Thought I’d share the recent letter I wrote to Julian’s new teachers in the “Blue Room” at school so they could really know who Julian was as the unique individual he is… He recently moved up from the Purple Room (15 month to 2 years) to the “late toddlers” (2 to 3 years) room because he was ready! We are really going to miss Sarah, Jen and Jessica his old teachers and I know I am going to cry sometime about this transition….but so far I am in denial about my boy growing up. Anyway – here is the All About Me letter:
Hi Ashley, Mae and Kim – (cc Justine and all of Julian’s therapists and loved ones who care for him most) –
Hi! I’m Julian Thomas Sherman. I thought I’d tell you a little about myself as we get to know and love each other in the blue room for late toddlers ages 2 – 3. I am so excited for all of my firsts I am going to have with you! Already I have had two firsts in the Blue room – I walked down the stairs on my own FORWARD FACING AND STANDING UP– and SORTED BY THE COLOR BLUE, both huge firsts for me!
Thomas is my dad’s first name and I am definitely a daddy’s boy and I say DaDa a lot. I also say “bye” and “hi” and my favorite word is Up! I like to say Up up Up when I babble and play.
My birthday is June 5, 2010 and I was born a month early. I had open heart surgery when I was six months old and I have ear tubes in both ears to help fluid drain but I get my eyes and ears checked frequently to make sure I can see and hear to absorb and learn as best I can!
My heart has been working like a champ since I had the surgery and I am a ball of energy! I had left lower eyelid lifting surgery when I was 17 months and and then another follow up eyelid surgery when I turned two to lift it a bit more. Sometimes that eye waters a lot more than the other and is red. It’s just how my eye is. It is prone to having a little bit of infection too so I sometimes get styes. My skin is very very sensitive so sometimes I get rashes on my legs just from rubbing and touching things. And if I do not have a hypoallergenic sunscreen I will get a rash all over!
Physically I haven’t yet learned to jump and need assistance with climbing but I really really enjoy climbing and exploring. I like slides but need a little prompting or support to sit down and slide and sometimes I get a little scared going down on my own. Sometimes if someone cries next to me I get upset too. I just need a hug when that happens. If someone bumps me too hard I get sad as well. I am a little peanut and am still learning to navigate the physical world since I just started to walk around 22/23 months.
My family lives in Lexington – my mom works in Public Relations in Burlington and my dad works in software in Boston. My mom has a part time work from home schedule so that she can arrange her hours to attend as many therapy sessions as possible with me during the day at school. But Becca, my Early Intervention coordinator, comes on Friday mornings around 9:30/10 to check in with me weekly. You will also get to know my speech therapists Jenny (new therapist through Early Intervention whom I have not yet met) and Margeaux (private therapist), as well as my physical therapist Marissa and my new occupational therapist whom I have not yet met either. It’s truly a time of change!
I am at my best when people expect me to be able to do something, and let me try to do it on my own. I love persisting and trying to do it on my own and sometimes even push your hand away – I am very determined an patient with activities and my attention span is great. And then if you see me struggling a bit or scared esp. if I am climbing, please just gently guide me a little with hand over hand assistance or verbal direction…and if I start making a sad face ask me “do you need help”? And I will let you know if I need help by saying “Hep” and signing it by putting my hands together and moving them upwards.
As you know my fabulous extra chromosome makes me extra special of course. I love to give hugs and sit in your lap and cuddle and I am very curious about faces and hair. I like to play with hair and push faces and grab glasses, but please remind me to be “gentle gentle” if I hurt you and say “ow, that hurts” and make a sad face. I have also taken an interest lately in where mommy’s milk comes from. So if I am curious about that area please gently redirect me.
I like to play by myself and read books a LOT. And I LOOOOOVE music, songs with finger movements – I do Wheels on the Bus, Itsy Bitsy Spider, Matilda the Gorilla, and Mmm Ahh went the Little Green Frog – very very well and I also love doing art projects!
Sometimes when I am not with the group I need a little bit of redirection and guidance and encouragement to come and play by gently saying ‘Come on Julian, let’s stand up, don’t you want to come and play with your friends?” A firm “Julian, come on, stand up and let’s go!” works too. You can even take my hand sometimes and encourage me to join in or go where you need me to go. Firm “Julian, Stand up” or “Julian Time to Sit down and eat now, please come here” work with me.
Mom and dad want to foster social interaction as much as possible for peer modeling and learning and verbal models so please help me join the group with circle time because I love to participate once I am there. Or, if I really need some quiet time I will protest and let you know. I am very social and I know I am only two but the more side by side peer time I get the better for my development.
Know that I can understand everything you say to me and know many many words and I think you’ve already heard about my sight reading abilities. I know how to say probably around 200 or so words and show mom and dad my knowledge by saying these words in American Sign Language. I don’t expect you to learn all of my signs by my primary ones I will probably use to interact with you the most are likely to be (my mom can teach you the signs):
Colors (when he does art projects) I LOVE TO COLOR AND PAINT!!
I’m Sorry (please make me say sorry if I hurt someone or after I need a gentle break)
Here is a video of me about 6 months ago doing a few signs. Mom and dad can show you and teach you my primary signs and any other signs you want to know if you are interested but the primary goal in the next few months is for me to learn to use my MOUTH to talk more and more.
When Margeaux my private speech therapist and Becca my primary early intervention coordinator come in a couple of weeks they will talk about how to best support my speech development which is my primary area of delay at the moment (date TBD but it would be an upcoming Friday a.m. around 9:30/10 am).
There is a blog post my mom wrote recently about my speech sound development. Please read this carefully so you know what sounds I make and what they mean. When you are trying to get me to say a word sound please get down to my level and point to your own mouth so I pay attention to your mouth shape when working on making that sound. Exaggerate how you make the shape for making the sound. This is how I will learn. And then prompt me by saying “You Say” or “your turn” after you say the word.
My loved ones and therapists often encourage me to talk by asking me to “say it with your mouth please”. If I am frustrated with something, please ask me to “use my words or signs.” Usually I will respond by signing “all done” and then mom and dad ask me to If you are all done, please say “Done” or “Down”– then, I usually do the signs and/or make a “D” sound. We are trying to encourage only spoken words so please prompt me by saying “Can you Say Done?” – please try a few times and see if I will either say the letter sound D or actually say Done because I have said it once very clearly! Please use this type of method all of the time with me. Giving me a chance to try to imitate your words and then if I am not able to actually say it after three or four attempts say “Good Trying!”
I can sign the letters A, B, C, O and try to sign the alphabet so you might see me do this when looking at the alphabet rug. It’s fun. I like to try to make the numbers with my hands too but I can’t yet.
My mom keeps a blog just about me because she thinks I am pretty cool and wants the world to know it too. Please take a little time to read the following recent blog posts which will help you learn a lot about me as well:
2) Julian’s Speech Development (this is very recent about a month ago when I was 26 months old, so is a good guide for what sounds I make and what they mean)
My parents might be a little delayed at getting that photo collage completed so please keep reminding us! (we love constant friendly reminders over and over – they work for this harried family)
I can’t wait to get to know and grow with you! I have a feeling this year is going to be FULL of firsts and I will learn to use my words with my mouth more and more with your help and learn oh so many other things!!
Thanks so much for supporting and loving and teaching me.
Kisses and hugs,
Julian, Gretchen, Tom and brother Anderson, born June 28, 2012 (and two cats Flip and Flop)