Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Second Screening

Do you ever get to the point where you don't know what's "typical" and what's not?  I am guilty of this since Austin's diagnosis.  I have no idea how to deal with a "typical" 3 year old child ... lots and lots and lots of patience!  She has tantrums, screams, tells me off, debates (EVERYTHING), is much smarter than I was at 3, or at 30 for that matter.  She can be quite a challenge and I am learning everyday that this is what 3 year olds can be like, Austin was not like this at 3.  He did have moments but not like Kaleigh.  She is quite headstrong.  Don't get me wrong, she is also a very adorable, loving, caring and sweet girl; did I mention smart?  Very smart!  Austin is very smart too, just is a different way ... smart babies both.  What is this supposed to be about then?  Well, I had Kaleigh re-assessed.  Re-assessed because as you know (if you have been following my blog) that we had her assessed last summer just as a precaution, not that we were worried about her.  So, what changed?  Well, I will tell you.

Kaleigh has a mind of her own, that is evident.  I hear that it is common in girls ... ;)  Austin has always been quite passive so I didn't really know if being stubborn or arguing at 2 years old was, well, "typical".  I put her in a gymnastics class, she excelled.  When we re-registered the age group was the same but on a different date and the class then contained mostly 18 month olds.  Kaleigh is quite nimble and has great balance.  She is a natural when it comes to climbing and tumbling.  She found it hard to stand behind and wait for the "babies" to go through the course.  I felt like I was holding back a racehorse.  She would wait her turn but I thought she should be more patient.  Was this typical of a 2 year old?  I had no idea ... I considered this flag #1.

When Kaleigh was waiting in line at gymnastics I started to notice that she would twirl her wrists ... I had no idea what that meant, and well, it concerned me too.  I was wondering, sensory?  She would run around the house pretending to be a chickadee, flapping her arms and making noises.  This was not like the "flap-jumping" that Austin would do, but I still didn't know what to make of it.  One day I asked her why she did it and she responded that she was a "chickadee ... a chickadee-dee-dee" laughing and giggling.  I asked her to stop and she did.  It was not the same motion as Austin but it freaked me out ... she still comes up to me and says "Look at me Mommie, I'm a chickadee-dee-dee" and runs off laughing to get me to chase her and tickle her.  She is a cutie.  So I felt better that she would stop running around like a bird and it wasn't something that she couldn't control, like Austin's behaviour.  Then, the wrist twisting became more frequent ... flag #2.

Kaleigh started peeing on the potty around 19 months.  We never really pushed and let her do her own thing.  She was still in pull-ups and diapers at night.  As time went on, she wanted panties so we explained that she would have to pee and poop on her potty, not in her pull-up.  She had no problem with the pee part but the poopy part, well, it was a challenge.  She would hold it in all day and wait for her pull-up at night.  She was getting constipated.  I had to take her to the doctor over and over because of it.  I kept thinking of Austin.  He would ask me for a diaper, hide in his room, poop and asked to be changed.  I was not sure if Kaleigh was heading down the same road ... flag #3.  I decided it was time to call the Psychologist and bring Kaleigh back into see her.

I met with the Psychologist who had assessed Kaleigh the year before. She was not worried at all that there was anything to be concerned about agreed to re-assess her.  She thought it was a good idea that I was bringing my "typical" daughter in just to check.  So, Kaleigh went in and was re-assessed.  Everything went well.  I was told that she was in a very high percentile for her speech and she was right where she should be as far as visual testing.  So, all good!  It was explained to me that "typical" people can do things like spin their wrists and it does mean anything.  It has to be coupled together with other things to become a concern.  I was never concerned about Kaleigh being on the spectrum but even if she was, I would want to her to have help as early as possible.  My concern was a sensory issue.  I wasn't sure if the wrist spinning was a sensory thing or not.

I received explanations for flag #1.  Kaleigh may have had trouble waiting because the other children were very slow and she excelled at gymnastics, oh yes, and well, she was 2!  ;)  Flag #2, she never did this during her assessment and I am a bit embarrassed to say that I may have jumped the gun since I rarely see her do it anymore ...  Flag #3, Kaleigh is completely potty trained.  She even stays dry at night, no pull-ups or rubber night panties and does not have accidents.  (Thank goodness because she does tend to sleep in my bed quite frequently.)  ;)  YAY Kaleigh!  I LOVE YOU!   Momma is so PROUD of YOU! :) OX

So, I have to admit, I let my paranoia get the best of me.  I really could not distinguish what was "typical" and what was not.  Even though, since Austin was a toddler, I knew there was something different about him, I just didn't know what.  I have never gotten that sensation from Kaleigh at all.  I guess it is hard to admit but sometimes I feel like I failed Austin.  Why didn't I see?  Why didn't I know?  It is a hard pill to swallow some days and very difficult for me to write down.  I did not want to ignore "little" things again just in case.  I am glad that I had Kaleigh re-assessed, even though people thought I was overreacting.  I feel I was just protecting and loving ...

All the best!  *HUGS*


Jaxmom said...

Heather, I've heard girls are like that! You were right to have her assessed, if you had concerns. Now you can stop worrying about her (well, about her being on the spectrum anyway).

I know what you feel about the guilt. My Jack was a lot like your Austin. Very quiet and compliant. We never had the Terrible Twos. He was an angel. But boy oh boy, did we have the Ferocious Fours! Oh the tantrums and the meltdowns when anything unexpected should happen!

More than guilt, I'm still a little angry that I knew something was not right but nobody would take me seriously. As you know from reading my blog, Jack wasn't diagnosed until he was nearly 9 years old. Too late for early intervention.

We all do the best we know how for our children. Guilt and anger serve no useful purpose, but I totally understand why you wanted Kaleigh tested, so you could give her the best head start you could. (((Hugs)))

Debbie K.

Mommie that Gets It said...

Hi Debbie,

Thanks for the comment. I always appreciate your feedback.

I am sorry no one listened to you. I had to insist myself to get Austin screened. Luckily I have a great family doctor and he takes my concerns very seriously. It is hard when people tell you they think you are overreacting. It is hard too when people tell you there could be something wrong.

Thanks again! *HUGS* All the best! :) Heather

Victoria said...

My girl sounds a lot like yours in many ways. She's headstrong in a way I've never seen in a child that age. She's very bright and staying ahead of her logic on things can be an intellectual exercise sometimes. And like you, we have trouble telling what's normal and what's not. She's our first and only and she's so much like the people in my family that I didn't suspect anything was wrong until the tantrums were nonstop and I spent my nights dreading morning. And hindsight really is a funny thing.

Jaxmom, I feel for you. I'm so sorry no one listened to you. I have always thought it strange how other moms tell you to trust your instincts but then tell you you're off-base when you suspect something's not right. Family is the worst about it.

I wish you both the best on this crazy journey.

Victoria said...

Oh, I also wanted to say that I can't blame you for getting her checked out. It's always better to err on the safe side and I probably would have done exactly the same thing.

Mommie that Gets It said...

Hi Victoria,

Interestingly enough, my son, was much more headstrong than Kaleigh is at this age but she verbalizes herself so well and he just couldn't. I guess that is why I would have to put him in 30 time outs just to get him to stop doing something, really tough. It is true. Austin being my first, I dismissed small things but I had someone close to me raising flags everywhere. He hit all his milestones though, only his repetition at around 3 became a concern and I did not think he spoke as a 3 year old should.

Interestingly enough, Austin did not have tantrums. Austin got overwhelmed by lights in stores and stuff. He would drop on the floor crying his head off and we had no idea why, very scary for a first time parent, and the looks I got, I was really intimidated by other people back then. Kaleigh on the other hand ... WATCH OUT ... HOLY! They are quite short lived though and rarely has them now. She is quite manageable ... weird, right? Yes, I was lost when it came to what was "typical" and not. Hard place to be.

I am so sorry that you would spend your nights dreading the morning. I get it though, you don't know what is coming at you and why. It is hard to do anything when you do not know what to expect or what could happen. It is a really scary place to be. LOTS of *HUGS* for you because I know, there are days when we really, really need them!

Thanks Victoria and I wish you all the best on yours too! I look forward to more comments and following your blog to see how your adorable little girl is doing. :)

All the best! *HUGS* :) Heather

Mommie that Gets It said...

Hi Victoria,

Thanks for saying that because a lot of people thought I was overreacting. Like you say, better to err on the side of caution and it was a relief to know that everything was okay. If not, we could have started treatment early which is so important. Either way, it was good to know. Thanks again!

*HUGS* :) Heather