The end of the beginning


It’s graduation day, folks. Well, that’s what I’ve dubbed it as. Maddy officially completed the second phase of the “Getting Ready to Learn” program. Hoorah! Eric and I were able to peek in on her last session to see what she has learned. She was in a bit of a grumpy mood and so we weren’t able to see everything she’s accomplished, but we got a glimpse.

Last night I was feeling really anxious about today. What were they going to tell us? Was this going to be the beginning of the end or the end of the beginning? When Maddy started this program, they had said that some kids only need “Getting Ready to Learn” and then they’re caught up and ready to continue on their own. My heart and my head were telling me different things.

Heart: She’s all caught up! Yahooo!

Head: Erm… not so much.

We got a ton of fantastic news today. Maddy has really shown the incredible ability she has to learn. She has knocked skills off of their list like a rock star. She has made huge gains in her development.

We also learned today that Maddy is still delayed.

For those of you who have not been through something like this with a child, I will explain why this is significant. Watching your child make progress in therapy is very confusing. You watch the progress and wonder how far that progress is: Is she age appropriate now? How much more progress is needed before she is age appropriate? You begin to notice less and less obvious differences between your child and other similar-aged children, but you aren’t quite sure what that means.

The root of all of your questions and observations is: How much longer will we need to have therapy in our life?

Your heart tells you that it won’t be that much longer. Soon it will be a distant memory. Somehow, though, your head knows that to not be true. Today, our therapists confirmed that for us. Despite incredible progress, we still have a ways to go.

Progress made. More progress needed.

I’m happy, but I’m sad.

We’re diving right into a new plan. We’ll start with an assessment: VB-MAPP (Verbal Behaviour Milestones Assessment and Placement Program). This will give us a clearer picture on where exactly Maddy stands in terms of 18 month milestones – What is she on track for? What is she ahead of? And what is she behind on? Every so often the therapists will re-assess Maddy using this same program to track her progress.

The information from the initial VB-MAPP will be used to develop a Maddy-specific ABA (Applied Behavioural Analysis) program. The intensiveness of her ABA program will depend on the results of the VB-MAPP.

I also completed a 2 hour telephone intake with Thames Valley Children’s Centre today, and we will work on how we can incorporate their services with our current services at Blue Balloon.

Maddy graduated today from “Getting Ready to Learn.” This step is the end of the beginning. From here we are moving forward to find the right supports Maddy needs in order to learn and be prepared for future success. Therapy is part of our family’s life, and though my heart will continue to hope, it might be for a long time moving forward.


2 responses »

  1. That’s so great that she’s made improvements, but I can’t even begin to imagine the roller coaster of a ride it must be for you guys. It sounds like it’s many bittersweet moments, but the best part is, every day is a new day and to keep pushing forward (easier said than done some days I’m sure!). Maddy sounds like she’s a determined little girl 😉 It sounds like therapy has been a great tool for your family and has helped not just her, but you guys as well 🙂

    If you would be interested, I would love to have you Guest Post on my blog some day! I know there would be so many of my followers who would be interested in hearing about your story, learning more about this and I’m sure also many people who can relate. Completely up to you though! But if you’re interested, feel free to email me 🙂

    • Hi Brandi,
      You’re definitely right, it is a bittersweet rollercoaster – but I know your family (and many others) know what that is like. I would love to guest post on your blog. I love spreading awareness for families and kiddos like Maddy. I will send you a quick email.

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