Monday, December 04, 2006

Um...Some Stuff I Didn't Mention Last Week

I have been thinking about the interesting way that blogs can be absolutely accurate and true and yet still omit important details of the blogger’s life. Such was the case last week for me.

Yes, I told the story of my naked hot spring action in a far away place with strangers – and that was true. And I do truly love me some Oh Holy Night, and it did totally help put me in the Christmas spirit. No, dishonesty or fabrications there.

But there were a few details that I didn’t write about.

For example, I had a crazy week last week professionally. It was challenging and exciting – and it had nothing to do with my paid work. But really, it’s not all that interesting for anyone but me, so I chose not to write about it.

Also, I was sick as a dog for most of the week. When I finally started feeling better from the sinus infection/bronchitis, the antibiotic I am on started kicking my butt. The side effects are uncomfortable and unpleasant, but – alas, I asked the doctor! – not severe enough to stop taking it. Again, were I to write more about it, you all might fall over from boredom or start tugging your ears in pain from the incessant whine. So enough with that.

Finally, Zane had both his hearing and speech evaluations last week - and the results were mixed.

Hmmm, I should probably write about that.

The good news: Zane’s hearing is completely within “normal” ranges, so hearing is not the issue for him. And while the hearing eval itself was traumatic, he eventually calmed down and responded to the questions. (Not surprisingly, the key was to proclaim all the high pitched noises to be train whistles and the low whirring noises as trains moving down the track. It worked like a charm.)

The “eh” news: Zane’s speech is overall in the average range. He’s behind in some areas. He’s on target in others, and in others he’s beyond what is typical. They recommended speech therapy for a few specific sounds, but certainly weren’t presenting it as something Zane absolutely needed. It was more a kind of “let’s see how it goes” attitude.

Which leads to…

The not-so-good news: Zane’s uneven speech evaluation results are atypical – and not in a very straightforward way. They indicate that something else may be going on with him.

We’ve been referred on for an occupational therapy evaluation to determine what the gaps in the eval mean. The speech therapist explained that they suggest an issue with sensory integration.

(Are all you mamas out there thinking autism right now? Because I sure was.)

But no, she says that he is absolutely not autistic. She said that while it was “subtle”, Zane may be having some difficulty processing what he receives sensorially. (Here, I would typically put a link to sensory integration disorder, but it kind of freaks me out right now, and we don’t even know if it’s a relevant diagnois or if his symptoms would even reach the threshold for such a diagnosis.)

Here’s some of what she saw: Zane has to label everything on the page before he could answer her questions about what’s happening on that particular page. He is very attuned to noises in his environment – he doesn’t filter some of the background noise. He can’t/doesn’t answer particular questions – it’s like he’s doesn’t understand the question although in other ways she can tell that he knows the concepts. And while he warmed up fairly quickly, he certainly had to adjust to the environment before he could move forward with the eval.

And before those who love us rush to Zane’s defense, I should say that I think she got a very accurate picture of what Zane is truly like. She saw us for well over two hours, and Zane liked her and happily answered most of her questions. He also evidenced nearly all of the behavior I’ve been questioning since he failed the speech and hearing screenings a few weeks ago.

So I think she had a handle on it. I trust (although not blindly) her expertise and will definitely be following up to schedule an occupational therapy evaluation.

So over the past week, I have become more and more aware of my own hopes and fears for my son, my preconceptions and misperceptions, and my own ableism.

I’m fearful. I’m definitely worried, but I’m determined not to borrow trouble before we have all the information.

I’ll let everybody know when there’s more to tell.

In the meantime, I will continue to write about my multiple gaffes and the mishaps of my marginal parenting, because it’s Christmas dammit, and I’m going to be joyful.


Anonymous said...

I recommend the book "The Out-of-Sync Child" by Kranowitz. I found it helpful when J showed some signs of SI and I have a niece and nephew with it as well.

We all knew Z was bright I'm glad he was able to demonstrate that. SI, which my lovely spouse has symptoms of also, is more common than we realize and most often missed or undiagnosed (from what I understand.)

Hugs, Brenda

Andrea said...

One of the most painful parts of our medical merrygoround, back in the day when we thought there might be a diagnosis for Frances's short stature, was how much it exposed my own hypocricies. Oh god, it was awful. When I was pregnant with her and was told she might be a dwarf I was devastated but often told myself that because I valued difference, I could do a good job.

And then over the course of our eight misdiagnoses, I realized exactly how shallow that commitment was. As I blogged at the time, it was like being pulled, kicking and screaming, through the eye of a needle. But even at the time I recognized it was good, it would have a good result, that I would be a better person and mother at the end of it than I was at the beginning.

So all I can say is--hang in there. Regardless of whether Zane has sensory issues or is just quirky, you will both be ok. Even the preconceptions and ableism you're confronting now, as painful as that is (and I know), will be ok.

peefer said...

I LOVE OT's, especially the kind who is my wife. OT's are awesome. Unless they suck. Which they don't. Much luck with your follow-up.

Kristi said...

As well you should be joyful. You have a great kid and all will be revealed eventually.

Keep us updated and enjoy that kid, quirks and all.

SRH said...

Thank you for posting this better than I could.

Anonymous said...

Oh dear, thinking of you...keep us posted. And be joyful already, dammit!

Zany Mama said...

Thanks for the hugs and support. I will definitely be checking out that book - and talking with you more.

But even at the time I recognized it was good, it would have a good result, that I would be a better person and mother at the end of it than I was at the beginning.

Thanks for this - and your words about what this process is really like.

Strangely, the fact that your wife is an OT makes me feel better. It must be a six degrees of separation thing - except that I don't really know you.

I'm all about enjoying this time with my boy - you only get a 3 year old Christmas a few times in your life! Thanks!

Thanks, but I have to admit that your admission makes me want to write a post about "Things I Am Better Than My Husband At."
1. throwing things away.
2. taking zane's temp with our new fangled thermometer
3. getting high school boys to hit on me.

Yep, I think that this is fertile post ground.

Will do! I am so all over the holiday cheer this year. Fa la la la la!

allrileyedup said...

In my son's case, they said they had trouble determining why his speech was delayed because his answers were inconsistent, so they pretty much labeled him "non-categorical special needs" (whatever the hell that means, and I think may have said that before). Anyway, I know you mentioned son has had eczema and other health issues, and I think the physical strain it puts on their bodies prevents their minds (so to speak) from concentrating fully on somthing like, say, speech, which is why the evaluations come up inconsistent. Does that at all make sense? I'm much better at verbalizing this argument. But I just don't think these sorts of evalutions give enough credit to possible conflicts with a child's health.

Anyway, my point is, I'm sure it is frustrating, and they may or may not get to a conclusive answer, but as long as the therapy they wind up offering isn't hurting him (such as a couple hours a week with an OT or a speech therapist), then it is bound to help somewhat, and then as he gets older, it may be possible to address the issue better. I know my son's current teacher said she expects he will "pass" all their evlautions when his reassessment comes up, and the things they had written on their original evals about him she was like 'I don't know what they're talking about, he can clearly do those things.'

Oh, so that's another thing--lots of kids will not give the correct answer, even when they know it, when they're being put on the spot. Or is that just me? :)

Good luck.

Anonymous said...

Hello, Zany Mama. I hope you won't worry TOO much if it turns out that there is something for which your little boy needs to be treated. My twins had some of the same problems and had to have speech therapy. They are ten now and they are both perfectly happy little honor roll students.

What I said at the husband's blog? Sheesh, I didn't know that you don't like 'cute'. I totally take it back!

Lynn from Spilling Ink (Blogger won't let me log in!!!)

Anonymous said...

All my kids have "Sensory Issues," and I think the youngest is probably somewhere in the autism spectrum (Pervasive Developmental Disorder, non-specific). I'm in the process of getting him tested. He has some of the same behaviours you describe. He is also a fun, cute, happy, 6-yr old,little boy.
The main reason I want him tested is so I can pinpoint what to do to help him with the areas where his life might be a little harder. Also, objective data gives me clout to get him into smaller, more interactive classes in the public school system, if it turns out that he needs them. He is super-bored right now in Kindergarten.
BTW, he and his sisters also qualify for the Gifted program at their schools, and have unusually high IQ's.
IMHO the food allergies are way harder than this!
At the end of the day, the diagnoses and labels have less to do with who the kids are than their bright shining faces.
As my Mom says, "He's fine."
Here's something to look at:


Dustin said...

So glad that you felt comfortable with the person doing the eval and that they took their time. Something like this you don't want to mess around with someone who is just going through the motions.

Zany Mama said...

I have often thought that the energy Zane's body has to put into managing the multiple food allergies and severe asthma may keep him from progressing developmentally in some areas.

It's kind of like, Man, my immune system is always kicked up, and I'm having trouble breathing. I don't think I'm going to work on that speech stuff right now.

It seems plausible to me, anyway.

BTW, those "non categorical" and "not otherwise specified" diagnoses are a bit irritating aren't they?


The "cute" thing is a bit like looking a gift horse in the mouth, I know. I probably won't use a shim on you for it.

I got an explanation today about food allergies and sensory issues. Although I'm not clear on it yet, it alludes to the fact that the GI tract is the first system to develop and if that has issues - i.e. reactions to proteins that affect its functioning - then the rest of development can be affected.

I'm not sure if it really has any merit, but I'm quite sure this theory will be used to make women feel even more bad about what they did or didn't do while pregnant.

You're definitely right on that - but our lady was so thorough in the assessment and evaluation that I was a little "over it" by the end of the appointment. I really wanted to ask her to stop talking, already. But then I figured that, you know, she's really nice and great with my kid so I should probably cut her some slack.

But I did want her to shut up.

belsum said...

I'm very glad that it sounds like you've got a truly caring health professional on your side, that will help you to get to the bottom of this mystery. Best of luck!