One thing I realized (again) is that many times I write about Van. I don't mean to. It's interesting because my sweet girls occupy much of my time each day. They are growing and changing so much every day that sometimes they wake up and seem older than they were a few hours before. They are learning the influence they have on the world (me) with their words and their cries and their tantrums. Van's requests are simple and consistent.
"Mama, did I want some apple juice in my Lightning McQueen cup?"
"Mama, did I want to listen to dancing music?"
"Mama, did you want to play with me in my room?"
To which the answer is always, "Yes!"
I am going to make a concerted effort to diversify my subject matter, but the last two weeks have been a relief from an issue weighing on my heart and mind for a long long time.
Van has been unique his whole life. He hit his developmental milestones, but strangely. He skipped some like pointing, clapping, and later jumping. His pediatrician once said, "I have never heard a child with intonation like his." Vanny was less than one but would speak in full sentences of jargon. His nonsense words sounded so convincingly like language that people would often look to me to translate as if I could understand.
As Josie and Delia began to develop their communication skills (both verbal and non-verbal), concerns we had with Van deepened. We recognized the significance that Delia could follow my point and retrieve a specific object, but Vanny could not. He seemed to grow increasingly frustrated with his inability to express himself, and his requests and conversation seemed limited to a template of sentences that he would rearrange to fit his need. It's been almost a year since we started seriously considering the possibility of Autism.
When I mentioned my concern, many people would say, "He's such a good boy. He plays so well on his own. He seems to speak so clearly. Kids develop so differently, and you know boys just do things at their own pace."
He does play well on his own. But he can't relate to kids his age. He doesn't know how to join in games or even really parallel play. Kids at the park often come up and ask me why he won't talk to them.
After many appointments with Dr.'s who were completely unhelpful and uninterested in anything but the bills we received, and after many nights of taking turns in tears worrying about how we could help Van live a full and meaningful life, GK and I finally feel like we're making headway.
As the daughter of two public school teachers I know the complaints about the public school system. But luckily for Van, our school district has provided unbelievably thorough evaluations and testing. Meetings with Psychologists, Occupational Therapists, Physical Therapists, Speech Therapists and Special Education Specialists.
After two weeks of Early Intervention Preschool, I'm seeing parts of Van I wondered if I ever would. I honestly go to bed at night wondering if I'm imagining things or if he really could be making as much progress as I observe.