Saturday, September 19, 2009

Fall in full swing

Fall has definitely shifted into full gear. Karter had two full days of preschool this week and also had his first riding session of the fall.

Tuesday was his full (2 1/2 hour) session of preschool. Kurtis took him (since the preschool is at the church and Kurt works there) and then also brought him home afterwards. Karter did really well. He played outside on the swing and on the teeter-totter. He loves the swing but was not so fond of the teeter-totter.

Inside, he played foam blocks. Trista would build towers and he would knock them down. He also had his hands painted and hand prints made. He didn't mind the hands being painted, but he did not really like it when they were washed.

In circle time, the teachers invited the children to play on Karter's tray and introduced it to them. The children we also told that when Trista said it was ok, they were allowed to push Karter's chair.

Karter fell asleep while sitting with Trista, during the final 10 minutes of class. When Kurt picked him up, he told Karter to say good-bye and Karter looked at Mrs. Brenda, smiles and lifted his left hand to wave. Kurt said it was pretty neat!

I was at home working. I have to admit that it was tough for me to keep my mind on things. I called two times to make sure he was ok. Lucky for me, they were too busy to pick up the phone from this worried momma. I never felt this way with Paige. I guess the fact is, I know that Karter relys on me for much more than Paige did at the age of three. Karter has been like my second skin for three years. It is hard to not worry about him when someone else is caring for him. I have all the trust in Trista, she has done such an amazing job with Karter and it is evident that she cares for him. I just struggle with the emotions of not being there with him. I am the one who is having separation anxiety!

Thursday mornings start off with riding at 9am. This week was his first session since June. They mounted him to the horse without the pillow support. He rode sitting so straight for 15 minutes. The walkers told me he was holding himself for most of the ride. After 15 minutes he got tired and they put the support on. He rode for 10 more minutes. We quite 5 minutes early so that it was a positive experience for him.

After riding, it was straight to preschool. That morning, he finger painted again. This time however, instead of painting his hand they just stuck it straight into the paint. In addition to painting, he also colored a picture. Trista helped him for most of it (hand over hand) however she did say he held the crayon on his own at some point. The pictures (so well chosen for him) is posted below.

By the end of the morning he was quite tired, but he managed to not fall asleep this time. There were a few friends that played tea with Karter, bringing him tea cups and trying to include him in their play. Jacob was also very concerned that Karter always have a toy on his tray and brought him one whenever his tray was empty. What an incredible thing preschool has been already. I am so glad that we did choose to put Karter in this year.

Each day at the end of the preschool day, Karter comes home with a sheet that tells me what he did that morning and how he did. We have started to put each of these in a binder. They are great tools to communicate and it is really neat for me to be able to look back over the school year and see his progress.

Trista has also said that if we keep a camera in Karter's school bag she will take pictures for us. So you can look forward to some pictures next week!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

First Day of Preschool

Karter had his first day of preschool that same morning as Paige's first day of Kindergarted. His class however did not start until 10:30. I have to say that I was far more nervous to take him to school than I was with Paige. I went a few minutes early so that I could give Trista (his one to one support) the run down about his new chair and a few other things. In the end, all the parents ended up staying for about 30 minutes, then we were all asked to go to the orientation meeting.

Before we left for the meeting, Karter and Trista were playing a bit and I was playing photographer. At one point a precious little boy came over to Karter and put all his little people and cars on Karter's tray and started to play with Karter. I was so touched. He did not notice Karter's inability to play with him but rather just saw a great tray to play on. They were having a beautiful social interaction. It was in that moment that I realized that we made the right decision to put Karter in preschool. I also realized that that tray was going to be so integral in Karter's socialization. It might sound weird to you, but I really felt in that moment that I needed to pray over that little tray. (ok writing it sounds a bit weird...). That tray will be Karter's opportunity to have other children take part in play with him. It is part of his personal space that he can share with others.

Although it was very evident that Karter's preschool experience will look very different than most of the other children in the class, I think that this opportunity for him will be a launching pad for so much creative learning for him. More than anything it is time for him to be taught by someone other than me. As hard as that is for me, I know that it is so good for him. I walked away feeling so blessed that we have the ability to give Karter the preschool experience. Although, I have to admit...the 30 minutes that I was sitting in the meeting I just wanted to know how he was doing. There is going to be some separation anxiety on my part more so than on Karter's part. But it will be good for both of us.

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Friday, September 4, 2009

It's Here!!!

The long anticipated wait for Karter's chair is now over. After a little better than a 2 hour fitting appointment, the chair is now Karter's.

Because this chair is so new to the market, Karter was the first child that they have put one. There was a fair bit of custom work done to it to make it work perfectly for Karter. A special tray was made for him so that he has the option to play and eat in his chair whenever he needs to. The seating system was made custom for him and mounted appropriately based on Karter's needs. There were a few other modifications made as well.

Karter's appointment was right at nap time. I thought it would be a total gong show, but honestly, he was so great! I feel like this is testament to how much of a difference the chair will make to his life. He just loved to look around, to be at Paige's level and up off the ground in supportive seating other than his highchair.

The chair has a few options that are really great for Karter. The chair tilts to a lying positio, so if he is tired or if he needs to recover from a seizure, we can lie it back for his comfort. Another option is the removable head rest for extra support when doing activities where his head might bob backwards or when he needs to rest. Also, in addition to his lap belt, there is a special vest that holds him in as well for those times when he needs extra support.

This has truly been an amazing day. Never in my life would I ever have thought that I would be excited to put my child in a wheelchair. But for Karter, this means a whole new world of socialization and mobility; for us as parents there is amazing joy in knowing that we are able to give him that new world.

It is also so amazing to have experienced such support from those around us. From the various phone calls today, drop by guests, special notes, gifts etc, we feel so loved and encouraged. I cannot even express how all your words and gestures have meant to us.

This will be such an exciting year for Karter. It's here...bring it on!!!

:::Making Adjustments:::

:::Karter trying it all out:::
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:::Congratulation Balloons from the Yackel's:::

:::Paige's first responce was "Oh, it is SO adorable!":::

:::Having fun together!:::