleagues and friends.  I have participated in countless ARD meetings as a teacher.  But it is quite a different experience as a parent. 

4.       It’s not the parents’ fault.  It is easy to say, “If only those parents would…” but in reality there are many factors in a child’s progress.  Remaining positive about the entire family will benefit the child.

5.       Kids are, for the most part, giving you their best.  This goes along with the previous one.  When I’m positive, they will push themselves even further.  That momentum will cause me to find even more ways to meet their needs.

6.       Accommodations require creativity and consistency.  If I want my students to be their best, I need to be at my best for them.  Thinking outside the box to help kids experience success is important. 

7.       One on one attention must be a top priority.  I’m outnumbered!  Getting to know each individual child's strengths and weaknesses is the only way to ensure success. 

8.       Recess is the most important part of his day and what happens on the playground matters.  I’m amazed at how many times Ben talked about playground activities and its effect on his overall perception of himself and his day. 
9.   Kids need to be loved first.  Relationships are the most important part of the classroom experience.
 
I'm not really sure how this post fits in this blog, but it feels right to share.  This list certainly doesn't suggest that I've somehow become an expert in the classroom.  I have so much to learn.  It also isn't complete...I think I could write forever.
Ben's academic experience is as important as the medical stuff when it comes to figuring out all things Doose. 
What are some things you wish your child's teacher understood?

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Understanding is different than fixing.

First grade has taught Ben some important lessons. But we have learned a lot as well.

We went into first grade with some big fears. Will he catch up?  Will he grow to love learning?  Will he make friends?  Will being pulled out for speech, occupational therapy, and resource be too much for him?

In the end, it's been a tremendous year of growth for him.  He's made a years worth of progress and more in some areas!

But it hasn't been easy.

For a long time, we were focused on his deficits. We could only see how far he had to go and all the work we needed to do to "fix" him.  I felt like if we just did x,y, and z then he would catch up and everything would be normal. This caused a lot of stress in our home -I'm just being honest.  I had to take a step back in order to see the pressure that was mounting in him.

I am coming to the realization that he is on his own path. He is not broken. He doesn't need to be fixed. He needs to be understood. If I can understand how he thinks and how he learns best, then I will be able to support him.

We are visiting the neuropsychologist again soon. We are going to do a reevaluation now that he isn't on so many medications.  We are interested in understanding him better. Some of his behaviors and learning difficulties look like ADD. But they are also indicative of slowed processing, speech delays, and sensory issues.  We are hoping that we can decipher his needs better to see if medication may help him. We certainly don't want to medicate unless it is necessary.

I'm so proud of him. I love seeing him grow and I am willing to walk to journey with him - at his pace.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

update {finally}

It's been a while since I've updated...here's a look at some of what's been going on around here:
 
Ben turned 7!  I can hardly believe it and of course celebrating with real cake will always be special. 
 

 
We participated in the Epilepsy Walk at the Ft. Worth Zoo and had a wonderful time!  Can you see that sign Ben is holding? 
It says 819 days (and counting) without a seizure!!!!  It's wonderful that the count is no longer our focus.  He is seizure free.

 
We had a wonderful visit with our neurologist in May.  We are continuing to use felbatol only.  Ben has not had a dosage increase on this med ever.  He is on the same dosage as January 2012.  He is basically self-weaning this med once you account for growth.  So, we will hold steady.


And the best news is that it is finally summer! 


 
I have a lot to share.  Our focus has shifted from the medical side of this journey to the academic and developmental side of it all.  Ben is healthy and strong - his growth curve has returned to normal.  Ben is a joy to be around and tries so very hard.  I will be updating the blog more often again and I hope to share my heart.