marydell: My hand holding a medusa head sculpture (by me) that's missing its snakes (Default)
So, Charlie is 2 and a half, and is already falling behind on tests! Well, not exactly. His day care/school does the ASQ, which nowadays stands for Ages & Stages questionnaire but I think used to stand for Autism Spectrum Questionnaire? Anyway, it's a thing that parents or teachers fill out every 3 to 6 months or so (less frequently as he gets older) that asks questions about developmental milestones--gross motor, fine motor, verbal, social, etc. I have collected it when it was given and have even filled it in, but have not given it back to the school generally. This is because 1. we have him evaluated by doctors regularly, including at times with that same questionnaire, and we do therapy accordingly 2. It's not necessarily any of the school's goddamn business what his total medical profile is, particularly since we are not (yet) in the land of IEPs and special services, and if we ever are, it will be through our actual school district and not the day care, (which thus far has been very slightly faily about his disability, although great about his medical needs) and 3. (and most important) the ASQ is designed for children with normal morphology.

So this time his teacher did the evaluation--not just for him but for all the students in the class--and came up with "needs follow-up" (i.e. see your doctor about...) on gross motor, fine motor, and verbal. Now, we know he's delayed on verbal; we're in the "wait and see" stage, where he's catching up but might need a little therapy, or might not. So I think it's valid to flag that. For gross motor he mainly shows as "delayed" in things relating to balance; ok, fair enough, but I note there is not an "asymmetrical" option...anyway, ok, yeah, he's only been walking since May so I'd consider him delayed on gross motor, but the doc and the PT think he'll catch up on his own as his confidence grows.

For fine motor, I've always filled in "n/a" for most of the answers and not bothered to tally, because the questions MASSIVELY assume normal morphology. Stuff like "child can pass a small object from hand to hand, yes or no." Well NO of course. And "picks up a cup with both hands." NO. But he picks up a cup with his hand and the end of his short arm, and he tucks things under his short arm to carry them. He does not do really well putting lego bricks together, or scribbling on a piece of paper unless someone holds it for him. These are standard markers of fine motor skills but the question is not "can build a lego tower using only one hand," which is actually the required skill in his case. Some of the questions are less two-handy, like eating with a fork or spoon, but most of them are not.

His teacher went ahead and answered the questions exactly as asked--which is what she's required to do, and she was apologetic about it--so he now is rated with 15 out of 50 on fine motor. I would be happy to have a reliable way to tell if his fine motor skills are good for his age or if he actually is delayed, since he was significantly delayed with hand skills in his first year, and probably continues to be delayed now. But these questions are not the way to figure that out. I don't think the test should be redesigned, mind you, because it's a perfectly fine eval for the majority of kids. But the school should have alternative ways of assessing other kids - or just say, you know, "we skipped the fine motor skills section of this test because it's obviously stupid to ask these questions about Charlie; do you have an OT who could do an eval?"

Which, come to think of it, we do, although he hasn't seen her since he finally learned to walk. Maybe we'll get our doc to refer us for a little milestone testing. In the meantime: rargh! Stupid unhelpful test.

ETA: Since you've kindly read all this rantyness, you deserve a picture:

IMG_8546
Charlie playing with his Xmas choo-choo. Mike put velcro sticky pads on the bottom of the remote and on the table, so Charlie can work the lever without having to hold the remote.

marydell: My hand holding a medusa head sculpture (by me) that's missing its snakes (charlie-laugh)
We finally got Charlie moved up to the toddler room at day care today.  He *can* walk, but he mostly doesn't, preferring to go around upright on his knees.  We convinced daycare that he's sufficiently mobile to be in the room with the toddlers without needing a separate aide to protect him from getting stepped on or what have you. (They would provide one if we got an IEP specifying that, but we don't want to go that route at this point--we think he will be fine with just the normal level of supervision).  We'll back that up with a doctor's note so the daycare has what they need to stay within DCFS guidelines, but they went ahead and moved him today ahead of getting the note--YAY! 

We're hoping that being in a room full of walkers will encourage him to walk more.  Certainly he'll be happier among his peers and friends--he had been visiting them some, so he knows the kids already, and some of them were in the infants' room with him last year, too.  He loves playing with them, and the toys in the toddler room are appropriate for his age and size, etc.  The flip side is that he's probably going to get hurt, because toddlers are rough...but *he's* a toddler, and is just as likely to smack another kid (even though he's friendly) as another kid is to smack him.  No kid gloves for our boy, even though that's how the director of the daycare is inclined to treat him.  That's somewhat typical of folks supervising disabled kids in a mostly-abled-kids environment, but it doesn't do the kid any favors in the long run.

So, my big boy finally went to the toddler room for a full day and did regular toddler stuff along with the rest of the gang.  According to the director, they played outside and he got to play on one of their tricycles, which delighted him (as does his trike at home).  Then all the kids came back in and walked down the hall in formation, like they always do.  They had him up at the head of the group and he got down on his knees to go down the hall.  All the other kids looked at him and decided that was a great idea, apparently, because they all got down on their knees too, and the whole group went back to the room that way.

His first day, and he's already got the whole class backsliding on their motor skills! Ah, that's my boy.

marydell: My hand holding a medusa head sculpture (by me) that's missing its snakes (binky)
Charlie's PT wants us to get a tall toy grocery cart for him to walk more, since regular walk-behind toys are too short for him and he just kneels behind them.  (He's not walking or standing independently yet, so that's the current focus in therapy).  I dropped him off this morning at day care and walked him down the hall, holding his hand--practice, practice, practice--and stopped and said Hi to the director on our way to the classroom.

director: Charlie, look at you walking in your big-boy shoes! 
me: yep, we're working on it! I found an extra-tall toy grocery cart online that I'm going to get for him to practice walking behind.
director: Oh! Can you order a second one for here? I'll pay you for it!

One teacher is also taking him out of the infant room after lunch and walking him down to the gym* and practicing standing on the mats there with him--1-on-1 time, even though their ratio for infants is 4 kids to 1 teacher, and for toddlers it's higher than that.  (He is still classed as an infant because of the not-walking, even though he's aged out of the infant category.  If we wanted to get all ADA on them, we could come up with some mitigation like an individual care person so he could be put into the older-toddler group without being able to walk, but we're holding off on that until he's 2. If he's still not walking then, we'll have to move him up one way or another, for social & intellectual reasons. )

They really seem to care about teaching him stuff and helping him with his delays, which is pretty great considering it's a ginormous group center.

Also, they recently sent home a little packet of paper holiday ornaments that he had "decorated" - they were paper cut-outs of trees and snowmen and stuff with some finger paint on them.  In the pack was a little pair of paper cut-out mittens strung together with string, the way kids' mittens are, and they were labeled "charlie's mittens" in marker and decorated on the front.  I assume they did a pair of these for all of the children.  Anyway both of Charlie's paper mittens are right-hand mittens, which I thought was really cute.  Maybe it was just a happy accident but it made me smile.

*one advantage of a having him in a big group day care.
marydell: My hand holding a medusa head sculpture (by me) that's missing its snakes (Default)
...they don't engage in dog fighting.  A day care in the Chicago area just got busted for being part of a dog fighting ring - if you want to read the article be warned, there is a lot of animal harm in it  -->article.

I called Mike to tell him about it - he was on his way home from our day care after picking up Charlie

Me: A day care in Maywood was running a dog fighting ring! 
Mike: That's crazy. Jeez.  Oh hey, our day care just got an award from the Daily Southtown [newspaper].
Me: The no-dogfighting award?

The people involved have been arrested for dogfighting-related stuff, but not for child endangerment, to which I say WTF? Apparently the dogs and kids were kept separately, sorta kinda.  Kids in the house & yard, dogs in the garage. The article talks about a law--maybe not passed yet--that requires cross-reporting between animal welfare and DCFS, which I think would be a very good thing.

Fail

Sep. 13th, 2008 09:19 pm
marydell: My hand holding a medusa head sculpture (by me) that's missing its snakes (Baby)
Diana's Playpen of Little Genius's [Geniuses spelled wrong]
marydell: My hand holding a medusa head sculpture (by me) that's missing its snakes (Charlie)
Charlie started day care today.  I was pretty emotional all day, more with worry than with guilt, though.  I don't feel guilty about working but I do feel sad that life requires this choices--I was definitely feeling it as a sacrifice.  But I know that if I was home with him, I'd be feeling the sacrificial quality of THAT.  I got through the day by focusing a whole lot on my ideas about the totality of his life and mine and Mike's --what we want to accomplish, what we want to give Charlie, and so forth.  But still it was tough.

For Charlie, thank goodness, it wasn't tough at all.  After days of (him) hollering and crying because of reflux and other internal misery, we put him on Zantac and some other stuff and he had a good night and a good day at last.  I hate putting him on drugs so young but even the anti-reflux formula wasn't getting him to the point of being really happy.  I don't want "not screaming" to be the best mood my baby can experience...although it suffices for many of us adults!

Anyway, he was good for the folks at day care, and he is a very cute baby so they were excited to have him there--I put him in a really sweet outfit so that even if he was horribly fussy he'd still be cute.  Gotta work the cute, particularly when he's getting to know his new caretakers.  At the end of the day when Mike picked him up, they gave us a log of his day that includes his moods and they'd circled "happy" and triple-circled "adorable" so YAY.   I even got to have some non-cry time with him myself, for the first time in a few days, so DOUBLE YAY.

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