Saturday, May 24, 2014

Hooper Elementary

Eli is going to Hooper Elementary!! I really wasn't sure what was going to be decided at his IEP meeting & worried and cried tears up until that day.  (Now I know why old grandmas are such worry warts--it starts the day you find out your pregnant & just gets worse the older your kids get & then grandkids, etc.--geez!)

The lady in charge first brought out all his test results, went through each one and would mark his score and compare it with the average score of a kid his age.  He was behind in everything but reading, borderline on some stuff but mostly pretty below average.  But after we discussed the test results, we discussed the pros and cons of him either going to Roy Elementary in the Resource classroom for a full day OR his neighborhood school Hooper Elementary, half-day being pulled out for resources a half hour everyday & speech therapy twice a week.

Before going to the meeting Chad knew what he wanted, Hooper Elementary.  The lady in charge of Eli's ABA therapy program, who decides what & how he is learning new skills--joined us and she wanted Hooper Elementary as well.  I on the other hand was still unsure--although there was a time when I thought what I wanted was for him to go to his neighborhood school in a class with 25-30 kids.
But both let me decide--so in my head I had my pros & cons list.

PROS of Hooper Elementary:

  • Typical kids his age are an example to him.  
  • This past year he has thrived with kids his age and grown so much, hoping that will continue.
  • Half day--he will still get 15 hours of one on one ABA therapy each week.
  • Neighborhood school.
  • This is what our goal was for Eli & with how fast he is improving right now, if I didn't let him try it out then I would never know if he is capable.
PROS of Roy Elementary:

  • Only 11 kids in the resource class for Fall 2014. (1 teacher & some aides for a small class)
If Hooper Elementary doesn't workout & he isn't doing well in the classroom then it'll be OK and he will be moved to Roy Elementary.  I will know that we tried and prepared Eli as well as we could.  BUT I don't necessarily think this will happen, but I am and have been preparing myself if it does.  My heart gets a little stronger & I know this little boy of mine is trying his hardest to learn and understand concepts and ideas that don't come easy to him, compared to other 5 year olds.

As Charlotte gets older, I realize the major differences in their understanding.  And what's the Autism saying?...  "Autism isn't bad, just different?.."  I may have slaughtered that, but that's what I am learning to accept and realize.  Yes, I want Eli to reach his potential.  Yes, I hope Eli can learn the skills in life necessary to succeed & provide for himself one day--maybe even a family.  But it's OK if he does it a different route then I ever imagined any of my kids to go.  I never thought I would have a kid who needed 15 hours a week of one on one therapy to help him catch up his knowledge and understanding to kids his age.  But I wouldn't trade this boy for the world.  I have grown in so many ways & will continue as he goes through elementary, junior high & high school.  He is a blessing to our family.

So wish us luck that we can work hard this summer with Eli to get him ready for Kindergarten!!  Although I probably won't stop worrying about all the things that could possibly go wrong for him--I am going to try.  And breathe.  It's going to be fine.  :)

I know that pushing Eli & getting us all out of our comfort zone is what is best for him.

Kids enjoying the trampoline

Fun today at Hill Air Force Museum with cousins!!

Ogden River Parkway--bike trail.

I will be posting progress update within the next two weeks!

Thanks for reading.


Wednesday, May 7, 2014


I haven't posted in forever.  Eli's progress seems to be taking off & I have been wanting to download a video of Eli reading his first book--but I would get frustrated or tired and just stop.  My bad.

Eli has an IEP meeting May 20th, which means we are deciding where Eli will go to school and what he is going to do.  A couple months ago, I thought I decided I am OK with whatever will be chosen for Eli in this meeting.  And it's not that I am not OK, I just get nervous.  He will more than likely be going to Roy Elementary, in the Special Needs class.  But whatever happens, I just want to make sure I am always his best advocate & on top of my game for what is best for him.  Which sometimes seems overwhelming & hard--especially when I feel like I won't know what's best until I try something.

Then a couple weeks ago I entered Eli in a "lottery" for a charter school called Spectrum Academy, in North Salt Lake.  It is specifically for kids with Autism, and they are put with kids that are at the same level as them instead of the same age.  But it'd be a 45 minute commute & I believe they have already chosen kids so I might be too late for Fall 2014.  So this is an option in the future--although I have a huge desire to start looking into how we can build a Spectrum Academy in Ogden!!  Since they just built one in Orem, I think it's time for Northern Utah to start a Spectrum Academy.  If anyone has ideas on how to start a Charter school let me know.  Seriously.

If Eli could stay with the same 12 kids at Bravo Arts Academy up to high school, it'd be pretty cool.  But then maybe he'd stop progressing after awhile, since change is healthy & helps people grow.  Although, I will be forever grateful that he was able to take a therapist with him to Bravo, to help improve social & language skills for this last year.  He graduates Kindergarten June 5th.

Eli does really well with his class of 12 kids, but when you get him in a big group he can lose focus.  I think this is where he will struggle the most being mainstreamed, is in a class of 30 kids he won't be able to stay focused on the task at hand.  And I know it's not fair of me to want my kid to be the distractor or need one on one help most of the time to stay on task, etc.

So I don't necessarily know what I want at this time for Eli & have many mixed emotions.  So I must remind myself of what I do know & what I have shared before.  But this knowledge is worth sharing, because it is priceless.

This is what I wrote awhile back:

""..hold fast to what you already know and stand strong until additional knowledge comes."
                                                                                                        -Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

I don't know what Eli's future is going to bring.  Maybe he will be ready for kindergarten next year, maybe not.  I think it's OK for me to hope that he will be ready & do all I can do to help make that happen.  But because I don't know, I need to remember the things I do know.

And this is what I know:

1. Eli is a child of God.
2. Heavenly Father loves Eli more than I do.
3. Heavenly Father knows Eli better than I do.
4. Heavenly Father gave Eli this struggle for a purpose.  (And me this struggle for a purpose.)
5. I was given Eli to love, nurture, teach, & help him reach his potential--& am capable of this.
And last but not least.
6. Heavenly Father hears my prayers & answers them.  (Not always how I expect them to be answered---BUT because He loves me & Eli & has a plan for us, I know He knows best.)"

I am going to stand strong, be my boys best advocate, be involved, & on top of my game so that Eli has the best chance to reach his potential.  I love him so much and am grateful for who he is & the joy he brings into my life everyday.


P.S. If you didn't see my FB post about the Autism Medicaid Waiver, this is what I wrote:
I would be mad at myself if i didn't share--for 1 in 47 boys being diagnosed with autism in Utah, I really don't know that many at all...BUT maybe you do!! The Autism Medicaid Waiver program that has been a life changer for Eli has open enrollment until May 18th. It's for kids that have been diagnosed on the autism spectrum from ages 2 to 6 & if more people apply then they can accept then people are chosen by lottery. But it's worth a shot!! Please share with those who might be interested. This is where you can apply: if someone has questions they can ask me whatever!