Tests, evaluations, therapists, meetings, therapy sessions...
The quest to get our two-and-a-half year old son Will "caught up" and on track with all the other toddlers out there has just been utterly exhausting.
Will is a great kid. He's fun, personable, utterly handsome. He's just not much of a talker. Will had numerous ear infections before his first birthday. We're hoping and praying his infections are reason enough for his significant speech delay. He had his first set of tubes put in at 13 months, and he had his second set of tubes put in a couple of months ago. No doubt the cycle of tubes will continue over the next couple of years.
Will has received speech and occupational therapy through Erie County's early intervention program for months now. Every week, Will meets with his three therapists for speech, play and occupational therapy. We're in the process now of having to transition into our local school district, so Will is now having to go through a new set of evaluations to see what services the district will provide. Keeping up with Will's schedule has been tedious to say the least. It's actually starting to take an emotional toll. Every time I'm told that my child is "severely delayed," I just shudder. The label is tacked onto Will in order for him to qualify for services, but it just hurts every.single.time I hear it.
We've seen some improvement in Will, but not as much as we hoped after all of this therapy. As the delays persist, one word keeps coming up as a possible explanation - Autism. I've lost sleep over the possibility that my child could be autistic. As a mom, my intuition tells me that something just isn't quite right. We've had Will evaluated by a local developmental pediatrician who wasn't comfortable labeling Will as autistic because some of Will's tendencies that might be characterized as "autistic" might also be attributed to the fact that he's TWO! Personally, I wouldn't be comfortable with someone labeling him as autistic at this age either. So we're taking a "wait and see" approach. We'll see how Will continues to develop over the next couple of years, all the while continuing his therapy and providing him with the resources to put him in the best place possible when and if an official diagnosis of autism is ever made.
In the meantime, I'm enjoying the new words that Will seems to discover every day, or the songs we sing together. His favorite song right now seems to be "Beautiful Liar" by Beyonce and Shakira. We can sing a mean duet!