Special needs adoption from a Jewish perspective.

Special needs adoption from a Jewish perspective.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Sweet Elaine

Now that her blog is back up, here is the latest in Renee's Challenge. Her name is Elaine: (Other stories here)

Elaine looks like such a sweetie!  So friendly and approachable.  Her latest update says: "Elaine's diagnosis has been changed to MILD mental delay.  She is making good progress in her mental development.  She is happy and healthy, polite, and plays well with other children.  Elaine is also very tender, and helpful."

I can easily imagine her as the middle sister.  Her 5-year-old younger sister absolutely adores her -- and the feeling is mutual!  They are both learning to read, and they read "Dora the Explorer" books to each other.  They also play with dolls together, and they feed each other's imagination like nobody else in the family can.

At the same time, she connects to her 12-year-old sister, too.  She is the perfect audience for pre-teen angst, supportive and affectionate.  In return, she is a devoted sidekick when the big sister wants company in kitchen projects, art projects, getting-in-trouble projects......

At school, she receives services in accordance with her IEP, but she is otherwise fully integrated into her classroom.  She rapidly learns English, hopscotch, and playground politics.  Her favorite subject is Art, and she loves making clay figures that are remarkably expressive.

With all the love and support from her sisters (and parents!), I see her closing the gaps of her institutional delays, and making Honor Roll in 8th grade.  She has by now pursued advanced sculpture classes at the local art school.  She is learning about digital animation and produces several short clay-mation features which are featured on her school web page.  The 3D skills acquired in this hobby also develop her spatial reasoning skills, and she truly comes into her own in High School geometry.  She goes to college and majors in Engineering.   Disability?  What's that?!

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