A warp-speed trip to Chicago, with a one day stop in Oregon that concluded with a flight cancelled as we sat on the tarmac in Portland is this week’s excuse for my tardy update. But, Abbie waits for no one, including her dawdling mother, as she pushes forward on this journey.
This Monday was a big day (and we’re not even Irish). We saw Linda Kane, Abbie’s neurodevelopmentalist, in the morning. She was very encouraged with Abbie’s progress and says she loves seeing Abbie because “it just keeps getting better every time!!” She was particularly impressed with Abbie’s emerging reading skills, which I gleefully detailed for her. The motor skills….well, we are in just about the same spot we’ve been all these years. Somehow, though, all the gains Abbie is making in other areas blunts the blow of her lack of progress in this area. And, truly, I know it is just a matter of time until her body catches up with that brilliant mind of hers.
“Brillliant” may sound like a bit of hyperbole, but allow me to explain. On Monday afternoon we went to speech therapy at UH. Abbie had her “yes” switch in her right hand and her “no” switch in her left. April would show her a ball of Play-doh, and then have her select the correct color from flashcards with the words on them. This week all the words were just printed in black — no color clues on the cards. Abbie correctly identified white, red, yellow, green and blue without a mistake. Then, we moved on to shapes. April would show Abbie a 3-D shape, and then the word cards. Abbie identified circle, square, triangle and rectangle without a mistake. Finally, April made up a story during which she used picture/word cards from Abbie’s reading list. After the story Abbie correctly identified all the words: car, slide, ice cream, mouth, hug — the first time through! Her reaction times were remarkably faster, and her ability to differentiate when she wanted to use her left hand or right hand to answer was much greater that day. I was stunned that she did not mistake a single word. April asked if we’d been drilling on the words quite a bit, and I sheepishly replied that since I’d been out of town, we hadn’t really worked on them for about 10 days or so. I guess that turned out to be a good thing, because it showed that Abbie really knows these words!
The supervising professor for that session was a woman who hadn’t seen Abbie in several months. When she came into the therapy room from the observation room after the session neither of us could really talk…only grin and laugh. She was amazed at how much Abbie has changed. Things that used to be the only subject of an entire therapy session, like how to use two switches, are now just a given. And, as I thought about it, I wondered if all 6-year olds can read words like “rectangle” and “triangle”. Having taught my sons to read, I know the answer to that one, and it makes me smile that, at least in one precious way, Abbie is moving to the head of her class.
As this Holy Week presses the depth of Christ’s agony, sacrifice, and love into my heart I rejoice in knowing that even these “Abbie highlights” are just a glimmer of the good He has planned for each of us, for here, and for ever.