So, the best way to start this journey is really at the beginning…
Call it instinct, a hunch, or whatever, but I always knew something was different about Bee. (Wish I would have used this instinct in Vegas). Bee was the special gift we were waiting for…almost 2 years to be exact. Husband and I got married in 2005 and knowing we already lived our 20’s (and some 30’s…) out, we were ready to get going on that kid thing. However, after a long battle with infertility (more later), we were happily rewarded with this squirming bundle of joy New Year’s Eve 2007.
Now, I will never, ever claim to be an expert on kids. Adulthood suits me much better than childhood. But – I could never put my finger on it – something seemed off. First, we were blessed with colic and reflux…which pretty much wrecked any chance of sleeping through the night until 2009. Poor Bee lived through toddlerhood permamently attached to some sort of bib. So, he was extremely hard to soothe – when you are in that much pain…it’s heartbreaking.
Developmentally, he made milestones – sitting w/ support @ 3 months, crawling at 8 months, crudely walking around 13 months, etc. But in regards to speech, he was definitely not meeting goals. When I say that, I mean at the 18 month appointment I struggled to tell the pediatrician that he could say about 8 words, and one of them was NOT “mama”. He grunted and screamed more than anything. We were getting also reports that he was biting other kids, especially when upset or frustrated. The daycare was getting concerned as well. Us too, especially since we had to start picking him up from daycare because he bit too many kids in one day.
Finally, I reached out to Early Intervention to get him evaluated. Early Intervention services are federally mandated through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Early Intervention, or EI, refers to the Part C program, for services for children with developmental disabilities 0-3 years of age.
First time around: he didn’t meet eligibility requirements. The coordinator who came out to the house to interview him (and me) felt that, while delayed, he didn’t meet the benchmark for services. For speech, it was a 25% delay. The coordinator didn’t even make an attempt to observe him at daycare, the center of some of the issues. Dejected, I went back to the daycare, who suggested having a third party evaluate and submit a rebuttal report. With that, the Committee can reevaluate him to see if the supporting material will help him qualify.
The Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) who went to observe him at daycare wrote an eye-popping report. I mean, I was totally unaware of the extent of the issues. He was not heard making consonant sounds, words or other vowels besides, “aaaa”. He screamed and pointed at what he wanted. Well, okay then.
It got harder to read. The teacher told the SLP Bee was a “constant watch” – always knocking over things, being very physical, bouncing around from one activity to another. (Yeah, at this point I could have told them that too). He had no interest in playing with the other children, not even in a “parallel play” sort of way. At the end she wrote that he needed to be evaluated by a developmental pediatrician as his social and behavioral issues can be a sign of ADHD or PDD-NOS.
Well, I wanted him to get him eligible for services. What I didn’t realize was how much I was going to need them.