Last week I re-posted a blog I wrote in September 2008 about my child's developmental concerns. Here is where we are today, a year and a half later.
Every Wednesday morning I sit in the pediatric therapy gym at Cardinal Hill. I watch as my child is directed by his fabulous occupational therapist to participate in different activities to strength his core muscles and teach him to become more aware of his body and his senses.
In December 2009 I began googling things like, "child who will not communicate," "autism spectrum signs" and "sensory concerns in children." Those are not things any parent wants to google; however, I knew I had to.
In the September 2008 post about my son's concerns with his communication, I left out numerous other concerns we were experiencing at that time. I wasn't ready to discuss those back in 2008 and I really had not yet wrapped my mind around them. I was hoping age and maturity would alleviate some of those concerns (read: temper tantrums, inability to cope with any change, obsession about specific items and order). Unfortunately, I have found that age has only brought me more worries.
My son is currently 4 1/2 (today, actually!) and he is still struggling developmentally. Physically he is perfect, growing like a weed (still definitely living up to his nickname, Hoss); however, the older he got the more worried I became. He was not growing out of his shyness and he is only developing more and more concerns. He is not living up to expectations a 4 year 6 month year old should.
In October 2008 Hoss aged out of First Steps (a fabulous program, I encourage anyone who has a child who may have a developmental delay to pursue) and began attending Early Start where he has continued to receive occupational therapy for his core muscle strengthening. Hoss has benefited greatly from the socialization; however, he continues to struggle.
Without violating his privacy (could you imagine a 14 year old reading about all of his problems when he was a 4 year old on the internet? Oh, the modern days of technology.), I will tell you that we are nearing a diagnosis and it is looking like Sensory Processing Disorder.
I found this diagnosis through my google searches in December and immediately went to the library and checked out books on the subject ( Out of Sync Child is a great resource). I then contacted his pediatrician and pursued therapy recommended for treatment. Hoss is currently receiving occupational therapy in order to help him better process his senses; however, we can still check the majority of the concerns on the symptoms list.
The hardest part for me is, "why?"
Why does my child, who has a home with 2 parents who love him unconditionally, who provide for his every want and need, have these concerns?
Why does my child have to suffer from this? Why does he have to be the one who has a difficult time communicating? Why does he have a difficult time with change? Why does it have to be my child?
And when the why questions are subsiding, I begin the "what if" questions.
What if I had spent more time with him? What if I didn't work and was able to stay home with him? What if he had done more activities to socialize with other children? What if I didn't listen to the people who said, "he's just shy?"
Those are the questions I ask when I want to torture myself and throw a pity party.
I would never change my child just to make it easier for me. I just wish I could make it easier for him so he didn't have to suffer and fight through his inability to process his feelings and senses while trying to sit still, listen and function "normally."
I wish he could have friendships with other children. I wish he could communicate his feelings freely. I wish he could go through an entire day wearing the same clothing all day.
But I am thrilled that he can tell me he loves me. I love that he is learning to spell. I adore his love in music and his ability to learn a song immediately. I find his imagination refreshing as he changes into costumes numerous times a day pretending to be superheroes.
And ultimately I am honored to be called his Mommy.