Showing posts with label language. Show all posts
Showing posts with label language. Show all posts

Friday, November 1, 2013

I am "Hustle and Flow"

TGIF everybody! So glad the weekend is here, it's been a long week! Lots of updates this week as Jackson had more testing today as I mentioned we were going through. I think he did ok. These tests are taxing and emotional to say the least, but they are necessary. I sometimes stay for portions of his testing but most times I leave him to do his thing and come back. Hallie was with me today (supporting) for the morning as we dropped off Jackson this morning. We stayed for the first little bit but after I realized "supportive" sis was whispering answers to the testing for Jackson (BAD HALLIE!) we promptly left, ha. Today's test consisted of his speech and language evaluations. It's time for the yearly deal plus it met the requirements of the testing we are going through for the SCS program for Jackson. Killing two birds with one stone, don't mind if we do. We also received a letter in the mail today being approved for Jackson's neuropsychological evaluation to be covered by insurance, whoooo! Win #2.

As the week has been winding down and Jackson continues on the rigorous test trail, we are also still working on the house trying to make it our own. We are painting at the moment and it's been a whirlwind of paint like a color wheel around here. The kitchen, dining room, office, laundry and Jackson's bedroom and trim are all getting a facelift this week/weekend. Yep, we look like we just moved in again. Stuff is everywhere! (cue the OMG the house is upside down) Just a few pics of the house (excuse the mess!)

The front living room, still a work in progress

Yes, it's dark and yes I L-O-V-E it! (one day that lovely carpeted floor will take a hike, right honey??? Hehe Excuse the decor, I'm just throwing things in the room for color options at the moment. 
I LOVE how things are really coming together on the house and it's starting to finally feel like home.  I'll post some before and after pics soon with all the ins and outs of the house coming together! This week we had a field trip, spelling test, Jackson got a 100 I might add, saints parade at school, RIPE reading award, speech and language testing, gymnastics, ballet, halloween and painting on the house. Whew. That makes me tired just to type it all and I'm probably leaving out something. So two  costumes later and Halloween was a success last night. I am so glad we got to go trick or treating with the kids. We trotted around the neighborhood with Sleeping Beauty and Wolverine and came home with an overload of sugar so it was a good night and so much fun! A couple of pictures from the saints parade and Halloween. 

Ever feel like you literally hustle to the nth degree? I sure do. Between all the demands of Jackson's testing and keeping up with the school schedules I am worn out. Otherwise, I have to just go with the flow with all things autism related and all things life. We'll get updates on Jackson's testing at the end of the evaluation period. We have 41 days to go, but who's counting right? Until then, I guess I'll mark down the days on the calendar like the countdown to Christmas. Super blessed to be the Mommy to these two monkeys. Enjoy the weekend and hug your babies!


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Results Minus the Results

It's a chilly Tuesday. It's about time it felt a little more like ole man winter around these parts. (that makes me sound slightly country/ borderline heathen doesn't it? ha) Wanna know a secret? It may come as a shock, but I am developing a serious LOVE-HATE for doctors. I mean don't get me wrong, doctors are wonderful people who save lives everyday, but by golly they can't answer a phone to save their LIFE!!! Secret number two.... I have more test results for Jackson. Yep those ones we've been waiting on since ohhhh about 2 months ago. Good thing I've had Halloween, Thanksgiving and a few blog posts in between to keep my mind focused elsewhere.  

I am finding myself extremely frustrated today. Why, I don't know. Maybe it's just "one of those days". And quite frankly, who cares right? Since when is every day peaches and cream for everyone? If you are one of those people who claims to never have a bad day, stop lying to yourself, we all have a bad day. I feel like a little hamster on the wheel. Running and running, but that darn wheel isn't going anywhere. Hamsters have to be the most frustrated little creatures....

In case you are not fully on the spinning hamster wheel of Jackson's testing, I'll quickly recap. So far, we've had speech, hearing and language evaluations (more on that here) and vision testing. The second set of  OT tests includes the DP-3 (more on that here), Fine Motor Assessment and a Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) evaluation. Still to go, Psychological evaluations and testing for Asperger's (which is a form of autism), Autism (all ASD forms), and ADHD. My goal in all of this is to hopefully have some firm answers for my little superhero, by April 2013. Just in case you are wondering how long all this takes, April will make 9 months of actual testing and about a 15+ months total of waiting lists and appointments to get some answers (not to mention our previous years of wondering, but hey, who's counting right? haha). Jackson will be just a few weeks shy of 7 by then. If your are a parent out there and you think you are a similar journey, or should begin down the same path for answers, get your rechargeable batteries, you'll be on the "spinning wheel" for a while, but don't ever give up on your little person! I firmly believe that their future depends on your actions today, so whatever you do, don't let that wheel stop turning for them, no matter how long you have to keep it going.

So on to the meat and potatoes of results. 

Jack's results today are the full Occupational Therapy evaluation to include the Fine Motor Skills Assessment and Sensory Processing Disorder. Are you still with me or did I lose you at chilly Tuesday? Ha. All these tests and details and foreign language medical terms can be a bit overwhelming, trust me I KNOW.

Without going into too many details and because I don't think I need to blast Jackson's every area of concern, I'll just recap the areas of testing and results. As you read these, should you find yourself thinking internally: "what does that listed medical term mean?", well... Google it friends. Here we go...

Motor Skills Testing:
  • Musculoskeletal Observations
  • Fine Motor Skills
  • Visual-Motor / Visual Perception Skills
  • Oculomotor Skills: 
    • Tracking-results: within normal limits (YAY!!!!)    
    • Scanning- results: needs therapy                    
    • Convergence- results: impaired 
    • Accommodation- results: needs therapy 
    • Divergence- results: impaired
  • Additional Visual Information
  • Self-Help Skills 

Sensory Processing Disorder Testing: 
  • Sensation Seeking
  • Auditory Processing
  • Visual Processing
  • Tactile Processing
  • Vestibular Processing
  • Oral Sensory Processing
  • Cognitive Skills

And so for all those areas of testing came these results: Occupational Therapy (OT) should begin in January 2013 for Jackson, with a re-assessment scheduled at the end of the school year to observe for improvements. Jackson should also be involved in social interaction group and/or a sensory processing based play group or camp. 

The the most important line on the whole darn report, MD (medical diagnosis) and here's what it says: 


What? Huh? Nothing? What the.....? Okay, what does blank mean? Is this a bad joke because it's definitely not funny. Does that mean there is no diagnosis, yet he needs to have OT sessions? Does that mean we can rule out Sensory Processing Disorder? Does that mean there will only be a diagnosis after more tests? How can you go through all these tests and things for the most important line to be BLANK!!!! I mean if he doesn't have a diagnosis, fine. But write something on that line to say one way or the other. All those results with no real result!?! Ugh! Maybe my frustration today is starting to make more sense. I have called at least (no joke here...) 20 times to ask about this. 

Of course we will be at therapy this week, so I plan to pin SOMEONE in a corner til' they answer me why that little line was blank, so stay tuned and hopefully I'll be able to fill in the blank! 

I guess I can add this to the "speed bump count" on Jackson's journey. But don't worry, I'll get my answers. In the meantime, the plan is to start OT for Jackson at the beginning of the year and hopefully get scheduled for the psych testing next. 

Since that all important line was blank and I'm rather frustrated today; I'll just fill it in for them... 

MD: Milford Done


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

You Can't Have That

Ever heard the words "you can't have that"? It's like finding the perfect pair of heels only to flip them over and see just how many 00000's are behind the $ sign on the tag. Shattered dreams.....

So okay, you recover and your on to the next thing. What about repeatedly being told "you can't have that"? That's a whole other story. It's hard enough to process things you can't have (for whatever reason), let alone when you process things a little differently and are told those 4 yucky words. Which leads me to my point. Yes, there is a point here. Ha! I know there are tons of allergies out there with our kids, our own allergies, etc but do you live with one? Do you stare at food labels and read them like a hawk? Well, I do. 

Jackson is allergic to tree nuts. What are those.... well anything like your pine nuts, walnuts, almonds, cashews (especially those little half moon suckers!) and others. But he can have peanuts (for now). Anything that can potentially contain tree nuts, he cannot have. If you have ever been to an allergist you know that little porcupine looking gadget that poke your back with?? Yeah, it has traces of the elements on it when they are testing you for an allergy. Jackson blew up like a balloon before the nurse could even get finished and get out of the room. Cue the epi pen epidemic!!! We have SIX of those suckers! One at school, one at home, one in my purse (always), two back ups, and one that travels in an overnight bathroom bag in case he spends the night anywhere without me and John. 

We figured out this lovely "allergy" a couple of years ago, thankfully at a graduation party for our friend Patrick who just so happened to be graduating as a NURSE! So lots of medical people were on hand at the time we tasted the lovely cashew that caused Jackson to blow up like a balloon. He didn't even look like himself he was so swollen. Long story short here....luckily, with the medical folks there, a police officer and a whole heck of a lot of benadryl, we had him under control pretty quickly actually. (Mr. Cop was trying to pull me over for speeding down Poplar in Germantown, until I rolled down the window and he saw Jackson's face and became our escort instead, hehhehehe I won that one Mr. Po-Po!). But seriously, whew! 

Looking back on that night, it was really scary to see him so swollen! But now we check everything. I had no idea how many foods are made with tree nuts or manufactured in places that touch tree nuts. RIDICULOUS. Especially the good stuff like cookies, muffins, cakes, etc. So last night we were ready to make some cookies from our cookie dough I ordered as part of a school fundraiser. Then I read the label. Yep, you guessed it.... so I delivered the news to Jackson that we can't make those cookies because they have tree nuts in them. Commence breakdown. Hurry Mom, plan B, you need a plan B. Ok, other cookies. No other cookies in the house (of course not, that would be way to easy). So with my crying little man, I offered for us to make muffins. Which I'll insert here, DARN you Hostess! They were pretty much the only ones with the mini muffins pre-packaged without tree nuts! So, I got some other muffin mix sans tree nuts so we could make our own. I offered to let Jackson do all the mixing and make his own. Problem starting to divert! We are working with him on his adaptive behavior skills (you can read about that  here). So I thought if he could try to make these on his own he would feel a great sense of accomplishment, have something sweet to eat, and it's even better for you than cookies! I've lost count on my win win's with this one. LOL

To most kids making cupcakes, etc is cool when you are little but as they get older they are just more interested in eating them, than the whole baking/kitchen labor part. But Jackson was so excited to make his muffins last night and I let him do the majority of the work on his own! He only got upset once or twice with the mix "missing" the mini cup on the pan. (he likes things neat, not outside the lines, so muffin mix on top of the pan will not do for him) But I gave him a napkin and showed him how to clean it up and try to move on and not "obsess" over a little spill. He did pretty good with it! He even set the timer on the oven (he's obsessed with the "countdown" of timers) and then put his hand in the oven mit with mine so we could take out the muffins together. I gave him a toothpick to "stab" the muffins so he could get them out of the pan without burning himself and put them on a cooling rack. 

Super excited and so proud of himself he asked to call Grams (aka my mom) and tell her all about them. (He rarely asks to call people on the phone and usually has to be prompted or helped with his phone conversations on how to respond, so the fact that he wanted to call was so awesome!) He was so happy that he had done it. You wanna know what making muffins really means in Jackson language? That means with a lot of practice and help, he has the will to do better. That means he understands what it feels like to succeed. That means my little monkey can improve in everything he does and there is no limit to what he can do. Of course it takes an entire post about allergies, muffins and yelling at Hostess to get me to the "read between the lines" message here, but my point is just because "you can't have that" doesn't mean you can't have something else that's even better that what you wanted to begin with.

Hanging my hat on a HUGE hanger of success for this one. And my little superhero being super proud of himself... I can't do  much better than that. 

Friday, November 30, 2012

Frustration, Spilled Milk & a Side of Gangnam?

Sometimes you just have to get it out. Today is one of those days for me. (I'll go ahead and apologize for the small pity party I'm throwing here) Jackson is still sick, day 12. I think a 4th trip to the doctor is in our future tomorrow morning. Poor baby. Whatever this "virus" is or isn't is really throwing him for a loop and a half. And if I am being really honest and candid, I'm SO OVER THE SICKNESS! Not only for him, but selfishly for me too. I'm tired. I want to pull the "I want my Mommy" card, too!  

After a long week of leaving school early for multiple days, missing school all week last week, a lot of sleeping and not a whole lot of eating, I am really starting to worry about my little man. We had therapy tonight and I guess I shouldn't be surprised but we still don't have any more test results even though they were ready before Thanksgiving.  UGH! The "printer" has been messed up at EDFTC or so I am told. I'm sorry but where is the customer service?? I have begged for them to just fax it, email it just any way they can come up with to get me these darn results and still nothing. Oh well, there's always next week, I suppose. Jackson's session didn't go very well today. I could hear the frustration through the door as he was trying to work on his speech. I guess I wouldn't have much patience if I didn't feel well either, much less on a Friday. Feeling helpless, I listened on the other side of the room as my poor little guy struggled and was anything but interested in focusing on his speech. Cutting his session 20 minutes short, his therapist Ms. Courtney opened the door and said he had reached his limit today. 

Game over.... Therapy-1, Jackson-Zilch.

As we continue on our journey for answers, I'll share some of Jackson's "habits". Frustration is putting it lightly for Jackson when things are going "according to plan" for him sometimes. If he spills even one drop of milk, he wants a whole new glass and the world is coming to an end. He has cried and cried over  his spilled milk, multiple times. So much for the saying "no use in crying over spilled milk" huh? He also tends to process things differently. You know how people ask you "If you could be anyone for a day who would it be?" I would want to be Jackson. I wish I could walk a day in his shoes, see his perceptions of how the world turns and really experience things the way he does. 

Often times he becomes very obsessive over things like movies, commercials, the weather, certain iPad games, etc. I mean really... if there was such a thing as the Jim Cantore School of Weather, I would have earned a degree in Meteorology by now! He is also very analytical, which I find interesting. He likes puzzles and he's really good at them. He likes to know how things work, taking them apart and putting them back together, things like that. He's very interested in, surprise... the weather, sports and scores and who's winning or losing. He' also critical when he thinks sports teams/players don't do well. He's very quick to say "they didn't do good, or they need to try again or that was a bad shot" and seldom is he interested in anything but winning. He doesn't understand the concept of losing. He can't lose at anything or there is a guaranteed meltdown. I think he ponders about how technology works. He's very good at using technology too, just ask my Apple iTunes account how easy it is for a six and a half year old to get past a password and buy apps. (cue the OUCH to the ole bank account)

He's also very in-tune with sounds or select words and repeating them, a lot and at totally random times. Like theme songs in commercials, just think "ba da ba ba ba, I'm loving it" from McDonald's. Phone numbers from ambulance chasers, I mean lawyers on tv. For all you Memphians out me, if anyone ever needed Nahon, Saharovich and Trotz, Jackson could recite Corey B.'s # on command!  Guess that "catchy" advertisement of their phone number is working for at least someone, lol. 

I could go on for a while about obsessions that he has, because there is a laundry list of them, but the last one I'll talk about tonight and perhaps the most hysterical to me is Gangnam Style! O.M.G. I mean, it's really quite funny. Don't even ask me how many times we have watched that You Tube video because I'll never admit to the actual number. I'll just put it this way.... he has watched that video enough to LEARN all the words and dance moves on his own. Now he's no prima ballerina when it comes to his dancing skills, but in his mind he thinks he's on Dancing With the Stars. I even caught it on video....hehehe!!!!

Don't judge my messy den of kids homework, toys and junk. Sometimes you pick your battles so cleaning that day wasn't at the top of my list (sorry). I'm sure this video will go on the list of "I can't believe my Mom did that to me", but I love to capture him in all his happy moments of glory and feelings of accomplishment! It's also "good Mom code" to have embarrassing moments of your kiddos right!?!

After a long week and an unsuccessful therapy session tonight, I'm looking forward to getting up our Christmas decorations this weekend and crossing my fingers for a healthy boy.


Saturday, November 17, 2012

What's Your Age???

Hello loves! Yesterday was not the happiest of Fridays, but as always tomorrow is another day and today has been great! Hallie and I have been to a make-up open house (yay) we went to a crafts fair at our church, we are making Christmas lists, watching football and playing games with the kids. In other words a good family day for a Saturday. This weekend is the first weekend in a VERY long time that we have not had anywhere to be or anything to do. Can I get a hallelujah!?!

In other news, we have more test results. Long post here, so grab your wine and read on.....

Finding the words at this moment is hard. I feel as though I have a case of writer's block in trying to get the words out - even though what I have always known has now been confirmed on paper. Make that NINE pages of confirmation. (I am now starting to see why it takes so long for these tests and the results) 

So, on to (or back to), October 24th....another testing day. We started the process for Jackson's Occupational Therapy (OT) assessment with a parent interview, the OT therapist doing an interview with Jackson and then the actual testing. I also had to fill out a profile for Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) and Developmental Profile Test (DP-3). And by fill out I mean FILL OUT a profile. You know when you buy a house and it's closing day? Yeah... imagine that stack of pages as you sign your life away only apply to a six year old for testing. I guess I see it as another signing day to "buy" a better future for my sweet Jacks. I thought I would NEVER get through that packet!!! I could have published a documentary of Jackson's life there were sooooo many pages, ha! But again, all so worth it if we can get to the light at the end of ever so dark tunnel. 

So, testing begins... I didn't get to go in for this test like I did for the speech, language and hearing tests. Instead, I got to sit and wait and watch the clock tick by. OMG!!! My nerves were shot and that hour and a half seemed like eternity! (I swear, paint could have dried faster that day) The testing was finally completed, I did my interview part and we left. Ms. Jackie (our OT) said she would have the results back to us in a couple of weeks or so. My interior monologue kicked in...."Weeks? Really? Ugh!" My response out loud was a little more cheerful and along the lines of: "Ok, thank you so much for seeing us and we'll see you soon", along with a grateful sigh of relief. Another set of tests to check off the list and the waiting game begins yet again. Anybody wanna contribute to the "Ericka needs to buy more patience fund?" LOL 

Finally on November 13 (almost 3 weeks later, yes I counted) and we have some results. I thought I was ready....I mean I was ready....I mean I really wasn't ready, was I? My head was a wreck, my heart was pounding. So I get the call, get a few results, continue with my night with nothing really "hitting me yet" and we were scheduled to get the "hard copy" of the results on Friday, November 16 (yes that would be yesterday... and in case you missed how great my day was yesterday, you can read it here). Jackson had speech therapy as usual last night and meanwhile, I had hard, down on paper, pretty (or not so pretty) graphs and charts, recorded results. In Jackson's case, we are doing a series of tests for a multitude of things. I have the results for the Developmental Profile (DP-3 Test) so far. The rest of our results will come on Monday or Tuesday (or in medical time, sometime in 2013.. HA!)

I'll give you the easy to understand run-down as usual. The DP-3 tested Jackson for the following..... Physical Development, Adaptive Behavior, Social-Emotional Development, Coginitive Development, Commincation Development and then  General Development (this is like a composite score of all the other tests combined)

The easiest, most understandable terms I can put these results in is to say that for each of these tests, they give you an "age range" that your child falls into for each test and then an overall General Development Diagnosis. So I review the results: 

            Tests:                                                                                                 Age Equivalent:

Physical Development (carrying objects, jumping, etc.)                                           3-6
Adaptive Behavior (i.e. how make a bowl of cereal, daily life habits, etc.)               4-5
Social-Emotional Development (expressing needs, interacts/plays with others)    3-10
Cognitive Development (what's real/not real, memory, etc)                                     4-2
Communication Development (verbal/non-verbal skills, etc)                                    5-1

Ok, the first one- physical development- ages 3-6? That's not too bad right? Keep in mind he is now 6 years, 6 months (yes they record the months when they test) So I thought the age range of 3-6 was kinda wide, so I asked about the range. WRONG. SO WRONG. 

That was age 3 years dash 6 months. (Cue, my nervous stomach falling from my throat to my FEET!) I know the look on my face had to tell it all. I was shocked. Jackson turns 7 in May and as you can see above, each test score is well below the age of 7. He's 6 and a half and physically 3 years and 6 months? Woah. I almost for a second couldn't wrap my head around that. I wasn't expecting it to be that bad low for any of the tests. I honestly thought his communication would be the worst and it was the best! Phew! Need a deep breathe at this point. You can read the rest above as the same... the first number is the age in years and the second number is the age in months. 

So for his General Development he is: Developmentally Delayed (by years in every category). I knew it, I just hadn't seen it. Seeing it makes it all come full circle. It's hard now to even type it all down. I needed to just take it all in yesterday before I shared it. And although this was the outcome for this test, I don't really want to cry. I want to FIGHT. Fight for him to do better and improve. Fight for him to develop more and more every day. Clearly, we have a ways to go in working on Jackson's development, but we will get there! We have a plan to work on at home, therapy and school for the next 6 months and the DP-3 test will be done again to see what kind of improvements we are making. And he will improve! I firmly believe that. I am still letting all of this sink in and still not sure if it has completely hit me, but we'll continue on the path of nothing but success. There is no room for anything but improvement for Jackson and I won't settle for anything less. 

As it all sinks in...... 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Hanging. By. A. Thread.

Ahhhh therapy... I could use some therapy of my own right now. Let’sjust say that my morning did not get off to a good start. Chaos was running rampantthrough my house and guess what? It wasn’t the kids causing the chaos today. It’slike nothing was in the normal place, no one can find their shoes (even thoughthey can only be in so many places), dogs are on my nerves for whatever reason…you get the point. You know you just have those days that nothing goes asplanned? You wake up, all is great, then little by little you just hit thedownhill slope to having a “case of the Mondays” on a FRIDAY!  Not to mention I was on the way to dropJackson off for school and then – SPEEDING? I am doing 25mph!!! How is thatspeeding…. Well it is in a school zone. DANGIT! So then that makes Jack latefor school, me late for work and my Friday is really off to a crappy start. Notto mention I now have a mandatory court date right before Christmas. JuuuustGREAT. 

So moving on, we just got home from therapy and I have more of Jackson's test results back! I have to say, honestly...... today I am struggling a little bit, ok a lot. Today is a hard day for me as a Mommy. Getting results is great! Seeing results makes everything very real. So real, that I am not going to post them tonight. I am completely drained. I need some time to let everything sink in. I need some time to unwind. So tomorrow I will post the results from today's session.  Until then, TGIF! 

I am going to curl up with my kids, hold them tight and say GO GRIZZLIES! 


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Lean for Love

I'm starting this post by saying first thank you. Thank you for taking the time to read our story. Thank you for being supportive and thank you for showing the love you have for others. People never cease to amaze me. It's amazing how people can be so giving to those they care about, love and sometimes even complete strangers. And I embrace all of you. I feel like I have always been a very giving and loving person to others in my life and others that I don't know, but it's nice to know that when I need the love, I feel it. The last 24 hours have changed my life. I have received more emails, phone calls, texts, Facebook messages, post comments and tweets than I can even count. People sharing their stories with me, sending love and encouragement, sending prayers, tears and most importantly support for Jackson! Not to mention, it's nice to know you aren't alone.  

Yesterday, coincidentally was John's mother's birthday. She would have been 57. And although I know everyday that goes by he misses his mother (maybe more than anything in the world) I know she is with us. I have no idea where my courage came from yesterday to all of a sudden think I am strong enough for all of this, but I'd like to think our Angel Peggy had something to do with that. I never got to meet the woman that my husband called "Mom" but I hear she was one AMAZING lady. What I do know is the kind of children she raised and the things she instilled in them before her she left the Earth for a better place. I hope that I can give that kind of love to my children like she did for her kids and any other children who's lives crossed her path. It has been over 11 years, but her presence is still felt by so many people today, that I can assure you. I firmly believe she watches over us and I think that sometimes she gives me the extra push of strength when I need it the most. I only hope that I would have made her proud. Weird how things in life line up sometimes isn't it? Sure does confirm for me that we are not steering the wheel of life.  

We have more test results that I will be sharing tomorrow after therapy. I know the results already, but I am getting the full "hard copy" report tomorrow and don't want to leave out anything that could be considered "cool medical terms" ha. I am anxious to get that report, just another piece of the puzzle we'll fill in tomorrow.  

My biggest take-a-way for you all today is - I think all this means we are onto something team! Just as my little superhero tends to lean on things (literally) most of the time, I am leaning on you. And I am asking you to lean back. If you are a parent (or anyone) that has ever had a question, wondered or just felt like you are alone on your search for answers... YOU ARE NOT ALONE. I am an open book. I will be honest, listen and return the love that you have given to my family and Jackson in such a short amount of time. Please feel free to reach out to me if you ever need anyone. I understand privacy and I understand being scared, but sometimes we all just need to lean for a little love. 

After all, this little guy leans for love all the time. 

Jackson and our sweet friend Ava at the
U of M Homecoming Football Game
Sending you all my love,

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Jackson's Journey...4 Tests-1 Answer

To say that our journey will be a long bumpy road is an understatement. Once I catch everybody up to speed my posts will be shorter, I promise! Til then just hang in there with me! I have my feelings, opinions and guesses as to what I think Jackson is experiencing, but I'm not doctor so I'll keep my thoughts to myself on all the "things" I think we are going to ummm be working on to improve. :) All sugarcoating aside, we have some great days and we have some NOT so great days. I will tell you all, as any other Mom with any child, children teach you a whole new level of patience. Or they prove you have no patience. LOL As we have come to realize Jackson seems to have his own ideas about what "normal" means, I decided that Path 2 (from this post) was the way for us to go. 

Yes I have been scared. Yes I have been researching for a long time. Yes I need answers. Are you kidding, I needed answers yesterday. What is it they say? Good things come to those that wait?.... yeah that's for the birds. I have decided to take the early bird gets the worm approach instead. And by that I mean I have been a harassing, nagging, bugging and maybe even annoying parent to every doctor and person that I think we need on our side in order to get answers. After calling almost every single day for referrals and leaving more messages than I should ever admit to, I started getting called back. Ahhh Ha! Being really  extremely persistent can have it's benefits.  

So rewind to October 8. Our first appointment. Having been screened at school for speech and hearing and being told that Jackson had not passed, that came as no surprise. I was kinda relieved he didn't pass the screening to be really honest. It meant two things. One, everything we have been noticing for years is finally starting to surface with hard evidence. Two, I'm not totally crazy. So with those results, I decided we needed a second opinion and I was going to go armed and dangerous! I asked Jackson's teacher to take notes on things she noticed, habits, mannerisms, etc and being that ANGEL that she is, I had 4 handwritten pages of notes. YES! Ms. Beth you are awesome! I also took 12, yes 12 of the exact same drawing produced by my little artistic rockstar from the Lorax (love that movie). Now, I don't know about you but I can hardly remember what I did yesterday let alone days and days worth of things. But Jackson's drawings were of the same scene from the movie, same colors, same patterns and yes I have 12. One for every month I suppose! Ha. (more on his uhhh "obsessions" later) But we had waited so long to get an appointment, I was taking all the ammo I could get together for this. We went to the EDFTC (Exceptional Development Family Treatment Center) after getting a referral to be seen and we were scheduled for a hearing/speech/language evaluation.  Let me just also preface this with, every child that has any sort of special needs is never like the next child with special needs. One test for one child is not the same test for the next child. So for Jackson a Listening Comprehension Test, Oral Expression Test, Oral Composite Test, Hearing Test and Sounds in Words Test were performed. Ms. Courtney is our speech pathologist and Jackson was immediately connected to her. I have never seen a child be SO excited to see someone (that he just met). So I'll give that a checkmark and success for starters. 

After the testing was over, we left. I felt a sense of relief. A sense of success and even though we wouldn't have any answers just yet, I was happy. Skip to October 19. Test results are in and on a Friday night at 6pm, we headed in for some answers. FINALLY! So I won't go into the somewhat hairy fine line (somewhat foreign language) details, but we'll just talk simple "what does that mean in English" terms for now. 

Scores. So every child should be at a certain communication level for their age right? For Jackson (age 6) his scores came back and on the four tests he ranked: 4% for Listening Comprehension, 1% Oral Expression, 2% for Oral Composite and 11% for Sounds in Words.  (Yes, these tests are out of 100%) Diagnosis- Mixed Receptive-Expressive Language Disorder. The good news - He PASSED the hearing test! Whoo! What his disorder means is that for his age, he falls into the categories of needing intervention/has delays/language disorder, thus the diagnosis. So for the next year, we will have speech therapy sessions with Jackson to hopefully improve his communication and speech skills. After a year the goal is to have Jackson be in the 80% range for his age group. How awesome would that be?!?     

Also along with that initial evaluation came the recommendation (and me being slightly persistent) for additional testing. So following that we are on the road to becoming a speech superstar! 

The next steps would be to have Jackson scheduled for a OT (Occupational Therapy) evaluation for Sensory Processing Disorder. One down, lots to go. So our next test was scheduled immediately the same night of our first results. So excited for October 24th I couldn't hardly stand it. 

Eager and ready we'll be reporting on those results soon! Hugs your babies and be thankful that they have so much to offer and teach you everyday. How did I get so lucky to have this kid?