Thursday, May 26, 2011

It's National "Brag On Your Children" Day!

Actually, that's not true.

I don't even think such a day exists.

But I'm declaring that today is the day that every parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, cousin, or godparent gets a free pass to brag on the children in their lives as much as they want to.

Because that's exactly what I'm going to do today.

Yesterday was the last day of school for my big girls.  Which of course meant an awards assembly before they sent the kids off for the summer.

Ryley received the Excellence in Journalism II Award and the Excellence in AP English Award.

Reagan received an Excellence in Scripture Memory Award.

At this point, I would like to add that I fully believe these are academic skills they inherited from me.  But since it's not National "Brag On Yourself Day", I won't elaborate.

It was a nice way to end the school year for both girls.

Then it was off to Lily's school for a parent training time.  We try to schedule an appointment once a month just to observe what's going on there and to pick up some ideas for ways we can practice new skills at home.

First we watched a video of Lily doing some tasks, such as building block towers and touching her ears.

To reinforce the concept of "First... Then", Lily was asked to do a puzzle first, then she could choose a reward.

She quickly completed the puzzle and was handed her iPod Touch.  This is the device she uses solely for communication, not for playing.  She went from the home page, to the categories page, to the "I Want" page, and touched the picture of the iPad, the device she uses solely for playing, not for communicating.

I nearly fell out of my chair!

Last time I observed her using the Touch, she was not able to move through the "layers" like she did yesterday.   Now she can do it all by herself!

But that wasn't the biggest surprise.

Next, the therapist laid some flashcards on the table, like this:

Except that one flashcard on the bottom, she handed to Lily.

Lily looked at the flashcard in her hand, looked at the cards on the table, and then laid her card on top of the matching card!

Then the therapist grabbed the cards and placed three different words in a line, handed one card to Lily, and she did it again!   With a different word!

After she did it about four times, I'm not ashamed to tell you that I was cheering and crying at the same time.  Ryan was whooping and squeezing Lily in a bear hug.

The therapist explained that this was just a "happy accident" they discovered by chance one afternoon.  She went on to say that she thinks Lily will be a "reading and writing girl", something I can honestly say I wasn't sure I would ever hear about my baby girl.  

Those words were music to my ears.

Now that all of us know that Lily can recognize words by sight, we are going to begin working on functional and high frequency words.  For example, we'll be using flashcards with a word like "cup" on it that she matches with another card that says "cup" as well as matching it with an actual cup.

So what does that mean?

She may be able to actually type what she cannot say.  

Or use the Touch with digital word cards to create sentences in order to communicate.

And she may be able to actually read and enjoy books, just like her big sisters.

When she's thirsty, she won't have to use a picture of a cup.  She can just show me the word "cup".  Or maybe even the word "lemonade"!

This is huge news for the Rush Family.

Ryan and I were floating on cloud nine when we left the clinic.

We were given a huge dose of HOPE yesterday and words cannot adequately express what that feels like.  Our whole outlook is different because of what we saw yesterday.

Of course, our ultimate goal is for Lily to actually talk.  

But it's funny how after watching her yesterday, all of a sudden, that doesn't seem like an unrealistic goal at all.  

We are confident that the Lord is doing His work in the life of our Lily Bird.

And He's not done with her yet!

Or me.  

But that's a blog post for another day...

Have a hope-filled Thursday!


  1. Wow... as the daughter of a teacher I know how big this is, just with the flashcards. That means she's not only starting to be literate, she's at or more likely ahead of her age-peers. A lot of kids start school at five, five and a half without even being able to read their alphabet, and she is discriminating between words of between three and five letters. It also means you can probably rule out things like dyslexia, which is commonly comorbid with ASDs. That means her chances of being able to communicate with written or typed language are very good, even if she never does start talking.

  2. Beautiful post! Brought tears to my eyes!

  3. AWESOME! How exciting it must have been for you all. I know you are up on Cloud Nine.


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