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It’s hard to write a post with a baby in a bjorn

And I think that’s iambic pentameter….

Anyways, it’s 8 pm, and hubby is getting our 2 y/o Babyboy to sleep, which I’m sure means they’re on the seventh reading of “Tough Trucks”. I’m trying to simultaneously entertain our 7-month-old Babygirl while reflecting on the latest  input on Babyboy’s Early Intervention evaluation, which involves writing about it, of course.

So, Babyboy does not say a word, really. Our pediatrician, who is thoughtful, sensitive, and helpful, and whose advice we take very seriously, recommended an Early Intervention eval. So they came and assessed and explained what we sort of knew: he has significant developmental delays in receptive and expressive communication, and appears to have some cognitive delays in certain areas, like perception, attention and memory.

Even though we sort of knew, it was shocking to see it on paper, like a verdict delivered. His scores were pretty low, and me, with my history of almost pathologic academic competitiveness, winced to see scores like “55%”. I felt so sorry for him, so sad.

I felt kind of guilty, too. Maybe we let him watch too much Sprout. Maybe we haven’t engaged with him enough.

But then I have to remember- he’s so young. He can catch up. We’re all gung-ho now. The TV is off. We’ve started to try some signing, feeling very foolish as we realized we’re being inconsistent with our own invented signs, and pretty far off from what the actual signs are supposed to be. But we’re trying. We’re on the floor with him, we’re offering books all the time, we’re brainstorming on stimulating activities for him. This weekend we took him to the little wildlife zoo near our house. This week we plan on going to our local police station open house. Hey, they’re going to have K-9 demos!

And the Early Intervention (EI) folks will be coming. Today they started Music Therapy. I was skeptical when the therapist gave him a xylophone and said, “Play along with me!” I was like, “Riiight.” But he did get the hang of it, and banged on the xylophone when she strummed the guitar. He laughed. They went back and forth, like they were talking, with instruments. I got tears in my eyes.

He’ll get Speech therapy, group interaction, maybe some other services. We’ll also get his hearing tested, and undergo a Developmental eval at the big Children’s Hospital in town. This is all a bit pricey, but we decided not to think about it too much. It just is what it is. It will be worth it.

We feel a bit better now that we’ve met with the EI folks twice, and had some input from Dr. Ben, our pediatrician. We have a plan, and we’re hopeful. But amazing how shocked I was, and lost, at first, despite having completed a pediatrics residency. It’s been a long time, to be sure, and I haven’t practiced Peds for almost a decade. But any medical issue is also a completely different thing when it’s your kid…

And now, I need to turn my attention back to Babygirl, now babbling away in her bouncy chair, trying to catch my eye. She sounds like she’s already saying Mama and Dada. But we’ll pay very close attention to her development now too…

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7 replies »

  1. My daughter didn’t say a word until she was 18 mo, and hasn’t stop talking since. Not sure if it’s the same situation, but it definitely stressed me out. I can’t imagine. And being an MD yourself makes it so much more complicated because you (or perhaps just me) feel as though you should be able to diagnosis/treat your kid.

    Good luck with it all. Sounds like you are doing the right thing

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It sounds like your Music Therapy person is wonderful. Your plans for evaluaton and intervention sound good, and you’re right, spend the money now — you won’t regret it. If you continue to get great therapists like the first one, you’ll get lots of nice ideas for fun and stimulating activities, in addition to the therapy itself. And it’s just the kind of therapy you’d want for a kid — feels like a fun game, and carries no risk of bad side effects.

    At the same time that you take advantage of these great services and spend some extra attention on Babyboy’s development, don’t forget your first instinct, that he seems basically fine. That still means a lot. He may need some extra attention, but there’s a big difference between delays that take an expert to recognize them and obvious problems. (And even then, it’s not an absolute predictor of future development by any means. A friend of mine has a son who is much more obviously delayed — still not really talking at 3 — but it turned out, when they were worrying and wondering, her mother-in-law told her that her husband had been just like that as a kid. A floppy baby, late walker and talker, but now he’s got a great career and a lovely family, and is an all-round wonderful guy. So while they do plenty of therapy for their son, they are pretty confident he’ll catch up within a few years.)

    For signs, there are sign language dictionaries on line. That’s how I found signs to use when I detected interest in being able to express a new idea.
    This one looks pretty good:
    http://www.signingsavvy.com/browse-letter
    I checked, and it has “melon” and “truck.” If it has those, surely it has the others a 2-year old really needs ;). The “baby sign” versions all seem to want to sell you something, or are missing key terms such as “melon.” But this one looked possibly useful: http://www.babies-and-sign-language.com/glossary-photos.html. And chances are, you’ll learn some as part of therapy. Made-up ones are totally fine too, of course, I just wasn’t always creative enough to come up with them.

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    • Thanks so much, Lara, and everyone, for the support, helpful suggestions, and website link- Will forward to hubby and nana. Yes, our gut instinct is that he’ll be fine, but it’s a bit panic-provoking at times. All the stories of other people whose kids were ate talkers but turned out fine are very reassuring– even the story of my own little brother, a very late talker who turned out fine… Staying positive.

      I love that there’s a sign for Melon!

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      • It’s a little hard to see in the on-line dictionaries, but you’re basically flicking a melon (the back of your hand) with your middle finger, as if you’re testing to see if it’s ripe by seeing if it sounds right. I actually have my older kid on video doing his version of that one, when he was somewhere around almost-2. A key sign in our household!

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  3. Ugh. Being a mom is so hard – doctor or not.

    My own mother had a degree in early childhood and taught baby and parenting classes – so she was uber-aware when my younger brother was “not typically developing”. He spoke late, then when he did it was almost completely unintelligible for *years*. He got speech services through the schools, which helped. By first grade, people sometimes just thought he had an accent. By grade school, he mostly just couldn’t spell, and he was terrible at foreign language.

    Now he hops from tech company to tech company, making like 5x as much money as I do and helps host fundraiser gallas for charity with his long-time girlfriend.

    It sounds like you’ve got a great plan. And you’re coming at this as mom, not doctor – which is just what he needs. It’s just a hard, hard job…

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