My youngest daughter. She is a precocious, lovable, adorable little bug. This is the child who makes me pull my hair out. 🙂 Up until recently, I assumed that Little Critter was just a VERY active, handful of a child and that she would outgrow these tendencies in the next couple years.
About a year ago, it came to my attention that L.C. might not be an average, albeit active child. Some people even used the word ADHD (I don’t think diagnosing ADHD at three is appropriate, all little kids are active). I started doing research and asking questions of parents with children who displayed similar behaviors to L.C.
We went in for a screening with Early Intervention. They decided the concerns were high enough for her to qualify for a full evaluation.
So that’s how we spent our day yesterday. I went in fully expecting to say that she is active but within a normal range of behaviors and therefore didn’t qualify for their services. After spending about an hour and a half with three specialists, we were left alone for a bit while they discussed findings and test results. Then the specialists came back into the room and showed Oregon Dad and I the percentile ranges and began to explain what range is considered normal (about 17%-75%) and that a child must fall under the 7% range to qualify for services. We looked at each other knowing that there was NO WAY L.C. would come in under 7% and qualify for Early Intervention.
We were wrong. She scored in the 1st percentile in Social Skills, this is where our primary concerns are. She also scored in the 2nd percentile for Adaptive Skills. I guess, since she is our youngest, I just do things for her and haven’t realized she should be able to do them on her own by now. I had no clue she was behind in Adaptive Skills. She also came in at 17 & 18 percentile for fine and gross motor skills. She is VERY active, has NO fear and tries to do everything her siblings do. She also hurts herself a lot, runs into things, falls down, etc… she doesn’t hold silverware properly or use silverware for her meals. In those areas, she isn’t low enough to qualify and in fact falls in the low range of “normal” for an almost four year old. Her speech/communication skills are GREAT, coming in with an average of 73%. I have no concern with her verbal skills, she can carry on conversations with adults no problem. The major concern verbally is that she repeats words and phrases frequently, she speaks non-stop often about nothing and she will describe every little thing about something she sees or does. Oregon Dad calls this her “sports caster” impersonation.
L.C. was also diagnosed with SPD (Sensory Processing Disorder). This was the only part of our day yesterday that really didn’t surprise me at all. She is constantly a mess, rubbing things all over herself, feeling everything with her whole body, whirling, running, etc… She is sensory seeking in several areas and sensory avoiding in relation to loud noises and light. This makes L.C. want to control her environment. Her environment control has been referred to others as potential OCD. It was nice to hear that this isn’t an OCD issue, its a sensory issue. The specialists also said that the GFCF diet and getting Little Critter’s gut in good shape may help improve her SPD.
For now we are waiting. We will have several more appointments to go through before all of her needs are addressed. The next step is a couple hour interview with the local Early Intervention Education Team to plan the next year for L.C. and determine what our goals are for her development. We have two years before Kindergarten to get her ready for school.
For a Mother, hearing that something is actually wrong with my child is quite a shock. I wanted them to appease the fears others have raised in me and tell me that my child was just fine, that she would outgrow this difficult “phase”. There aren’t words for the devastation of hearing that something is wrong and hearing the term “special education” in relation to my child. I know she is amazingly smart and very advanced in so many ways and maybe that is why she is behind in other areas.
A bigger concern for me is will this turn into an Asperger’s diagnosis in a couple years? Most children with Asperger aren’t diagnosed until early elementary school.
What I need to focus on is the positive side of this evaluation. Now we will be equipped with the skills to help L.C. function in the best possible manner. Perhaps these skills will help end some of the frustration.