just a few days ago, i was bragging to someone that Mikisa now can say over 300 words. many people cannot understand what she is saying, but the fact that she is verbally communicating at all is incredible! i was really proud of this accomplishment and feeling on top of my therapy game. then yesterday, during a meeting with our new speech therapist, i learned that in order to be successful in kindergarten, students are able to receptively understand an average of 20,000 words. wow. what a slap in the face! she went on to say that she thought our best hope for this school year was to pull her out of school and do intense one on one vocabulary-building all.day.long.
we discussed pros and cons and really this post isn’t about our school decision. (we will not be homeschooling but Mikisa will have a shortened day in school so that i can work more with her in the afternoons). our therapist reminded us gravely that Mikisa is 4 years behind in her language development and she wants to “catch her up” by pushing two years of growth this coming academic year. she told me that we missed out on the critical years in her development (0-5) and that she is barely still in the window where she can acquire some very important skills. she then emphasized all the many things we should be working on throughout the day at home to make this huge amount of progress a remote possibility. it was incredibly overwhelming. Mikisa has compounding issues causing her delay: the massive stroke affecting an entire hemisphere of her brain, severe high frequency hearing loss, and a rare epilepsy which primarily affects learning, cognition and speech.
of course, i want to help Mikisa achieve her full potential. i would love to help “close the gap” in her development. i would love for her to be able to communicate better and walk better and get dressed by herself and use the toilet consistently and do all sorts of other age-appropriate skills. i have four therapists telling me what to work on with her every single week (multiple times a week), and sometimes it feels like just a little too much pressure.
so, we are going to just keep taking one day at a time and not focus too much on what she can’t do, but celebrate the fact that she is doing amazingly well considering the odds stacked against her. and, no matter how much help she will continue to need, she is a gift and a blessing. she is a valuable part of our family; a beloved daughter.