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Misc. Happenings (part one: Julian) - Karen's Musings
Random Rambling
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. ;)

Current Mood: content content

24 comments or Leave a comment
indigodove From: indigodove Date: January 24th, 2006 03:43 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm so glad you were able to get services that don't cost an arm and a leg. I'm also glad he is so smart! I really hope to meet him someday :-)
cleobatya From: cleobatya Date: January 24th, 2006 03:54 am (UTC) (Link)
good post. i like staying updated with julians development. and its cool to hear that the state services are actually good stuff!
From: (Anonymous) Date: January 24th, 2006 04:22 am (UTC) (Link)
For him to be improving so quickly, he must have a very good, nurturing environment. It sounds like you are doing very well by the little guy. Think of how much you have already changed his life, in just such a very short time. You have saved his life, truly, and that is a blessing. Perhaps you have saved generations!
malkin From: malkin Date: January 24th, 2006 06:21 am (UTC) (Link)
Er, that was me. Stupid LJ.
ichur72 From: ichur72 Date: January 24th, 2006 04:40 am (UTC) (Link)
It sounds like he is doing great. And how cool is it that you found free services for this stuff?!
From: (Anonymous) Date: January 26th, 2006 01:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
What's incredible to me is that the county services are so fabulous. The only downside to this versus the private practice is that it is done in my house instead of at school, which means time off work for me (and Seth sometimes). On the other hand, it means we get to learn along with Julian some techniques to help him communicate and resolve his impulsivity constructively. That way, we can help him help us.
ginamariewade From: ginamariewade Date: January 24th, 2006 04:48 am (UTC) (Link)
I didn't know Maryland also had a Babies Can't Wait (that's what it's called in Georgia). That is probably the BEST program ever devised.
From: (Anonymous) Date: January 26th, 2006 01:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
It varies by county here, but yeah, it's run through the public school system, technically, but is available whether or not your children are enrolled in a public school, which is a little odd to me, but it works. It is seriously an incredible program. The Infants and Toddlers Program goes through age 3 and then they have a program called "Child Find" for children over three. Both services provide occupational therapy, speech therapy, or cognitive therapy as necessary. And if you're already in the Infants and Toddlers Program, you move seemlessly into the Child Find program if there's still a need (whereas, if you start out with Child Find, there can be a bit of a wait to get into the program). It's really great, and everyone is so nice and extremely helpful.
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: January 26th, 2006 02:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
that last comment was mine. Sorry about that.
magid From: magid Date: January 24th, 2006 12:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
That's excellent that there's county services available. Also that his needs have already changed so much; it sounds like it won't take much to help him grow more towards his full potential :-)
From: (Anonymous) Date: January 26th, 2006 01:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's really amazing that so many of the behaviours that flagged him for an OT evaluation in the first place are already resolving themselves. I love watching him grow!
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: January 26th, 2006 02:00 pm (UTC) (Link)


That last comment was mine. I was logged in a second ago! Ah well.
From: have_inner_lady Date: January 24th, 2006 02:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
Kudos to you for finding some "reserve battery power" of your own to figure out what the county offers and make use of the services at the right time.

I look forward to hearing more... I think I have a tour through google or wikipedia in store.
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: January 25th, 2006 08:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
basically what it means is that Julian has sensory-seeking behaviours (sitting on his feet, spinning in circles, pounding on things, running into walls, putting things in his mouth [which is becoming less and less age-appropriate as he gets older], etc.). He also has sensory-avoiding behaviour (e.g. he is extremely sensitive to food textures and clothing textures).

There's nothing especially wrong with these behaviours. Any one or two combined wouldn't be a big deal. Putting them together, points to the possibility that he needs some other outlets. The county services are terrific.
(Deleted comment)
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: January 25th, 2006 07:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
Nah. There are certainly behaviours that Julian exhibits that I don't enjoy. But that doesn't change the overall impression that this is a really fun age. I do love it. I love seeing his mind grow, I love seeing him learn how to express himself. I love seeing how his reactions to things change and how even though he throws fits, he's learning how to more effectively verbalize his frustrations (therefore, fewer fits). I love that he pushes limits (though it's admittedly frustrating for us, it's a sign of his growing independence).

There are definitely days where I wonder what the hell I was thinking when I decided I could be a parent, but the overall feeling is just, "wow. what a great kid." Because yeah, he can be annoying, but he's generally very well behaved. He and Aaron sat so nicely watching Charlie and the Chocolate Factory yesteray and eating dinner together. It was super-cute. And extremely nice to see them both sitting still. At the same time, even!
sen_ichi_rei From: sen_ichi_rei Date: January 24th, 2006 06:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm glad the county is able to give Julian therapy.

About attention span- Although the lack of one is now being classified as a disorder, it might be a natural evolution with the change of lifestyle we have. People multi-task so much now, which might be a cause or result of a lack of attention span. For example, if I'm not knitting in class, my mind will wander. I eat when I watch TV. I can never do just one thing, or I go crazy [the exception being on Shabbat when I'm forced to abandon all knitting/homework/cooking/anything productive]. So maybe he will be a great multi-tasker.
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: January 25th, 2006 08:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
yes, although at this age the whole multitasking thing is but a pipedream. Plus, he really doesn't multitask. He fails to complete activities because he loses interest or finds something else to do, but he's not so much with the multitasking.
mrn613 From: mrn613 Date: January 24th, 2006 09:28 pm (UTC) (Link)

we're going through this process now with my daughter

she was found to have gross developmental delays and will be getting therapies for free. It's a great program.!
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: January 25th, 2006 08:16 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: we're going through this process now with my daughter

Gross or Global? There's a huge difference and your journal seems to say "global" not "gross".

We're lucky right now that Julian isn't delayed developmentally, but his sensory issues and impulsiveness (read: no attention span) have the potential to interfere with his development in the long run. It's terrific that the county's program is flexible enough to intervene before there's a problem.
mrn613 From: mrn613 Date: January 25th, 2006 10:34 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: we're going through this process now with my daughter

The diagnosis code is 315.5. I previously said it was global but it is 'mixed' not global. But cognitive is one of the areas of delay.
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: January 26th, 2006 02:02 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: we're going through this process now with my daughter

ah. The really good thing is that you're starting to work with her so young, which is great. You're in NY, right? If I remember correctly, the services provided in NY are also very good.
mrn613 From: mrn613 Date: January 26th, 2006 04:18 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: we're going through this process now with my daughter

We are actually in NYC so the services are the best in the country. We were thinking about moving to NJ, so this definitely gives us something to think about. It's actually a mess because she is not so young... 33 months 32 months adjusted. She ages out at 36 months actual and the NYC board of ed takes over. They will probably pay for homebased therapies until September but then they may require that she go to a special preschool, but I don't want her twin sister in a religious preschool and her in a secular special needs preschool. So I have alot to think about.

I think I read in your journal that Julian is your foster son. Here in NYC foster children automatically receive free health insurance with covers therapies even past the age of three as long as there is a diagnosis.
mysticchyna From: mysticchyna Date: January 26th, 2006 08:07 am (UTC) (Link)
that is so cool that the county is so good with that and you can get kiddo what he needs without spending an arm and a leg.
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: January 26th, 2006 02:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
They are terrific. Really. So's the kiddo. He's incredibly adorable!
24 comments or Leave a comment