Case in Progress
Cameron: Graduation Day!
This is the final installment of the story of Cameron, whom many of you have met on these Web pages previously. She will be turning three in November, which means that she is graduating from our program and going into preschool.
When we first met Cameron she had been born with Down Syndrome, and had PDA, a common heart problem. She had just had surgery to correct the PDA, and her therapy sessions were moving forward from physical therapy to a combination of p.t. and educational therapy. Over that first year we saw how she learned to roll over and to sit up, first with assistance and then alone. We learned how she finally was able to take solids in addition to formula from a bottle.
During the second year a lot happened to Cameron. She became more inquisitive and loved to explore her environment. A lot of personality traits came through - her sense of humor and laugh, her love of books, and sometimes, her stubbornness. We were able to turn that stubbornness to our advantage and help her channel it into physical movement, and eventually she was able to crawl - first in a commando style and then, with a lot of work, into a quadruped crawl.
The third year we worked with Cameron we all learned a lot of lessons. Because of Cameron's strong tongue and lax oral musculature, we discovered that it is very hard for her to chew solids. An occupational therapist worked closely with her to get her lips and mouth muscles as strong as her tongue. Progress was made - it's still hard for her eat very chewy foods, but she can eat soft cooked foods and pastas. Cameron's speech was slow to come in, but finally she had a lot more words - always "Hi!" the first thing, and now lots and lots of clear words - apple, ball, even a good try at "yellow" (which is a pretty hard word to say!) One of the most exciting things has been her ability to walk - it took a lot of work but once she started she hasn't stopped - and can run and climb stairs and onto furniture very well!
When Cameron turned 2 1/2 we started working closely with her on the transition to preschool. Her parents were very clear in their desire to have her go to the county special education preschool class, where she will get consistent therapy and education every day. Their ultimate goal is for her to be included in a regular Kindergarten class. We started working with Cameron on sitting in a chair at a table, turn taking, reading out loud (we encourage her to do this to her younger sisters and she really likes it!), matching items and colors, and coloring and using scissors (the small, safe kind).
Last week we had Cameron's IEP (Individual Education Plan) which sets forth the goals and areas of focus for Cameron in preschool. This meeting includes the parents, teacher, speech therapist, representatives from the county office of education, her service coordinator from the regional center, and myself. The plan is in effect for one year, but an additional IEP can be called by the parents if they feel it is necessary. Not only will she have the 2 1/2 hours daily in preschool, but hopefully she will have additional speech services to work with her on articulation and speech. And, eventually, Cameron will even ride the bus to school by herself!
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