Saturday, July 30, 2011

School Again-- And more therapy

We apologize for not posting in so long.  For the sake of brevity (ha!), we are breaking the last few weeks into two posts-- one for the first two weeks of July and one for our family vacation.

The first two weeks of July were a great treat for us.  We were finally together more as a complete family (minus Spencer who had flown out to Utah to visit his Grandma Holly and to work in a camp out there) more days a week than not.  It was awesome.  We had five days a week to simply be together.  Of course, we found things to do-- like chores (Lizzy is pretty sure that she shouldn't have to do them for about another 10 years or until she moves out, but what are you going to do???).  Lizzy pitched in and did her share and found that she can do many things still. 

As an aside, Fox news in KC did a story on the kids at the constraint camp and ran it during this time.  You can still see the clip at this link:  http://www.fox4kc.com/news/education/wdaf-teen-puts-wind-in-the-sails-of-physically-challenged-kids-20110706,0,2609001.story.  The story itself is actually about the kid who organized the sailing trip for the kids at the camp.  He won an award for his work.  For our purposes, though, you can see Lizzy several times sailing on the boats and they interviewed her.  There is a short clip of her interview as well.  For those of you who are interested, you can purchase autographed pictures of the new TV star for only $19.99 plus shipping.  LOL.

The biggest event of these two weeks was Lizzy's return to school.  During the summer, her school meets only in the mornings Monday through Thursday.  So, Lizzy was able to go both Thursdays.  She had a great time.  We stayed for the first little while the first week, but her friends at school were tremendous at helping her out when she needed it.  Interestingly, her seat was next to a boy who had broken his thumb and hand.  So, he couldn't use his dominant hand either.  As her teacher said, together the two of them made a whole person.  :)  Lizzy thought that was great and enjoyed being back.  She quickly jumped in as the class made an amulet to ward off homework or other sinister things (they are studying Ancient Egypt) and she participated in a lesson on force and pulling.  She did great, although she did try to play dodge ball (a huge no-no for someone with a head injury), but her teacher caught her and pulled her out quickly.  The second week was just as good, if not better.  She loved being back and participated like she had never been away.  We are so grateful for the school-- the teachers, faculty, and students couldn't have been better.  They all welcomed her with open arms and warm smiles.  What a great place.

As part of her therapy during this time, Lizzy was fitted for a new brace.  The new brace will be considerably smaller than what she has now and will hardly be noticeable.  It will provide minimal support to her knee while still helping her ankle to keep her toe from dragging-- which is mostly a problem as she fatigues.  Lizzy chose an orange swirl pattern for the brace.  It should definitely stand out.   Plus, it marks a major milestone forward for Lizzy.  The braces are great, but it is a balancing act to find a brace that provides enough support to allow her to do all the things she wants to do (within reason-- no dodge ball), but at the same time require her body to do as much as it possibly can so that it can continue to recover.  Consequently, getting a new brace represents a huge step forward in Lizzy's recovery. 

Finally, we got the results back from her testing.  A couple of posts ago, we mentioned that we didn't have a lot to say beyond some general comments about Lizzy's progress cognitively.  Well, now we do.  Overall, the results are very promising.  Since the test happened so soon (relatively speaking) after the stroke, they expect considerable continued improvement.  We hope so, but already we have been so blessed . . .  Anyway, the test results put Lizzy's cognitive abilities in the average range for her age.  So, in many ways she is already at a point that with continued learning, she will be able to do basically everything kids her age do.  There were some areas that stood out, though.  First, Lizzy's narrative comprehension was in the high range (91 percentile for those of you who follow that stuff).  Her math scores were also pretty high.  Interestingly, her lowest scores were in visual memory-- especially faces.  In fact, there were two tests that measured her recall of faces-- one measured immediate recall and the other delayed recall.  Her scores here were almost the opposite of her reading score.  Her immediate recall was 9 percentile and her delayed recall 5 percentile.  So, if Lizzy doesn't recognize you the next time you see her, you now know why.  Actually, all of her visual memory is low.  Mostly what this means is that she doesn't remember where she put stuff.  Tom has been trying to be patient with this for the last couple of months and now he knows why it is an issue, although that doesn't help a lot when he is in a hurry to leave and Lizzy can't remember where she put her brace or shoes.  LOL. 

As always, we love our Lizzy and are grateful for her recovery and support.  We are also grateful for your continued prayers and attention. 

Thank you,
Tom and Julie and Lizzy Smith


  1. Thanks for sharing that news link, how fun! Tell Lizzy she looks great with the "wind blown" look. Glad the test results were so good, and it's so nice to hear all the positive stuff!

  2. Hurray for improvements! Thanks for sharing her progress with those of us who are far away. Sending love and continued prayers to all of you!