Monday, March 27, 2017

Update on Olivia

Many of you have followed Olivia's blog since the beginning.  There may be new people who are at the beginning of their journey.  Whatever led you to my blog. . .I'm glad you are here.  I also feel that I should share what life looks like almost 10 years down the road.  We are blessed, that is for sure.  At piano lessons tonight, Olivia played Shepherd's Song by Beethoven so beautifully that it gave me chills.  She is very gifted. . .amazingly so. . .at piano. 

We recently had a psychological evaluation done in order to update her IEP and better prepare her for the future.  I'm not sure if I have shared before, but she does have autism level 1. . .very high functioning.  There are a few things socially that she struggles with (reciprocal communication, social norms, conversing with peers.)  A fellow mom who has a child with high functioning autism explained it best. 

I'm weird, your weird. . .everybody is weird and has their quirks.  Those with autism just don't know which sides of themselves to hide. 

To me that is beautiful because with Olivia you see her for who she is. She doesn't pretend to be somebody she's not. 

Besides autism (which micropreemies are at high risk for) she also has pretty severe ADHD.  I always knew that she did so this was nothing new.  The question is whether we do medication or not.  For health reasons, we cannot risk appetite suppression, but we also don't want the ADHD to impede on her learning.  There is a fine line that we must walk and that has been difficult. 

Her IQ is in the average range. . .no intellectual impairments. She does have a poor working memory (short term memory), which is the ability to hold onto information while doing something else and then go back and obtain it.  A lot of times this goes hand in hand with ADHD (which micropreemies are also at high risk for.)  She is borderline for a learning disability in math.  We are retesting in the fall to see where she is at.  Math is something that she struggles with and does not like.  We are not sure whether improving her attention could help with some of these difficulties. 

Olivia, though, is such a beautiful person. . .inside and out.  She wants to be a preschool teacher when she grows up.  Honestly. . .she would be fantastic at it!  She is so gentle and kind and loves young children as much as they love her.  I just hope, as her mom, that I'm able to give her the tools and the confidence to do whatever she wants in life. 

Life has changed a lot in almost 10 years since I sat by her side in the NICU listening to the machines beep.  But, she continues to be the same amazing girl. . .small and mighty. . .whose purpose in life is much bigger than we can imagine. To know her is to love her.