Clark is in part of an early intervention program due to his prematurity and speech and developmental delays that were addressed around the time he was sixteen months old. This program offers services for him that include weekly speech therapy and another weekly session with an early interventionist. She works on specific developmental milestones to get him caught up to other children his age. During the last few months, we have seen a remarkable change in his communication skills and his vocabulary is simply amazing these days (although I still wonder if he hates his name since he rarely responds when called - or is that a selective issue???). He is memorizing songs and parts of stories. He will be reevaluated around his third birthday to determine if he qualifies to continue any sort of speech therapy and/or be enrolled in a preschool program that will work on skills that will help him before beginning kindergarten. I mention this whole thing only to explain how they were able to have such a fun day.....
Friends of Tennessee Babies with Special Needs is an amazing organization that offered a "respite day" for the families of children in the Early Intervention program. They provided childcare for six hours for all three of the kids (and many others, of course) at a wonderful preschool/church facility. They fed the kids lunch and a snack and they provided lots of fun activities and crafts as well as a chance to play with other children their own age. There were many volunteers, including a number of UT students, who gave their Saturday to spend the day with the kids involved in Early Intervention.
It was a rough start when we dropped them off, but the caregivers (who are preschool teachers with Head Start) assured us that we needed to go ahead and leave and give the kids a chance to settle into their unfamiliar surroundings. I checked in with the administrator an hour later and they were doing great and already meeting new friends. When we arrived to pick them up this afternoon, we watched from the window as the three were fascinated by the classroom fish tank. They had SO much fun and had lots of papers and crafts to share with Mommy and Daddy. We were relieved that it went so well. I believe my text to my sister said something to the effect of "my heart is happy".
I mentioned the organization specifically in case anyone is interested in the services they provide (and please feel free to contact me if you have any questions). I also would encourage anyone to donate their time or resources to the FOT organization because they really do help so many families in our area. Many of these families have children with much greater challenges than the speech delays we have experienced with Clark and I can only imagine how much a respite day would mean to those families as well. We are thankful for the programs because they have done so much for him in a short amount of time.
Additionally, it gave Troy and I a chance to have lunch with his family to celebrate UNCLE STEVIE'S BIRTHDAY! Happy Birthday Uncle Stevie! We will have a dessert celebration with the kiddos tomorrow evening so that they can sing and give him his gifts.
Here are some pictures from our time in the backyard this afternoon. The kids always have fun making a huge mess in the pile of grass clippings and mulched leaves. I really hate that pile because it seems so darn dirty and itchy. They climb all over it and throw the grass clippings in the air. I know that they are having fun so I try not to spoil it. I should also mention that each and every time Clark and Emma threw grass clippings in the air, it was accompanied by a high-pitched squeal of delight, so I guess it was a good thing to let them have some fun.
Kendall was also having a good time throwing Teddy's squeaky toy. And Clark was driving the dump truck into a pile of leaves and then backed it out by sitting in it. It was pretty funny how he seemed to have a purpose the whole time he steered it into the corner.
|Is she trying to catch me????|
|Beep. Beep. Beep. (You know... the sound that trucks make when they are backing up.)|
All in all, it was a great Saturday. I'm ready to get them in a preschool program now because I was so impressed with all that they did in one short day. Guess it's time to start "shopping" for next fall. Once again, I am always open to suggestions or comments, so please feel free to post.
Thanks and Happy Saturday!