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Monday, July 30, 2012
Blogging is therapy for me sometimes.  After blogging about my youngest yesterday it set me on a quest to find out how I can best help her.  After reading articles and looking up LD diagnosis. I believe I have her pinpointed to APD.  APD is auditory processing disorder.  I watched this youtube video and believe she has the Listening issue.  She doesn't always process what she hears correctly.
Sounds so bogus, right?  Nope...totally sounds like her.  And spending every waking moment with my kids I am 90% convinced this is what it is.  The video below is 50 minutes but very helpful.

This morning Olivia said to me, "Why can't we get a 3D TV"  (She asks me this all the time and loves going to 3D movies and loved looking at the TVs at Best Buy and putting on the glasses).  I said we just don't have the money for that right now and she responded.  "You don't need money, its Free...that's why they call it Free-D"
So all this times we have talked about 3-D and all along she thought it was Free-D.  Makes me feel bad!
It makes my heart ache for her....why can't life be easy for my kids?

So I called and made an appointment to have her tested...worst case scenario is, I was wrong....which wouldn't be the first time.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Couldn't the education system be simple for at least 1 of my kids?

Has anyone just thought that 1 of their children would benefit from being homeschooled but were too scared to change the status quo?  I am in that situation right now.  I feel my youngest (who does not have Down Syndrome) would benefit from the 1 on 1 attention in her education.  Don't get me wrong, I love our school and we have some of the most amazing teachers.  My daughter has even had those amazing teachers...but it is her.  I think she really struggles in a big classroom.  I can remember having the same troubles she is facing right now.  More interested in what her classmates are up to, struggling to focus on the words coming out of her teachers mouth. She can't help but think who she is going to sit next to at lunch or what happened on the school bus.
Public school has hardened her too.  She used to be my little angel, so sweet and innocent.  Now just finishing 1st grade she is knee deep in 6-7 year old drama it disgusts me.  My sweet faced girl is gone.

When Olivia was 2, she knew the entire alphabet, she could write her first and last name, by age 3 she had her addition facts from 1 - 10 down, by age 4 she had over 250 sight words memorized.  I sent her off to Kindergarten primed for success.  Yet I didn't see her flourish, she teetered and bobed above the water, slowly moved to float and now I see her sinking.
My true fear is, me, I might be in charge of her education??? and I didn't do that well myself??  I just don't want her to struggle like I did....I want to help fix the problem that started with me.
I read this article and it really did make me see I am not alone in my worries. Article on Homeschooling

Maybe I could do it?  Should I?

I just want her to be able to focus on material, hear it, understand it, question it, write about it and I am not seeing that in her current setting.  7 and struggling...
Monday, July 23, 2012
Our district graciously bought Megan an ipad and is letting us take it home for the summer.
If you have any really good learning app suggestions please let me know.

I saw this video on Facebook so had to come edit this post to share.  Technology is so important.  You Tube Video
Friday, July 20, 2012
It is SO HARD to see Megan sad.  I reprimanded her for drawing in a library book and her pouty lip came out and she got tears in her eyes.  Olivia even came over to hug her and I had to tell her not to hug her....then Olivia told me I was mean and ran off.  I promise I was not being mean. I just wanted her to know that she cannot EVER deface a library book.  Then I ended up holding back tears as Megan said, "I sorry I bad mommy, I don't do it again."  Dang it!  Love her to pieces.
Thursday, July 19, 2012
So sad to be missing the conference.  Not for all the information they provide  but because it was a place to go every summer with or without my family where I could meet up with friends from all over the country from the DS world.  So sad it is not working out for me this year.  I enjoyed Atlanta, Boston and Kansas City.  KC brought the outside fountains that the kids would run through in their suits (our group got matching outfits for the kids and did pictures). In Boston we rode around with the GPS to find the Cheers restaurant for 2 hours my 1st convention with just the girls! What a fun car ride!  Atlanta was full of site seeing with the family and dinners out. It was the first time I met my DS friends and many life long relationships formed there.  These conventions are unforgettable.    If you are going, enjoy every moment of it! 
It's a bus.  We all know we need to stop when a bus is picking up or dropping off a child. 
It is worth the extra 30 seconds of waiting because here is what will happen if caught in PA:
  • 60-Day Driver’s License Suspension
  • Five (5) points on your driving record
  •  $250 Fine
Need more information on bus law's? Click here.

Save a life.  Slow down.  STOP for crying out loud!  She deserves to be safe!
Waiting for her bus

Sunday, July 15, 2012
When Megan was 3 we signed her up for her 1st dance class. Boy was she a trouble maker.
Dance Class - Year 1 - see video from year 1

I had gone around to a few studios to try to find the right fit for Megan.
1st studio we went to everything from the walls to the floor was brand new. The owner said, those mirrors are really expensive, she cannot touch them.  My response, "Well what about licking...I think she might lick them"...She had a look of horror on her face so the 1st studio was out!
2nd Studio told us they did not have a "special needs class"....well I was looking to put her in just a regular class but there were a hundred other dance studios, if that's what they are assuming I will check them off my list. 
3rd place, the little old lady took time with Megan and didn't assume anything.  Told us the information we needed, so we signed up.  Megan learns by example and the teacher although sweet was too bruised and beat up to teach from standing so she would sit in a chair and teach.  Well what do you think Megan did during class?  She did all her dancing from the floor.  We spent the 1st year of dance at the studio but they went under and couldn't even give me the DVD I ordered or t-shirts.

So I cut my losses and moved on to The Dance Academy.  It would be Olivia's 1st year to dance and I wanted to find a place to call home....no more looking!  My aunt Jill had taken her daughters to this studio so I knew it had to be a wonderful place.  After our 4th year at the Dance Academy I can say for certain we found a place where I know Megan will graduate from.  I can envision her on that stage her senior year, not a dry eye in the auditorium as she does her senior solo.

Every one of the people, staff and teacher's at TDA LOVE Meg.  I think of her as the mayor! She leads impromptu team building classes in the foyer.

She walks in and immediately seeks out to find her BJ.  BJ has been Megan's jazz teacher for 2 years.  She admires him.
BJ Byrne

I think she wants to grow up and be his assistant.  She always wants to help him or find out what he is working on.  BJ is the perfect teacher for Megan.  He understands that she will be a step or two behind but she always knows his dance.  He makes sure of that.  He has high expectations of her and that is important to me.

Meg and BJ after recital

And then there is Donnajean, she is the owner of The Dance Academy.  She has taught Megan tap for 3 out of the 4 years.  She is an amazing human being.  Kind with words.  A sweet disposition.  Exactly the person I was looking for when I went on my dance teacher hunt 5 years ago.
Megan truly has blossomed as a dancer in their care.   Our experience there is one I wish for all my friends out in the Down Syndrome community to find.  Don't give up! Keep looking because you will find that dance studio that see's your child as a potential dancer and not a diagnosis.  When you find that, hold on tight and treat it well!
DonnaJean with Megan and Olivia

Tonight our studio can start receiving votes for Philly's Hot List as the best dance studio in the Philadelphia area.  Please Vote for them! Help them win what they so much deserve! You can do the voting through Facebook.  Here is the link. Voting starts at midnight tonight!
Thank you in advance for voting!

Saturday, July 14, 2012
Megan is growing up so fast.  Megan will be 9 in 4 short months.  She starts 3rd Grade in September. She will start her 6th year at dance.  She still loves Jazz and Tap.  She is reading on a 1st grade level, close to 2nd grade level.  Her favorite books are anything with SpongeBob.  She loves Homework and doing it independently, what can I say...she's strange :)
She is swimming all on her own but has gone from a fearless swimmer to a cautious one which makes me feel better. Her health is great.  No major health issues.  She did get hearing aids this past school year and they have helped in amazing ways.  She played softball for the first time this year and loved it.  She did an amazing job. She makes me proud everyday.  She is an amazing friend to others.  She lights up every room she is in.

Megan with her sister and friend Sophia

Megan and her sister Olivia before dance recital

Megan with her sister and brother in Cape May, NJ

The Down Syndrome world has changed a lot since I last logged on here. My entire back ground (that I paid for) had disappeared along with the friend who created it.  Oh well, I have learned a thing or two of my own over the years I have been gone so it served my purpose setting this blog back up.

Facebook... I am on all the time but I do not know my DS friends on there...it does not compare to my days on Downsyn.  Love ya TOM!!! Facebook is overwhelming and I feel bad saying I should probably delete anyone I do not know.  I have over 100 friends waiting to be added with 160+ mutual friends from the DS world (overwhelmed)....I have huge guilt leaving them there too.  I do remember a handful of my facebook friends from Downsyn and they mean THE WORLD TO ME! Although I do not talk to you everyday like I used to you all have a HUGE part of my heart and have taught me so much! I would do anything for you guys!

Ever since Megan went to school full time I took a step back from the internet....never thought I would.  I had seen others when Megan was younger do the same and was always astonished how they could be so involved online one minute and absent the next...but now I understand.  Life gets in the way, interests change, people change, needs change...and so I do not log on to Downsyn like I used to.  I was always impressed by the stars next to my name for the years I had been a member/the # of posts that I had/being in the Top 10 posters next to Amy, Vonda, Renee and Jo. But that has changed....I am grateful for my time there but it is like passing a torch...you cannot carry it forever, you need to pass it on to others.

I do not plan on making any promises about keeping my blog up to date but I will try to come back from time to time to talk about what is going on in Megan's life.  I do see I still get traffic on here and I feel compelled to at least post pics and accomplishments.

If anyone is interested you can follow me on twitter or Instagram.  I will add a button for those in the sidebar soon :)