Well my baby boy is almost 2! I can hardly believe it. He is such a joy and growing leaps and bounds, of course, and continues to be a pretty easy going little man. At his 18 month well baby check I knew there were going to be concerns. Even though he started on track verbally with early babble he kind of stalled. He was late to say his first real word - Eat - but he didn't continue to say it. Instead, everything was "Ma". Everything. Me, his dad, his sister, his cup, his pets, his toys, his bed, food - everything! When he wanted to express that he wanted or needed something he would only say "Ma" with an occasional "Mama" thrown in.
I remembered counting up the number of words Reagan was saying at her 18 month appointment and quit counting when I was well past the number of words they hope they can say by that age. His one single word was not going to be good news to his doctor. At his appointment they gave me a sheet to fill out that had different questions that they use for an early autism screen. He missed 3 big ones - all somewhat related to communication. He did not have the desired number of words, he did not point to objects and he did not follow a point.
His doctor spent lots of time with us (love her!) and decided that yes, he did have some communication related delays but that she would be surprised if he was actually autistic since he does have great eye contact, recognizes emotion, isn't repetitive other than age-appropriate repetition, etc. She referred us to Early Intervention for more testing. I was glad for the referral. I am the type of mom who is driven by information. If there is a problem, I want to know what it is, how to mitigate it or fix it, what we should be looking for in the future, etc.
I was expecting some difficulty with Early Intervention only because it is a state funded program and I knew the program had to be understaffed with overworked people. I was pleasantly surprised when we quickly got an appointment (after some phone tag) for a worker to come assess him at home. She ran through a bunch of questions, observed Trevor just being him and then attempted to engage him in several simple tests with toys and commands. His worker felt he did need services and set us up for a more in-depth assessment with other therapists.
We went down to a great looking DCF center (the waiting area was SO cool with tons of fun stuff for the kids!) and met with his worker and two therapists. They ran Trevor through some more tests with toys and commands and asked me questions throughout. After about half an hour they agreed he needed services and wrote up his report.
For the scale they use, there are 5 categories. A child must score 75 or below in two or more areas or 70 or below in one area. Well Trevor ended up qualifying both ways. :-( He scored 71 in Academic/Cognitive (Playing, Thinking, Exploring), 70 in Self-Help/Adaptive Skills (Eating, Dressing and Toileting) and 59 in Receptive and Expressive Communication (Understanding and Communicating). I was not at all surprised at the Communication score but the other two did take me by surprise. The other two were mostly because he wouldn't transition during play when prompted (at all and would melt down when further attempts were made) and he didn't yet take his shoes off properly or use utensils in an age-appropriate manner (totally my fault on that one as I hadn't really ever given him the opportunity to practice). He was 20 months old at the time of his evaluation.
Since then he has a therapist that comes for an hour once per week to work with him and give us ways to help him when she isn't here. His therapist is an incredible woman that we all like very, very much. We also enrolled him in preschool earlier this month to help with peer modeling and exposure to other people that he has to communicate with to express his needs since family tends to anticipate his needs and he never really needs to ask for anything (more on preschool in another post). He is making progress and we are thrilled! He now says "Ball" (his favorite), "Bye" and this week started saying his version of "Yellow" - it comes out el-LOOOOW. He also uses some signs - eat (of course!), please, all done and hi/bye. Overall we believe he just needed some extra help and motivation to communicate and opportunities to develop his other skills (he uses utensils now and tries to put on socks as well as takes off his shoes properly some of the time). We are looking forward to seeing how he progresses from here and what strides he will make from being in preschool.
April 25, 2017
6 hours ago