Monday, February 2, 2009

Early Intervention

As I sit next to a sort-of-sleeping baby, I type this. The Wife spent an hour or so this evening practicing while I did schoolwork. My schoolwork tonight was monkey-work on the computer, so I can respond to a crying baby. Whatever. He sits up every fifteen minutes and wants hugs. I'm okay with that for now.

The early intervention testers came today. Making a long story short, they played with him with different toys and watched him walk, stand, cruise, crawl and eat. They agreed that he was a charming and beautiful baby.

First, the good stuff: his social skills are absolutely appropriate for his age, and he has some wonderful fine motor control. His eating in particular was good, but you all knew that. He is engaging and engaged in his surroundings. His expressive language is appropriate for his age, and his play skills are good. His self care skills - brushing his teeth, combing his hair (well, knowing what a comb is for) and basic abilities to know where his clothes go and assisting putting them on - are good. And, considering all of the s&&t he's gone through, he's not THAT far behind the curve.

But, he is behind. His attention to task is fleeting, in a relative sort of way. (Hm. I don't know if that's chemo-related. I'm positive that I'd be diagnosed ADHD today, and I'm more focused and on-task than most people I know - I just carefully choose the tasks.) His gross motor skills - walking, climbing - are low for his age, and his physical strength is also low. Those are both side effects to the chemo - the physical therapist noted the nerve damage in his feet (which we noticed) and hands (which we didn't notice). He is, however, making good accomodations to accomplishing tasks - things like using his shoulder muscles and body weight when his arms aren't strong enough.

One task that she noted a problem with was stacking blocks. He'd put the second block on top of the first and lean on it from his shoulder to try to make it stick - when no pressure was actually required. That sort of thing.

We have to wait for reports for them. But, considering that I've been in the public schools for nine years, I understand how to read between the lines. We're going to get some occupational and physical therapy. That's kind of a no-brainer: if he's like this during a good time (like January really, really was - as was December), than what's he going to be like in a BAD time? Better to be on top of things now rather than wait for stuff to go more wrong.

How do I feel about this? I don't know yet. Scared. Concerned. Hopeful. Scared. Angry. Resigned. Scared. Intent. Focused. Scared. I'll deal with this the way I deal with everything else: do what I need to do and worry about the fallout later.

In a weird way, I'm relieved. This cancer is so under-the-skin, and this chemo is so... I don't know, incomprehensible is the closest adjective I can come up with. It's nice to have something that I can finally help with. I can do exercises and games and tasks and things like that. That's relatively easy. I can sink my teeth into things like that. When he gets old enough, I can work with him and a trainer to increase any bodily strength necessary - G-d knows that I've studied weight lifting enough that I can safely train him, once his focus is developed enough to go through with it.

We'll see.

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