We have been working through some challenges concerning Rookie for the past year that went beyond the speech delay. We were able to get him into a speech program in the school system (30 minutes 1x/wk), but there were still some things that we were perplexed about. We have always felt he was one smart cookie, but something was holding him back in other areas including the verbal. We finally decided to have an assessment done to rule out anything else we should be concerned about. I am the type of person that would much rather people tell me that I am a crazy mom who has over reacted, then to miss something that should have been taken care of years before. Unfortunately, it sometimes takes some pushing since most people want to brush me off as being that over reacting mom. We have had all the typical evaluations through the school which is how we got the speech help, but nothing else was coming up. We felt we needed someone different to evaluate him. This post is for all of you families out there that rely only on the "free" help. We tried to do everything as cost efficient as possible, but at some point we had to make the leap. I am so glad that we did!
We decided to take him to see Jan Bedel at Little Giant Steps. She works with kids of all levels whether gifted or those with handicaps. We could have taken him to a similar clinic at Texas Children's, but I believe, as always, that God has led us down this path through recommendations and encounters. I have seen their booth at Homeschooling Conferences for years and just recently had them recommended to us.
I must say that I was very pleased with the initial evaluation. She was very patient with Rookie and his shyness. She confirmed a lot of the things we had seen in him, including that he was smart! That is always good to hear someone else tell you that. He was testing into the 1st grade level for reading! Yes, it's true, you may have a hard time understanding him, but he CAN READ! They also picked up on some other things.
- Light Sensitivity: Though dilating, his eyes were not dilating very fast which meant his body was in a state of "fight or flight" and this was also relating to his adrenal system. This can attribute to the "active" state that he is constantly in.
- Hand Dominance: We have always given our kids the ability to choose their hand dominance. For a long time Rookie would use both, but we felt that he was more consistently choosing his right hand. We, naturally, have been putting things on the right side for him to pick up, choose, etc. Not forcing a choice, but I guess subconsciously influencing it. Jan was not convinced he was right handed and has wanted us to put everything midline for him. She noticed this in a handwriting exercise where she forced him to write with his left. He was more controlled and accurate than with his right! Crazy! We have also noticed at home that he is choosing his left hand a lot now that we are not placing things on the right side. Forcing a dominance that is not natural can cause issues in processing as well.
- Then were other things in Visual, Tactility, Gross Motor, and Expressive Language that had him at a stopping point.
This is the chart that shows where he is at. The levels go from Birth (I) to Age 7 (IX). A dotted slash indicates the level of development is almost complete. A solid slash indicated the level of development is incomplete. A double slash (X) indicates the level of development is completely missing. Finally, an empty box indicates the level has been mastered. The lines at the end of the levels show where his level of development stops at his age.
All of these things, though were just in need of development, there was nothing that was an impairment that couldn't be addressed. This was so encouraging! We will now have a 4-month plan that we will follow and then go back for a re-evaluation in October. The activities are short and no more than 5 minutes long. Most of them are literally 30 seconds to a minute, BUT they have to be done 3-4 times a day. So, the program will be a full integration into our day. I will try to post some of our activities as we do them.
As always, we ask for your prayers on our progress. This WILL be mentally taxing on us all, but with God's hand, I know we will see answers to the prayers we have been sending up for years.