Max is changing like crazy everyday and I want to document a detailed description of where he started and how far he has come just over this past year. So brace yourselves this may get a little tedious, however, one thing I have realized is that most parents don’t even consider how their children’s brains are developing until something is already way off in left field, like they aren’t talking or walking, but there are so many tiny subtle things that our incredible brains naturally allow us to do like being able to ready body language and facial expression that it is a very real miracle that we are able to communicate and relate with one another at all! Anyway…on to Max.
Before Max started special ed. preschool last year. He could only speak a handful of single words. Juice, cookie, cake, door, clock, blankie, etc. Most of them just labeling objects and food that he wanted. When tested his comprehension was that of a 2-year old, however I do not even feel that this is accurate, because although he understood how to label many items, words held no greater meaning for him. He couldn’t see a “bigger picture” or create context. (One of my many frustrations with traditional assessment). His spoken language could not even be measured by a test.
He was not able to clap his hands or point at anything.
He would sporadically respond to his name being called.
He rarely made eye-contact
He did not acknowledge other children in his presence, unless they bothered him
He did interact with Adam and I, but only upon our initiation
He did not acknowledge Dempsey
He could not sit still during meal times, he had to get up and run around between each bite
No impulse control, even after repeated “time-outs”
Very selective in food choices, eats the same things everyday and tantrums at the site of anything new or foreign. (goldfish, cereal, banana, pancakes, apples, mandarin oranges, grapes, chicken nuggets, chips, juice not water)
He had a very difficult time with transitions from one activity to the next
Slap or bang on things when he was upset
Constantly whining and crying
No fear- would run in the street or away from us without any fear of being hurt or alone
Could not mirror or mimic behavior when asked(i.e. waving, gestures, dancing, signing)
No awareness or interest in potty training
A few of these things could be very normal for his developmental age, but when you compound them it is very apparent that next to a typical 3yo he is very delayed. He should be speaking in complete sentences and ideas. He should be exploring feelings and emotions, engaging with his peers, and refining his gross and fine motor skills. These are all traits of a healthy developing brain.
The first day of preschool was brutal…for me. We sent him away on the bus and hi cried. He looked out the window like we were sending him away forever. He didn’t understand where he was going or what was happening to him. I was traumatized and kept wanting to go and check on him the whole 2 hours he was gone, but I resisted and the next day everything went just fine. He was an old pro. So many things on the above list changed for Max:
I’ll never forget the first day his teacher sent home this note from school
By December of 2012 he had just exploded with new words and he was able to sit still longer. He didn’t whine and cry constantly. One new development was his new fascination with numbers and the alphabet…by March the fascination had turned into a fixation and the alphabet was all be ever heard!
Although we were ecstatic about the progress he was making, we could still see the gap widening between him and his peers, and we knew there had to be more help out there. Everyone told us we were doing all the right things, but I just couldn’t leave my son’s development up to the school system.
…to be continued.