Thursday, May 14, 2009

Developmental assessment

Copied from our carepages (link at right) from today:

I'm writing to update you with the considered professional opinions of the team of people Brody and I met with this morning. Because of his diagnosis, Vacterl association, we were put in touch with the Jefferson County school district "Child Find" which basically helps kids who might need it. But first, we needed to figure out what help Brody needed.

Brody and I went to the Child Find office, in a local school, and Brody played for two hours while the professionals watched him. There was a speech pathologist, an occupational therapist, a cognitive specialist and a developmental specialist. They each had master's degrees and lots of other intitials after their names.

Brody had a great time. They watched him play and then each professional took turns "playing" with him, basically seeing where he is developmentally. I was, admittedly, nervous. I know it's a supportive atmosphere, and these are good people. But it's also judging my child. Which is why, when he asked me if I wanted a lemon (and it was an orange), I asked him, "What do lemons make?" and mouthed "lemonade," quietly. Brody then asked me, at full volume, "Why you so quiet, mommy?" He totally busted me. However, in doing that, the speech pathologist exclaimed that he was extraordinary so it was not so bad.

The reviews are in. I'll start with the area we need to work on, which is no surprise:

Fine motor skills: Officially delayed. This is not unexpected, although it's still hard to hear. He has trouble with self-care (dressing and undressing), scissors, writing, removing caps, buttons, snaps, zippers. However, he qualifies for free occupational therapy at his school and at our house. He also qualifies to have his pre-school paid for through the county. More on that in a bit.

Cognitive. I will quote the comments on the forms: great attention span, great problem solving; demonstrates memory and early readiness skills for identifying colors, matching and counting. No concerns.

Emotional/social: Persistent and independent. Enjoys doing things for himself. Very persistent when given challenging fine motor tasks! No concerns in this area.

Communication: Great conversationalist! Very persistent and varied communication; learns new words easily; beautiful exchange with book; no concerns with speech or language.

The speech pathologist said she actually ran out of descriptive words to tell me how wonderful he is in this area. She said she could listen to him all day. And since it was an open room, other speech pathologists stopped by because they could hear Brody talking (non stop, naturally) and everyone marvelled at him. She said he notices everything, and estimated Brody's vocabulary between 300 to 400 words, which I guess is pretty good. Every box was checked on the form called "early syntactic-semantic complexity."

Now for the preschool. Brody's daycare is, actually, a preschool. It's just not a Jefferson County-run preschool, which means the kids there will not feed into Brody's future elementary school, Patterson. However, he can go to preschool for free at Patterson Preschool. But Patterson preschool is not a full day program, meaning it ends in the middle of the day. Because we both work, Brody would need to somehow travel 5 miles to his current daycare. Which is difficult since Jeremy and I both work about 30 minutes away. But I think we're going to figure something out, because the therapists and professionals today all agreed that it was very important that Brody start at a preschool which feeds into the eventual elementary school.

Why is it so important for Brody to go to a feeder preschool? Because the best way to reduce teasing and bullying of a differently limbed child when they start school is to have friendships already in place with their classmates. Then when he starts kindergarten, everyone already knows him and his hands aren't a big deal. This is a huge concern for Jeremy and I, and while it's not pleasant to think about, it is realistic. Brody's arms and hands looks different and he will face this at some point. The therapists agreed.

As a result, we will probably be making an extra 90 minute commute a few times a week when preschool starts in the fall to transport him from preschool to daycare. Not the worst thing in the world. And no, there is no transportation available.

As for his thumbs: still pink. Jeremy and Brody fly to Salt Lake May 27 for the cast removal and splinting of his thumb. He'll wear the splint for a month (until late June) and then he can only wear it at night. It's so odd but he completely accepts the presence of the cast on his arm. Doesn't fuss with it, try to take it off, ask why it's there. He just accepts and adapts.

Oh, and he is adapting not by using his right hand more. He just uses the fingers on the left hand. Even with the cast, he holds his spoon, fork, toothbrush and markers all in his left hand, with the thumb immobilized. I noticed today that he is actually using his left (now) index (former middle)finger as a thumb and developing a pincher grasp between that finger and his ring finger. It's fascinating to watch and he does it all by himself.

Oh, and I also did a calculation of how tall Brody would be when he was 18, based on his currrent height and weight and Jeremy's height and my height. The answer: six feet. Wouldn't that be crazy? A six foot tall Brody.


My Carousel of Progress said...

Glad to hear things went well and as expected. Understandable being nervous, but it appears as Brody shined like the star he is! I'll admit we have a bit behind on the blog reading but am really glad to hear things with his thumbs are going great. By the way I love your tag for brave children, not sure if you have been doing that all along but it jumped out at me today because these kids are just that, very brave as well as very special If everyone were even half as much like them at heart, this world would be a much better place to live!

My Carousel of Progress said...

Ok so I'm a dork...I realized the tags I mentioned in my last comment are MY TAGS from my google reader...never the less, Brody is among the brave and I meant what I said about people should have half the heart these kids do!

Christine said...

LOL. Ok, I came in the comments section to ask you about those tags! I'm glad it's not me. :-) And I completely agree that people should have half the heart our kids do!

Robyn said...


incapable of being imitated or copied; surpassing imitation; matchless.

Inimitable: Brody.

Dawn said...

That's great!! I'm so glad it went so well!!
I think a 6 foot Brody will be pretty cool someday!!

Jacque said...

How wonderful! As for a six foot tall Brody, isn't that hard to imagine? I saw a friend with her teenage son and remarked about him being taller than his mom. Then I though, wait, Owen will be taller than me one day (and likely my girls)!! Crazy!!

Hef said...

I'm cheesin' for you Momma.

Give that amazing little boy some extra snuggles for me.