|Cecely, March 10, 2012|
Sunday, March 18, 2012
A Little Bit About Cecely...
If you don't know my little girl, Cecely, let me tell you her story. The following is a letter I have written to give to people who work with my little lady:
Cecely was born 6 weeks premature. At birth, she was not breathing. The small hospital she was born in was not equipped to deal with her problem, and she was about to be airlifted to a major hospital. Thankfully, she began to breathe and spent a limited time in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. As Cecely grew up, she was late to crawl, late to walk, but not late to talk. With this being my husband and my first child, we weren’t too concerned. At her doctor appointments, she was always under weight, but she was feisty and bright. At the age of 4, we placed Cecely in a wonderful Pre-Kindergarten program. There, she had an amazing teacher who was a former special education educator. She suggested that Cecely be evaluated for developmental delay. The pediatrician did not agree with the teacher, but having an educational background, I tend to side with a teacher over a doctor.
My husband and I took Cecely to a pediatric neurologist. There, we learned a wealth of information! We learned that Cecely had sustained a stroke in-utero, and that was what triggered her early arrival into the world. Because of her stroke, and her loss of oxygen at birth, Cecely has developed a mild form of cerebral palsy. The cerebral palsy had caused developmental delay that caused difficulty in the classroom. Reading and writing were not easy for Cecely from the beginning. Cecely also draws in her left arm, her left foot turns in, and she has tremors in her limbs. As she has grown, she has learned to compensate for her physical disabilities. While compensating can be a good thing, it had caused Cecely to not learn the best or right way to complete tasks. While in the public school system, Cecely received occupational therapy, physical therapy, and resource classes. The occupational therapist worked diligently to find ways to help Cecely be successful in the classroom. The physical therapist compared Cecely to other children, and didn’t see the need to work very much with her. The resource teachers worked with Cecely in the traditional classroom and pulled her out for small groups.
The public school program worked hard for Cecely, but even with all that help, Cecely had “plateaued” in the classroom. She had stopped making progress in reading, writing, and math. The IEP team had determined the next step was to label Cecely at risk, followed by a move to special education. As a former special education assistant, I knew Cecely would become passed over in that program. She was definitely NOT a candidate for special education. My husband and I decided the best course of action for Cecely was to homeschool her in an attempt to get her back on grade level. We also decided to repeat 2nd grade with Cecely. I have stayed in contact with the resource teachers and occupational therapist, and they have helped me adapt to teaching Cecely at home. I am happy and proud to say that Cecely has made great improvements in all of her subjects.
Working with Cecely is challenging. Her tremors are not consistent, which makes it hard to know how to help. Currently, the assistive devices I use at home are a weighted pencil or a fat pencil to write with. Being a 2nd grader, Cecely doesn’t like the concept of using the big pencils, but thankfully, I have found some that have sparkles and bright colors which she likes to use. By far, the most helpful assistive technology has been the computer. While Cecely writes every day, we have started an online journal for her. She enjoys typing poetry and stories on the computer. Thankfully, we live in a world that is technologically centered. The reality is that if Cecely can work her way around a computer, she will be able to succeed.
Having a child with developmental delay can be a challenge. It is also a blessing and a joy, especially when she learns a new concept or completes a difficult task. My goal is to learn more assistive devices to help Cecely. I want to get her on grade level and allow her to go back into the traditional classroom. I am thankful for every obstacle we overcome, and so thankful for such a sweet daughter! Aside from her academic performance, Cecely is one of the most compassionate, caring, and comical children I have ever worked with. She sincerely cares about all people. She is always reaching out to the child with no friends, the smaller child who needs help, and to any adult who might need a smile. I am so very proud of Cecely, and I know that God has BIG PLANS for her!