Sunday, January 26, 2014

Our journey with Lamb 2 Part 5

Before Lamb 2 completed his vision evaluation, his behavior improved. He has much fewer tantrums/meltdowns/loss of patience now. Ram and I believe this is because he recognized that we saw there was a problem and were willing to get help for him. He also knows now that he is not crazy in that he can't read yet or do as well at piano as Lamb 1- that he has vision problems. He is a very hard worker at vision therapy, he is putting in the effort because he wants to succeed at reading and playing the piano.

The piano teacher backed way up, put him in a different series of books than Lamb 1, is going very slow, and is teaching him verbally more than expecting him to read the music. This is temporary until his vision improves. But he is so eager to take piano lessons that he would be crushed if we pulled him out until his vision improves. We are so thankful for the piano teacher's patience and recognizing that he needs to stay in piano lessons.

I had a discussion with a lady at church about what we were doing with Lamb 2. She really encouraged me to have sympathy for him being a middle child and give him extra attention. He had to be in such a difficult place when his older brother does so well at piano and his younger brother does so well academically. Plus we expect him to be a little brother to Lamb 1 and a big brother to Lamb 3. Ram is a middle child but as the oldest I never had the viewpoint of a middle child until I discussed this with this lady. Again everything she said reminded me that we are doing the right thing to homeschool Lamb 2 and get him help with vision therapy.

Lamb 2 got a head start on vision therapy because he has been doing OT for the last few months. The optometrist coordinated with the OT the exercises he wanted Lamb 2 to do, especially the primitive reflexes exercises.

All this has worked together into our new daily routine. Lamb 2 has vision therapy twice a week, speech therapy once a week, and occupational therapy once a week. We have exercises to do daily for occupational therapy that are designed for vision therapy. On days that Lamb 2 has therapy or church he eats a big breakfast with lots of protein. We put coconut oil on Lamb 2's back every night after he does exercises. Our family eats limited dairy and gluten. I help Lamb 2 practice piano daily instead of expecting him to practice on his own. Lamb 2 does more phonics at speech therapy and his teacher has changed her approach to his therapy. The speech therapist coordinated what the child psychologist wanted Lamb 2 to work on. OT coordinated what the speech therapist and developmental optometrist wanted him to do. I have modified his school work (see this post to see specifics).

We expect that vision therapy will take care of the majority of Lamb 2's problems. If his vision improves he should learn to read and playing piano will be easier. Then his self esteem will improve. School work should be easier for him. He will be able to read what he wants instead of what Ram and Ewe and Lamb 1 are willing to read aloud to him. Playing ball with the neighborhood kids will be easier. I expect that after vision therapy improvements will snowball for him one after another and perhaps improvements that we can't even imagine yet. We don't know if vision therapy will solve all his problems. We will deal with that when he completes vision therapy if we need to.

I will admit that I was overwhelmed a few times last fall. I felt that with my elementary education degree and classroom teaching experience I should be able to handle more of Lamb 2's difficulties without help. I often questioned if we were doing the right thing with Lamb 2, especially if homeschooling was right for him. I was very afraid of what could be wrong when we first started the evaluations. Time and again God put the right people in my path (even the professionals!) to show me and remind me that we are helping him. I needed to be reminded that the best for Lamb 2 is to have attention and love through all this. If he was in school he would be lost in the system, perhaps made fun of by the other students, and no teacher would give him love and attention like his parents. God was so gracious to reassure me at the times that I needed it. Then I was ready to explain the piano lesson or school lesson to Lamb 2 one more time in a different way or fill out the financial aid forms to get help paying for his therapy. It all turned out better than I could have ever expected-he gets individualized therapy from wonderful therapists.

There is so much more to this story that took place over several months that I tried to sum up in a few posts. It was not an easy or fast process. We are so thankful that God led us through each step in helping Lamb 2. We are so thankful to be in a big city in Idaho that has the resources to help Lamb 2. We know that God will remain with us through this year as we continue to work with Lamb 2.

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