Thursday, February 10, 2011

IEP FInalization and other stuff...

So for those of you out there who are about to dip into the IEP ocean of fear, grief, and hope, I just want to let you know that it's not that bad. Well, let's say we have been blessed. Zoé has been taken in by a wonderful group of people including Special Ed specialists, educators, therapists and we are now ready to conquer the school system that will present itself in a couple years. IEP have to be "taken" every year until Zoé turns 18 and perhaps even when in college.
So far she's enrolled in 2 different schools and has 7 therapy sessions a week. The schedule is regimented and even though I felt overwhelmed at first, I have decided to think positive. I have to admit I hit a rough patch ever since we went to France for the Winter holidays.
I thought coming home would enable me to get through the grief of having lost dad, but it made it worse. I guess it's part of the 7 steps of grief. Being back home threw it all back into my face, for Dad was in every room, every bend in the road, every tree in the yard, every walk along the coast. It felt so new and yet so distant. It felt like he was with us in many ways but - oh the gaping void that nothing could seem to fill.
Then I came back and was thrown head first into the new schedule and did not have time to take a breather. Things have slowly settled and I have decided to take charge, to take time for myself so that I can be more focused for Zoé, more present for our family.

The positive attitude ebbs and flows, it comes and goes, and then sometimes I hit the wall again, but I know that it is not something I can keep on doing.
I constantly worry about Zoé, I wonder what the future holds, I remind myself that she won't be a ballet dancer, but she probably takes that from me, for I was never a very good dancer until salsa came along.

At the final IEP we mentioned the fact that Zoé brings a lot to the class, by her difference, she makes a difference. She has not yet been "adopted" by her peers, which is quite normal, her classmates formed a bond 5 months prior to Zoé's arrival. And kids will be kids.
They know that they have to be cautious when they come close, they see Zoé fall, they see her walking down the stairs tentatively, when she'd rather awkwardly run down the ramp. They probably notice that she still has to wear diapers, when nobody else does.
Zoé has been doing great at home, but bowel movements are a constant battle. I never though I'd cheer so much next to a poopy potty, but when she goes, it is a feast!
I have had to change Zoé's diet: no more rice, carrots, limit on apples and bananas.
We are now on prunes, prune sauce, brown rice, brown pasta, hyper fiber oatmeal, kiwis, oranges, everything that can alleviate constipation. Water, water and more water.

Zoé suffers from encopresis. I hope this doesn't make you queasy, but below is a little explanation of the problem...

Encopresis occurs when feces, or stools, are allowed to build up in the colon (or large intestine) over a period of time. This may happen because a child does not have regular bowel movements, or because the bowel doesn't empty completely on a regular basis. Over time, the feces that stay in the bowel become large, hard, and dry. At this point, having a bowel movement may be painful. Liquid feces often leak out around the hard, dry stool. The colon and rectum stretch. The stretched muscles and nerves give fewer and fewer signals to the child's brain about the need to have a bowel movement. This decrease in signals results in stool accidents, and the colon and rectum often don't empty as they should.

Zoé now knows to tell me when her belly hurts. We try a little exercise , we bend over and pretend we're blowing 100 candles off a birthday cake or deflating our belly completely. It's hard for her to really do it, but in time she'll manage, hopefully.
I have decided not to fret over the poopy issue, things will fall into place. Zoé walked her first little steps at 2 years and 2 months, she might be potty-trained when she's 4 and so what? She 's been doing things her way, following her own no rush.

Other than that, I have taken up painting again and keep on writing poetry as part of my therapy.
Exercising again as well, so that I can keep what little muscles I have...Zoé is heavy and I still have to carry her quite a bit, when she gets tired, when we are late...
I hope this finds you all well wherever you are, thank you for reading the blog, it keeps me motivated to keep it up to date.


Al1 said...

Hi you 3,

happy to read your news and wondering what doaes IEP stands for...
Al1 and the girls

Sarah said...

IEP Stands for Individualized Educational Plan, where we decide what services Zoé needs, but only services that cater her educational needs. Goals are purely educational, but that entails walking around her classroom, taking off her coat and putting it in her cubby, etc.
Grosses bises et merci d'être toujours présents sur le blog. I like that! ;-)

Al1 said...

Thanks, it is much clearer. In fact I am probably part of Hugo's (the boy I am taking care of in the classroom) IEP.