Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Cate's All About Me Packet

So I officially had to change my blog header because I am no longer the mom of a kindergartner.  Today was open house, tomorrow is the first day of school and Cate is officially a First Grader!  We are thrilled with her new teacher, her new classroom and her new schedule so I am hoping for a great year!

Last year prior to Cate starting Kindergarten I came across a DS message board post about someone doing an "All About Me Packet" for their child every year for school.  They had a link to a packet created by the Down Syndrome Guild of Greater Kanas City.  After our terrible Kindergarten Kamp experience I decided that this was a good first step to help give the teachers the information they needed to help Cate be successful.  So I modified the packet using the suggestion from the post about using lots of pictures and giving specific info both good and bad.  I took one copy to the school last year and they ended up copying it and distributing them to every teacher Cate would have that year.  The teachers loved it, I got comments and thank you's for weeks after school started.  So this year, even though Cate's main teacher and the special's teachers already know her from last year, I decided to do it again.  I figured I could add some of the motivators we learned about in Kindergarten and give them some insight into Cate's summer.  Well the teachers seen equally happy to have this years packet. 
Here is an editied version of our packet, its pretty long and had lots of info about Cate in it so if you decide to sign off now - watch for first day of school pictures tomorrow or Friday!  If you are interested in doing a packet of your own and want to start with my template, please send me an email at and I'll forward you one or go to All About Me Packet - KCDSG.

All About Me!

We are pleased to share our All About Me booklet with you. This booklet contains a lot of information about our child, Catherine … (Cate) and our family.
We hope that this information will help you to get to know our child and some of her interests, strengths and skills.

We have high expectations for Cate just as other parents do for their children. We hope she will follow school rules, perform to the best of her ability and be a contributing member of the class. Good teaching and positive peer role models will help Cate be successful.
If you have any questions, please call us at home, Lisa’s cell or at Lisa’s work

I also have a blog that journals Cate’s life, feel free to visit anytime:
We look forward to working with you this year.
Please let us know how we can help make this a great school year.

Lisa & Ric

My Parent’s Dreams for Me

When Cate was born we worried about:
.. pretty much everything!! Every book we read talked about all the horrible things we had in store for us as the parents of a special needs child – from health conditions to not potty training until late in childhood.  Finally we threw all the books away and just took care of our baby.  Every once and a while a fear about Cate not being accepted or being teased still sneaks in but mostly we are just amazed by Cate’s strength, will, and intelligence every day.

Cate - First Easter 2006
Our hopes for this year are:
We hope Cate is able to continue making friends this year in First Grade.  We want her to participate to the best of her ability and keep up with her peers for as long as possible.  We hope that she will make great improvements in reading and sounding out words this year and that she will be able to participate in all First Grade activities.

Here are some ways we think you can help Cate be successful:
Be strict but kind.  Cate is very sharp and knows when she is being underestimated or can get her own way.  It is important for her to follow the rules and participate but sometimes she will be very stubborn about it until she figures out she can’t get an exception for herself.  Most of all we know if you have as high of expectations for her as you do for your other students, she will respond and succeed.  Cate loves one on one attention from adults and will take advantage of any opportunity to separate herself from her peers.  Encourage participation and don’t allow her to manipulate her way into a special accommodation that isn’t necessary.

Our lifetime goals for Cate are:
We hope that Cate will be able to find a job that she is good at and that brings her satisfaction and happiness.   We want Cate to have a higher education experience if she wants to attend a special university program.   We feel sure she will want to live independently at some point after she reaches adulthood and will do everything we can to give her that option if she wants it.

Here is My Family

My name is Catherine …, my family calls me Cate.

My Mom is Lisa, she works very close to our school as an Accounts Payable & HR Manager.

My Dad is Richard, he works as a Manager in Finance in midtown.

I have one sister, Lucy, she is 3.5 years old.

We have a pet cat.

My maternal grandparents, Ruth Ann and Ray live here.  They are both retired and are very active in my life.  They travel in their RV during the winter.  I love it when Grandma picks me up from school!

Other family or friends that I want you to know about are:
·       My Great Aunt Mary, Great Aunt Wanda, and Great Uncle Pete as well as my cousin Kim all live here and are active in my life.
·       My paternal grandparents (Nana & Grandpa North) live in NY.  I also have one uncle in Texas, another in Savannah, and an aunt in KY – along with 9 cousins.
·       My Uncle Lane & Aunt Brandie (in the picture) live in FL.

Interesting Facts About Me!

My favorite activities are dancing, playing with the ipad and watching TV, especially Fresh Beat Band, Doc McStuffins, Wild Kingdom and animal or princess movies.

 My favorite color is pink (for now – it changes frequently!)

When I go outside, I swing at the playground, swim, and be creative with the things I find like mulch and leaves.

My favorite hobby and other activities are swimming, playing kitchen, reading or looking at books, playing doctor or teacher.

 Three things that really motivate me are:
1)    “Helping” – I love to be a helper.
2)    Animals – I love any type of animal so visitation or alone time with a school pet is something I will work to earn.
3)    Playtime – I love to explore and have free time, the incentive is even higher if that time includes some one-on-one play time with an older child or adult.

When I grow up I want to take care of people or animals, if you ask me I’ll tell you I want to be a zookeeper!

        Health Considerations

Here are some things you may need to know about my health:
-        I had a complete AV Canal Heart defect and a VSD when I was born.  When I was 4.5 months old I had surgery to repair it at Children’s Healthcare.  The repair was completely successful and I have no current activity restrictions but you will probably notice a large scar on my chest.  We celebrate the anniversary of my surgery on May 9th every year.
-        I had my tonsils and adenoids removed when I was two years old.
I have ear tubes in both ears to help deal with fluid build up but I rarely get ear infections.

Current Medication (s):
blood pressure medicine, I take to make sure my heart stays healthy, I have never had a heart related issue – it is just preventative.

I do not wear glasses or hearing aides.  I do not have any allergies either.

When I am not feeling well I might:
be very clingy and weepy.  I rarely tell people I am feeling sick (I have a high pain tolerance) and will often push myself until I have a fever.  But if I’m upset about something else and you ask me if something hurts, I will likely say yes even when that is not the case.  I have figured out the nurse is a great excuse for a break from work I don’t want to do.  Be wary of claims of sickness when I have been fine but am not in the middle of something difficult for me.

Other things you need to know about my health:
Cate has very small ear canals and when the tubes aren’t working correctly they will fill up with fluid very quickly.  She has had an ABR and we are confident she does not have any hearing deficiencies.   If you notice her hearing seems to be getting worse please let us know so we can have her tubes checked.  She currently sees an ENT every 4-6 months to try and make sure we keep them open.  Cate will likely need new tubes early next year.

My Feelings

Things that make me feel happy:
Animals, music & dancing, time to explore, attention, and someone who takes the time to understand my speech all make me happy.   I am pretty much happy most of the time and if I’m not I’m usually easily persuaded to change my mood unless I’m not feeling well or are very tired.

Things that might upset me:
Not getting my way most of all!  It will cause me to cry or pout but I never act out violently.  I also don’t like to lose games.  I get upset about losing a game, just remind me to say “good job” to the winner and that next time maybe I’ll win.

It’s hard for me to:
Make transitions, especially when I want to do something or have been denied something in my current location.  I also have trouble starting a new schedule or getting back into the swing of things after a vacation or break.
Communication with my peers can be hard as well – when I am playing pretend especially I let my speech turn toward babble.

Things I may be afraid of:
Loud noises
Chaotic situations like large groups of unorganized activity.
New situations
New people

Places I Like to Go
Here are some places that I like to go to with my family:
The Beach
My friends’ and families’ houses for parties
Traveling anywhere in my grandparents RV
The Zoo
Out to Eat!

My favorite places to go in my neighborhood are:
The playground, the zoo, the children’s museum
Restaurants like the Deli, Italian, Chick-Fil-A, and the Taqaria
But my most favorite things are the summer concert on the Square because I love to dance on the dance floor with my daddy!

My Summer vacation:
This summer my family went on one short trip and then I attended lots of different camps.  In June, we went to Tybee Island to spend some time with my dad’s family for a wedding.  We played at the beach and danced the night away! 

I had a lot of fun swimming at home but I also went to Vacation Bible School, C Kids Camp, church camp, and my favorite ZOO CAMP!  It was a crazy but fun summer for me, and I’m not sure I want it to end!


Here are some things you may need to know about how I communicate:
I drop certain letter sounds very consistently – especially “s”, “th”, “wa”, “f”  - once you get used to my speech I can usually be understood in context.  It is very difficult to understand me when I’m telling a story I’ve made up, am very excited, or am singing.

I will usually respond well to a single word correction but if you try to get me to repeat a whole sentence I’ll shut down.  I do private speech in addition to my school speech.  We are currently pushing corrections on the word “water”, the “S” sound in general and trying to get me to pronounce the “f” sound by biting my bottom lip.
If I am frustrated I might:
give up trying, or say “I don’t know”.  Sometimes I will completely shut down on an activity and it is very hard to change my mind at that point.  Anything you can do to break my frustrated attitude before that point will help me succeed.

My parents would prefer that you communicate with them by:
Whichever way is most convenient for you – please do not hesitate to contact us with an issue, or with suggestions for home activities to help Cate by reinforcing a concept you are working on with her.

Our home phone number is () – there is normally someone there by 5 pm.
Lisa can be reached at any time by email, at work or on her cell.
Ric can be reached at any time by email, at work, or on his cell.

Look What I Can Do!
Here are some things I do to help around the house:
-        Feed the cat and give her water
-        Set the table
-        Make my bed & clean things off the floor in my room
-        Empty the silverware from the dishwasher
Here are some things I can do by myself:
-        Potty
-        Get dressed (except for buttons & snaps)
-        Put together my breakfast
-        Write my name & all the letters
-        Recite my full name, address (including county, country, continent and planet!)
-        Read 80 sight words – 50 kindergarten words plus the first 30 First grade words
-        Identify a huge number of animals, tell you about what they eat or where they live
-        Use the ipad
-        Swim – jump from the diving board and swim 25 yards
Here are some things I can do if someone helps me:
-        Buttons and snaps
-        Fine motor skills that require finger strength
-        Open packages or bottles
Here is a list of things I do in the community on a regular basis:
-        Eat Out
-        Play on the playgrounds around town
-        Dance at the square
-        Take swimming and dance classes


Myths & Truths
About Down Syndrome
Myth: Down syndrome is a rare genetic disorder.
Truth: Down syndrome is the most commonly occurring genetic condition.  One in every
800 births is a child with Down syndrome.  There are currently 350,000 people in the U.S. with Down syndrome, with 5,000 to 6,000 births per year.

Myth: Most children with Down syndrome are born to older parents.
Truth: Eighty percent of children born with Down syndrome are born to women younger than age 35 due to higher fertility rates.  However, research has shown a link between the incidence of Down syndrome and maternal age.

Myth: Down syndrome is hereditary and runs in families.
Truth: Most cases of Down syndrome are sporadic, chance events.   In general, Down syndrome does not run in families and a sibling or aunt has no greater chance of conceiving a child with Down syndrome.

Myth: People with Down syndrome have severe cognitive delays.
Truth: Most people with Down syndrome have cognitive delays that are mild to moderate.  IQ is not an adequate measure of the functional status of people with Down syndrome.   People with Down syndrome have great potential if given opportunities.

Myth: The life expectancy of people with Down syndrome is 30.
Truth: Thanks to advances in medical and clinical treatment and opportunities to thrive, as many as 80 percent of adults with Down syndrome reach age 55, and many live longer.

Myth: Behavior problems and depression are just part of having Down syndrome
Truth: Often, medical or mental health problems go untreated due to the assumption that it is typical of having this genetic condition. Complete examinations by appropriate health care professionals should always be pursued.

Myth: Children with Down syndrome are placed in segregated special education programs.
Truth: Children with Down syndrome are included in regular academic classrooms across the country. Students may be integrated into specific courses or fully included in the regular classroom for all subjects.

Myth: Adults with Down syndrome may be unable to work.
Truth: Businesses seek young adults with Down syndrome for a variety of positions. They are employed by banks, corporations, nursing homes, hotels and restaurants. They work in the music and entertainment industry. People with Down syndrome bring to their jobs enthusiasm, reliability and dedication.

This booklet was designed by the Down Syndrome Guild of Greater Kansas City


  1. Thanks for sharing! I posted the link on Facebook since local kids start school tomorrow.

  2. So very helpful! Thank you very much for sharing.
    Cate is an amazing, adorable little girl, such a charactor!!!

  3. This is awesome! I have a one-page All About Wesley sheet, but I really like this especially as he enters kindergarten next year. Thanks so much for sharing! =)