Tuesday, May 26, 2009

High functioning?

Katy, Izzy and Morgan

It's a term you become way too familiar with once you have a child with special needs. I get asked almost daily by people that haven't met Morgan if she is high functioning. And to be honest I am not even sure if I know what that term means. I think each child has their own strengths and weaknesses but how does that translate into functioning level? If she does well in some areas but not so well in others does that make her less high functioning?

I had a playgroup at my home last month with two girls (and their moms)in the same grade as Morgan (kindergarten) and both also have Down syndrome. Each girl had their own strength that left each of us envious and proud of that child's accomplishment.

Katy's speech is amazing and she was able to tell us exactly what she wanted and needed. She loves being bossy and telling everyone exactly what they should be doing but it is honestly the cutest thing to watch! I now understand the whole, "sweet and loving" stereotype that I have heard way too many times since Morgan was born because Katy was so dang sweet and loving! My kids followed her around the house and never wanted her to go home!

Izzy is toilet trained and goes to the potty without any mommy intervention. Both Katy's mom and I were amazed when we saw Izzy go into the bathroom and go about her business like it was no big deal. We have both struggled with the potty training with our daughters and getting them independent. She has also mastered the computer and playing games on it. She was even able to find the websites for her games.

Morgan impressed them with how well she is doing academically with reading, counting, letters, phonics, etc. but Morgan still struggles with social maturity. She still hits and pushes. And poor Izzy kept getting her glasses pulled off of her face by Morgan.

So is my daughter high functioning? I honestly don't know the answer to that question...she reads, counts to 20, knows all her letters and sounds, feeds herself, walks independently, verbalizes her needs. But then there are also the weaknesses...she still likes to run around in restaurants which means we usually still use a high chair when eating out, she can be socially inappropriate with pushing and hitting, she still isn't potty trained (mommy trained but not independent yet), she still needs help getting certain shoes and clothes on, she still rides in a 5 point harness booster car seat because she slides out of the seat belt on the regular booster and walks around the car while I am driving, etc.

I usually answer that she is doing GREAT! And she is! She continues to make progress and learn new things each day. She is doing so much more than I ever imagined possible when I found out she had Down syndrome. High functioning or low functioning...she is my daughter and deserves all my love just for that reason alone not based on what she is able to do or accomplish.

National Geographic Bee

Jack competed in the 2009 National Geographic Bee at the state level. He has always been such a smart kid with an amazing memory for trivial knowledge. I love all the facts that he just seems to randomly come up with in all different circumstances. I think that must have been one of the reasons he was able to qualify for this competition because it really wasn't anything he could really study for. There were 100 students (4th-8th graders) that qualified to represent their school in Utah. They divided the kids up into 4 rooms and gave them each a practice question to help them relax a little bit. It was really intense and the questions continued to get harder and harder with each new round. There were 8 rounds and Jack answered 4 out of the 8 questions correctly. It was such a great experience for him and we were so proud of how well he did!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Our Swan Princess

Hadley performed with The Children's Ballet Theatre at Kingsbury Hall last month in The Swan Princess. She had a part with the children at the garden party. She looked so beautiful up on the stage and it was fun to see how much she has progressed this past year. We'll have to remember next year to get her a ticket to see the ballet on a night when she isn't performing so she can see how cute the show is and follow the story line.

Hadley with grandma and grandpa

Monday, May 11, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

Yip--that is a Mother's Day Pinata surprise! I don't want you to be too jealous. Just know that my Mother's Day weekend trip to Yellowstone was so much fun and the pinata was a perfect ending! Thanks Gavin!

Hadley's baptism

Hadley was baptized on April 18th. It was a very special day and one I hope she will always remember. There really was such a sweet spirit present at her baptism from the very beginning of the program with the opening song of "Families Can Be Together Forever". Her grandma gave the opening prayer and then her nan gave a wonderful talk on Baptism, followed by a beautiful musical number by her Aunt Brittany, then her baptism -- she was all smiles--as she was baptized by her dad and later confirmed and received the Gift of the Holy Ghost. Gavin gave her an amazing blessing! It is hard to believe my little Hadley is already old enough to be baptized. She is growing up so quickly and we are so lucky to have her sweet spirit in our family. Thanks to all the family and friends that supported Hadley on this special day! We love you!

Before her baptism

Proud parents

Grandma and Grandpa

Nan and Papa
Her Baptism Portraits--

Easter Weekend

We spent Easter in St. George and had a great time! We rented a condo in Green Valley and had warm, sunny weather almost the whole weekend. We had fun swimming, mountain biking, Easter egg hunting, shopping and playing with nan and papa. It was so much fun that the kids woke up on Easter Sunday and started getting ready for church without even noticing their Easter baskets or realizing it was Easter. Not sure that's a good thing or not. But it made me realize that they were happy as can be without needing anything extra for Easter!

Cute Mia Kate after a swim