Wednesday, March 26, 2008

She's Eligible

Well, what we didn't realize, going into the eligibility meeting for Arlington County special ed preschool yesterday, was that we don't actually find out whether she'll be recommended for the full-day (well, 5-hour) program until the IEP meeting. Yesterday's meeting was just to determine that she qualifies for services through Arlington County schools. Well, duh. I mean, the kid has Down syndrome. I think that alone should qualify her. They did choose a label for her. The two "labels" on the table were CD (cognitive delays, formerly known as MR) and DD (developmental delays). We were hoping for the DD, but were worried it wouldn't allow for her to be eligible for the full program. Well, they did choose DD (which means that she has significant delays in more than one area of her development), but at the end of the meeting everyone (including the special education person from Arlington County schools who headed the meeting) pretty much said they'd recommend the full program! It just won't be official until the IEP meeting on April 22nd. Incidentally, DD has to be removed by the time she's 9. Whether this means that she gets moved to another label, or if her services are removed, remains to be seen. She'll be re-evaluated every 3 years until then. I'd love her to not need services, but I imagine she'll need at least speech therapy through her life.

Samantha was sooooooo good, just sitting on the floor and playing while the meeting went on for an hour. It was a conference room full of people--The teacher, the occupational therapist, speech therapist, Arlington County Schools person, PIE services coordinator, social worker and psychologist. The only person not there was the physical therapist. Phil, the teacher, sat near Samantha and played with her during the meeting--she's quite taken with him, which is great!

On another note, Steve started his job with Arlington County Special Olympics the other night. He said there were 26 athletes that needed coaching for a track relay event. They ranged from mild to severe cognitive disabilities, but mostly moderate to severe. Apparently only some of them will qualify for the State trials in Richmond in June, and Steve has been chosen as one of the people to accompany them there. After that, they may have another job for him, but at this point it's just temporary. He really enjoyed it, and worked closely with some of the more severely disabled athletes. I love that he's doing this!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Local Celebrity

Samantha's photo is in the April issue of Parents Magazine! It's under the letters to the editor, in a section called "Caught on Camera". It's from a year ago, and is the same photo that's shown in the NDSS Times Square Buddy Walk video for 2007! Even though I've known it was coming up in April, it was such a thrill to open up this issue and see her there! I think we'll be buying several more copies of this.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Blog Links

Hi, Everyone (well, all three of you that read this!)!

I've added the blogs of some friends into the links section to the right--if one of you would rather that I didn't include your link there, please let me know, and I'll remove it!

Other than that notice, I just thought I'd mention that a)Sammi is loving her new walking skills and is practicing a lot! and b)Steve got a job with Arlington County to work with Special Olympic athletes a few days a month! This is very exciting, because it should open up some doors for him going forward. He'd been a coach for years and really wants to get back into that in some way, and Special Olympics is something we hope to see in Samantha's future as well.

No pics tonight. It's past my bedtime. :-)

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

New Strides!

Well, I don't have a photo to commemorate the event yet, but Samantha is now taking 6-8 independent steps, mostly between the couch and one of us. She'll take nice, measured steps to start with, then, as she gets closer to her target, she'll pitch herself into my arms, laughing. It's so wonderful! She'll mainly do it when prompted, but a couple of times she caught me off guard and I had to quickly drop what I was doing to catch her. She's been working on standing up without holding onto anything, too. She can do it sometimes, but not consistently yet.

On another note, Samantha's cardiologist has given her a clean bill of health, and doesn't have to see her again for another two years!! Steve said she was soooo good during her echocardiogram yesterday, and just lay back watching Tellytubbies while the doctor did the exam. That's my girl!

So, while I don't have walking photos yet, I'm going to add in this lovely pink photo of her at the playground last weekend. She absolutely loves the swings. Steve took her to the playground on Monday, and when he told her it was time to go, she got very upset, shaking her head "no" and reaching towards the swingset. Oh, she'll let us know what she does and doesn't want, that's for sure!