September 4, 2008

Not First Day of School

Public school in our area started on Tuesday. Hannah had a doctor's appointment in the morning, for a physical. She has to enroll in public school to get weekly speech therapy. We have to go through all the hoops a regular student has to go through to be enrolled, even though she isn't actually going to school. Virginia is pretty nice to homeschoolers, comparatively. They offer speech to all students if they qualify for services. That's not the case in North Carolina...well, not quite. In NC you can receive speech if, and only if, the student is speech impaired. That means that the student cannot have any other deficit to qualify--no fine motor impairment, no gross motor delays. The classification must be "Speech impaired", not "Developmentally Delayed" nor "Mentally Retarded". Things like this vary from state to state because there is a certain amount of federal Special Ed money that must be used to provide services to non-public schooled students, and each state gets to choose how to use it. I understand that homeschoolers in New York are actually considered public school students, so they can get a whole array of therapeutic services. Of course, they have to jump through lots more requirements to homeschool than I'd ever want to do (please don't make me create a portfolio!!! No quarterly reports!! No outside evaluations!! I could barely fulfill the standardized testing requirement in NC when we lived there. I'm just not cut out to follow the rules I guess!).

Anyhow, she had the check-up, which she enjoyed--because anything medical is fun. Hannah is 58" tall and weighs 84 pounds. That puts her in the 75%tile for height and the 65%tile for weight. She is in Tanner Stage 2, which gives us enough time to work on our Health unit study to learn more about how a young woman's body develops (doctor estimated about 18 months to go!). There is a great book for this specifically for kids with Down syndrome, if you can believe it.

"Teaching Children with Down Syndrome about Their Bodies, Boundaries, and Sexuality.
A guide for Parents and Professionals"
by Terri Couwenhoven, M.S.

I bought it last year, thinking that I was being a little premature, but it actually is appropriate for parents with preschoolers on up. Lots of good information for setting the stage with terminology options, appropriate touching and a great materials in the appendix. I am not usually gung ho about the other books in this series (all by different authors, focusing on fine motor, gross motor, teaching reading, math, etc), but this one is really easy to read and understand.

As for the physical, Hannah is in good health, obviously growing well (it's practically unheard of for a child to fall on the typical growth charts, individuals with Down syndrome usually fall into the 3rd percentile or below for height), and only needed referrals to a pediatric orthopedist (need new orthotics), and ophthalmology. Of course, we've already got the neurologist lined up for late October to see about a bi-pap machine for Hannah's continued apnea.

After the doctor, we went out for lunch. Hannah wanted to go to a playground. This area stinks as far as playgrounds. The nearest one is about 25 minutes away. I'm not kidding! There just aren't any county parks around here. Since most of the population was in school, and it was 92 degrees (sorry Kate! It's already sweater weather in Minnesota!) I decided to find one of those indoor inflatable playgrounds that are all around this town (there are three that are closer than the nearest park).

When we arrived, there were no other customers, so everything was deflated. If you're not familiar with these kinds of places, they are usually in an old big box store, or in a simple warehouse (I've only been to one other, and it was a bit depressing). This one, Inflation Nation, is fairly new and clean (and you'll be glad to know that the prices have not gone up. Just a little economic humor for you, one more free service I offer with a visit to the blog). We really liked watching all the slides inflate!

Hannah carefully chose her first adventure. It was a bouncy race car track with obstacles.

Then she surveyed the more adventurous options.

I think that she got more physical exercise in that 90 minutes than she ever got during any therapy session. And since PT isn't covered by our insurance, we definitely got our money's worth....$7.99 vs. $210. And I'm sure she had more fun.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Cloot! I want to go there with her sometime. Wore sweater and leather jacket today....could have used gloves. Please send box with sweatshirt!