Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sweet gift

I am blessed in so many ways.  I know that sometimes people look at my life and see the weight or the burdens of things we are dealing with.  I understand that.  I probably would have viewed it that way a few short years ago.  A lot has changed in our life in a few short years.  I won't say that it hasn't been hard - or that it doesn't continue to be hard some days.  Without going through the hard times though, I wouldn't have learned about God's faithfulness, love and goodness. 

The hard times have changed me and given me a different perspective on things.  For me, this is a good thing.  That doesn't mean that I don't wish at times that it were easier, that there weren't so many decisions and things to figure out.  It is an area though in which I have much to learn about leaning on God, listening to Him and following where He leads me (and that isn't always where *I* want to go!). 

Lately, I feel overwhelmed with the need for information and also the need to make decisions.  What is best for each child?  How can I help my children to learn given their unique and sometimes challenging learning needs?  How do I even know what is best given the myriad of choices available and the conflicting advice on which route to take.  It leaves my head swimming sometimes, though I'm trying to tackle it a little bit at a time. 

One of the blessings of making decisions and that most of them aren't final.  I'm not commiting to something that can't be changed if it isn't working for our family.  I'd like to make the best/right decisions the first time, but know that isn't always possible.  I don't want to make wrong decisions though that are detrimental.  Does this even make sense?

One of the decisions looming in our future is what to do with Eliana when she turns 3.  She is currently in a program for children age 0-3.  While in this program she receives therapy for her various developmental needs.  This is a wonderful service.  Most of these therapies occur in our home which is also a blessing.  She currently has 5 therapies per week (2 speech, 1 occupational/feeding, 1 physical therapy, and 1 developmental/music therapy).  This will all end when she turns 3.  The typical course of action is to then enroll in public school preschool where she would get therapy.

Personally, it would be very hard to enroll my little girl (she is still so very young developmentally) in school and have her gone each day.  I do want to do what is best for her though.  I'm not sure that for our family though that this is the best choice.  I'm still praying, pondering and looking into our options.  I'm wanting God to show us what is best for Eliana.

I've had a couple of things recently that are encouraging me that we can school our girl at home.  Not big things.  I'm not sure God always speaks to me in big ways though. 

Therapy.  That is honestly the biggest draw to putting her in school.  Our insurance will cover some therapy, but not all of it.  We recently had good news about the therapies that Eliana will be able to receive that is covered by our insurance.  She is eligible for twice what we thought she would be able to get.  One half of that would be for speech and the other half for pt/ot.  It is not the amount that she gets now, but is still much more than we thought we'd be able to get.  I'm thankful for that!

Teaching Eliana.  She learns in some different ways that will make using a traditional curriculum challening unless adapted for her.  I have a lot to learn about how best to do this (while juggling schooling for my other children as well).  I've gotten some encouragment here too.  I'm going to share three of them.

First, my friend Hollie recently showed me a curriculum designed for special needs children (specifically Down syndrome) made by/for BJU press.  I wrote to the gal that wrote it and she sent me a copy of the curriculum for 3yos.  It isn't complete, but is a great start.  I need something to help me as I get started and I think this will be a great thing.

Second, I ran into a blogging friend while we were on vacation!  How ironic is that?  I recognized her daughter from pictures on her blog and when I heard her name, I knew it had to be her!  Beth is homeschooling her 11yo daughter who also has Down syndrome.  She has shared great information with me in the past about homeschooling DS.  We were able to talk briefly and I shared some of my concerns with her.  Beth was very encouraging to me that I could do this. 

Third, just today I received a gift.  Two new books that will help me teach Eliana. 

Teaching Math to children with Down Syndrome
Teaching Reading to children with Down Syndrome.

Rita was doing a give-away on her blog to celebrate the birthday of a little girl that lives far away that has captured her heart.  You can read more about this celebration and see her beautiful family on her blog.  Thank you Rita!

Now, I realize that none of this is huge.  I realize that this may not be God's answer.  I'm open to hearing, but am increasingly at peace with the path I believe He is leading us down.  I am thankful for the opportunities that I have to learn, to be molded and to grow.  I'm thankful for a Father that guides me, teaches me and loves me completely. 

I'm thankful for the sweet gifts He gives along the way!