by Jaime Smith
(Ballston Spa, NY USA)
My son Austin just turned 2 yrs old in October. He's been in Early Intervention Services since 15 months. He was a fairly good baby. I'm realizing now that he's always had SPD and I'm realizing from advice from family members that there's a strong family history.
I breastfed my son and was out on maternity leave for about 12 weeks and then went back to work. I put my son in daycare which I felt was all of our best interests that I go back to work. He transitioned to the bottle fine, however the transition to daycare was a nightmare that lasted about a month. I worked evenings so my husband would call to say "he's doing it again." My son napped 2 - 3 naps during the day and when he went to daycare DID NOT nap. So in the evening, he was overtired and my husband would try to feed him and he was so upset he couldn't calm down and take a bottle. I would them have to drive home, calm my son, feed him and put him to sleep and go back to work til 11 pm.
After that transition, he was fine until Austin turned 1 yr old. He wasn't picking up food to feed himself, hated being changed, hated transitions, wasn't sleeping well at night, would sit on the floor for 15-20 minutes at a time spinning car wheels. And I thought this is the time when babies get into things right? They are not easily entertained and can sit for a long period of time.
Lots of parents including my own family members and my son's doctor thought I was overreacting. But my daycare provider and I knew that there wasn't something quite right with my son. I had enough when my son didn't want to pick up his food for fear of touching it with wide fingers. I knew it wasn't just me because these little quirks were interfering with his day to day activities and "gets in his own way."
It was then I decided to get an Early Intervention Evaluation which then determined that he was extremely deficient in 3 of the 4 major areas and qualified for services.
He's been receiving services for a year and I've noticed quite an improvement in his abilities! He had his adenoids taken out in August so once those were removed his sleep was improved that has sped up his
ability to hit his age milestones. He still has a long way to go but I'm hopeful.
He's nonverbal still but is using
sign language as a major way of communication. He only knows a few words but his level of communication is a lot higher then his ability to express himself. So with that being said, his way of getting anger out is hitting people. We are trying to correct this behavior now before is gets out of hand but as his mom I can understand his frustration and try to urge him to communicate with us. He is SO STUBBORN.
My son also hates transitions and needs to have things moved into a progression of sorts. I signed my son up for swim lessons as I feel this is such a good thing for him and he thoroughly enjoyed it last summer (once he was in the water of course, after a summer of trying t get him accustomed to it.) Every week I've been taking him to the pool to get him used to going inside and into the water. It's taken me about a month to get him used to going to the pool again and it being a positive experience for him. My husband (as well as his father which came to my attention this past week) also has SPD qualities as well so if its something he doesn't like or isn't accustomed to, you need to slowly introduce him to it in increments. Its a really long process but its something I'm realizing it isn't going to happen overnight. Its definitely not easy. Some days I ask myself if other parents go through the same thing because I feel so alone in this struggle. Especially when I have family members telling me that "everything in their own time." If Austin's quirks were inhibiting his ability to take care of himself then yes I wouldn't have pressed the matter of Early Intervention any further. But as you can see, other family members see the struggle and what am impact Early Intervention has on children. My husband did not have Early Intervention services available to him and I can see if he had services he might have been better able to cope with everyday life stressors.
If you have Early Intervention Services available to you and you think your child might benefit from an evaluation Don't hesitate. No matter what other people tell you. Because what ultimately matters is your child. My hope is that Austin will be able to get through life knowing how to cope with his Sensory issues, be able to adapt to his surroundings easily, and be able to deal with everyday life stressors in a positive way.