We passed a milestone last Thursday when we finished our first 6 months of therapy for Alec and had a team meeting to review his progress and current needs. Both his Speech and Special Ed teachers gave reports and a Service Coordinator from the County was there, as well as my friend Judy, who served as moral support for me and another set of ears to hear everything. The therapists gave me their reports ahead of time, which was really helpful, and Dan and I had reviewed them before the meeting.
The upshot of the meeting was that Alec is going to continue with speech twice per week, drop the visits from the Special Ed teacher to once per week, and we are going to get an OT eval done fro him for some sensory issues that Alec seems to have. Certain sensations/stimulation seems to just totally freak him out, and we are trying to determine whether this is a clinical/treatable issue or just something that makes Alec who he is. And we all know he's pretty quirky. Should he scream and physically bend over when you try to gently brush his hair? Probably not, but it is a clinical issue? One that needs intervention of some kind? I just don't have enough experience to know. He has lots of these sensory quirks- getting his hair washed, brushing his teeth, putting on lotion, wearing different types of pants, wearing different types of shoes, covering his ears when he hears loud noises, shying away from bright lights, that kind of thing. So rather than waffle back and forth, we are going to get an eval done and see if he qualifies.
I was really happy with the meeting and thought that what they reported was accurate and a good reflection of what he is and is not able to do. His receptive language skills are much better than his expressive and he is in the normal range for receptive. When it comes to expressive language use, though, he is far behind- like almost a full year, which is what I had estimated. Both the speech and special ed teacher find that his brain misfires at times and he does not seem to understand what they are asking of him. His use of eye contact is shady at best and particularly goes downhill if he is challenged in the speech department.
So what does all of this mean? We're not sure. I have had several long talks with his special ed teacher and it is just not clear what his global issue is. He could be autistic- somewhere on the spectrum- and certainly fits many of the characteristics of that diagnosis. Another friend of mine is familiar with PDD and suggested that Alec may fit into that category. The special ed teacher said that if we really want to get a diagnosis, we could bring him to a developmental pediatrician and they can tease all of this info out. Dan and I have decided not to do that right now, as we are already treating all of his "symptoms" and having a diagnosis would not change anything at this point. We are trying to remain realistic about what his abilities are and help him progress as completely and quickly as possible. I know that I am not in any way ready to pursue anything else or hear from someone that he is diagnose-able. He has so many wonderful gifts and talents and quirks and moments when he is just completely normal and happy- I am not ready (if there even is something that can be diagnosed) to look at him through that type of lens. Everyone agrees that he has made tremendous progress in the last six months and we expect that to continue. I think also that seeing how tricky and withdrawn Jenna was at this age, and comparing it to how much she has blossomed and developed makes me think that this just may be the way my kids are wired and maybe he just has to grow into himself like Jenna did. So we are watching ans waiting and treating and working.
We had a fun visit to the preschool he is going to attend in the fall, the same one the girls went to, and he did great. Loved the toys, loved the teacher, held her hand and even hugged her goodbye when we left. He was pretty disinterested in most of the kids in the room, which I expected, and we will be closely monitoring his social interactions and how they develop. He can be treated there in the school for speech and special ed which can help grease the social wheels for him should he need help.
Meanwhile, we love this little boy to pieces who just has the sweetest personality and disposition... who loves Thomas the Tank Engine and Bob the Builder and "mowing" the lawn with his daddy... who snuggles up tight with me at least several times a day and wants to fall asleep every night laying face down on my chest... who insists on eating his mini muffins out of my gravy boat which is stored in a cabinet in our living room... who calls his sneaks his "Pump it Louder" shoes because he is obsessed with the Just Dance 3 video game rendition of the Black Eyed Peas song "Pump it Louder" and the man in the dance video wears sneakers that I guess Alec thinks looks like his... who can now tell you his name is Alec and he is 2... who can navigate through Netflix, iPhones and iPads like a pro... who calls the gel-filled wrist support for the computer his "Bob the Builder belt"... who loves chocolate and M&Ms just like his mama... who loves music and rhythm.
We love him and cherish him and help him in any way to be the best person he can be.