Sorry for taking so long to give news, I know so many of you are probably wondering if things went really badly. Rest assured, they didn’t. Things are quite wonderful actually, but our day did run away from us with many unexpected events (including a trip to the emergency room for Little Miss to have 3 stitches sewn on her chin after a nasty fall at the park) so here I finally am.
The evaluation went really well. Little Man liked the therapist instantly. She was even able to sit him down on her lap for a few seconds 2 or 3 times. He was very comfortable around her. He was very interested in the toys she brought so stayed very concentrated and quiet. She was hoping for a bit more babbling to evaluate the sounds he was able to make, but she still feels she got enough info to write up a great intervention plan.
She said that most of the “quirks” could easily be explained by his speech delay and his partial deafness. Like she explained : If he can’t speak to tell us he doesn’t understand something and possibly can’t hear us well when we try to explain something, we probably make very little sense to him most of the time. This would explain why he plays so inappropriately with a lot of his toys. He’s kind of making it up as he goes.
This morning, we ended up hitting the used toy store for a few toys she recommended as well. Apparently, although his fine motor skills are way beyond his age (she says about 30 months instead of 22), he’s missing some of those early skills that would help him with putting together sequences of “events” that lead to “results”. (Like shape sorting, stacking, button pushing, pop up, keys and knobs type of things, etc.) Usually, these skills are mastered between 12 and 18 months. She explained that those early skills bring the brain to make that “2+2=4” type of thinking. That is a necessary skill for word and sentence construction later on. We had gotten rid of all those thinking he was passed them and just not interested. But she said it would be good for him to go back and try to master these even if the typical age has passed. So we got a few this morning and will be working on that. Anything to help him catch up.
One thing she did say is that we will have to try to make him “work for things” a bit more. Since he’s gotten used to getting what he wants without saying a word, he probably sees no reason to do it. Which means a bit of tough love. Not frustrate him to a point of making him angry and creating a conflicting and hostile environment, but playing dumb a bit when he wants something. She gave the example of a a cup of water on the counter. If he comes reaching for the cup whining, just start pointing at a few things around what he wants to “delay gratification” by 5-10 seconds. She said that might just be enough to spark his desire to get his point across because we all know how much toddlers LOVE to wait and those 5 seconds can seem like an eternity to them. It will force him to re-evaluate his strategy.
She has recommended a follow-up with an occupational therapist for some of his sensory issues like the biting his hands and such. Just so it doesn’t become something he could really hurt himself with. But all in all, she doesn’t see the need to put in any recommendation for any autism or ASD related evaluation. You can imagine how very relieved we all are.
Her last recommendation was for us to really start sticking to one language with him (which we are horrible at because Little Miss prefers English). We will also look into play groups for him next year to get him in contact with kids his own age. If being told how something works is a challenge, maybe being able to observe more will fill in the gaps. She will be coming back in one week with the full intervention plan and some materials and resources for us. She was a very lovely, nurturing kind of person. She recommends we all see each other again for an in-home visit in 3 months. He will be 2 years old then and we can see where he’s at and if some of her recommendations will change. She said to continue with basic sign language if we have been getting good responses.
So now we relax! We let Spring unfold, we enjoy Summer… We are happy, we feel like we have done all we can. We will keep working on his food issues with our doctors, hopefully we will get answers soon, but now we breathe. Breathing is good.
After a long and well deserved nap for him, we headed for the bike path near our home. The temperatures reached 18’C yesterday (64’F) and after shedding many layers, I let him be free. I know I should have taken this opportunity to point and name, help him listen, try to teach, but I didn’t… we splashed and walked, turned and crawled, touched and tasted… The silence was nice. I think most times, he is teaching me more than I teach him. Learning to just be is the most important gift he will have given me.