(Mr. C's first day of Pre-School 11-2005)
When Mr. C was 2 and 3/4 years old we were in process with Miss M's adoption. He had not been diagnosed with Mild CP nor been identified as being on the Autism Spectrum. I was unfamiliar with Autism period. No one in our family had ever had it so although we recognized there were things that were different about Mr. C we attributed it to his beginning in life including womb exposures and life and illness in an institution. We saw progress and kind of ignored the things that weren't quiet right. After all he was an active toddler boy and most of them are a little different at that age.
An individual in our adoption group on a visit trip with Miss M point blank asked, "What are you doing for your son's special needs?" She was a Nurse Practitioner and had special needs children herself. I was kind of like duhhhhh I don't know, nothing I guess. She noticed that he walked on his tiptoes all the time. I said well some kids tiptoe right? She said not like that, that it would be her guess that he had Mild CP and he needed a MRI to diagnose that and then he needed to be put in AFO braces. I started taking notes at this point because it was clearly divine intervention.
She told me about the federally funded Early Steps program that every state has to evaluation children birth to age 3 who may have delays. I immediately contacted the program when we arrived home and set up the evaluation. I contacted the pediatrician and made an appointment with him, our last appointment. He evaluated Mr. C and said that he did appear to have Mild CP and that he needed to see a Neurologist and have an MRI preformed. He was not a good pediatrician, he did not take enough time with my children when he examined them and he did not listen to my concerns about Mr. C and in fact had said to me, "If you are going to worry about things I can't make you stop." These comments had led me to believe that I was over reacting to the things that I saw and the concerns that I had.
Anyway, we changed doctors and Mr. C did see the Neurologist who did have the MRI done and did confirm that Mr. C had, "Brain changes associated with pre-mature birth that are causing the tight heel cords."
The Early Steps Program determined that Mr. C was developmentally delayed and the Psychologist noted that he exhibited signs of Pervasive Developmental Disorder - Hyperlexic type. I did not know what any of that meant but googled and realized they thought my kid was on the Autism Spectrum.
Mr. C turned 3 October 27 and entered the special ed pre-school program for ages 3 to 6 the first week of November. His teacher was amazing. She recognized his limitations and picked him up and cuddled him when he needed that and pushed him to move forward with development when he needed that. She realized that even though he could read the phone book at 3 if you put it in front of him he never understood one thing he read unless it was a fact or a direction. For instance he accessed the default information on the parental control on the cable box and learned what the default code was and rented $50 worth of Chicken Little the movie. He did not even like the movie. I thought there was a Chicken Little marathon because it was on every TV in the house.
But he had no interest in stories unless they were about the alphabet, his obsession at that time. He struggled with any self-care and because it was a struggle he did not want to do it. He was nowhere near potty trained and truly did not possess the needed skills to begin to learn to potty train. He was only interested in parallel play and the only imagination that he expressed was imitation of what his sister or the TV did and said.
His teacher "The Toddler Whisperer" began working with him in the Lindamood-Bell Talkies program and in the years that followed they moved into the Visualizing and Verbalizing program. This program did amazing things for Mr. C and he still uses those skills to this day. He will say that someone is, "Picturing that in their mind" when something is indicating imagination. Most importantly the program that 'aligns with a theory of cognition, Dual Coding Theory, and through sequential steps brings the nonverbal code of imagery to consciousness.' with 'the goal is to engage the individual to consciously create and access mental representations and stimulate his or her awareness of the imagery-language connection.' did just that!
I have posted their site over on the right under Help With Learning. I would encourage anyone to check it out!