January 23rd, 2006

Julian & Eema

Misc. Happenings (part one: Julian)

I'm here at the mikveh (it's mikveh duty night). I've got 12 appointments tonight, which is way more than normal. Usually I've got 2-5 appointments. Suffice it to say, it's going to be a long night. There's a whole lot going on and I've written about nearly none of it. I'm not sure how much more I'll get written because I'm on reserve battery power as it is and I didn't bring my power adapter for the laptop with me. Duh. I didn't realize it was so low when I brought the laptop with me. If I had, I wouldn't have bothered. Anyway, here's some miscellaneous stuff:

(Edit: Actually this turned into a post solely about Julian. But that's okay. He's cute enough to merit his own entries. More some other time.)

Julian's doing great. He's a lot of fun, he's relatively healthy for once (no runny noses, no throwing up and no fevers!). His verbal skills have really improved in the last month, which is phenomenal. He took a long time to start talking, but now that he has started, he's on a roll!

The occupational therapist who works at Julian's school (through a private practice) suggested a month or two ago that Julian may have sensory integration issues and recommended a full evaluation which we authorized (for a couple hundred dollars, mind you). In her evaluation she concluded that Julian does, indeed, have sensory integration issues and could benefit from weekly therapy (at $105 per session). Not one to deny a child anything that he needs particularly when it comes to his physical and intellectual development, I felt a little guilty thinking that perhaps this was a little much. But I did two things. The first was that I checked with his doctor to see what he thought about it. Based on the things that he was hearing, he scoffed and said that it's probably hooey. Well-intentioned hooey, but hooey nonetheless. Now, mind you, he wasn't saying that there wasn't any way that Julian would benefit from therapy. Any kid will benefit from such individualized focus and attention.

So, we sought a second opinion. Specifically, we sought the opinion of someone who had nothing to gain: The County. Montgomery County has phenomenal services for infants and toddlers (and beyond, actually) and they do therapy for children with sensory issues, learning disabilities, speech delays, etc. And it's free. And the therapy is done in the home, which is terrific. So I scheduled an appointment for an evaluation with the county. They came to the house last week and spent about 2 hours with Julian (in addition to an hour that the social worker spent with me the previous week to get some initial information) The county not only did an evaluation, but they did a far more thorough and extensive evaluation than the OT at the school had done. There was a team of three women: An occupational therapist, an education specialist, and a speech pathologist.

AsI said, Julian's verbal skills have really blossomed recently and now I have proof. He's testing above his age range in both expressive and comprehensive language skills, which is fabulous, considering how long he refused to say a word. Now we can't get him to shush! The evaluation team did note some sensory issues, but the OT was careful to note that we all have a sensory profile. The more important question, she noted, is whether that sensory profile interferes with developmental milestones or educational goals. They did say they could see how Julian would be a handful in a classroom setting (yeah, no kidding!). Anyway, they did say they could provide therapy for Julian. They'll send the education specialist twice a month and the OT twice a month, which is a nice rounded therapy program for him. The education specialist is coming out on Wednesday to draw up the Service Plan for Julian and we'll start ASAP with therapy.

By the way, in case you're wondering, he is super smart. He could do all the puzzles and such that he was presented with. But his attention span definitely left something to be desired. Each of the evaluators was excellent with Julian and he liked all of them a lot. They've already given me good suggestions for alternative ways to communicate with the little devil and their suggestions are already helping. It's fantastic.

One of the things that really got me with the original evaluation vs. the county evaluation was that in the month between the two evaluations Julian had changed and matured so much (without therapy) that much of the original evaluation was moot by the time the second evaluation took place. Behaviours that were noted in the original evaluation have, in many cases, resolved themselves. Though somewhat frustrating (because it made me feel a little odd having called the county for assistance), the OT from the county reminded me that it's a GOOD thing that Julian has worked through some of the behaviours himself. In the meantime, their goal is to help us (the parents) with some skills to help Julian develop to his full potential.

I'm looking forwarding to seeing him grow even more. This is such a terrific age; I love it!

Well, I guess this actually turned into a post about Julian, not Misc. Happenings. Oh well. Stay tuned for the next installment of our life. ;)
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