It’s hard to believe that our beautiful, sweet little Taylor is turning seven years old already this Saturday, April 23rd! Seven years ago she came into the world on a cold and rainy April day – much like this cold April weather we have been experiencing as of late! She came into a world full of so many more unknowns than we could have possibly imagined, and yet she was our little ray of sunshine through the clouds.

This past year has been full of its ups and downs. We have had our challenges, and we have had our triumphs. Through it all, though, Taylor perseveres. She is growing up so fast! (Something I never thought I’d find myself saying, given the first few years of her life and her delayed growth.)

One of the new challenges we’ve faced this year has been related to the development of a tic disorder for Taylor. This has been a great source of frustration for all involved, including Taylor, us (her family), and the doctors trying to help treat it. Out of nowhere, she developed a vocal tic last April that persisted and intensified quickly. She was started on a medication to help control the tic, which seemed to work for awhile, but then over the course of this past year she developed other tics (including motor) which have all been very hard to control and treat. We have trialed a few different medications to help control the tics, and three months ago we finally had some good success when she was switched to Abilify. She has had an EEG and MRI since the tics began, but nothing has given us any answers as to why. We are just glad that for now we have found something that works for treatment and so far she is not having any side effects to it.

Another challenge that Taylor has faced this past year was having to adjust to a new school and type of classroom. Prior to this school year, she attended an all special ed school, where she was the highest functioning child in her classroom. It wasn’t the most demanding program for her, and so we made the decision to transfer her to a general ed elementary school within our school system, that houses a regional cognitive impairment classroom. The children in her new classroom all have some degree of cognitive delay, but Taylor’s is the most severe in the classroom. She actually qualified for a 1:1 aide to help her in the room with things like feeding, going to the bathroom, attending to more structured academic activities, etc.  It is a much more demanding program than she was in at her prior school, and it pushes her to work much harder. All good things, but Taylor wasn’t so keen on the working harder bit. 😉 She resisted at first, and for the first time ever started throwing tantrums at school (yikes!) But her teacher and aides in the room are wonderful and have been very patient with her, and eventually she came around and adjusted to her new routine. She still goes through periods of resistance, but for the most part she does well at school now.

Enough of the challenges, though, because there have been some great new developments that have happened over this past year, too! Last fall, Taylor was chosen to receive her very own AmTryke bike, donated to her through our local Ambucs organization. She loves riding this bike all around our neighborhood, and she loves her independence with it.

Taylor also started hippotherapy this past year. We had been wanting to start her with this long ago, but the only program we knew of in our area had a really long wait list, and we were not making our way to the top of it very fast. So we were thrilled when a brand new facility opened up near us and she could start with that. Taylor loves animals, and she gets a lot of enjoyment and therapeutic benefit from riding on the horse.

Potty training (daytime) has also been a great source of triumph this year for Taylor! Potty training has been something we have been working at since Taylor was three years old. Something just finally *clicked* several months ago, and she started doing so much better with it. We have many days now where she stays dry and in the same Pull-Up – all day long!

Taylor has also started to become more independent with various tasks over this past year. We definitely attribute this to the more demanding school program, where their expectations for her are higher and therefore she is starting to meet those expectations. When she started in her classroom this past fall, she would not even sit and do any sort of table time activity independently, but now she will!

On a final note, which shows just how big our little girl is getting…she attended her first daddy/daughter dance this year at school. And let me just say, dancing is one of Taylor’s favorite activities!


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7 Responses to Happy 7th Birthday, dear Taylor!

  1. Marsha Heyboer says:

    Katie, Thank you for this update on your dear little girl. She is such an inspiration! Happy Birthday, Taylor Marsha Heyboer

  2. Laurie says:

    Oh my goodness..what a GORGEOUS young lady she is! Happy Birthday, beautiful Taylor…I am sure that people tell you that you look like another Taylor (as in Swift) with those gorgeous golden curls. Thank you for posting such an inspiring story about all of her accomplishments this past year. It makes looking towards Kaylee’s future not quite so scary. xoxo

  3. Grandpa & Grandma Rozema says:

    Happy Birthday Taylor!!!! You are a very special granddaughter to us and such an inspiration!! We love you bunches and bunches!! Love, Grandpa & Grandma

  4. Anna says:

    Happy Birthday Taylor (she shares her birthday with me!). So wonderful to hear of her achievements this year. I must say that when Ryley was put into a class where he was challenged, he thrived (with many protests along the way!). Hope she has a wonderful day.

  5. Leonie says:

    Taylor is absoloutely beautiful. Love the pretty dress. Happy birthday!

  6. KevinO says:

    Katie- what a great update. Thank you for sharing such detailed information! It’s great to hear that she is making progress (especially potty training!). I wonder if the tic has anything to do with the challenges she faces at school…but I am certain that you’ve considered this thought.

    Taylor is absolutely adorable.

  7. Heather says:

    Such a great update!!! I’m particularly encouraged to hear how she is adjusting to the more challenging classroom at school. It’s good to know that our kids are quite capable if we and their teachers keep our expectations up. And I LOVE the picture of Taylor and her daddy. So beautiful!

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