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Thursday, June 25, 2009

What We Were Waiting For!


Before we went to the homecoming ceremony Stephen was saying he was going to, "Kiss daddy," although I don't know how convinced he actually was that daddy was really going to come home. Then at the ceremony Stephen made friends with just about every older kid there. All he wanted was for them to chase him.

My little man was so sweet when the men in uniform came running in. He even saluted when they saluted waving his flag. Awe!!

We are so excited to see Daddy Josh! My husband looks great-- I am proud to report that he has quit smoking and even managed to add a few pounds on.

He cannot believe how tall and talkative Stephen is! Since daddy has been home the two have been getting that quality time in. The first night with daddy Stephen was telling me "Go, You! Go away! My daddy!" And Josh was worried about no longer being the favorite...!

It is so nice having my famiy together. People really take their time together for granted sometimes and I am so thankful for each and every minute of it!

Monday, June 22, 2009


It has been fourteen (YES, FOURTEEN!) long months without my husband home and today we get to go pick him up! I get all teary-eyed when I think about how excited Stephen is going to be to see his daddy! The poor kid has been calling his friends daddies daddy, and it breaks my heart everytime I have to correct him with something like, "No, that's Alison's daddy."

Our home is relatively clean and today I am not stressing over a darn thing. If he comes home to a less than clean patio (which he will be coming home to) we're still all in one piece so I just don't give a hoot. Father's Day is a day late here in the Moody Chiperno household, and I cannot wait to kick off the festivities!

My friends Clare and Heather are nice enough to help me out later. Clare is staying home with her two kiddos so Heather can come along to the redelployment ceremony to take some pictures, so I will post some later. Keep an eye out!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Ready & Waiting

Josh should be here by Monday (Now. Unless he's delayed again).

I'm ready

I CANNOT wait to see Stephen's reaction!

Thursday, June 18, 2009


I've played nice enough today, but I feel like a raving bitch on the inside.

Josh will absolutely no way in heck be here by Sunday. :(

Hopefully tomorrow I will hear when he is leaving and a new date that he may be here.

I totally, completely knew this would happen, but I am disappointed nonetheless.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Stevie B's BDay Wishlist

Really, Stephen doesn't need anything, but since I am his mother, I suppose I should get him something, nevertheless. This list is more or less for me. My friend Rhandi has a "her favorite things" list and I thought that maybe I needed a list for Stephen since I never know what to get him or to suggest to others, and when I see things I think he will like, I often forget about them.

ABC Carrybag, $34.95

Animal Sounds Game
(I think Sonya bought this one!)

Halloween Idea?
Personalized Scrubs for my little Doctor

Pilot Costume

OH! Here's an easy one....He wants those Preschool skates from Walmart; They're like roughly $15 and the kind he wears his shoes when he slips them on. He's always wearing Alison and Jeramiah's when he plays at their house!
This is why I needed to start a list...This is all I can think of....

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Man: Some weeks I just feel like the world is out to get me; I'm not even joking. One of those weeks when everything that can go wrong, every little thing, manages to. I cannot believe how out of hand this argument with the speech people had gotten.

Today Laurie, Stephen's previous speech pathologist, brought over a statement that I was supposed to have over two months ago. I knew that it was going to be shoddy and unhelpful and (unfortunately) I was correct. This is what she gave me, typos and uncapitol-ized letters, no dates and all. This is word for word what she sent:

To whom this may concern:

I have had the pleasure of working with Stephen Chiperno since December 3, 2008. Stephen has made progress with his speech and language skills since I began working with him two times a month for forty-five minutes a session. Stephen has had difficulty with over generalizing individuals' names to call men and women Donna or Grandma. Stephen has recently made progress with this skill and is able to repeat other names with moderate verbal cueing. Stephen has been using two and three-word phrases with some misarticulations due to the rate of his speech.

Laurie Maler, M.S., CCC-SLP

Even blogger is flagging this for bad writing :)

I could have written a memo this "well" (and I use that term loosely) back in middle school, and I refuse to believe that this is acceptable coming from a professional with a six-year Master's Degree. She never said what Stephen's delays were, but she said twice that he is making improvements. While that is true, it is all how you look at the situation seeing as, technically, he is father "behind" than he was when we were first entered into the program. Can you really call that "making progress"?

Finally, after going through Brandon and Laurie to Laurie's Boss, then through Brandon's boss, then through the program director, THEN a gal in the Temple office, and THEN (yes, THEN) going to a bigger head of ECI in the Austin main office, I FINALLY got two honest and usable statements. Do you see a difference in professionalism here? I certainly do and MAN, is it about time!!!

THEN I was told that Laurie has decided that Stephen would benefit from a move to Kentucky as long as his family was together. How can anyone say he would benefit?! Furthermore, she'll say he could benefit from it, but she's also saying she was unwilling to give an opinion of what "could" happen? Isn't that a contradiction???

June 16, 2009

To whom it may concern,

Stephen Chiperno was referred to Early Childhood Intervention on 11/04/2008 by his primary care physician Dr. Alvarado. Team members who conducted the evaluation were Johnnie Wardell EIS, Laurie Maler SLP and Brandon Fuller EIS. The assessment tools showed that Stephen showed no developmental delays on the Developmental Assessment of Young Children (DAYC). However, the Speech Language Pathologist used her professional judgment to determine that he qualified for ECI services atypically in his articulation in words and phrases.

At the intake Stephen’s mother reported that she had concerns for Stephen’s behaviors. Such as, he was showing aggression towards smaller and younger children. Stephen’s mother also reported that at 8 months old Stephen used 40 words and 2-3 word sentences. She informed us that as of 11/14/08 that Stephen was 27 months old and had reverted back to grunting. Stephen’s mother also reported that it was very difficult for her to take Stephen into public due to his behaviors. At the time of intake and evaluation Stephen’s father was deployed to Iraq.

At the evaluation Stephen’s mother agreed to have Laurie Maler SLP come to their home 2 times a month and Brandon Fuller 2 times a month. She also requested to have a counseling evaluation by an LPC. Since then KaTodra Jackson LPC completed a counseling evaluation to determine continuation of services. KaTodra determined from her evaluation that there was not a need to add counseling services. She gave Stephen’s mother numerous strategies to help redirect Stephen when he is behaving in a manner that is considered inappropriate.

Since the evaluation Laurie Maler SLP has seen Stephen 8 times for speech language sessions and Brandon Fuller has seen Stephen 12 times for developmental services starting on 12/08/08. During the first few visits Stephen was somewhat shy. He initially seemed unsure of what to expect from Brandon Fuller and Laurie Maler. It took several visits for Stephen to warm up to Brandon and Laurie. Throughout the visits Stephen has made progress. Stephen has shown great improvement since the evaluation. Stephen has stopped grunting and crying to communicate his wants and needs. He has begun to use 4-5 word sentences on a frequent basis. However, one area in which Stephen is struggling with is the willingness to address individuals by name. Throughout the 12 visits in which Brandon has seen Stephen he has not addressed Brandon by his name. He has continually called Brandon, “Donna or grandma”. Stephen’s mother informed Brandon that Stephen calls everyone by the name “Donna or grandma”. Brandon worked with Stephen for several visits encouraging him to call him by the correct name. Finally after using a rewards system Stephen used Brandon’s name a couple of times. Since then Stephen has not said Brandon’s name at all.

Due to Stephen’s upcoming 3rd birthday we have referred Stephen to Killeen ISD for continued services after Stephen’s 3rd birthday. We have also provided Stephen’s mother with the application packet for Head Start which she has reportedly turned in. Stephen’s mother has also applied for Pre K 3 program with Copperas Cove ISD.

If further information is required please feel free to contact me at (254) 290-2576.


Brandon Fuller, BSW
Early Intervention Specialist
ECI Childteam

And from Laurie's Boss (From what she read from his file, not personally meeting Stephen)

June 16, 2009

To whom it may concern,

Stephen Chiperno was referred to ECI Childteam on 11-4-08 by Dr Alvarado his pediatrician.

The first visit with the family was on 11-14-08 at the family home. This visit is set up to meet the family and learn of their concerns. At the intake the Stephen’s mom Ms. Moody expressed concern about Stephen’s anger and stated that he hits younger children. Ms. Moody stated that Stephen responds better to his dad. She also expressed concerns about Stephen’s speech and language development. She stated that he points and grunts to have his needs met.

The evaluation/assessment was completed on 12-1-08 at the family home. Laurie Maler, Speech Language Pathologist, Johnnie Wardell, Early Intervention Specialist and Brandon Fuller, Early Intervention Specialist were the assessment team. The Developmental Assessment of Young Children assessment tool was used to determine eligibility. Stephen’s age in months at the time of the testing was 27 months. The results of the testing were: Cognitive Development 25 months, Communication 27 months, Physical Development 26 months, Social Emotional 44 months, and Adaptive Behavior 33 months. Stephen didn’t qualify for services based on a developmental delay but did qualify atypically based on his articulation of words and phrases.

The Individual Family Service Plan was developed on 12-3-08. The services that were planed at that time were Speech Therapy 2 times a month for 45 minutes and Developmental Services 2 times a month for 45 minutes. A Counseling evaluation was planned on the grid as well as an Occupational Therapy evaluation.

The first home visit with the family was on 12-8-08 with Laurie Maler SLP, and Brandon Fuller, EIS. There have been a total of 8 Speech Language sessions with Laurie Maler, SLP and 12 Developmental service sessions with Brandon Fuller, EIS. It is reported in the documentation that during the first few visits Stephen had a difficult time with the new people in his home. Throughout the documentation there is discussion of Stephens’s behavior and the difficulties Ms. Moody has when they are out in public.

On 1-7-09 an evaluation/assessment was completed by KaTodra Jackson, LPC and Brandon Fuller, EIS. The purpose of this evaluation was to complete a social-emotional assessment based on behavior concerns. Behavior services were not recommended at the time of the evaluation.

Ms. Moody reported that she is hopeful that Stephen will be enrolled in Head Start or Copperas Cove ISD public school Pre-K3 program in the fall. Both of these programs are available to the families at no cost and would be an appropriate service for Stephen.

There is a need for Stephen and his family to receive continued support when he turns three and ECI services are no longer available.

If I can be of any further assistance please call me at 254-699-2090.


Julie C. Fielder
Regional Coordinator
BS Family and Child Development

Anyhow, we met with a psychologist last night who did say she is not concerned about asperger's or autism, and that she feels if he grows up and later has any problems he will still be in the high-functioning range. She also said she does not see signs of ADD or ADHD, but we are going to continue seeing her and try to get behind the hitting problem which is a chapter I desperately want to close. She did seem to genuinely take an interest and understand our problem.

Thank you!!!!!!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Goodbye, Sammie

My dad was flipping through the newspaper today and when he was reading the obituaries, he realized one of our long-time friends had passed. The newspaper said her last name changed to Dominic, but my friend, Sammie Scalcucci, died this week of lung cancer.

Renee was my mom's best friend before I was born. Sammie is her daughter. Sammy also had a younger sister, Saree. Our moms were pregnant together at the same time, racing to see who would come first. As my personality, I beat Saree out of the womb by 8 days. When I grew up Sammie was my babysitter, but she was also that older sister that I never had and always wanted. She loved to take me out or just play with me at home. Everyone knew that Sammy loved me and growing up I idolized her.

Sammie left behind four kids; Her oldest two are Amanda and Lowgun, and her youngest two must be Kindergarden-age, Brandathan and Halee. I feel horrible for these four children, robbed of a mommy.

Sammie Lynne Dominick, 34, of North Pole, passed away on June 8, 2009, at Fairbanks Memorial Hospital.

Sammie was born on Oct. 4, 1974, at Fairbanks Memorial Hospital.

Sammie battled lung cancer for almost two years, with family and friends close by her side. Sammie was known for her sense of humor and always having something smart to say. She lived life to the fullest. Although we didn't have her here for a long time, she was here to have a good time.

Sammie is survived by her son, Lowgun Hendrie; her daughter, Amanda Murray; her son, Brandathan Dominick Hunneg; her daughter, Halee Dominick; grandparents, Bud and Ruth Shannon; mother and stepfather, Renee and Jim Klatt; sister, Wendy Bingham; brother and sister-in-law, Ronald and Ana Bingham; brother, David "PJ" Scalcucci; sister, Saree Scalcucci; and many nieces and nephews.

A memorial service will be held at noon, Saturday, June 20, at Chena Lake Riverside Pavilion No. 3 with Pastor Marshall officiating.

Bring a dish to share; the gathering and potluck will continue until 10 p.m., and prepare for a good time.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations at Wells Fargo to the Sammie Dominick Cancer Fund, Acct. No. 3242539967.

The Challenge

My friend, Susan, from "Cheerios in my Shorts" (her blog name; Cute, huh?) challenged me to only use my camera on manual when I wrote her asking for advice. I gave it some tries and am questioning my ability to use the manual mode. I miss having a perfectly lighted studio that I could just turn the stuff onto and shoot without adjustments or worrying.....

Here are some of my attempts at going manual.....

I Gave in.

I did it. I gave in. After more than three months switching rings that are obviously not wedding rings or they are uncomfortable, I just gave in and bought my twin wedding ring over again.

It's small, it's simple, and it's me. It was also half off....Normally finding something I purchased at twice the price would urk me, but seeing as I am re-buying it, I'll consider the 55% discount a blessing rather than an annoyance.

I still can't help but wonder where in the world my wedding ring disappeared to. Did a craigslist-er steal it? Did Stephen throw it away? Is it behind one of those huge, heavy dressers that I cannot move on my own?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Another 4187

We are about to put in our second 4187-- Request to stay here in Killeen. Josh asked me to write it and it's going to be put into memo form; Here goes:

My son, Stephen, turns three this August 2009. Since I deployed in June of 2008, my wife has been seeking help for Stephen for issues that have risen since I have left for deployment. Stephen was just accepted this week into the Army’s EFMP. Stephen has always been a “daddy’s boy,” and this last year without his dad has been very tough on him through this deployment.

Stephen’s pediatrician referred him to ECI where he was tested and has been seeking treatment for a speech delay and developmental delay since November 2008. He has also been seen for behavioral concerns, but we were told they could not properly diagnose anything until Stephen becomes school-age. Stephen has also regressed in potty training and although he was nearly potty trained when I left for Afghanistan, he is now nearly three and refuses to potty train at all. Our pediatrician is also concerned about Stephen having autism or aspergers or both.

ECI comes to our home 5 times a month to work with Stephen; It took Stephen eight months to be willing to say Brandon’s name (one of the men who come to help him). It also took Stephen several months to even sit in the same room as them and to be willing to participate in any of their projects or testing. We fear that if we are forced to move that it will take months to get into another program and then it will take even longer for Stephen to be willing to participate or work with someone new and it will hinder progress he has been making.

In addition to services from ECI, Mrs. Cassandra with the Army’s MPAT program also comes out once a month to meet with Stephen and to access his needs. Her testing shows that Stephen has fine motor skills delays and he has recently taken another test which shows he has some problems, but the test was not designed to specify what those problems are.

All of the different testing done so far shows there is something that is not right, but many of these tests have rendered different results. June 15th, 2009 Stephen has his first appointment with a child psychologist, as recommended early this month by his pediatrician. We should have a more specific diagnosis by this date.

Besides ECI’s help and the MPAT program, Stephen is enrolled in a preschool that opens late August 2009, as well as in the Head Start Program. He is also signed up to receive KISD’s help for children with delays and concerns as of late August 2009, when Stephen turns three.

It has taken my wife many months to establish help here in Killeen. Stephen now has a network of people here to help him; EFMP, ECI, MPAT, a preschool, the Headstart program, his pediatrician Doctor Alvarado, Mrs. Amy Ligget who is doing his psychology testing, as well as KISD. It is my family’s concern per the many people who have been involved in helping meet Stephen’s needs that moving Stephen from his schedule, home, friends, the people who have been working with him who he finally recognizes, and moving to Kentucky, that it will set back progress or that he will possibly further regress. We believe that if our family is allowed to stay in Killeen and continue to utilize all of the above programs we are seeking assistance from that we will continue to see improvements. It has been hard for Stephen to not have me around and we all believe that with some more work and stability at home with both parents that Stephen will begin to get better.