I don’t feel like I’ve given an update in awhile on how/what Elena has been up to. I’ve been busy in the last couple weeks getting organized for summer schedules. Oh, schedules. I always have a laugh when people say to me, “just wait until your kid is in sports, dance, etc”. I think to myself, ummmm…we’ve been running all over this town nearly every week day for 3.5 years, little league schedules have nothing on the Hinton family. I always anticipate things to slow up a bit for Elena in the summer, but that’s obviously crazy because her schedule this summer is busier than ever.
Elena will be going to the Jackson Center two FULL days this summer. She’ll get a half day of therapy and a half day of education (preschool) class. I’m so excited for her to have this opportunity. Consistency is key for her and spending all day with her friends, working hard in therapy and school is going to be good for her. Plus, they’ll do weekly field trips with the whole Jackson Center crew. She’s going to love it (and be totally exhausted!). This is also more convenient for Cal and me, as I won’t have to chase a toddler around in a confined and toy limited space for three hours. Hooray for all!
In addition to the JC, Elena will continue to receive therapy services a few hours a week from her school. She will get to do swim therapy with her amazing PT and OT once a week, and have weekly visits from her speech therapist, vision teacher and preschool teacher. Then somehow we will manage to sneak in an hour of OT in clinic and Speech Therapy in clinic. I mean it’s exhausting typing all of that. I can’t wait to see how many miles I’m going to log shuttling her everywhere!
Schedules aside, we’re super encouraged about the progress we’ve seen in Elena the last few months. She’s moving in an awesome direction and it’s giving us new hope on a daily basis. She is working so hard in all of her therapies, which is nothing new, but it’s nice to get good feedback from her. We’ve really begun to see how much Elena is really “in there” and just bursting to get out. She’s easily the most admired kid in her class at school. Her teacher is always telling us hilarious stories of what her peers say and try to do for her. At the JC, it’s the same. She “talks” the whole time to her friends Ben, Kutter and Lilliana. She has so much personality just bursting to get out!
We’ve really begun to focus on helping her get that sweet personality out. She’s going to be seeing an adaptive communication device specialist over the summer to help us hone in on what is going to be Elena’s best form of communication. We’re so excited at the thought of Elena being able to communicate with us. It’s obvious she has so much in there that her poor broken body holds her back from. As of now, we’re pretty uncertain which form will be the easiest for Elena to communicate, so we’re praying that this therapist can help us determine that. I will keep you posted as we know more!
As I’ve mentioned before, with kids like Elena, the future is an often scary place for our minds to go, but lately my heart has been bursting with so much hope for our girl. I’m certainly realistic about her prognosis, but as I watch her in therapy, as I have every day for 3.5 years, I just see so much inside her. I’m encouraged about what she may achieve in the next few years. It’s definitely not easy, for her or for us. And it most definitely isn’t always rosy. But hope and encouragement are EVERYTHING in our situation and it’s a really big blessing when they’re not hard to grasp. If there’s one thing that is a constant in all this it is that God doesn’t necessarily always answer the exact prayer that WE want, but gosh, if you don’t see the work He has done in our family, in our Elena, you’re missing something really beautiful.
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