A very kind developmental specialist came to our house last Thursday. She brought tennis balls! And blocks! And she was very popular with Elliot. He flirted and giggled, really putting his best baby foot forward. She was a little bit of  a tease, what with all the putting the ball under the cup, but Elli was able to get past it.

I told her about the things most concerning to me. He has a few words he used to say, and now doesn’t. He will no longer tell me what the damn dog says, even though he used to do it unprompted regularly. Occasionally he sounds like he has something in his mouth. He doesn’t have many words. He doesn’t do many consonants. He’s not much of a babbler. I felt like every sentence I said started with “He doesn’t…”

All that said, when she called to say he’d scored 40% behind on communication skills it rocked me back a little bit. We’re a family of communicators. We will communicate the stuffing out of you. If she’d told me he is 40% behind on parallel parking or swimming in a straight line skills I could make a very strong nature AND nurture argument for shrugging my shoulders and saying, “What can you expect?”

Still, as the world is a funny place, 40% behind is better than 20% behind. 40% qualifies him for early intervention services. 20% qualifies him for “Sorry about your luck!” I did share with the evaluator that my greatest fear was not having a problem I suspected confirmed but that he’d be one of those kids who loses out on help because his problems aren’t quite bad enough. We were prepared to go it alone through private speech therapy or whatever else he needs, but in a situation like this there is no way we can recreate the comprehensive nature of being embraced by “the system.”

By the way, I think I need to probe with them if Elliot’s issues can be fully explained as a communication deficit. I don’t think he’s not saying “woof woof” anymore because he physically can’t. I don’t know why. Maybe he’s messing with me.

Our case worker (or whatever you might call that person who will  coordinate our efforts) will come back on Valentine’s Day to create a plan. I think it’s a baby version of the IEP (individual education plan) that older kids get. I’m looking forward to seeing her, both because I’m eager to continue to unravel the mystery and because I enjoy any reason to talk about my kid unreservedly without worrying about social niceties that require I let it go already (Oh hey, blog readers!).

Here’s why I’m still not losing sleep over this: With the exception of some teething rage, Elliot is a perfectly cheerful little guy. I know that learning deficits have the potential to some day make him miserable. But for now they’re not. So we’re going to regard our development glass as half full. It’s more than half full. It’s 60% full.

On an unrelated note, I’m leaving in 45 minutes to get sinus surgery. It all happened so fast. Last week I went in for an allergist appointment. Cat scans happened. A doctor said, “You have the biggest turbinates I’ve ever seen.” (Go me!) and then they were booking the surgical suite. I’ve never had general anesthesia before. I like to micromanage my doctors in process, remind them that I’m there and a person and all that. So I’m probably a little more nervous than I’m letting on. I’ve heard everything from, “You’ll be up and about in a day or so.” to “You’re going to need to go on short-term disability.” We’ll know the truth shortly.




5 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Sarah on February 2, 2011 at 8:03 am

    Such big turbinates in such a little nose! Clearly, Jodi’s pinching didn’t do the trick. Good luck. I know it’ll be fine. And have D text me to confirm you’re awake, if he can.


  2. Posted by Jeannie on February 2, 2011 at 11:06 am

    Sounds like your mama instincts are leading you right on this one. A plan is always good.

    I don’t even know what turbinates are! But good luck with the surgery! Did you draw on your nose with Sharpie to make sure they operate on that and not your elbows? 😉


  3. Oh brother (sister), you KNOW I’ve so been there. It’s a trip, I’ll tell you. We started early too. 15 months, to be exact and don’t let anyone ever tell you that it’s TOO EARLY. While there are some things that it’s too early to tell (the big “A” word, auditory processing, sensory processing, blah blah), there’s no good reason why you can’t and shouldn’t get services is you feel something is wrong. Hell, I called Early Intervention out when the baby was six months old, just for peace of mind (which, yes, it’s still “technically and IEP, but more specifically, at least in PA, they label Early Intervention’s IEP, the IFSP (individual family services plan), so as not to confuse, since IEP’s are typically something used in school) . When she did every single little thing she was supposed to do, and more, they gave me this pointed look like, “why the hell are we here?”

    Never ever regret getting services for your kid, regret NOT doing it too early. Their brains are like sponges at that age. Also? He’s a boy and boys do generally develop language slower than girls. I hated when people told me that, but man, having a girl? It’s so true. She blew him out of the water when it came to language skills at the same exact age.

    Kids are assholes. :o)


  4. Posted by Susan on February 5, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    It has been my observation with some second children who have chatty older siblings that they stop talking because they can’t get a word in edgewise. I’m not around your kids enough to say, of course, just putting it out there.

    In any case, working on it sooner than later is always the answer, and he’s going to be great.


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