Monday, September 24, 2012

Kai's Public School


Kai is into his 3rd week of school and I am so incredibly pleased with it.   The public auditory/oral school is housed in a brand new building along with the Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE)  and the Courage Center which is a  private Pediatric Rehabilitation Center that he attends.   The first week Kai attended school he had new braces fitted for his feet since he out grew the original pair.   His physical therapist from ECSE would go down to his room and remove his braces daily and check his feet for sores.   She taught each of the teachers how to put his braces on properly.   Next week we are going to have Kai wear his Theratog (compression suit) and the ECSE physical therapist will show myself and the teachers how to put it on Kai.   Additionally the ECSE occupational therapist has been showing the teachers the proper way Kai should be sitting so that he can concentrate on learning rather than stabilizing his body.   On Tuesday afternoon's Kai walks from his classroom down the hallway for his private speech therapy at Courage Center.   The collaboration between the three entities is more than I could have dreamed.   With this school the whole child is being treated and I think it has been a fabulous first 3 weeks. 

With that said, there are some things that I need to address with the school regarding Kai's IEP.   Ugh...   To be honest, I dread it, but as I wrote in my previous emails regarding IEP's I am his advocate and I need to hold the school accountable to follow the IEP.   It is such a critical time right now for Kai regarding speech and I want to make sure that he is pushed in his expressive language. 

Sidenote:   My computer died...funny... how a glass of lemonade and electronics don't mix...oops.   Pictures may be a little scarce until I get a new computer.   This old computer wants to load all 677 of my pix from my disc and doesn't provide an option to pick and choose the latest pictures.  That is probably the most expensive lemonade I ever poured...


Tuesday, September 18, 2012


My dad meeting Bei for the first time when we first came home from China.
   The things that I inherited from my dad are his blues eyes, the rest of my siblings have green eyes like my mom.   His thin build.  His curly hair and unfortunately circles and bags under my eyes...rats on that one!

Several months ago when I heard Whitney Houston died my first thought was "Oh no, there is no redemption for Whitney".   I thought of all the wrongs that she had committed against her child Bobbi Kristina, all the pain that she caused her, all the wretched awful things that Bobbi Kristina had witnessed, the raw open wounds of her heart and spirit, all due to her mother's drug addiction.   I feel sad because now that Whitney is dead there is no way to right those wrongs for her daughter.   Why does this story resonate so strongly with me you may wonder?   My dad was an alcoholic.   Without going into too much detail, I will share with you that my first memories of my dad were of violence.  Waking up to punched holes in the door or walls, walking on eggshells because you never knew what the trigger was that was going to set him off.   I lived in fear of my father.   The ability for him to show love and be kind at times never offset for me the times of violence.   Even as a child I could not reconcile how a person could show love to his children and I believe our dad really loved us, but then in another moment physically harm his children.   For me it meant a childhood of keeping my head down low and walking wide circles around my dad.    Alcoholism is an insidious disease and this was not the person who God had intended my father to be.  In the early years my dad was what would be called a "functioning alcoholic", eventually his alcoholism took over his life and he was no longer able to keep a home or a job.  In the height of my father's alcoholism after losing his wife, the respect of his children, his job, his house, (and alot more happened which I won't devulge), my father stopped drinking.   Cold turkey!!!   He did it!   He is lucky he didn't have a seizure and die but I believe God had plans for him.  My father went on to remarry, hold down a good job and build a new life for himself without alcohol.   Slowly but surely, he and I started to build our relationship.   We found common ground, things that we both liked to talk about, traveling, politics, music and books.   I watched my dad in his new family be a wonderful father figure to his step-children and his grandchildren.   The type of father that I would have LOVED to have, someone who encouraged and inspired them to challenge themselves to be the best that they could be.  You may have thought I felt envy or jealousy towards his new family, but I never did.   My dad never said he was sorry about the alcoholism or the  abuse, but for me those would be mere words, they wouldn't change anything that happened.   Instead my dad gave me a greater gift, he allowed me to sit front and center and watch the meaning of life which I believe is a life of redemption.   Isn't that why Jesus died on the cross for us?   I watched this man who truly had hit rock bottom, pull himself up with his own bootstraps and move forward and live a Godly life.    I am proud of what he did and who he became. 

My dad died a year ago this past March 23rd and his birthday was yesterday, September 17th.   He would have been 75 years old.  I miss him.  My dad became someone who I enjoyed and I wanted him to be a part of my life.  He LOVED the blog.  We would talk about every two weeks on the phone and I don't remember an occasion when we didn't laugh at some point of the conversation.   Miss you dad and thank you for getting meant everything!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, September 10, 2012


It is amazing how much your life can change in a few months.   Today, this little boy started full time school at the PUBLIC Auditory/Oral School which is now located a few blocks from Bei's school.   I am so incredibly excited about the curriculum and how his school day is structured! 

  Four months ago I still felt like I was in quicksand.  Every waking moment was consumed by my concern for Kai.   Was I doing everything I possibly could to help my Sweetie Pie get unlocked, so that he could communicate and live an independent and successful life?   Over the summer I saw so much development, so much hope for Kai's future.   I heard Kai say words like "mom", "no", "under", "bubble", "dog", not consistently, but it gives me hope.   I consistently see Kai accurately choose the letter A, M, T, B and H from a phonics IPAD application.   I see Kai choose the blue color or the red color when he was asked.  I see a little boy who wants to play and was willing to go and engage his older brother.   I see a little boy that wants to use his hands to communicate, who felt pride when he discovered a new word in signing.    I see a little boy who is willing to fight and fight hard for everything he gets.   As Kai continues to unveil himself to us, I have so much hope for his future. 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Pacer Center - Champions for Children with Disabilities

Recently I was given the priviledge to share our story with Pacer so that they could use it to help educate other parents on how to advocate for their child.   You will have to scroll down a bit to see the video.   You can enlarge it by clicking on the lower right hand corner where it looks like four corners.   Here is my personal comment...(Please God let those large circles under my eyes be from not sleeping for two years and not old age!!)

Click on PACER’s Early Childhood website   Pacer Early Education Advocacy Site


Sunday, September 2, 2012


 This is Kai's "All Done" sign


Several months ago I realized that Kai needs a way to communicate to other people.   As I have mentioned in previous post, forming words is difficult for him.     I have been working hard to try to sign with him as much as I possibly can and he is catching on to it.   His most recent sign is “Medicine”.   He will sign medicine and remind ME in the morning that he has to take it.   Another sign that he recently mastered is "eat".   He looks me directly in the eye with a little cutie smirk signing "eat" and making sure that I sign back to him.  You can tell he is bursting with pride.   He loves for me to sign him the alphabet and to count up to ten.  I have been teaching myself sign language through the Signing Times DVD’s.   I have taken one class previously that taught the first 100 words that a child signs.   I am also going to take a class in the fall that is taught by the Metro Deaf School.   The fact of the matter is that I need to immerse myself/our family into the Deaf Culture if we are ever going to use American Sign Language fluently.   We need to begin going to Deaf events and surrounding ourselves with people that use American Sign Language. To be honest, getting involved with the Deaf community is so out of my comfort zone that I have to push myself to get involved in the events.   My analogy I thought of is if one day you woke up and realized, in order to communicate with your child you need to become involved with the Hmong community.   The first thing you need to do is find out where the events in the community are and find that person that is willing to take the time with you and your extremely poor and sometimes unrecognizable language as you try to speak Hmong.   All while you are trying not to insult their culture since you know very little of their social norms.  

 I'm nervous/scared of the unknown of getting involved in the Deaf community, however, I believe the return will be ten-fold for Kai's development, our relationship and his overall success.