Sitting at my dining room table with Katie's Early Intervention team we discussed her file and made new goals for the next 6 months. Her speech pathologist and physical therapist went over each category and we discussed how she had improved and talked about areas of struggle.
My husband took the other kids to the park so we could sit and go over all the paperwork. I was able to enjoy a cup of tea and have adult conversation, which is always welcomed. As I shared some of our struggles involving food and eating I was encouraged by what I heard. Katie has special needs, some of the source is still unclear. Either way she does not swallow as she should and eating can be a problem.
It is easy for me to get frustrated about her rejecting meals as we sit at the table for dinner night after night. I am well aware of her struggles but I think I forget to look at it from an objective point of view. She isn't just rejecting food like a typical two year old would. She hasn't learned how to chomp down on certain foods. So even hearing the therapist mention something as simple as "mechanical soft" when she refers to her dietary needs, jerks a response from me. Of course! I knew she did better with softer foods, such as pasta, mashed potatoes, applesauce, etc...but when I put a label on it I was able to really get the correct perspective. I was encouraged to give Katie a few bites of a new texture of food but not overwhelm her and keep her meal mostly mechanical soft.
I used to work in an assisted living facility in the kitchen so that type of language is nothing new to me but I hadn't connected it specifically to Katie. Her speech Pathologist is a wonderful woman and a wealth of information. I am so appreciative for her perspective, even when something as simple as giving me a label to remember about her dietary needs.
Through out our meeting both of Katie's therapist's were encouraged to see how well she was doing in some areas and ready to tackle the struggles. When we were talking about what we were working on another reminder really stuck with me after they left. A special needs child typically needs to be taught something 200 times before they would get it but Katie needs to be taught 1500 times to learn something. I know this might sound awful to someone but even though it is just a vague description to give an idea about where she is at, it really did help. I need to keep this perspective so I don't lose hope. It is easy to get frustrated when repeating the same thing over and over, day after day. But I was so excited by this idea that at some point she will catch on, it may not be at the age we typically think she should but she will get there.
I am so thankful for this team who comes into my home and works with Katie, and our other two boys for that matter. We go about our days and work on our therapies between visits but it is so easy to get bogged down with the trials. I don't know why this meeting more than others left me with such hope. I think I just was thankful to be reminded I shouldn't put my own expectations on Katie but rather work with where she is at and not get upset if she is stuck in a struggle longer than she should be.