Blogging about life in Minnesota, raising our six kids with Down syndrome while battling Breast Cancer.

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the floor in the morning the devil says, "Oh shit! She's up!"

Monday, December 26, 2011

Angela Update

I think it's about time I do an update post for each of the kids. Don't you? Lets go oldest to youngest!

First, here are Homecoming pictures that I never got around to posting! Let me just say, Homecoming is an eye opener and Angela will probably never go to another Homecoming dance again! For those in our area who's kids go, you might want to make an appearance yourself. I promise you will be enlightened! Anyway, it was tough to find Angela a dress that was not only stylish, but fit her without looking like a little girl's dress. At just 4 ft 8 1/2 inches, Angela is the size of a 4th or 5th grader. Shopping in the petite section was not the answer either since those clothes are are too "mature" for her to wear. I need to find a good petite junior store! In any case, Angela had a blast at homecoming (and during the homecoming game managed to get herself down on the field which is something else I never blogged about!)

Angela is adjusting very well to her new little brother. In fact, she adjusted very well to Axel too, but I would say she's adjusting even better to Asher. Probably because when Axel came, Angela went from being an "only" in the house to having to share our attention. Asher just kind of slid right in! LOL

Angela is developmentally very much around 9-ish. Do you know what girls that age like to do? They like to mother everyone! Angela LOVES that Asher often comes to her to be picked up. (though she can barely manage this.) and he likes to snuggle with her on the couch. He also likes to play with her hair which she isn't as fond of. ;-)

In school Angela is doing great. You may remember some of my posts (like this one ) where I talked about the problems going on with staff at Angela's school. We had another meeting right before I left for Serbia to add some additional mainstream classes to her schedule for second trimester. She's now in 3 mainstream classes, plus lunch, then adaptive P.E. So she only has 2 hours out of her day that are spent in the special ed. classroom. However, at that meeting there was still a problem with  her case manager and I said again, I wanted to see changes in that area. Then...I think it was the day before I left...I got an email from the case manager that just frustrated me to no end. I contracted the administrators involved and informed then that when I returned from Serbia, if that case manager was still in place, I would be removing Angela from school and homeschooling her. I wasn't doing this as a threat, just a statement so that when I got home and did this nobody would be surprised. I knew that admin. was doing all they could with the situation. They really were trying hard. The problem was this was a tenured teacher and there are laws. Unfortunately (and this is NOT the fault of the district, but the system in general!) sometimes tenured teachers have too many rights.

There were a couple more emails exchanged at the beginning of my Serbia trip that just made me shake my head. Fortunately admin. was cc'd on each of them so they were able to see the for themselves what was going on. Finally, one week before I came home, I received an email that stated "Effective immediately (case manager) has accepted another position." In other words, effective immediately that person would no longer be Angela's teacher!!! Oh how I did the snoopy happy dance when I got that email!!! I was practically giddy! Not only was Angela going to get a new, highly qualified teacher, but I wasn't going to have to homeschool her! (while I'm perfectly capable of homeschooling Angela, she would NOT like being out of school and away from her friends!)

In the meantime, the other DCD teacher was there (she's awesome!) along with a long-term sub who was also great. Then the week we came home it was announced a new teacher had been hired to fill the position and she will be starting after Christmas break.

So, Angela is loving school right now. Well really she's loved it all year and was oblivious to the things that were not happening for her. She has no idea the education she wasn't getting. Now all the modifications and adaptations that were in the IEP are in place and she's thriving in all her classes. She just had her second choir concert last week and it was so fun to see her up there with all her mainstream peers, not to mention hilarious! Angela is hard of hearing, and she cannot carry a tune! Her choir instructor is very patient with her, but she does NOT stand near any microphones during the concert. LOL Also, because she's 1/2 the height of everyone else, she stands at the very top bleacher, one row higher than everyone else. This puts her head height even with the other girls so she can see the director. (not that she watches him at all. She tends to sing with all her might, and with her eyes closed. LOL)

Angela is also taking a mainstream cooking class again this trimester, which she really enjoys. She is so proud of the things she makes and brings home to share. Her teacher gives her all tests and quizzes orally and Angela is doing very well with them.

This trimester we added a "Wellness" class. It's a mainstream elective that focuses on making healthy choices in all areas of life. Things like choosing a college, stress management, strategies for studying, etc. It's a pretty difficult class, (her work is modified to her ability level) but Angela seems to like it.

For fun Angela is on the adaptive floor hockey league (this is a high school league sport). They normally practice four days a week after school but Angela has speech and OT two days a week so her practices are a bit limited. Her first game is coming up soon and we always have a lot of fun watching.

Angela decided she didn't want to swim for Special Olympics this year. She's always had to choose between swimming and basketball. Well basketball starts up after the new year and both Angela and Axel will be playing this year so that will be fun!

Next up: Axel


Kathy said...

Sounds like she is a very busy teen. She is so pretty, Leah.

Tamara said...

Good news about school. I think you found the perfect dress. She's looking good!

Homeschoolin Mama said...

Thank you so much for sharing about Angela :) We are in the process of bringing two little ones with down syndrome home (Sydney and Lucien - on Reece's Rainbow) We have seen how they are as babies and adults, we have missed learning about the teen years! Love this!!

Mommy to those Special Ks said...

I LOVE Angela's dress! Sounds like she is doing well. I'm glad that the school stuff is working out!