Thursday, June 3, 2010

Blown Away

Something has been happening around here lately. I have on several occasions been blown away by Ella. Now, I like to think that I don't lower my expectations for Ella because she has Down syndrome, but I think that I am realistic. Maybe? I don't know. Maybe it is just my coping mechanism so that I don't get upset. The fact is that I know Ella is smart and I know that she is doing SOO good, BUT she has Down syndrome and with that comes the need for a little more help and the need for a little extra time.

Ella's yearly IEP meeting was last week. Usually I am a nervous wreck going into IEP/IFSP meetings. I don't know why but I just dread these meetings. It's a time when you get to hear how different your kid is, and plan for all the extra help that they need the next year, and that is still such a raw spot, and when it gets touched, it hurts. I will say that going into the IEP this year was a bit different, maybe I am getting a little more used to it? Maybe its because at Ella's age they no longer do the evaluations they did when she was younger, you know the kind that says your kid is 24 months and has the gross motor skills of a 12 months old, stuff like that (I do NOT miss those.) I think the real reason I was more at ease was knowing that Ella will be going into the same class next year, and I can't tell you just how happy I am about that!!!


The special ed teacher that visits Ella's class twice a week said that she has NO cognitive or social goals for Ella, so the only thing she will work with her on in class is functional communication. I asked her if she re-evaled Ella, and if she is sure that Ella wasn't behind cognitively. I guess I always question that a) because all I have to compare her to is Hunter and that boy is so smart and b) I've always known that Hunter is smart because he tells me every little thing he knows and has done that since he was 1. I have often said that if Ella could talk (yes I know she can talk, I mean talk like her brother) that we would be blown away by how much she knows. Anyhow, in response to my question they all started presenting me with some of Ella's work, things she does in class etc, and let me just say WOW!! She is doing some of the same work that the "typical" kids in her class that are moving on to Kindergarten are doing. I am amazed!!! Her therapists all had great things to say about her as well, she is making great progress.

A couple of weeks ago when I went in to pick up Ella, Stephanie (Ella's Para) said she had to show me something. The class was told to do a self portrait and Ella drew herself without prompting. I was expecting some scribbles. This is what I was shown.

I had to fight back the tears. This is one of those things that I was just blown away by, I mean, I NEVER even entertained the thought that Ella could draw a picture. I mean seriously? Never. But there you have it, identifiable features, hair, ears, eyes and a smile. Ella's wonderful teachers framed it for me and gave it to me, they are SOOOOO sweet, then they demanded that I make Ella do her homework. Prior to the self portrait the teachers sent home a paper and the kids were supposed to draw their family. Yeah right. I said "you know this is just going to be a lot of scribbles," they said that's fine, have her draw mom and even if it's scribbles label it mom and so on. As I would look up at the board where they hung the others students pictures that they drew, I kept putting it off. None of the others were scribbles. So, that night we went home and did her homework. Again BLOWN AWAY. I did not prompt her other than to say "draw Daddy here," and point to the paper "draw Mommy here" etc. Ella picked her own crayons and did everything on her own, I simply labeled them at the end. Here is that picture..... again, near tears.

Notice Daddy has no hair : ) and Mommy has crazy hair.




I am just so dang proud of her, my heart could burst. She is amazing!!

I realize that Ella is shirtless in a lot of my pics : ) I can't help it, the girl likes to strip. Here is her newest fav thing to do when she is taking off her shirt.

23 comments:

Aunt Tami said...

She is one outstanding little girl!!! Cant wait to see you all very soon!!! We are all so excited and Shaylin is very excited to get to play with Ella!!! The way she is drawing her and Shay will be able to draw and color for hours and keep each other very busy!!! They can dance and draw the day away!!! Typical little girl stuff ya know!!! But dont worry Shay will no doubt introduce her to the wonderful world of nail polish and lip gloss before we leave!! LOL!!! Love you guys!!!!

Kristin said...

Wow indeed. You go Ella!!

Cammie Heflin said...

Way to go Ella! That is so awesome!

Sweet Pea's Mommy said...

I love it! You have every right to be so proud!

Aimee said...

This is so, SO awesome! Thanks for sharing! I think this sort of thing is so important to show people- Just like anyone else, we have no idea what our kids are capable of! Way to go, rock star Ella! :)

My name is Sarah said...

Great drawing Ella!!! You silly girl wearing your shirt on your head.

Tara said...

She is amazing! The self portrait is sooo cute! I just want you to know that my typically chromosomed kid who will be 5 in August draws less recognizable people than Ella. She rocks!!!

Lori said...

You should be proud! Those are awesome pictures that obviously demonstrate how much she knows and how capable she is!
And I love the "shirt hair" as we like to call it around our house =)

Coco said...

I love seeing those drawings...you are quite the artist Ella. I can't wait until Coco can do the same.

Runningmama said...

You must be so proud, those drawings are amazing, truly AMAZING!

Laurie said...

I LOVE this post!!! LOVE IT!

Kelly said...

Way to go Ella! Keep up the good work!! How sweet of Ella's teacher to frame that self portrait!! You should do the same with the family portrait! Who knows, you may be selling her art work soon! Hmmm, have I got you thinking?

Pallavi said...

WOW.... Those drawings are amazing.. I think there is an srtist in making.. :)

Amy L said...

Beautiful pictures!!:) Ella is doing awesome! My 23 year old son Jimmy (Ds) began reading in 1st grade and now my 7 year old son Caleb (adopted from Russia in 2005) who also has Ds is beginning to read too. Believe me, Ella is going to do nothing but AMAZE you!!:)Those pictures Ella drew are just wonderful!
Amy

Wendy said...

I have been following your blog for about a year now and have never commented before, but I am so excited about this post! Way to go, Ella!! And thank God for teachers who expect Ella to do her work! : )

Colleen said...

Wow, she is a little artist. The detail she added to the pictures are pretty amazing. She's getting so big too!

Stevenson Family said...

Oh how I love all her drawings!! It gives me so much hope for Beau when I see all that Ella is doing!! Thanks for posting.

Kelli said...

Oh wow, I am in tears!! Your little girl is amazing and this post just reminded me to keep pushing Colin to do the things we know he can do!

Way to go Ella...you rock!

Anonymous said...

Wow, that is great! She is amazing which is why she SHOULD have cognitive goals on her IEP. Keep the expectations high and keep going to see how much she can accomplish next year!

Kacey Bode said...

Just to comment on the above Anonymous' comment, Ella does not qualify for cognitive help. She hasn't for over 2 years now. That does not mean that she won't learn anything. It just means she will not be pulled out of regular class, or pulled off to the side for one on one teaching. It means the when tested Ella comes out at her age, and therefore gets to learn just the same things, the same way her peers do! Just thought I would clear that up! If you don't qualify for something in the school district then you don't get it. Period.

Ruby's Mom said...

Just Excellent!!!! I got goosebumps when I saw Ella's drawings!!!!
I loved the video's of her preschool performance, in your previous post,too!Thank you for sharing those :)

Debbie said...

I just now read this post.....amazing!!!! JEB does stuff that amazes me all the time.

Like the awards he got for his grades....who would've thought???

He makes amazing towers with his blocks and LEGO's......again, amazing!!!

Keep up the good work Ella!!!

Katye said...

she is quite the artist! good job ella! she is just so beautiful i can't get over it!