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The latest from the Adairs

Monday, August 29, 2005

This is our "work" area. The box on the table holds all of the therapy materials but usually they are sitting out on the table because, for instance, the auditory digit spans are done 6 times a day. Friday afternoon is my favorite time during the week because that's when everything goes back into the box and not to see the light of day until Monday morning! :-)

Reading is one of our therapy assignments. While we read over the words and talk about the vocabulary I also give her the trigeminal stimulation on her head. That's where I press on firmly but gently on top of her head with my fingers and down towards her ears for 2 minutes and then I lightly brush my fingers on her head down to her ears for 2 minutes more. We have to do this trigeminal stimulation twice a day. It is supposed to awaken the nerves on and around her ears.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Kayla's visual digit spans today were consistent in that she recalled all 6 digits and went up into 8 digits each time (we have 4 different sessions). There are days like that and it's hard to know why. Otherwise it was a non-eventful day. She isn't getting in as much auditory listening on tape as I'd like, but that's my fault because I don't have it in our current MOTH schedule. She's supposed to just listen during spare times which aren't many during the day.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

I have to give a tiny history lesson here before I can talk about my good news today. In the past when I've had to review math concepts Kayla has completely forgotten the concept and I've had to re-teach her the entire concept (frustrating and difficult for both of us). Last week I was reviewing long division with her (after a 3 week hiatus of long division) and at the beginning she starred at it blankly, she really didn't know what to do. So I gave her a hint as to what to do. She still seemed at a loss, so I gave her a couple more hints, well from those hints she was able to pick up and use from her own MEMORY how to do long division! Not to seem like it was a walk in the park because it wasn't for me (or her). On the inside I get impatient and I try hard not to show it; I ask God for patience during times like these because it's hard for me to understand how she could forget after only 3 weeks. But such has been her school "life" story since the beginning. And because the communication between her left and right hemisphere isn't where it should be because she's been using her left ear and left eye to "retrieve" information into her brain. Which it then gets stored in the wrong side of the brain and then it's impossible for her to retrieve it. Anyway I'll stop now before I lose you all that aren't so technical, LOL! Bottom line is, the communication pathways (NEW dendrites, I hope I spelled that right) are definitely being built because she remembered how to do the problem!!! :-)

So onto the good news, or should I say more good news. I was explaining the above to Kayla about math and I asked her if she could tell of any changes with her since she started therapy. She thought for a minute and yes she did notice something! She noticed that reading is easier now, reading is different. She didn't know why until a couple of hours later while we were doing our reading lesson is that it's better (for her) because I don't correct her on words as much as I used to. Funny thing because I didn't even notice. But it was a blessing that she did notice because she hasn't noticed anything yet on her own.

That's our "Little Giant Steps" for the past 2 weeks, PRAISE GOD!

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Today was interesting... During our first visual digit span exercise Kayla was whipping through them with no mistakes. She went from 6's to 7's very quickly. Then in session 2, 3 and 4 she couldn't hold a 6 at all. It can't be diet because we eat as healthy as possible and there isn't much snacking going on. It's just part of the ups and downs of therapy I guess.

We couldn't walk this afternoon because it's blistering hot outside. We'll try that tonight. It's 3:22 in the afternoon and Kayla has about 20 minutes of exercises left to do on her own, besides the walking.

I don't have any pictures to post yet. I still need to figure out how to do that and with Brian being in his busiest time of year that may not happen for a week or so.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Today we took the day off because I had so much to catch up on, mostly errands to run, laundry to clean, appointments to make and you can only imagine what else. Normally we do a typical 5 day schedule which we have been doing for the past 2 and a half months. But this week I desperately needed a day to work on other things. We will be back to the grind tomorrow. I do have to constantly remind Kayla to put her eye patch and ear plug on in the morning. She loses a token if that doesn't happen. But she is good to obey and put them on when I ask. That is the only "therapy" we've done since last Friday.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Bear with me because this first post is kind of long but the following posts won't be as long to read. And thanks for reading! :-)

I want to start posting a daily or weekly update of Kayla's progress with Little Giant Steps. I realized that when I talked to friends, family or acquaintances about what is going on I get "wind in my sails" because by talking about it I realize how this neurodevelopmental therapy is really working! Otherwise I am not thinking about the changes because it is very time consuming and can be a burden mentally and emotionally. But it is a worth while investment in your child's life! So I think that by posting daily or weekly I will be keeping everyone updated, I will try to share with others what neurodevelopmental therapy is and I will continue to feel wind in my sails! :-) Praise God there has been wind for my sails!

OK so where do I start? I felt God leading me to do this "therapy" for Kayla about a year ago. But honestly I was a little worried about testing this theory on my child with a chunk of our wallet and my time (which as a homeschooler I already felt very pinched for time and money!). So with the blessings of my husband Brian I started Kayla in therapy in the wings of a good friend of mine Lori Huntley. Lori and I had attended a Little Giant Steps (www.littlegiantsteps.com) seminar together over a year ago and had talked about the possibility of this helping our 2 oldest children. Lori had very similar issues with Allison (her oldest) as I did with Kayla; we felt each others pain in our struggle to educate our children and to understand their issues. In the mean time I had sent in an application to Scottish Rite Hospital for Kayla to be treated for dyslexia. They turned my application down because "we don't treat ADD children". I was truly devastated but I trusted that God had a bigger and better plan for her! (Kayla was diagnosed with "ADD" at the age of 8 then the public school system wanted to test her for special education at age 10. Instead I pulled her out to homeschool her but I knew that there had to be a root to the cause of the problem instead of saying that she is "ADD".) So on to how I actually got Kayla started in the program; Lori's daughter Allison had been on the program since the beginning of the year and Allison had results in about 2 months. So this was my reassurance from the Lord that this is what I needed to do for Kayla because if it was working for Allison than surely it would work for Kayla. (Yes I know, shame on me for having little faith!)

Kayla's first evaluation was on May 31, 2005 and Jan Bedell, a certified neurodevelopmentalist, went through all of the testing with Kayla. She gave me a "Weekly Activity Plan Tracking Sheet", instructions that were recorded on a tape and sent us on our way to start the real work. And work it is! We have approximately 2 hours of work to complete a day but typically it takes us up to 3 hours per day to complete the work.

First of all I'll talk about the issues that Kayla had that we needed to address. Her audio memory was at a 4 and should be at a 7; that means that she could only recall a sequence of 4 different numbers at one time and for her age she should be recalling a 7 digit span. That also means that she was able to carry on a conversation in the same ability as that of a 4 year old (developmentally). A lot of this stemmed from all of her ear infections before she was 2 years old not to mention being in a daycare setting 9 hours a day with very little one on one interaction with adults to help "grow" her auditory ability. She was also having trouble with her inner ear balance. If Kayla turned around suddenly or stopped to turn she would get very dizzy and often times she would fall over because lack of balance and coordination. Along those lines she would often hit her little brother with her arm or hand accidentally because she wasn't able to sense where she was in "space". No she wasn't doing that on purpose but she would swing her arms sporadically while walking and therefore contact would come between her and her brother! Kayla also had a very sporadic memory, one day she would remember a spelling word and the very next day she would forget it completely no matter how long she had studied that word. Her memory struggles were across the board in all academics. She was behind about 3 or 4 grade levels in math and her phonics and decoding ability was also behind. Now I've never been all that concerned about "being right along with her peers" but the closer we got to high school age the more concerned I became for her ability to perform and about her ability to actually cope in the outside world. Her vocabulary was tested at a 2nd grade level which was severely limiting her social interactions. Basically those are the main things that brought us to seek Little Giant Steps help.

Within a month of starting the program I saw dramatic results. The first month we had 70 percent completion of the daily program so I was very happy with the results. Her digit spans had gone from a 4 to a 5, she was no longer dizzy while turning around and she was able to remember verbal directions given to her by myself or my husband. One of the other more important issues in this therapy is ear and eye occlusion. If you are right handed you function much better using your right eye, your right ear and your right leg dominantly. She was using her left ear and left eye about 50% of the time which causes the left and right hemisphere of the brain to not be functioning optimally. It's very complicated and hard to explain but if you go to the a seminar by Jan Bedell or to the Little Giant Steps website you could probably understand it better than I am able to explain. Whatever the occlusion is doing it is definitely getting to the root of the cause and we are seeing results because of it!

Anyway, I know that there is definitely more changes that I haven't listed here but this is just a tip of the iceberg and there is more to come for our story. Or should I say more of God's hand in our lives.

Thanks for reading and I will be back soon and hopefully with pictures.