Tell Me - AAC in the Preschool Classroom: A New Direction for Our Homeschool

I made a new AAC friend last month. Dr. Carole Zangari, who blogs at PrACCtical AAC, and I spent a few hours on the phone getting to know each other and discussing her recently published book, Tell Me AAC in the Preschool ClassroomI have been desperate for direction for Nathaniel's education, and the program developed by Dr. Zangari and Lori Wise seemed promising. I have been studying the material daily since that conversation, and recently watched her webinar given through Saltillo. Dr. Zangari and I had a second phone meeting yesterday morning. At one point in our hour and a half conversation, I had to get up from the table and pace the living room floor; the excitement brewing inside needed a physical release.

When Life Demands Persistence

Nathaniel is back to baseline.

He was discharged from Pediatric Intensive Care Unit to home a week ago Thursday. We reduced respiratory support from every four hours, to every six hours, to every eight hours, to every twelve hours. On Tuesday he no long needed oxygen when awake. By Thursday, he no longer needed oxygen when sleeping. Yesterday he was back to baseline. No oxygen requirement. No breathing treatments. No antibiotics. Little to no suctioning needed each day.

But he is far from back to normal. He lost two pounds in February. His arms seem thin when I help him dress. The jeans that were getting tight in January fit again.

He has little energy. The weather was beautiful this week and though we went outside, he would quickly seek a lap or chair to rest. His most playful day, when he plopped down on his tummy in the dirt and played with trucks, was bittersweet. I enjoyed watching him play in the sunshine. I was constantly aware of the proximity of his trach stoma to the soil and bacteria it holds.

At the End of a Week in Pediatric Intensive Care

During rounds this morning the team discussed how to adjust and increase feeds around respiratory treatments, coughing, and vomiting. I explained what I do at home. The Fellow commented almost under his breath, "That is a lot of work," and immediately I started to sob. In the middle of the hall, in the middle of rounds, in front of a team of professionals and strangers, I lost it. And I could not pull it back together.

I barely could whisper a response between breaths, "Yes, Nathaniel is a lot of work."

The team paused to give me time. All I could do was cry.