Happy Adoption Day, Sammy Boy!
It's hard to believe that a year has gone already. At the same time, it's hard to remember "life before Sam". He bounced into our life, much like Tigger from Winnie the Pooh, without a care in the world, curious, smart and FAST. We could not believe how FAST. Everything was fair game for his curious hands and as soon as he learned the word "touch", he went around grinning, saying "touch, touch, touch" while touching EVERYTHING. We followed, saying and signing "No touch, No touch..." Needless to say, the first few months were exhausting. In case you missed it, here is a link to our first meeting. Turn your speakers down- it's LOUD!
Devoted readers no doubt noticed, I abruptly left my blog in limbo, along with everything social and work related. In order to be fully present to Sam, who, I quickly realized required my undivided attention, I dropped everything that wasn't directly related to the running of my home (i.e. laundry, dinner, school work, finances, sleep, hygiene, pets) and the needs of my parents. I had to. That was more than enough. Sam's need for attention and supervision was tremendous. He was into everything and had an insatiable desire to learn, touch and do everything.
I love that about him! He is so enthusiastic and follows me around the house, helping me with everything! He finds joy in all things work related. The dirtier the job, the happier he is! Windows- no problem! Big piles of dirty dishes? No problem! (a few things crash and break- but hey! What can you do?) Endless baskets of laundry? Yucky bathroom sink? Loves it!! Folds all the clothes, vacuums, sweeps, and on and on. I have never had such a tireless housekeeping partner! He is an amazingly hard worker and he knows what clean is. Give him a rag and some vinegar spray and a project and he gets the job done cheerfully.
Overall, things are going very well. Sam's learned so much English and his connecting words are filling in so he sounds much more fluent. He easily talks to everyone he meets and charms them with his curious, friendly way. He is especially caring to anyone who is not feeling well or hurt. He loves his grandmas and grandpa and always asks them "How are you? You OK?"
|Visiting Grandma Judy in Florida|
Academic learning has been a challenge for Sam because of his unbelievably short attention span. We have spent a lot of time teaching him to take deep breaths, calm himself and stay focused. In addition, he has lots of Spec Ed services and a 1-1 aide (in a gen ed 4th grade). His curriculum is adapted and he's working on counting 1-20 and learning the letters/sounds. He loves to cut, paste and color and his art work is developing more depth and variety. The whole year has focused so far on helping him learn to be a learner. He has finally begun to understand that the print carries the message. He loves school and is very independent about getting himself ready and caring for his things. Last month, he was able to begin to wait for the bus at the end of the driveway, all by himself. He was in the 4th grade chorus concert and was very proud of his part in it.
|First time wearing a tie. He loved the tie!|
|Mary Alice, Matt & Sam doing the New Year's Day crossword puzzle|
|Puzzling with Shanna|
We're using a program with Sam called Integrated Listening System. It delivers specially treated classical music and Gregorian chants through headphones to help the brain develop neural connections for emotional regulation. The headphones provide a vibration that gives input to the vagus nerve in the skull through the music that sends calming info into the brain/body. The music is "gated" and emphasizes different frequencies depending on the goals for each child (sensory motor vs attention and focus vs auditory processing). It's really interesting. The program is on an iPod/amplifier and he listens about 30-60 mins at a time, several days a week. He likes it and it's soothing to him. I've been listening too, and it's really helped me stay calm and focused while dealing with his needs. It's not a cheap program, but if used consistently, I think it makes a big difference. In fact, I attribute his learning to play appropriately with his toys to his participation in this program. Prior to listening, he only "worked".
|Learning to play|
All in all, a successful year.
|The Groat Family!|