Tears, J.B and Child Find Screening
I’ve been working on the words in my head for weeks. I have it so right in there but when it comes to getting it out in words it just doesn’t seem to come out right. Although I write about my family often, through reviews and photos I sometimes get very personal, like when I shared my post – Yes Mammy I Am Your Daughter. That’s when I shared about my mother’s stroke. Also Yes Mammy You Are Mrs. Charles was about how we were dealing with her side effects from the stroke. I’ve shared J.B’s birth story, and part one of Mase’s birth story. I even shared about being controlled by medication when I was trying to control my High Blood Pressure after giving birth. One of the hardest post for me was – Waiting and Hoping for Words. At the time J.B. was about two and a half. He has lost the words he had at eighteen months and at a check up at twenty-two months, the pediatrician said he was slightly delayed in speech and that I should contact Child Find.
I talked to my husband and family and they all said to just wait. He was still young, and that words would come. When I shared the post I read comment after comment of kids who didn’t talk till there were four and now they were grown and perfectly fine. Part of me felt some kind of relief in hoping that my son would be like those people. I imagined that one day he would just open his mouth and the words would just pour out. I repeated the phrase “When he’s ready, he’ll talk” constantly, as if to convince my own self that it would in deed happen that way. His second year went by and with each passing month of silence and no return of his old words I grew less hopefully that one day it would just happen.
When I got pregnant with out fourth child, I noticed that J.B got very attached to me. He was usually very independent and he would play alone a lot but now he was under me all the time. He didn’t want to leave my side. Then I started to notice little things that made me think more and more that it was time to call Child Find. It all started with another visit to a new pediatrician. He was behind on his annual check up and shots. I discussed it with the doctor then and they recommended that we start with a hearing test, followed with a call to Child Find and she also gave us two other organizations to contact for evaluation. Now the journey was beginning. In the end we hoped to find out something that would shed some insight into the missing words and more.
Getting an almost three-year old to do a hearing test is very difficult. Especially one that’s as adventurous as ours. J.B hates going to the doctor’s office. He sees that white coat and immediately think he’s getting shots. It takes forever to calm him down enough to get him to realize that no shots are coming. Then once he’s comfortable it’s another battle getting him to sit still. He touches everything and he likes to climb on everything. The hearing test started off horribly. He wouldn’t sit still, he wouldn’t let the woman touch him at all. He couldn’t get him to use the earphones. Finally we got my husband to sit with him during the test and she used speakers in the room. That worked for part of the session but once he noticed an elephant with cymbals it was pretty much a done deal. I tried next but nothing seemed to work. Finally the lady gave up, she said that he had enough to at least give an opinion. Three days later the letter came stating that while he didn’t pick up some higher pitch sounds she felt he could hear well and that he could develop speech and language. So now that we know that his hearing is probably not the problem it was time to visit Child Find.
This process had three phases. The first was the initial visit and collection of information, next was evaluation and then diagnosis and if needed approval of services. The first visit was about an hour-long. We sat with an Educational Counselor, Behavioral and Speech Specialist and a Physiologist. At Child Find they wanted to conduct another hearing test and a vision test. We couldn’t get J.B to cooperate for the hearing or vision test so we ended up skipping them both. The evaluation started and it was slow going, J.B wouldn’t focus, or he would get hung up on one thing, he got frustrated, he wouldn’t sit still, he was mad, he swelled, he laughed, he wouldn’t follow directions. I felt so helpless. Slowly it was starting to become clear that our issue wasn’t just about speech. Something bigger was at play and then out of no where his genius kicked in.
The first couple of puzzles was a bit difficult for him then the Education Evaluator started working on a test with colors. The puzzle was all circles, J.B had to match the correct colors. After seeing his struggle with the other puzzles I just knew he wouldn’t get it. Then he got the first one right, then the second, the third, fourth, fifth and then my eyes swelled with tears. I kept blinking to keep them from falling. I prevented myself from making eye contact with anyone even my husband because I didn’t want them to see the tears in my eyes. My heart filled with joy as I watched him complete the entire puzzle on the first try with no prompting. I didn’t even realize he recognized any of his colors but he knew them. He matched them all and that’s when I realized that even though I’ve said that he was a smart child, part of me didn’t even believe it because he couldn’t talk, but I underestimate him, I put him in a bubble and I was part of his problem, in that I didn’t believe in his ability to do what seemed impossible for him. The rest of the evaluation was the same, he would stumble on some stuff and breeze through others. He used non-verbal cues and found ways to entertain himself.
While finishing up the testing I noticed when we were talking to the evaluators he was solving the first puzzles he had struggled on. Tickled by a barking dog sound he sat and played for about five minutes but when the novelty wore off he was ready to go and after that it was difficult to get anything done. We left with a good sense of how the last session would go, I’ll be sharing about the results next. Be sure to stop by again to read about it. Now my question, have you even had to have one of your children evaluated?
If you’re a parent in Maryland and you notice your child has any of the signs that I mentioned and you want to reach out to Child Find you can visit www.mdecgateway.org or call them at 1-800-535-0182