It’s the Small Things to be Grateful for


dyslexia-awareness-monthLast school year was a complete disaster. My husband and I  fought most of the year to get our eldest an IEP to help her get the assistance she desperately needed. It was arduous work, fighting to get her professionally evaluated, emailing teachers and errant social workers, researching methods and acquiring help from the Michigan Alliance for Families and an advocate.

After fighting so vigorously to get her into the Extended School Year program, my husband had enough. We had investigated a private school that focuses on students with learning disabilities, but it is expensive and I felt that since we worked so hard to get the IEP we should try to stay with the public school system. Besides, the program had a three-part admission process and we were not sure she would get in.

But the Lord was on our side and they approved her. Today, she attends school in a class of only seven students that has a teacher and a certified teacher’s assistant. In addition, she gets one-on-one assistance at least once a week, doesn’t have a ton of homework every day, AND has recess TWICE a day (once in the morning to adjust to school and the other around lunch time). If my daughter were writing this post, she would also want you to know that she happily uses the microwave to heat her lunch (she hates cold food).

Needless to say she loves this school! And yet…I was still nervous. What if this new school doesn’t help her at all?

This morning, my daughter walks up to me while I am finishing packing up her lunch. Holding up her iPad (also required for this school) so that I can see the date, she sweetly says, “Mommy, today is Friday, October 7.”

It might not seem like much, but I literally almost bawled in front of her.

Maybe I can power down the helicopter Mommy and stop harassing her teacher so much…we are finally on the right track.

Uh, Can I Speak to Your Manager?


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I have never been the passive aggressive type. It’s probably why I can count the number of real friends on one hand. I can’t help it. It’s the truth or nothing with me and I think my daughter’s school district is learning that lesson the hard way.

It’s the end of the school year and I thought it would be the perfect time to again broach the subject of  Extended School Year (ESY). ESY in our school district is activated during the summer and is designed to help students retain academic/social/communication skills learned during the school year through one-on-one assistance. (At least this is the way they are doing it in our district.)

After repeatedly asking about ESY, I was told that the kid didn’t qualify because they had given their six spots to Autistic children and she wouldn’t fit in that group. Additionally, they didn’t recommend regular summer school because she wasn’t petforming at grade level. I asked, “So where does she go?”

The answer from the IEP Team was disappointing. They responded with a deafening silence. Then came a response from the school psychologist, “the best solution is to give her ADHD medication.” By providing our daughter with medication for a diagnosis that hasn’t yet occurred, she assured us this would help the kid not regress over the summer and help her focus.

Needless to say, I was inflamed. I couldn’t believe that the very institution that was supposed to help my daughter, was failing her. I was stunned that the school felt that this was the end, that they had done all they could for the school year and expected us to just take it. Because everything had been said verbally, I sent an email to the IEP Team basically seeking confirmation. Of course they didn’t respond.

Thankfully we have Michigan Alliance for Families on speed dial. Thanks to them, my husband and I retained an advocate to help and she encouraged us to schedule a meeting with the Special Education Director for the District. That seemed to light a necessary fire under the IEP Team, who at the last meeting,  hadn’t provided all of the reports to prove that our daughter wasn’t eligible. By the time we went to meet with the Director, we were armed with everything and prepared to fight.

Truth be told, we didn’t have to. At the time of the meeting,  the Director had already made the decision that our daughter would receive ESY. Having not be directly involved in our case, she asked about our experience in this process and seemed shocked at the comments that the school psychologist had made. She also had suggestions for the IEP for next school year. I was glad that we elevated the situation and gotten closure for this school year.

Hopefully, we don’t have to do this again next year…

Lesson: Never be afraid to open your mouth and ask to speak to the manager.

 

Sick of Feeling Guilty


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Are you a workaholic? If you answered yes, then you probably have worked while being sick. “Oh it’s just the sniffles,” you’ve called the flu.  “A tickle in my chest,” you’ve called pneumonia. All the while, you are helping to spread germs around the office. And it doesn’t end there. More and more of us feel guilty about taking vacation time, as if the office will come to an end because we aren’t there.

Lesson: You are only hurting yourself.

I learned this lesson the hard way when I got bronchitis a few years ago. A supervisor called me (yes I answered the phone) and requested that I develop a banner for an overseas conference. Telling me that it was needed right away and if I could help it would most appreciated, I tossed my meds to the side and set to work. I worked all day long and felt worse than I had when I took the dreaded call. Turned out, the banner didn’t need to be completed that day! I worked for nothing!

The truth is that we all get sick or need a mental health day at one point, it’s just a part of life and it’s ok.

So let’s walk through this together:

Step 1 – You feel sick

Step 2 – Pick up your phone and email your supervisor and say, I am taking a sick day today.

Step 3 – Put the phone down and take care of yourself

See how easy that was?

Lesson: Don’t be fooled into thinking that working through being sick will be make you more appreciated. Take the time to take care of yourself, and be nice to your colleagues by not spreading the germs.

 

Lovin’ Life to Save Lives


LL2SL_flyerI love to plan parties. Every birthday, the hubby and I pull all of the money we can together to make sure that our children feel celebrated. And it usually  works, to the point that when it is our birthday, they feel that we need to have a party too.

So of course we wanted to celebrate the first anniversary of Ava’s experience.

To read more about Ava’s story, click here

Though some will want to forget the day that we lost her only to have God return her sweet spirit to us 6 minutes later,  we feel the need to be ever thankful. The way that we show our thanks to the Lord is to share with our friends and family the importance of CPR training.

Are you CPR certified? Join us!

We teamed up with the Ecclesia Community Development Corporation to develop an event that is fun and educational. With Ava in mind, we are calling the event Lovin’ Life to Save Lives. On Saturday, March 19, 2016,  we invite everyone to participate in CPR Training/Certification at Greater Ecclesia Temple in Detroit. The event, which costs $25/person, begins at 10am and lunch is provided.

If you are certified, and would like to sponsor someone else, please message me today. Our goal is to make sure that no one goes through what we went through. My hubby saved Ava’s life through brief CPR training learned by watching tv. We want you to have the real thing.

Greater Ecclesia Temple is located at 9611 Iris Street in Detroit.

Hypocalcaemia ain’t got nothing on us!


So the little one is a rock star. The nurses love her and she has shocked the doctors. She hasBeaumont Hospital surpassed every goal the doctors have set and they are ready for to leave. And my little angel couldn’t be more ready herself. She ripped out all of the cords except for her IV. She would have gotten to that to if the nurses hadn’t taped it down thoroughly.

And so we wave goodbye to Beaumont Hospital. We leave the hospital with an order to come  back for a follow-up blood test on Friday. She will have to be on a high dose of calcium for the next 8 weeks and will have to see a pediatric endocrinologist.  I can’t even imagine how costly the hospital bills are going to be, but it doesn’t matter. A sense of gratitude has washed over our entire family.

A very special thank you to those who offered a kind word or prayer for our family. All of those messages on Facebook, text messages and this blog are forever saved in our hearts. We only hope that we can be as supportive to you as you have been to us.

As we move to celebrate the Easter holiday…make sure you include Vitamin D in your plans. Vitamin DEveryone could use it!