Finding Things that Work: Compression Shirts

We’ve been having a pretty busy summer, and overall, it’s been a good one.  We had an “ah-ha” moment when we were at the lake with family.  Angel had been in a kayak and when she was finished, she kept her lifejacket on.  Since she was the only one her size, no one realized she was still wearing it for awhile.  When we noticed, we asked her why she was wearing it still.  Daddy was the one who figured out that she liked the hugging feeling.

I had read about Compression Shirts from Smart Knit Kids’ Twitter feed. One of the descriptions of the compression shirts really described what Angel needed. It said that it felt like a comfortable hug. So, I visited their site, found their Canadian distributor and went ahead and ordered them. I wasn’t sure how Angel would like them, so I showed her the pictures and descriptions.

Angel liked the bralette and compression tank options, so we ordered one of each to try. They came in the mail in a few days and Angel had the package opened and got a shirt on right away. She thought it was funny that the bralette was so small, but it was stretchy enough to fit her. We’ve discovered since then that it is a little too tight, so the next one I order will be a size bigger.

The results? Angel tried both shirts and alternated between them. She loved them both. I didn’t notice too much of a difference until she took one off part way through the day. My mom had been watching her and told me that she noticed that when Angel took the shirt off, that’s when she got all drapey and laying over me. Before that, she hadn’t been on me at all. Wow! When someone else notices the difference, you know it is huge.

Suffice it to say, we are going to be ordering more very soon so that Angel has enough shirts to wear to school everyday.

I’m trying to let Angel self advocate. Sometimes she doesn’t want to wear the compression shirts, and to some extent, that has to be her decision. On the other hand, when it makes such a big difference, I try to encourage her to wear it when she is extra clingy or I know that we will be going out. I’ve only put my foot down once and insisted that she wear it when she didn’t want to. I sat down with her and explained why I though she would be better off wearing the shirt. She didn’t want to, but she did and she was fine. Sometimes our compromise is that she can try without the shirt, but bring it along in case she needs it later. She will stick it in my purse and away we go. It’s nice to know that we have an option if she is feeling overstimulated.

This is not a sponsored post. I’m happy to share my feedback because these little shirts have made a huge difference for my daughter. Maybe they can help another child too! I highly recommend them. There are no tags or scratchy seams to deal with. They are comfortable, and the material is breathable and moisture wicking. They really thought about the design of these shirts when they made them. They wash up like a dream and are really easy to layer over. I’m really glad that we found them and that they are making such a difference for Angel.

Results of Psychoeducational Assessments

We received Angel’s results at the end of June.  I’ve taken a few weeks to digest the information and do a little research.

We met with the psychoeducational consultant, the principal, and the resource teacher (I’m not sure of her exact title).  The only one we hadn’t met before was the consultant.  She showed us a graph to display where Angel’s scores fell in relation to the averages.  She told us about the assessed skills and how Angel performed in each task.  She gave us some great information and answered a lot of questions for us too.

Nothing in the assessment was a huge surprise.  We knew what to expect in terms of her school work.  Angel scored in the Average range for reading.  Everything else was Low Average to Below Average.  For things like math, she was working at a late kindergarten level.  Reading was on target, but a few other skills were in the grade 1 to 2 range.

One thing that was a bit of a surprise was that Angel’s working memory is very low.  She doesn’t hold a lot of information at once.  When she told us this, it was  a relief!  This is why she asks the same question over and over!   We know now that Angel needs information in smaller chunks with lots of repetition.  This is something that her teacher was already doing with her, and it will continue on next year’s IEP.

Diagnosis

The overall results indicate that Angel is a slow paced learner.  What does this mean?  It means she can learn, it just takes her longer to absorb the information.  One of the best pieces of information to come out of the meeting for me was when they said that Angel could go to college or university if she wants to.  I know she’s only in grade 4, but to know that she will be able to have a higher education is a big relief.   Ultimately, it will be up to Angel, what she plans to do with further schooling.  I’m just glad the door’s not closed.

So, it’s not a diagnosis to say, “this is what your kid has”.  It really tells us how she learns and how to help her to learn in the best way.  For me, it’s another piece of the puzzle.  We’re getting closer to having a complete answer (maybe).

Next steps

Angel will get a new IEP next year to reflect the information in her assessments.  Much of what has been suggested is what has already been included in this year’s IEP.  We will have an IPRC meeting in mid-September to determine Angel’s status and her best learning options.  We’ve been told the most likely scenario is to keep her in the integrated program at this school rather than move her to program that handles only special needs.  This could change.

The school will also apply for a laptop for Angel to use at school on trial.  If she does well with it and has an increased output, she will keep it and it will be a tool for her to use through high school.

We’ve made a plan with the principal to take Angel in to the school the week before it opens so she can see her classroom and hopefully meet her teacher.  She will be getting a new teacher in the fall who has not yet been hired, so this will be the first chance to meet them.  We’ve done this every year for Angel since grade 1 and it really helps to ease her anxiety the week before school starts.

And there you have it.  Progress :)

End of the Year: Grade 3 has been a success!

Three

It’s a little hard to believe that Angel’s last day of grade 3 was today!  How did this year go by so fast?

Overall, Angel’s had a great year.  She had a teacher that is a true educator.  He really got her from the start.  They clicked and Angel has benefitted from his teaching style. He has celebrated Angel’s successes and supported her learning every step of the way. He hasn’t let her give up on herself or accepted less than her best.

Some of Angel’s favourite things from this year have been the cardboard arcade (inspired by Cain’s Arcade, learning some basic swimming at the same pool she takes swimming lessons, going to a local hockey team’s game, learning how to play badminton, Lego League, helping in kindergarten, reading buddies, making (and keeping a friend), playdates, using technology, breakfast club and running club. There was also learning to play recorder, performing a dance for Southeast Asian History Month, doing a dance for an assembly, and receiving an award for Confidence. And Pokemon. I can’t forget Pokemon. I don’t understand it, but she loves it!

I was really surprised about running club. Angel got involved in this on her own and it turns out she loves running. Running isn’t something that we are into, so I’m really glad that she has found this on her own. We’ll have to get her involved in some form of running this summer.

Breakfast club wasn’t a surprise to me. Angel likes to help. She had fun helping to prepare and serve breakfast for her schoolmates a couple times a month. She especially liked flipping the grilled cheese sandwiches.

Kindergarten helping was something new that Angel’s principal came up with. Angel was having trouble socially with some of her peers, and her principal dealt with it right away. She arranged to have Angel go into a kindergarten class to help out over one nutrition break a day. Angel wanted to go back for the second nutrition break as well, but it was important that she still work on developing her social skills with her own peers. We’ve heard feedback that the kindergarten teachers enjoyed having Angel’s help. Angel told me that she was going to ask her principal if she could help out in kindergarten again next year. That’s what a mom wants to hear :)

We had the results of Angel’s psychoeducational assessments last week. There was a lot of information given to us and I’m still processing it all. I have some research I need to do so that I am sure that I understand everything. I’ll share more another day. The great news is that we have a lot of answers and a plan for next year. We will have an IPRC meeting in the fall and Angel’s IEP will be adjusted to include the new information.

I’m looking forward to summer break. We have some plans made for camping up north and 2 weeks of day camp booked for the girls. The rest of the summer is something we will figure out together. I expect that we’ll have some day trips, probably some library visits, public swims, and lots of time bike riding and being outside.

Grade 3 has been a great year. I’m looking forward to seeing what grade 4 has in store for all of us.