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I love seeing that glimmer of excitement in Josie's eyes when she realizes I am understanding what she is telling me.  This afternoon, she was very animated, telling me all about Dora and her pony, Pinto.  She was so proud of herself that she was able to get her point across.  Today, I learned that Dora loves her pony and likes to ride him.  I also found out Boots rides Pinto as well, and they both wear cowboy hats and say "Yee Haw!"

I have become pretty good at deciphering Josie's speech.  I can see how others have difficulty making out what Josie is trying to say.  If you slow down and really listen to her, you should be able to figure it out.  Some days, there are words that escape me.  If I ask her to repeat herself too many times, she will look at me and speak nonsense talk or say "la la la."  There are people, even family members, who do not understand her, or take the time to listen to her.  She has been called "slow" and referred to as "that poor baby."  Josie is just like any other preschooler, she just has different obstacles to overcome.

Two years ago, Josie was diagnosed with Developmental Dyspraxia and Hypotonia.  Developmental Dyspraxia is a developmental disorder which affects Josie's fine and gross motor skills, receptive language processing, and speech.  Due to Hypotonia, or low muscle tone, Josie was delayed with sitting, crawling, and walking.  She took her first unassisted steps right before her second birthday.   Looking back now, I realize the Hypotonia is what caused Josie not to be able to nurse.  If only we would have had a diagnosis earlier, not that I am sure we would have done anything differently.  The diagnosis would have been the first piece of the puzzle I was trying to figure out.

Josie started Early Intervention when she was six months old.  During our three years with EI, Josie received Speech, Physical, Therapy, Occupational Therapy, and a Special Education teacher.  Currently ,she attends a special needs preschool, and she is doing phenomenal.  At our annual meeting, her teacher shared with us that Josie is a leader in the classroom.  She brings the other kids out of their shells.  Josie is always participating and when she knows the answer to something, she gets so excited her whole body shakes.  When Josie is absent, we have been told she is terribly missed.  They know Josie will have something to add to what is being spoken about during circle time or she will be the one to get another one of the students excited about a new topic they are discussing.  She loves to sing and dance and play with her friends.  Next year, Josie will be moving to the half day program, which for her age, is the afternoon session.  This is great news, as Josie is not a morning person.  There are many mornings where we are dressing her half asleep, and putting her on the bus before her eyes are even completely opened. 

Josie is an absolute joy and she brings sunshine into this house with her smile.  She has the most contagious giggle.   When she was a baby, I started calling her Jellybean or Josie-bean. She used to light up every time I called her my jellybean, she still does.  She quickly started answering to Jellybean as often as Josephine or Josie.   Now, a lot of the time, we simply call her Bean.  

I couldn't imagine a world without my Josie-bean.  Please take the time to listen to her, she has a lot to say.


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