Friday, May 09, 2008

One Great Day

I can't even begin to describe how wonderful yesterday turned out! Benjamin had the best time at Camp Hope and I can't wait for him to visit them again.
Where do I begin? First, a big thank you for your thoughts, prayers, emails, calls and visits. We appreciate you all so much. It was great to know we had so many prayer warriors out there for us yesterday! I think I actually had a huge smile on my face the entire time we were at the facility because I knew how blessed our time there was!
We had three appointments in a row for the evaluation. Our occupational therapist, Shanna, was in charge of the overall evaluation. She was wonderful and Benjamin took to her immediately. He spent about an hour and a half with her. I was able to sit in each room he went to and watch the entire process-- which I found very interesting and informative. They encourage parents to stay in the room with the kiddos during the therapy.
During our time with Shanna, she watched him play and would give him little tasks to perform. These tasks included everything from building a tower of blocks, stringing large beads on a piece of yarn and taking off his shoes and socks without assistance (an obstacle we have always had). She talked to me a lot and asked me a lot of questions. She also had him draw shapes with different colors of crayons and let him play with a whole bunch of silly putty.
Shanna took us next to meet with Becca, our physical therapist. With Becca, he worked on his gross motor skills: jumping, running, throwing and catching a ball, pedaling a bike and jumping on the trampoline. We discovered that his sense of balance is a little off and while watching him run and walk, Becca told me his gait was a little unusual. The tricylces that they let him use were great! He has always had a difficult time pedaling a bike or tricycle (which is a part of these "issues"). The bikes there were built completely differently and he did wonderfully on them-- and loved the experience of pedaling instead of getting frustrated like he usually does. He also really took to one of those glider/scooter things and did a great job on it! We are thinking that purchase is next on our list for the house.
Last, we met with the speech therapist which is where he really excelled. He really made me proud as I watched him in this session. His retention, auditory processing and comprehension were on the level of a five-year-old! He does have a few small speech issues that are very easy to correct. Like a lot of three-year-olds, he forms an "F" with the "TH" sound, which is very normal. He also puts a "T" on the end of words that end with "N". These small little speech items will be easy to correct if we just stay on top of him whenever he does this.
I should probably explain that since we did an evaluation at Camp Hope and not with a Developmental Pediatrician, we did not receive a "label" diagnosis, just the tools to help with each obstacle he faces (what we were really looking for anyway). However, after visiting at length with Shanna, after her review of what our pediatrician's office sent over and after she observed Benjamin for three hours, she let me know that our hunch and our pediatrician's hunch of a possible case of Asperger's Syndrome was "spot on." She told me that at Camp Hope they are not allowed to use the "A" words (as in Asperger's or Austism). They simply provide the tools to help kids cope and work through a variety of challenges.
Our insurance, for now, has approved us for twelve sessions at Camp Hope with another evaluation of our progress at the end of those twelve sessions. All three of our therapists said that after twelve sessions and an evaulation, he will still need their services, that is just how the insurance does things. Camp Hope assured me that he will be able to come as long as he needs to and insurance will cover it. For now, they are going over the evaluation with a fine tooth comb and will be contacting us next week sometime to set up his therapy to follow probably the week after.
I just fell in love with Camp Hope yesterday and could see how much they already cared about Benjamin. It was a very relaxed atmosphere, not clinical at all. It was a place filled with laughter and smiles. They were patting Benjamin on the back and giving him high fives as we left. David had a mandatory meeting yesterday and was unable to join us, but I can't wait until he gets the chance to see Benjamin "in action" at Camp Hope. He was super disappointed that he couldn't be there. He was also sad to miss the promised trip to Chick-fil-A that Benjamin told all of his therapists about. After three solid hours of therapy, he certainly deserved a trip to his favorite place! We ate at the one in Temple (the one in Harker Heights opens in July...woohoo) and he took note of all of the Chick-fil-A billboards between Waco and Temple and said..."There's those Chick-fil-A cows. We're almost there!"
The ironic thing is that David also received a call from KISD yesterday while Benjamin & I were in Waco. They are ready to start Benjamin's evaluation at the elemetnary school on Monday morning! So, we will be going over there for that then! He explained to the school all about Camp Hope and it sounded like they were excited about that path also. The school wants to see all of Camp Hope's evaluations as well, to have that much more information on Benjamin.
The ball is definitely rolling. And it seems to be rolling in the right direction, too! I'm sure I'll have even more information on Monday to report.
You must really care about us if you read this entire post! It was quite lengthy. Thanks for the support. We feel it abundantly.


MelissaT said...

SO glad to hear about the great experience. Y'all were in my thoughts and prayers yesterday. I'm happy to hear that Benjamin will be getting what he needs!

P.S. Gotta love Chick-fil-a--that's our absolute favorite!

J Stolle said...

Wonderful news Kristi, I am happy that you were able to observe the entire process. It gives alot of insight into what methods are used now as compared to twenty four years ago.

The speech thingy...that is part of our family history. My little sister couldn't say the little "F", everything was with a "S". Her son, and also both of my middle sisters sons also had the same problem, but have outgrown it, they did go to speech therapy at about this same age and it did help alot.

My little sisters son is graduating on Saturday with his Masters of Art in Speech Communication from Our Lady of the Lake University. WooHoo! We are very happy for him, as well as the other nephew who graduated last night with his Masters -College of Education and Human Development (Kinisiology).

So don't fret girl, it will all be in God's hands.

Arly said...

That is wonderful news! Sounds like Benjamin will be able to have some fun and be helped. And for you to learn some tools to help you! I'm so glad that Camp Hope was all it was cracked up to be. They seem like good people.

We will certainly keep you all and Benjamin in our prayers (as always). I'm so happy to hear this news!

Jennifer said...

Hey Kristi! I'm so glad that your visit went really well and that you'll have more tools in your belt. It's very comforting to be pointed in a direction and helped along with ideas and tips. We've been thinking of y'all and praying for you that this process would be able to happen soon and that you would get the answers and help you need.

We're just going to have to do "breaklunch" again real soon!!!

Jennifer said...

So happy for you that it was an enjoyable experience and you learned lots of things about your precious Benjamin! I hope they continue to provide the necessary attention to him and all of you.

Happy Mama said...

I am SO thankful you had a wonderful experience! I have been thinking of you guys and lifting you up! Benjamin looks so confident in that picture- like he feels good about what he just did- he is so adorable! I am confident that God is in control and He will continue to lead you where you need to be. SO happy for you all! Love you-

Amanda said...

I'm so glad to hear how well everything went! It's so great for Benjamin to be getting the therapy he really needs! And it's even better that he seemed to enjoy it. Keep us updated!