Whoo-hoo! We are floating on cloud nine here in the Ostrander household! Friday was SUCH a good day for Dale. The day began as usual---dragging our eyelids open to face another school day (thankfully the last one of the week), rushing to get out the door on time (we managed), sending each child their separate way to their classroom (which means Dale went to Jr. High/High School boys homeroom), and then "tutoring" Dale in my classroom during 1st hour. Dale worked through a couple of different types of worksheets: reading comprehension---improving well, identifying true/false statements and correcting the false ones, listening to and following instructions. We finished up a stack of "instructions" worksheets with Dale whipping through the last three sets of ten questions each with ease. What a difference a month makes! (Yeah, I know I butchered the song title!) When we first began those worksheets, Dale could only listen to and complete three instructions before "breaking down": crying, bending forward in his chair, standing up/sitting down repeatedly, closing his eyes. Now, for him to breeze through thirty (plus) questions accurately is, well, nothing short of---you guessed it---a miracle! I cannot express our delight in Dale's progress, his improved speech capabilites, and his general health. God's name be praised!!!
At Dale's SP appointment Friday morning, the therapist took Dale through a series of tests to determine how much he can do. These were the exact same tests she gave him the first day we saw her four to six weeks ago. The first part of the test was "listen and follow instructions." Alot of the questions seemed repetetive, changing only one or two words, and I was concerned that Dale would protest or get bored, but Dale did great. He worked steadily through FORTY-FIVE instruction questions before the therapist asked him if he needed a break; at that point, he gratefully nodded his head! Usually, when she asks him if he's ready for a break, she will pull out a game or something for Dale to mess around with---something that doesn't require him to think too hard and gives his brain a rest. This time, she simply flipped the test booklet to the next section and kept going. Again, I thought Dale would protest, but he didn't seem to mind. For the next part of the test, the therapist had Dale look at a picture and give a sentence about it that included a certain word. For instance: the picture showed a person eating an ice cream cone and Dale needed to use the word "creamy" in the sentence. Get the idea? Again, he did great! She has been helping Dale to use more words, more details in his sentences, and he proved he could do this during the test. He averaged using eight or nine words each sentence; one sentence was fourteen words long! And, up until the last three pictures, his sentences made sense, both realistically and grammatically. He continued working steadily for thirty-five minutes! Dale has gone as long as an hour before with SP but only by interspersing work with play. This time, he endured thirty-five minutes of testing without a single game break. This shows Dale's increased endurance and ability to concentrate. What an improvement!
One more thing I want to share, and this is the best of all. On the way home from SP, we were listening to Christmas music and occasionally talking. At this moment, however, we had both been silent for some time. Dale spoke up from the middle seat of our van. I expected him to ask if we could go to the library or watch something on TV. Instead, the sweetest words came to my ears. Dale asked, "What did the orange say to the mushroom?" It took me a split second to realize my son was TELLING ME A JOKE!!! Of his own accord! I quickly replied, "I don't know---what?" He responded, "You look like a fungi (fun guy)!" Oh, the joy that flooded my heart. It was a good thing I was firmly strapped into my seat while driving because I wanted to get up and dance! What music to my ears! God has been flooding our family with blessing after blessing lately, and this is just the latest example of wondrous blessing we have received. How many times before Dale's accident have I, in exasperation, said, "Dale, please---not everything has to be a joke." And now, I am thrilled to hear a simple joke told by my son. Thank God for second chances. And third chances and fourth and............
Psalm 115:1 - 3, 9 - 11 "Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but unto Thy name give glory, for Thy mercy, and for Thy truth's sake. Wherefore should the heathen say, Where is now their God? But our God is in the heavens: He hath done whatsoever He hath pleased. O Israel, trust thou in the LORD: He is their help and their shield. O house of Aaron, trust in the LORD: He is their help and their shield. Ye that fear the LORD, trust in the LORD: He is their help and their shield."