Been a while.......

since I posted anything. Gillian has done so well in school and has really come so far.  She enjoys going and has had a wonderful teacher and aides by her side.  She has gotten the services she needed. It was a good move putting her back. She is excited to go to summer school too :)

We had some pictures taken recently and here are some of them! She really got into posing for the photos!


Back to School............

So I sent her back to public school. Something I vowed I would never do.  Yes, it was very hard.
But necessary.  I feel so blessed though. The charter school we were with was absolutely wonderful and did so much for us.  Thanks to them, I got her where she needed to be in the public school setting.
So today was her first day, and she was ready to go an hour and a half before school started.  Seeing her that excited made this transition better.  They welcomed her back with open arms.  Her little friends all came over and hugged her and told her that they were glad she was back (I choked up pretty bad then).
We have her  now placed where she SHOULD be.  In a Special Ed class where she won't have the stress she had before. Where she can get the repetition she needs. I have been told so many wonderful things about this teacher, and better yet, there is an aide that works in the class that has known Gilly all her life, and she will be my angel, watching over her while she is there (and she really is an angel of a lady).
At first I felt like I had failed her, by having to send her back.  But I realize that in the year I homeschooled her, it helped her destress and she did learn alot in that year.  I learned about her well, things I didn't know. I now know how I can help her better, and be an even better advocate. She needs this, and I need it just as bad.  I have lost myself badly through this. It didn't help hearing how much she missed her friends, and the days she would lay on her bed, crying that she had no friends and that no one loved her. That broke me apart.  So now we are both happy :)



So its official now.............Gillian is labeled with 3 different learning disabilities!
I have known for a while...........but I thought she just had maybe one, or I guess two if you count her ADHD.  But Three! that was a surprise.  Knowing that though, has made me able to understand her better.  She has : Slow processing, a memory disability along with an expressive language/speech one. Also her GARS scale test indicated she was VERY LIKELY autistic. Well duh-that one was not new.
I knew she was slow processing but honestly there have been quite a few times I thought she was playing me , so I would get very frustrated with her. The school psychologist talked to me the night before her IEP and asked if I had ever considered putting her in the special ed class at a brick and mortar school. I HAD but they refused. To this day I am STILL mad about that one.  She could probably get into the special Autism class they have in our school district as well, but there are some concerns with that class I just will not discuss here.  Sigh.  As hard as this is, and as much as I don't have much of a life anymore (thats a whole other story), I don't see it any other way, other than to keep homeschooling her.  But there has to be a solution to this! It is HARD. I never realized just how difficult this would be, and I have thought often that maybe I am just not cut out for this long term.  But I want her to have a GOOD life where even though she may not be "top of her class" or whatnot, but that she will be successful in what she does do well.  The school psychologist told me her visual skills are incredible, and she thinks in pictures, just as the well known autistic woman, Temple Grandin (who is one of my heroes). 

Recently I have been teaching Gillian to sew-she even has her own sewing machine now.  She is thrilled and I am sure she will do well :) Anything arty or crafty is right up her alley, and she is so good at it too.


Overdue Update & Gillian turns 9

Gillian just had her 9th birthday. It just seems like yesterday that she was born. She did alot of shopping for her birthday. Shopping has become one of her favorite things to do. She has also taken a real liking to clothes-she always has to look at clothes wherever we go shopping. So that is what I did-took her clothes shopping and let her pick out a few things. She had her whole day planned out-IHOP for breakfast , John's Incredible Pizza for lunch and she wanted to go to Denny's for dinner. Since we were all so sick of eating out and were so full from eating out the other two meals, we talked her into McDonalds for dinner instead (at least for her).  She had a fun filled day!

Homeschooling her has been one of the best things we have ever done.  She was tested at the beginning of the school year as well as the end and showed ginormous progress. The teacher said she has NEVER seen that much progress on that particular test (Called the WRAT test).  Gillian has been more happy and has really opened up. This summer, though, she kinda forgot some stuff so we are having to back track a little (at least on the reading) and review some skills. 
She was recently able to tell me her brain feels weird-In the end I think it is because her brain feels "fuzzy" due to all the medications she is on. That is concerning.  Last week she had an EEG to see if she is having seizures. Thankfully the test came back normal. Yippee!! Due to the comment she made last week and the happy news we got, I have put in a request to the doctor to wean her off the seizure med and 1 other med.  Her seizures are not the bad kind where she convulses, so I told them I would just like to see how she is without them and if need be we can put her back on them.  Same for one of the other meds for ADHD.  She is bouncy-but I figure all kids are.  Her focus has been good too-its great to see her maturing.  We did some sewing yesteday (brought my machine out after about 9 years or so) and made a drawstring bag as part of her social studies lessons on Nomads and how they would hunt and put their animals in a "game bag."  So we plan to do more sewing as it interests her.



The kids and I went bowling yesterday-something Gilly has not done before. I am amazed she was SO into it. She did great! They were able to put the bumpers up for her-she was so excited she could barely wait for her turn. I think this will become a regular activity for us :)


Homeschool field trip

We had our very first Homeschool field trip! The entire charter school went to Aquarium of the Pacific down in Long Beach! It was awesome to see all the kids from the charter school in their blue school shirts along with their parents.

We tagged along with our friends who use the same charter school for their girls. The girls had so much fun. Best "school" day ever-we went to Sonic on our way home for some snacks. Doesn't get any better than that. Gillian was about the best behaved I have seen. Its the best thing ever to see her happy.



I have suspected for a while that Gillian may have dyslexia, but dismissed it after I had talked to her school principal last year. Then somehow I was researching something else and happened across it again. I looked at it and wow-it sounds just like her. So I talked to her Educational Specialist and her Resource teacher whom we meet with on a weekly basis, and they agreed that it sounds like she has it. Her Educational Specialist said she had noticed some things about her that she does that is common amongst kids with dyslexia. Anyway, a couple weeks ago, after one of Gillian's regular meetings with the resource teacher, we were discussing her. Her resource teacher totally sees what I see, and agrees she probably has it. I am not happy at all about it-and of course, I have already spent hours researching it for her, for ways to make her life better.
That is my goal-to make sure she has whatever she needs to have a better life. It can be exhausting 'cos I pour myself into it all, but to me, its worth it. I am also keeping very positive and not letting things get me down -she does better with positivity. :) Her resource teacher said that considering all things going against her, she is doing very well. She is not severely behind at this point. But, we have caught it fairly early on and are constantly working with her. Most of the time they don't catch alot of this stuff till later on. Dyslexia is common with the other things she has like ADHD. They just learn differently and very visually-it seems its all about learning style.


Here we go again.............

Gillian is having issues with forgetting. She cannot remember stuff she knew before. Now the doctor has ordered and MRI and is sending her to a Neuro-Assessment program. We will see what they find now. This crap just never ends. Now the anger is back, wishing I was warned ahead of time of things that could go wrong. DAMMIT.


Update and homeschool art

Homeschooling has been HARD. Very hard. We are starting out really easy-I want Gillian to regain her confidence. Last school year she completely shut down. Would not sound out words or anything. I have her back sounding out simple words now. I praise her like crazy and it seems to be working. We have also adapted a very hands-on math curriculum that so far she enjoys. I just hope it stays that way. Finding a way that works for both of us is a bit challenging. I think that will take months to achieve.

The night before school began, she started with a low grade temp. It ended up hitting her in the lungs-she had pneumonia for 4-5 weeks. With multiple doctor visits, 2 trips to the ER and after 2 rounds of both steroids and antibiotics she is well. She was not even responding to breathing treatments. It was the sickest she has been since she was about a year old. With the illness and the homeschooling it did not start out as smooth as I hoped. But still, we got lots accomplished, including meeting a couple of her IEP goals.

I am noticing she tends to start shutting down a little in the middle of the week, so we have made Wednesdays our art days. It is also the day we meet with her "Resource" teacher. So we just have fun those days, being the teacher works with her on serious stuff :) Originally I planned to do art on Fridays. Today we used masking tape on watercolor paper to make birch trees, and used watercolors. We added leaves and branches with a Pitt Pen (great black art pen) and colored pencils.


Ginormous Decision

I thought long and hard about this.....to homeschool or not to homeschool. sigh.
Gillian had a really hard year last year-she fell behind and totally shut down. She had
lots going on last school year. I don't think she handles the pressure well-they were moving
ahead so fast and with all the stuff going on with her absence seizures, etc it added to that stress. Honestly I can't imagine what all was going on in her little mind. Two of her teachers had mentioned that the school setting was not really appropriate for her situation (and recommended homeschooling her). She was overstimulated by the sounds, and everything else. Towards the end of the school year I really tried to get her more help but honestly, I was not happy. It should have been more. I think of how they are going to move her ahead when she is behind, and how its all going to be over her head. That would add to the pressure and have her shut down yet again. I thought about fighting to get her a one on one aide, but that would involve threatening law suits , etc. I am not into nastiness. I would if I had to, of course, but I would rather put that energy towards something else. They mentioned if Gilly did not finish her school work that they would tell her she would have to go to detention. When they sent her to detention in first grade it was NOT good-she really freaked out. Because she did not do what they wanted her to do, they went out on the playground the next day and made her serve detention again! That was just plain wrong.
The school called me almost every day about something. Even though it is summer, I am still tired just thinking about how often they called and for every little thing. After doing a little bit research just to explore options, and thinking of how I can space out her schooling during the whole day and when it was right for her, it just really sounded perfect. So I dug a little deeper, making calls to people I know who homeschool. It just kept sounding better. So after much thought, I decided to take a leap. I have sent off enrollment apps to 2 different charter schools. Both sound very good. I figure, whichever one gets her through first I will take, just as long as it is in time for school to start. I am adamant now about not sending her back to the classical school setting. We are going to have fun playing educational games-and hands on activities. She learns better through visual and hands on. I have talked to her about this and she seems content with it. One thing I was concerned about was getting her socialized. Both charter schools I have sent apps to have classes that will involve other kids in the same age group that meet on a weekly basis. I also joined a moms club in this area that also has stuff they do regularly-and it happens that there are a couple of Gillian's friends from school go to those activities.
I have a friend who is going to babysit for me so that I can get some "me" time regularly as well. It seems it will all work out just fine. I know in the beginning it will be a challenge-I have been warned. Getting in a routine and being disciplined is going to take some effort! From what I have read, kids with issues like Gillian has do much better being homeschooled. Fingers crossed that all goes well.


Glasses revisited

So I took Gillian for her regular eye exam-we have been taking her about every 6 months. But with all the issues she has had the past few months, we were a little late in getting her in. No worries! I honestly went in thinking she would have 20/20 again, like the last 3 times. I was in for a surprise! Her vision for distance has gotten a little worse. So the doctor wrote her a prescription for a new pair of glasses. She said it is VERY mild, and this will be a trial to see how she does with them. We see the doctor again in a few months. I was so hoping for 20/20, like I mentioned. But, I am SO happy its not for close up stuff! She picked out some cute copper-framed glasses. I hope she will wear them like she is supposed to.

Here she is pictured with a pair of the funky glasses they had on her during her eye exam! LOL!
Since it has been a while, I will update on something else.
When Gillian was 4. she was given the Autism dx. Although the educators and some other folk insist she does NOT have autism, her neurologist insists she DOES (as mentioned in a previous post). I have read lots about Aspergers lately (another subject revisited since her hospital stay in May) and its her to a "T". We see the neurologist in a couple weeks and I will be taking my checklist with me as proof. I am looking forward to meeting with the doctor . I am sure she will fully agree with me. I want them to put it in writing also, as it may enable us to get her more help at the school. I will do whatever I can.
Although initially in May when I heard the "A" word again, I took it hard. But as I search for more information I feel at peace with it. I am grateful its not worse. She is who she is. I also realize if she did not have all these issues she would NOT be who she is. Its a blessing and a curse at the same time!!LOL!!!!!