Monday, March 14, 2011

Update of Zoe's progress


Today, Zoe had many appointments. We started off seeing the audiologist, who did some hearing tests. Zoe's hearing is great and they see no issues. There is a bit of fluid in the ear.

We then saw a social worker, who just asked questions and asked if we had questions. I had nothing for her.

Then we saw the speech pathologist. She was awesome. I was so worried that Zoe would go in and not say a word to her, but with all those toys, Zoe talked non stop. She wants to see Zoe again in 3 months to access her language skills. She was impressed that she could speak in full english sentences and that she could pronounce some sounds that 3 year olds usually cannot. She does have trouble with her S's and her Th's. But she believes with some reminders at home, she will need very little therapy.

We then saw the ENT Doctor. He saw no issues with her ears and wasn't worried about the fluid. She will need to be checked every six months, just to make sure everything is healthy.


1. Zoe needs things to call her own. She will often pick up a toy or pick out a dress and come to me and say "My toy." "My dress." Not in a bossy or rude way, but just confirming that she does have things that belong to just her.

2. Zoe has no boundries. Even after four months home! She thinks that anything she sees is fair game and that she can touch it, hold it, play with it or try it out. She will find the ipad, wherever I have hidden it and use it to watch Dora. She has been banned from it, since I have found her smearing lotion on it and splashing it with water and dropping it numerous times. She will go into her siblings bedrooms and take whatever she wants... candy, nintendos, guitars, etc. If I leave gum out, she will eat it all, even if she has to scoot across the counter to reach it. She will play with the blinds. She will dig my lipgloss out of a basket and put it in her purse. She will sneak into the office and play on the computer.

3. Zoe still has some food issues. Not as much as when we first got her. But she will stuff crackers into her pants pockets, she will climb on a stool to grab fruit off the counter and eat it, she will go in the pantry to grab an orange or apple. If I say no to a snack (and I am not depriving her in any way -- she has many throughout the day!) she pouts and whines and begs. Thankfully, she still loves fruit above all else.

4. Zoe has no concept that I have to prepare food. I am sure the food just appeared to her in the orphanage, ready to eat. So when I enter the kitchen to make a meal, she runs to the chair and wants it now... even if it is sitting on the counter uncooked. Hence, more whining and pouting.

5. Zoe is still physically aggressive, usually only towards Lilah. She loves to grab her glasses and chuck them across the room. She will hit and push. Today, a little boy in a store came up to her and pushed her.... she cried like her world was ending! Why would he do this to her?! She has improved in this area a lot... no more biting, she knows a time out happens when she does this and seems to think twice about it.

6. Zoe is pretty easy to discipline. We just have to put her in a timeout and some times this makes her cry and sometimes, it just makes her pout. But as soon as we discuss what happened, she will say sorry mommy and give hugs and cuddles. She still continues to disobey the exact same rules over and over and over again. But she is sincerely sorry.

7. Zoe's language is coming along slowly. I think she can say more than she can understand. She will often look at me, not knowing what I am saying for the most part. But considering she was 3 1/2 years when we got her, I think she is doing really well! Her speech is very unclear, I understand more than anyone what she is saying, but even I can't always make out what she is trying to tell me. Her voice is very nasal. Her cries are very nasal. But even though she is usually still soft spoken, she CAN be very loud.

8. Zoe cannot seem to control herself in public. I believe that she (and the other children) were kept in one room and mostly made to watch tv in the orphange. So now, when we go out, especially to stores, she goes kind of crazy. In a very happy way, she runs and laughs and falls down.

These are all the same issues that we have had since day one, but we do see improvements in her everyday. She amazes us with her complete joy. She often runs around laughing for no reason, just because she is happy. I have never met a more joyful child!


Marie said...

Those appointment days are long and tiring. But also worth getting all the info. I still do not always understand Malia. We are constantly reminding her to speak clearly and slowly. Malia also still does not understand everything we say, which is difficult because sometimes she understands, but pretends she doesn't...and sometimes we make the assumption she can, which also can create problems...OK, I'm rambling, but I can relate. Zoe sounds very ambitious. Hang in there! It will come in handy someday.

Anonymous said...

Our daughter had similar "institutional/trauma-based behaviours" we have slowly managed to change for the better over a 2 year period.

If you haven't gotten this book or tried this approach I would highly recommend looking at the "Beyond Consequences" approach.

Good luck. She's such a sweet looking little girl.

Denise said...

Your comment that she can say more than she can understand made me chuckle... that could pose some problems as you assume she understands if she can say it! Good to hear that physically she is doing great.

The Drinkwaters said...

Glad to see that you are experiencing improvement, even if in small ways everyday. We are still working on food issues, but it has also improved slowly.

I love the pictures of Zoe, you always have such beautiful hair bands for her!

Canada to China and back! said...

I am so glad to hear that Miss Zoe's appointments went so well!

Sometimes its tough to see only bits of improvement in behaviors....I have to say you can tell by her eyes she feels loved.:) I was so happy to hear your "normal" because I was starting to get concerned about some of Addison's regressions! I will pray for you sweet family that you keep seeing steps in the postive direction.


the meaklims said...

So glad to hear her appointment went well today.

She is a wonderful child and I know you are a great mother Paige. You are going to see the results of that very soon, because I just know you are consistent with her and she will gradually figure that out.

It breaks my heart over and over to hear of the things these little ones have to overcome, because of their early experiences. I think a positive happy attitude must help her though. She is so happy, it is obvious from your photos how happy she is.

I'm praying for her.
Hugs, Jill

Monica said...

Sounds like Zoe is doing great. Little improvements are good. And what a hoot how she gets into everything (not to you I'm sure!). Saidie is similar with wanting to pronounce things "hers", too, but she also wants to assign everyone else's things, too.
Maimie's nasality improved greatly and eventually went away after pharyngeal flap surgery.

Patrick and Christina said...

We know what that kind of long day that feels like but it was so good that get those important assessments without needing to run all over town!

Progress is progress, even if it seems fleeting some days... Glad to see that Zoe is making some positive changes. Zoe is a such a joyful child. I am sure all the rest will be worked out in her through your persistence and patience.

Those food issues..."right now" part and hoarding.We have those too. My newest tactic - ziploc baggies of cereal or crackers. It seems to give Su Yee some food security. She manages now without too many spills...better than pockets full of crushed crackers! ;)

Loved the update and those incredible pictures!

Shutterbug Scrapbooking and Stamping said...

We are having the same food issues. It will settle down as we all know, it is just aggravating at this point with the tantrums and communication issues. Glad to hear that things are improving, even minutely day by day. It is the little things that mean the most.

The pictures you take are so gorgeous!

Bianca said...

Hi, thank you for sharing your experiences with and pictures of Zoe. What a sweet and beautiful girl she is, and she is changing so much already. I am happy to read that she is developing so well. I really do recognize some of the things you describe about Zoe in Xiao Mei.

Monica said...

Omigosh, this post brings back memories of our first several months with Ren: the impatience with cooking, wanting to touch everything / no boundaries, etc. Not fun. I'm happy hear Zoe is making such progress, though, and especially thrilled about her health and language / speech development. Thx for the great update!