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Monday, November 18, 2013

Keith's progress

If you've been following my blog since 2008, then you know Keith's story. For those of you who do not, let me recap. We adopted Keith from the worst orphanage that I have seen. He is from Artemovsk, Ukraine, which is in the Donets'k region. Keith was born a twin and was taken home by his mother. After four months, the state went in and removed him and his twin sister, Nastya, because their mother was neglecting them. Keith was born with hypotonic cerebral palsy. Because of his CP, he was a little slower in reaching his milestones as an infant, so the careworkers decided to put him in a crib and leave him there. When we adopted Keith at 4 1/2 years old, he was wearing size 2T and weighed 20 pounds. And he was STILL in that crib. He didn't know how to walk, talk, sit up, chew food, anything. He was labeled a mental newborn and that was accurate. Because of Keith's background, his future is unknown. We didn't know if he would ever walk. But he did. He can now chew food, talk, and is potty trained (other than needing help in wiping himself). I told myself that Keith would always be with us - meaning, he would live with us forever instead of moving out in the world and becoming independent. I still think that this is what will happen, but Keith is making such progress that I can't say for certain what Keith's future holds. Keith is 9 years old and about 4 socially. His mental levels are all over the map.

I went to Keith's ETR meeting last week. An ETR meeting takes place every 3 years to ascertain if a child needs special services in education. The lady evaluated Keith and was surprised to see how much progress he has made in the past three years. In fact, his IQ was supposedly 40 before and now it is 46. I didn't think your IQ could change?! Keith's teacher, Ms W, said that his reading skills and math skills are the same as a late kindergartner and early first grader. In fact, he is working on higher levels than Iryna is now. That just blows my mind! It will be fun to see what my bugaboo can do! Here are some of the evaluations.

We recently signed up with Respite Care. We get 12 hours per month. This past weekend was our first time to utilize it. Tyler and I did two Choffy events, one on Friday evening and the other on Saturday. We spent all 12 of our hours in two days. When we came home Saturday afternoon, Tracy said that all the kids did really quite well, with only a few acting out moments. We got dinner ready and during the meal, I asked Keith a question and he starting throwing a fit. This was odd behavior for Keith, so after dinner I took Keithy aside for a snuggle. During our snuggle, Keith was able to communicate to me that he didn't like how long I had been away from him. This is a HUGE thing because Keith was able to tell me how he was feeling. He told me he didn't want for me to go away again soon and I assured him that I wouldn't. I feel so blessed that he is able to talk with me about his feelings. I truly love my son, Keith. He is a tender little boy and everyone who works with him in any way, communicates that back to me. He thrives on a schedule, always wanting to know what is coming next. He is interested in Thomas the Train currently. In fact, my younger four kids love all things Thomas. This should make Christmas easy enough!

For those of you who are mamas to children with special needs, there is a Christmas gift exchange going on. I participated in it last year and it was so much fun. I highly recommend it. Here is the link to enroll:


Kent and Leisy said...

that's really exciting news about keith's progress!! my boys went through some really crazy thomas the train years, too! They were OBSESSED! and still love to play with them. I just hate how expensive the real wooden ones are!!

Winnie said...

Always glad to hear about Keith. I remember him in the orphanage and thinking "poor child" as I thought he was much more handicapped than he really is. I am thrilled to hear about his progress in all areas and glad he has a mama to get him to his full potential.

Jessica said...

Child psychologist dropping by and I do love analyzing test results for fun! IQ can indeed shift over time. This particularly can occur when the child is young when initially tested and/or there are special needs- whether environmental or developmental. Keith's case would fall into multiple categories! And you know very well how much he has changed. Now just a quick glance of the scores here show a discrepancy between IQ and adaptive functioning (the Vineland)- and likely his academics. This suggests his IQ is still an underestimate of his true ability. HIs IQ might be suppressed- perhaps still healing from the early deprivation or brain injury. Or he might not be fully ready to perform on cue within the IQ format. HIs adaptive and academic skills are more meaningful to him- they relate to his life and his routines so he can more fully show his stuff (and indicate he has a MILD developmental disability). You might be surprised by the independence someone with this level of ability can achieve! Keep up the good work with him. Hope this is helpful.