Since Tess began school here in Scarborough, her teachers have put her through her paces with what is called "Goal Work". Goal Work is exactly what it sounds like. Tessie works on meeting goals so her teachers can get a feel of where she is at academically. With help from her new teachers, we rewrote Tess's most recent IEP because there were no academic goals in her old one and the girl is crushing everything her teachers are asking of her as if to say, "Pfft, that's all you've got?!".
And Tess's teachers aren't shy about letting me know how smart Tess is. When it has felt like for so long that you're one of the few people who really knows that, well, I'm here to tell you, it feels pretty dang good. Plus, Tessie is also hearing all of these things said about her and she is so proud of herself that it just about melts your heart to see because people that she wants to work hard for are validating that she is indeed smart. Very smart. She's not just cute and funny and loving and all the nice things that are normally used to describe her.
Nope, what gets talked about the most by her teachers is how smart and clever she is. (They also say the other nice things but, being teachers, focus more on her academics.)
She knows all of her numbers, at least 1-10 by sight, she knows all of her letters by sight, she knows her primary colors by sight, and she knows all of her body parts by sight.
So the next step will be having her work on word recognition (which she has begun to do). For example, one of her goals is to be able to recognize her name when she sees it. They are also working on her being able to recognize the words: Reidy, Mama, Daddy, Blake, Ellie & Oreo. Once those goals are met, new ones for her to be able to recognize functional words will begin. Words like: help, hurt, stop, etc. In other words, Tess will be reading! I'm not sure if she'll ever be able to read more than one word at a time but I have learned not to underestimate this kid so the sky's the limit on where this could take her. Can you even imagine how much bigger her world would be if she could learn to read a book on her Tobii Eye Gaze Device all by herself?! As an avid reader myself, this thought excites me a lot!
She is also wowing them in Speech and PT. As I told my FB friends the other day, Tessie stood INDEPENDENTLY, with no hands on her and nothing used for balance, during her most recent PT session. It lasted only about 3-5 seconds but she did it! And I think it may be the first time EVER that she has done that. Again, can you imagine your child not being able to stand/walk their whole life without someone giving them nearly total assistance and then one day, bam, they're standing on their own under their own power at fourteen years old?! I don't care if it was for 3 seconds or 3 hours, the kid did it! Of course, when she realized she was doing it her PT said she looked sort of startled as if thinking, "I'm not supposed to be able to do this!", and then buckled her knees.
I get a little thrill every time I think about her standing up by herself and when Ellie and I asked her about it, she was clearly super proud of herself which makes me even happier.
Soon, Tess will start having some of her PT sessions at a pool and she will start horseback riding in the spring. I can't wait to see what she amazes us all with next.
Moving to Scarborough was absolutely one of the hardest and most gut wrenching decisions we have ever made and it's been tough for a lot of reasons, but I can say without hesitation, as far as Tessie goes, it's one of the best things we have ever done for her, not just for her schooling, though that's the reason we moved, but as it turns out, for her own sense of self worth and I can't think of anything more important than that.
There is a saying that goes, "Bloom where you are planted." Well, we're literally watching Tess blossom and it's one of the best things I've ever seen.