Hoping to someday find M's brother adopted in the U.S. -
Myckola Oleksandrovych Markov - 8/26/2003

Thursday, March 31, 2016


My boys ask for the wildest hair designs. "Mom can you cut a picture of a gun in my hair?"
But I have tried lines or lightening strikes.
Wy has a horrible scar on his head so half of his lightening strike is the scar 😂

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

School is Going...

The kids have been steadily working away on their school.  I have found that M learns best when she hears things.  She has great auditory processing skills.  We have discovered books on CD at the library and she LOVES them.  She has listened to a few American Girl books and a Nancy Drew mystery so far.  Her ability to comprehend what she hears is amazing.  She can read on a 1st grade level, but she can comprehend around 5th grade.  She also likes to get educational dvds from the library to watch as part of her school.  We get Math, Art lessons, dancing, Magic School bus, Word World, Jamestown, nature dvds, space dvds… you name it, she will watch it.  Her favorite recently has been "The Body."  She was so obsessed with the inner workings of organs that she kept watching it over and over and over.

W and Wy have been doing SO INCREDIBLY WELL with reading.  I am so blown away.  They have jumped several grade levels in reading.  W has read all of the Diary of a Wimpy kid books, all of the Origami Yoda books, and is working on The Boxcar Children Series.  Wy has read some of The Little House on the Prairie, Tornado, Hatchet, and some of the Origami Yoda books as well.  I am so pleased with both of them!

W is progressing well on Teaching Textbooks math.  He is right on grade level with math now even though he has an incredibly low frustration tolerance.  I allow him to take breaks whenever he wants, but he gets SO ANGRY when he gets things wrong.  

Wy took the placement test for Teaching Textbooks and was able to start on the 3rd grade level.  He is about halfway through that right now.  Keep in mind that my littlest guy is still only 7.  His teacher and principal suggested retaining him in first grade at the end of last year.  I cannot fathom how bored he would be if we had kept him in school and followed their suggestion.  Wy spends the least amount of structured time doing school and has made an incredible amount of progress.  Little boys were never meant to sit for hours doing seat work!

E has been continuing with private speech, making great progress.  He is still reading at a K level, but a lot of his anxiety about it has disappeared making it easier for him to concentrate.  We do a lot of supplemental work with him.  He has flash cards and fun activity books to work on.  He is nearing being able to start on TT Math 3 and actually made it through the first few lessons, but quickly struggles as soon as new material is introduced.  His auditory processing skills are so deficient because he has CAPD.

V is doing well on TT Math 4.  Math is a strength for him.  He struggled with the months of the year and days of the week.  He also struggles with the concept of "obtuse" "right" and "acute" angles.  The numerical computations are not a problem for him.  Its word problems.  I had him memorize the months of the year and explained the dd/mm/yyyy format.  For some reason that was a struggle, but he seems to have it now.  If the kids fail a math lesson, I simply delete it and have them repeat the lecture and the problems.  Usually V gets it the second time around with no issues.

D has continued with Brain Integration Therapy.  It is supposed to remove the issues that cause dyslexia and receptive/expressive language disorder, and make it possible for him to learn to read and retain information in a typical way.  I was able to get insurance to cover this therapy so we will be doing this with the other kids as time allows.  The jury is still out on how much it has helped because it gives him the ability to learn, therefore it takes time to see how well he is able to learn new material now.  The struggle with him recently has been his complete lack of effort and interest in learning.  He honestly would be happy to do nothing but watch movies all day.  He acts like I am punishing him by expecting him to put a good effort into reading for a certain amount of time each day and even working on his Dyslexia Games books.  I try to keep things fun and geared to his "right brain" learning style with word searches, picture hunts,  puzzles, and mazes.  Really we do not do any traditional "seat work."  Everything I have him doing has a dual purpose of engaged the artistic side of his brain with the logic side.  I am just so frustrated at his lack of effort and the tendency to act like I am being mean by expecting things of him.  We shall see how this progresses as I have pulled out my stern voice and quit allowing him to get away with not following directions.  I caught him lying to me several times in a row last week about completing work.  When I checked the work, he had not done it and then tried to even talk his way out of it much like a toddler caught with chocolate on their face denies getting in the cookie jar.  He does not typically lie to me, and his emotional development is severely delayed.  I told him that I was under no circumstances tolerating lying and he had to complete the work before he was allowed to go to his grandmother's with the other kids for Spring Break.  I am afraid that this is partly my fault because I have been so lenient and tolerant and tried so very hard to modify things to how he learns and have accepted less than his best for fear of hurting his feelings.  

So that's a not so brief summary.  I like to be able to look back at home certain kids were doing at certain points in time.  Hopefully they will all continue to make progress.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Warmer Weather

V found frog eggs in the pond and rescued them from our ducks.

Little E dipped her tiny toes in the creek and expressed to me her desire to swim.

M walked over a mile on our graveled subdivision road.  She insisted.  "I want to practice running."
Take a good look. That girl is going to change the world.  

Friday, March 4, 2016

Brain Integration for D Part 2

D had his second brain integration therapy session today.  I asked Dr. Federici if he could write a referral for our insurance so we could get this covered under neuro-muscular re-patterning and he sent me a very well written referral letter.  I am hoping that this means we will be able to get reimbursed for this therapy so that we can also have V, E, and M also integrated.

A reader mentioned integrated listening on my last post, and I am actually very aware of what that is.  We did that for a while with M's OT at our therapy center.  We did see some progress, and continued for a while before eventually taking a break from private OT.

Brain Integration Therapy is different in that it takes 8-10 hours total to complete and then its done.  For M it will take 16-20 hours simply because she has a brain injury and that makes it much more difficult.

Our tutor Ms. Helen, has mentioned too many times for me to count that D has a recall issue.  Today we found out that the part of his brain that controls recall was functioning at 20%.  He cannot seem to remember much of anything that he is taught, read, told, or watches.  This is extremely frustrating for both D and the person trying to teach him something.

We also found out that he is very strongly right brained and artistic.  I knew this, but hearing it does definitely confirm that he learns differently.  I am a very strongly left brained person.  Having right brained kids has stretched me in so.many.ways.  I have to research how they learn and lay it all out logically to myself just so I can teach them.  That is how dominant the logic part of my brain is!

Next time the therapist is going to address the emotional areas of his brain.  She said that she can tell he has significant emotional trauma that is definitely impacting his ability to interact and process things.  I am making a list of traumatic things that I know have happened to him.  V and E have told me most of them.  D generally doesn't want to talk about his past much.  I think I've gotten it done tonight, but oh break my heart -- what a sad thing for a mom to write!

Today after his session was over and we were leaving, he said he had to run back in to go to the bathroom.  He came back out and hopped in the van.  As we were driving home, he pulled four scented bars of soap out of his jacket.  He had gone back in and bought 4 scented soaps for me and my mother in law.  He really is SO sweet and despite his difficulty in telling me how he feels, he does show it.  I have my own issues with emotional displays of affection so he awkwardly hands me the soap with a silly grin and I awkwardly accept the soap with a careful smile.  We truly are a match made in dysfunctional heaven.  My therapist would be proud of me for telling him thank you :)  Hah!

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Eating Puffs

Little E has perfected her pincer grasp enough to eat puffs.  I am surprised at how quickly she got this down along with mashing the puff so well with her gums. M is very fascinated with the baby.  "Did I do that when I was a baby?" is heard often around here.

I feel badly because I do not know what M did as a baby.  Sometimes I say "Well you probably did." Or "I am sure you did that when you were a baby."

M doesn't remember a lot about her orphanage.  She refers to "When I was a baby" as when she was first here with us as a 4 year old.  She knows she missed this and she really wanted it.  I think that getting togo though all the stages with the baby now is healing in many ways.

We witness a miracle every time a child enters into life; but those who make their journey home across time and miles, growing within the hearts of those who wait to love them,are carried on the wings of destiny; and placed among us by God's very own hands. --Kristi Larson