In the 8 years of parenthood that Hubz and I have under our belts, we have come to realize that our “gut” is a good predictor..and gives us our best judgements. God’s gift to us is that “gut feeling”. It can save us…or riddle us with guilt when we don’t pay attention. At times we have tried to will away the “gut” feeling…only to be smacked upside the head with the reality that, no, our “gut” was right.
When Jake was 15 months, I began to ask the pediatrician if Jake’s speech was an issue. He was hard to understand…and had limited words…but he did understand what we were saying. The doc said it was fine…but my “gut” thought maybe not. Sure enough, a couple years later his daycare teacher suggested speech screening and he qualified for speech services through the school district.
Take Tate and his developmental delays. We started to feel that nervousness in our “gut” when he was about 15 months old. Something wasn’t quite right. He was a little different than his peers. Too clingy. Too fussy. Too removed. At 18 months, the delays were more prominent. No consistent words. Easily upset. Unable to understand basic commands.
In December 2007, the director of daycare called me…at work. There were “concerns”. Urgent? No…not really. About Tate? Well, yes, but with Jake, too. She wanted both parents there. We planned on meeting on a Friday morning. I hung up. Stunned. Hurt. My kids? BOTH of them? We were definitely concerned about Tate…but Jake?! Really??
That meeting was the first time we heard the term Autism thrown around with Tate’s name. No!!! Tate couldn’t be Autistic. Bile swirled up…I swallowed it down. He made eye-contact. He interacted with people. He didn’t always shy away from touch…ah, but while I tried to reason it away, my “gut” had been suspecting it.
Jake, we were told, was not always able to follow directions. He had difficulty with some gross motor..and fine motor skills. His speech/language was causing some communication issues. He was highly dependent upon the teacher. And he was stubborn. Jake could do things…on his time. If he didn’t want to do it, he wouldn’t. To us, it felt like she was saying that Jake was a brat. Ugh.
That daycare meeting prompted me to contact Early Intervention. Tate qualified for speech. He didn’t do much at the eval…and much was based on the parent interview…in which Hubz and I weren’t very honest with ourselves..or our “gut”. A few months later, he was reevaluated, and they determined OT and Developmental therapy were needed.
We got so wrapped up in Tate and Tate’s struggles that Jake just kind of muddled along. Upon turning 3, Tate moved from EI to the Early Childhood preschool program in the school district. He had pervasive develpmental delay…and in the school district, because he was so young, he was eligible for services due to Develpmental Delay. In the evaluations, no one ever mentioned Autism…and we never asked. Tate’s teachers, who were all special education specialists, flagged Tate’s behaviors. I was called, a few different times, and told that his issues seemed to be “neurological”. NOW I know they meant AUTISM.
Jake fumbled through kindergarten…and the last month we were brought up to speed on HIS areas of concern. My “gut” started to churn..but I pushed it aside. Surely I would not have TWO kids with significant issues… He did summer school. I got mired down with my mom’s terminal cancer to spend too much time worrying about some math and reading struggles.
First grade began, and Jake was visibly more immature than his peers. He continued to struggle. My “gut” was saying that something wasn’t right…His eligibility for special services was up, so they reevaluated him. His speech/language deficits were more severe. He was in a LOW range for expressive and receptive speech. His pragmatic speech lagged. He needed reading intervention. And OT. He struggled greatly with math.
Toward the end of first grade I voiced my concerns with Jake and ADHD. His teacher brought him before the team of specialists because of his math, attention issues, and dependence on her for so much. At some point the school psychologist observed him. I got the psychologist’s notes for my file, but they didn’t say anything. He qualified for summer school, again. My “gut” was still uneasy
In early September I called Jake’s secondgrade teacher. She and I discussed where he was at in regards to school and peers. They had already met as a team. A domain meeting was scheduled for October 4. At the meeting we all agreed that SOMETHING more was going on than just speech/language delay. They were going to do a more comprehensive evaluation. I was reassured by the school psychologist that they didn’t think it was what we are dealing with in terms of Tate.
Hubz and I are convinced that another diagnosis is coming our way. Our “gut”is telling us that there is something there…we hope it is ADHD…maybe a learning disability…I really don’t know what I’ll do if it’s something on the spectrum. I am trying not to go there…but Jake does have some quirks…and, well, it runs in families…and is more prevalent in boys…
Today, today I find myself closer to the hard place….feeling scared and a bit overwhelmed. We just filled out several rating scales. It’s so hard to be upbeat and optimistic when you fill out paperwork and can see your child’s areas of weakness laid out before you…in black and white.
And my “gut” is uneasy again….