Monday, December 19, 2011

"She's a Therapist's Dream!"

Well, I suppose we all need to be known for something!

Sunshine had her OT evaulation through EI today. The OT was super-booked when the PT and DT (developmental therapist- I thought she was an SLP, but no) came out 2 weeks ago, so came on her own this morning. It was a *really* good visit, especially after our pretty rotten (in my eyes) pediatrician appointment last Thursday.

Dr. Baby Doctor reluctantly gave us a referral (which hopefully should be made today) to a neurologist for apraxia, not autism. Whatever, just as long as she gets seen by someone who knows what they're doing. (She has some apraxic signs for sure, but at this age and developmental level, there's no way for us to know if she has issues with oral-motor, motor-planning, neurological, or just is really quirky with her speech.) So, that's a good thing, even if I had to burst into tears at her appointment when he said, essentially, let's just wait and see, because I'm so sick of the excuses! "She's not talking because she's walking so well!" "She's not asking for things because you meet her every need!" "She's just a late bloomer!" "She's fine!" "What do you expect, she's only 2!"

The OT was awesome, though, and made me feel like I'm *not* a crazy person, like I'm not just imagining things. She was beyond impressed with how much we know about sensory stuff and how well we've kind of naturally met a lot of her sensory needs. From the trampoline to the Sit'n'Spin to the buckets of pasta and beans and rocks, she was really quite tickled.

"I'm surprised you don't have a swing in here!" she said.
"We did," I replied, pointing to the eyehooks in the doorway. "She loves to jump, but hates swinging. Go figure!"

She picked up on a lot of Sunshine's little behaviors- lining up things, perseverating on words (she gets stuck, especially when anxious), and that despite her cheerful demeanor, she's really quite disinterested in what people around her are doing. But she also remarked on what a compliant, bright, and adorable kid she is- "she's a therapist's dream! They're going to love working with her!"

She really is an obscenely pleasant child. Yeah, her meltdowns suck, but hey, she's 2. Overall, she's such a placid, passive, compliant kiddo. She tries really hard to do what's asked of her and you can see how frustrated she gets on the occasions that she does try to communicate her needs and wants, but doesn't have the language to do so.

She kept saying a word that I'm not familiar with- something like shushy. Unfortunately for us, her pronunciations are often pretty far from the actual word- she says "shayshee" for baby and "shushuh" for flower, and she changes the way she says words frequently- today "chair" is "shuh," when she usually says something closer to "chuh." Because she doesn't point to, lead you to, or bring you the thing she wants, it gets really frustrating for both of us when she can't say the word she wants.

The OT thinks she'll do well if we get a good SLP. We're going to have OT once a month to help keep a good sensory diet going. She confirmed that she's hyposenstive and sensory-seeking, which is apparently a "fun" pairing of sensory issues, as you don't have to deal with the constant meltdowns from clothes feeling bad or food tasting too sweet. (Sunshine *loves* extreme foods- the spicier and crunchier the better!) I got permission to give up on the half-assed brushing protocol we've been doing, so that was good news. Sunshine likes a lot of pressure but has become progressively more resistant and avoidant to touch from people, so letting me brush her every 2 hours was not easy for her at all.

We need to get her a weighted vest and lap pad- she is much happier to be touched if she's got some weight on her, we've come to realize. I'm not sure yet if I'll make them or just buy them- they're *not* cheap, but I'm pretty lazy lately, so, you know. Whatever. Mr. Husband and I also think we'll push for her to start preschool right when she's 3, next December, instead of waiting until the next fall. She's more than happy to detach from us so I doubt that will be an issue (for her!). I think she'll also really benefit from being around other kids.

She has started saying "no" for the first time, after hearing one of her playmates say it a lot. She doesn't use it meaningfully yet, but I'm really glad that she picked it up. As hard as it is to be the mom of a kid who doesn't make her needs easy to read, it must be much harder to be that kid, so, as much as it pains me to think of having a toddler who loves "no," she needs it, so we've been working a bit to help her learn what it means. We've also been trying to teach her "stop," so we can play games that she likes, like chasing games, but give her control over them. Usually if we're playing an intense game like Doggie- where I pretend to be a doggie and chase her and nibble her, she likes it until she starts crying. Teaching her "stop!" will help her learn to tell us what she wants in a constructive way, before her emotions get too tough for her to handle.

She's such a delight. She really is a little ray of sunshine, so it's even more distressing when she's upset. She's (totally objectively, of course!) physically a beautiful child, and I'm sure her therapists will enjoy the break from working with very low-functioning, aggressive children.

She's awesome, and I guess I'm glad that she's a "therapist's dream," because she's also *our* dream.

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