Drum roll please! The winner of my first ever bloggy contest is M over at Incipient Turvy for coming up with the new name for my blog-Adopting the Spectrum. I think it fits perfectly with what I write about. I spend a lot of time talking about open adoption and it's almost impossible to blog about Hannah without some mention of her particular strengths and challenges that land her a spot on the spectrum. So, there we have it. Welcome to Adopting the Spectrum. Congratulations M! Just email me your mailing address (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I'll mail you your book right out. Thanks to everyone who came up with such wonderful ideas. I really had a hard time choosing one. It was quite a tight race.
Yesterday was such a good day! It started out rough, but Hannah really turned it around and we had a great day together. We both really needed that I think. We had a nice time at the library. We met Kimberly, Hannah's DT, there and we did therapy there. The youth room was packed with kids since schools were out due to Martin Luther King Day. We had planned on meeting some friends there so that I knew there would be at least one kid there for Hannah to interact with, but it turns out we would have been fine anyway. Besides our friends we had planned to meet, we also ended up running into Hannah's gymnastics teacher and her two children who we have become good friends with. Hannah really likes Miss Heather's son Dawson who is 5. He's the protective big brother type and really likes taking care of Hannah. Heather's daughter Audrey is only a few weeks older than Hannah, but as is her nature, she really doesn't interact much at all with her. She definitely likes her in theory, talks about her all the time, but in person she'd prefer to stick with the older kids. An interesting change to this preference began happening this weekend however. Our friends that we met at the library have two children, a boy Zach who is almost 4 and a little girl, Ashley who is 18 months and not very verbal at all. Hannah really likes Zach, although he's much more physical than she can handle sometimes and often pushes her personal space boundaries. Still, the two of them typically get along pretty well. Typically Hannah enjoys babies from afar, but doesn't like their unpredictability when they are moving around and screeching and such. We went out to lunch after church with Zach, Ashley, and their mom Laura this past Sunday and Hannah spent the entire meal tickling and giggling with Ashley. I was stunned. Not only was she the one initiating the interaction, but it was with a younger child who doesn't speak at all. Normally she has no tolerance for those who can't communicate on her level which really hinders her ability to get along with her age mates. Then, yesterday at the library Hannah was running around like a crazy woman chasing Ashley up and down the aisles of books (I know, not acceptable library behavior and normally I'd be putting a stop to it, but my little girl was choosing to interact with someone on her own, and someone younger than her no less!) and tickling her and giggling like mad. She had a blast. I was so proud of her. Very intrigued by the development and wondering if this would transfer to other younger children or even her classmates at preschool, but proud none the less. We also met another little boy Hannah's same age who has PDD-NOS (the alternative diagnosis the developmental pediatrician said she psychologist might come back with if she didn't quite agree with the doctor thought about Asperger's). I was really interested to talk with his parents and for Hannah to get to spend some time with another kid who gets it and shares some of her same challenges, but he was much less verbal than she is and was pretty hyper and this made her very anxious. I was not successful in getting her to interact with him at all. She wouldn't even say hi or look at him really. Her hands went straight into her mouth and she started gnawing away at them. After they left and Dawson and Audrey arrived, Hannah was able to recover and have a good time again. It was very interesting for me to see her get herself regulated again. It used to be that once she started getting anxious there was nothing we could do to stop it and now she can actually stop her anxiousness if we help her and even turn it around and get back on track. After the library we went out to eat with Laura, Zach, and Ashley at Chick-Fil-A. After eating the kids went into the play place. It was crazy in there- very loud and kids running everywhere. Hannah actually played a bit and went up in the tubes and down the slide several times. Towards the end she came over to one of the benches and laid down. I thought she was just getting tired since it was close to nap time and she had had a very busy morning with lots of kids to deal with and that always wears her out, but later in the day totally out of the blue she told me that she laid on the "blue couch" at the restaurant because the boys were too loud and she needed a break. WOW! I think that's pretty impressive. She was over stimulated, but she didn't melt down. She took herself to a quieter (not by much, but still quieter) place and did what she needed to do to keep it together. Once again I was so proud of my little one. From Chick-Fil-A we headed on to her doctor's appointment to recheck her ears. She was still pulling at them and this weekend she said her ears hurt. This time there was no infection, but her ears were still filled with fluid which the doctor said is probably causing her discomfort. He doesn't want to do anything about it though until we have her sleep study which it seems like will be soon. Riley contacted me yesterday, but of course I wasn't home, to schedule her appointment and it sounds like the wait won't be months like we had thought. Her doctor thinks her enlarged adenoids are probably preventing the fluid from draining from her ears and he wants to see the results of the sleep study before he sends us off to an ENT. I just hope she doesn't end up with yet another ear infection in the mean time. Poor things had constant fluid in her ears and several infections for 3 months straight now. Thank heavens her hearing doesn't seem to be affected by it. We'll know more about that next week though since I finally got her 2 1/2 year hearing test schedule. We've done so many of them it's hard to believe that after this one we will only have to do one more unless we notice any problems down the road.
Well, that's all for now. I'll keep you posted on the sleep study and the hearing test. I can't imagine that the sleep study will be a pleasant experience. I didn't enjoy mine when I had it done and I at least understood why they were doing the things they were doing, but who knows kids can surprise us.
PS. Here's more pictures courtesy of Hannah! You can totally tell she's spent way too much time around photographers. Now she's staging photos and laying down and moving around in creative ways to get just the perspective she wants! I suppose that's what happens when your mommy and grandpa are amateur photo freaks and your aunt is a professional photographer. In this last photo that's her foot in the way. She's laying on her back and holding the camera up in front of her to take the picture of her My Little Pony that's she's pulled out of one of her precious lines specifically for this photo op!