Friday, January 30, 2009

About Mr. Man



Mr. Man does not talk much. He didn't say his first word until well after his first birthday, he still doesn't say sentences more than two words, and he doesn't know very many words. As a result he had, until recently, speech and behavioral therapy twice a month. I like it, and I do feel like he's made progress, but I'm sad to leave our current therapists. He has stopped his therapy in our state because the program we were working with was through the Area Education Agency, and they only work in this school district. We're moving forty minutes away to a different state, so it will definitely be out of the district. We'll be starting therapy again as soon as I can stand to have people in the house. And as soon as all the insurance stuff is straightened out.

One of the things that came up in the sessions was the possibility of autism. I have to say, if you think your child could have autism, resist the urge to do research online. The more research you do the more symptoms you will find. You could easily make a case for every single person ever having autism. I found symptoms for myself, B, YaYa, and both my parents. Anyway, the behavioral therapist said that, in her opinion, he was somewhere on the autism spectrum. I'll be perfectly honest and say I don't want to believe that. He doesn't have any of the classic signs of autism—he likes to be held, makes eye contact, doesn't have a problem with textures or overstimulation of the senses or stuff like that. He does have an excessive love of playing in water. (That is a sign of autism. See what I mean about symptoms fitting everyone?) Another common thing among autistic kids, according to the behavioral therapist, is they will physically bring the parent or whoever to whatever they want done instead of asking. Mr.. Man does do this—if he wants a drink he'll take my hand and put his cup in it rather than asking. If he wants to leave he'll take my hand until I stand up and walk me to the door. If he wants me to get something he'll take my hand and try and make me pick it up. Stuff like that.

My personal opinion is that he is independent and doesn't particularly care to talk. Why talk? I never make him ask for anything. He doesn't want for anything. He's got a sweet deal. Really, other than the not talking so much he pretty much just goes about his business like an average two-year-old.

We took him to have a hearing test to make sure that the not-talking thing wasn't because he had a hearing problem. He wouldn't sit still—he was really interested in getting his hands on the speakers that they had and, presumably, dismantling them. (Mr. Man is all about dissassembling.) They told me that there was a test they would have given normally that they didn't because he wouldn't sit still. This test? They play a sound, then he takes a specific toy and puts it in a specific place. Then they play a different sound and he repeats the task with a different toy and a different place. Maybe I have low expectations for my kids, but seriously? A two year old is supposed to do that, just off the cuff? I think not.

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