Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Preschool Plans

Sometimes I can be pretty cavalier about things. The truth is that I'm not always so confident. Of course I knew that Norah would some day get off of the vent and decannulate. There was never a doubt in my mind. I don't really have a whole lot of doubts when it comes to Norah and what she can and will do. I guess my doubt is sometimes in my own ability to facilitate some of those triumphs. I also have doubts in my ability to cope with everything with a smile. Sometimes I'm not sure if my smile is genuine. I absolutely love my life. It is beautiful and wonderful, and I wouldn't trade it for any other life. I have found fulfillment in ways I never could have imagined. But sometimes when I look ahead, it all seems so daunting. Yes, we've gotten this far - and what a challenging journey it has been. Again, I don't ever doubt that we'll meet our goals. I suppose, like most people, I just get a little tired.

Though she is a very smart girl (sometimes too smart for her own good), Norah is pretty behind developmentally. She turns three in a few weeks but she has yet to walk, stand, or even get to a sitting position on her own (though she's close). She is improving, but her expressive communication is lacking too. We recently made the decision to enroll Norah into preschool at the Jean Massieu School of the Deaf in Salt Lake City. Norah is hard of hearing. Though we have a Deaf Mentor (one of the most awesome people) who comes weekly to teach us American Sign Language, Norah will need even more exposure to ASL if we hope for her to be fluent. As for us, we're working on our fluency too. I truly believe that at JMS, Norah will be a "normal kid". I picture her at a typical school. She tires quickly, so would be lying down a lot. She would have minimal communication with the other kids. They would treat her like a baby, running figurative (and possibly literal) circles around her. She is not a baby, and I remind people of that often. At JMS, she'll be just any other kid there. Those kids are so accustomed to "different" that different = normal. She'll be ready to join Harper at our local elementary school someday, but that isn't just yet. Next month we have another appointment at Shriners to see how her scoliosis and c-spine (neck) stability are coming along. Cross your fingers for us, because her safety at school will be directly related to her neck stability.

Norah's formal list of goals on file is a long one. Will it be hard? Yes. Will we get there? Yes. Heck, I'm just thankful that we are facing these educational decisions and goals. It wasn't too long ago that we were facing different sorts of decisions - those that were necessary for her very survival. It's a welcome change of pace to be thinking about education and development instead of breathing and surviving.
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