Adoption Interview

Adoption Bloggers Interview Project 2012

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Rhode Island Early Intervention

We finally managed to get the ball rolling here in Rhode Island to get Hannah hooked up with Early Intervention services. In Indiana, Hannah only qualified for developmental therapy through the early intervention agency. Here in Rhode Island they don't even HAVE developmental therapists. So, they did some modifications to her IFSP (Individual Family Service Plan) and what she ended up getting instead will be even better than what she had in Indiana (although it would be hard to beat Kimberly, Hannah's former DT). Here in Rhode Island she qualifies for OT (occupational therapy), speech, a once a month autism specialist, family training, custom made social stories and picture schedules, and a whole host of group therapies that we can pick and choose from at will. Some of the groups we have to choose from are music therapy, social skills playgroup, sensory playgroup, swim therapy, and a speech friendship group. ALL of these services are available to us free of charge which is amazing to me. In Indiana Hannah's DT was covered through a governmental cost share program based on income level. We had a copay, but it was pretty minimal and since Hannah only had DT we never had to pay more than $24 a month out of pocket. In Rhode Island we don't pay a dime. When Hannah's service coordinator said that she was scheduling Hannah for speech I initially thought she was crazy and wondered if she had been paying any attention at all to Hannah's vocabulary and pronunciation the two visits she had made to our house. I later learned that Hannah's SLP (speech language pathologist) is a specialist in autism and on addressing the social use of communication that causes problems in many people with Asperger's. The good news is that Hannah really hit it off with her and I liked her quite a bit too. She seemed to really love kids which is always good! We haven't met her OT yet, but we should be able to start up with her sometime late next week. Overall, I am pleasantly surprised about the services Hannah will be receiving. Hopefully it will end up being as good as it sounds. Speaking of therapy, Hannah's former DT, Kimberly, has been helping us out this week long distance (and also free of charge) to try to get Hannah through this transition as easily as possible. We already miss Kimberly dearly. She has done so much for Hannah that all the money in the world would not be enough to thank her for how much better she has made Hannah's life. We are hoping to see her again at the end of April though. She has a conference in Rhode Island (how convenient huh?) and said she'd love to hook up while she's here! YEAH!

Lately Hannah has renewed her interest in numbers. This time her fascination lies in addition, subtraction, money, and weights. She loves for me to pose simple story problems for her to figure out and she's pretty good at solving them too. The other day she sat for almost an hour studying coins and asking me to quiz her on the names and values of each coin. By the end of an hour she pretty much had them all memorized with the exception of the dime which she consistently called a diamond! I'm not convinced that she has the concept of coins mastered yet, but then I wouldn't be surprised as she's managed crazier things before. The Children's Museum here in Providence has an area with various period style rooms depicting life at various times in Rhode Island's history. One of Hannah's favorite rooms is a general store/diner that has pretend produce that you can buy. The store has a working produce scale and old fashioned cash register. Hannah loves to weigh the produce she's buying and report the weight back to me, then run around to the cash register and punch the number of pounds of produce she is buying and then watch the cash drawer pop out.

Today was a rough day for Hannah. Every little thing sent her into a crazy meltdown. By the time we made it to lunch time, both Kyle and I were about spent. We decided (who knows what possessed us?) to take her to McDonald's to eat and play in the play place. Typically a social situation like a play place wouldn't be a good idea on a day when she was already having meltdowns, but I don't think either of us wanted to take her back to the apartment and muddle through several more hours of insanity. The meal was difficult, as was expected, and we almost aborted the mission before ever letting her play, but somehow we made it through and we turned her loose on the play place. Thankfully it wasn't too crowded, but there were enough kids in there to give her some social opportunities. Hannah hung back for awhile and then latched onto some older girls (probably around 10 years old) who must have thought she was cute and were willing to talk to her and listen to her talk. Eventually the girls tired of Hannah and wanted to play with each other, but Hannah didn't know how to let them be. I felt bad for her following them around talking and them just ignoring her. I really can't blame the girls. I mean what 10 year old wants to play at a two year old's level? Still, it was heartbreaking to see the confusion on Hannah's face because she just didn't get it. A little bit later there was a little girl who we thought was younger than Hannah that was having trouble climbing up the tower platforms. She was a couple of inches shorter than Hannah and she couldn't quite reach. Kyle encouraged Hannah to help her and after some initial hesitancy Hannah really took to the task. She tried picking the girl up, pushing her bottom, hoisting her knees, pulling her hands, anything she could think of to get the little girl up. Eventually the girl figured it out on her own and the two of them climbed up to the top together. While they were still in the climbing process Hannah did a very good job explaining verbally and visually demonstrating to the girl just how to climb up and down the structure. I was VERY proud of her. Once up, Hannah, who had had her tongue loosed during the climbing demonstration, chatted happily to the little girl. They played and climbed together for probably close to a half hour. Eventually, though, the little girl tired of playing with Hannah and tried to leave. Hannah, bless her little heart, didn't want her new friend to leave. She grabbed the little girl around the waist and said, "You can't leave without me!" The little girl firmly replied, "I can go down by myself," and proceeded to go down the slide. Poor Hannah just seemed confused again. I think it was inconceivable to her that someone might be done playing with her before she was done playing with them. Though not perfect, the play place experience was one of the most successful we've ever had. Hannah got some really good social practice, exercise, and had fun in the process. YEAH! We learned later that the little girl was actually 3 1/2, a full year older than Hannah, even though she was considerably shorter and much less sophisticated and clear verbally. The funny thing is that Hannah also thought she was younger because she referred to her as the little baby! That just makes me smile when I think back about it. :)

Last week we tried out the church that we think we will make our church home (at least initially anyway). We'll be heading back there again tomorrow and with the rough day that Hannah had today I'm more than mildly concerned. First, this church does not have any Sunday School on Sunday mornings. The entire congregation, including children, meet together in the sanctuary for announcements, prayer, and worship. This lasted 30-45 minutes last week. Hannah initially enjoyed being included and liked the singing and special music (she spent quite a bit of time attempting to dance in the aisle), but got really antsy as the first section of the service progressed. I'm worried about her having a meltdown tomorrow as I try to keep her quiet and contained until they release the children for Children's Church. I'm also worried that if she does have a meltdown, besides how hard it will be to deal with in the middle of people who know nothing about us or Hannah's challenges, it will make her less likely to cope effectively on her own during Children's Church since she'll already be on edge. Last week she did just fine during Children's Church, but had a HUGE meltdown as soon as we got back to the car after picking her up after service. Please pray for us that she'll have a good experience during both services and enjoy herself so much that she'll look forward to it each week.

1 comment:

Lanny said...

Yea for the good news about EI!