Monday, December 8, 2014

Our Special Boy

Noah's speech delay was obvious.  He makes slow, but steady progress.  It was easy enough to get him speech therapy.  No problem.

But.  Then came the phrase "developmentally delayed."  I'm not sure we've ever been very clear on what that means.  I don't think I even paid any attention to it the first year or more.  I would get frustrated with his speech therapist the year he was two because she always seemed more concerned with his not paying attention to the activities than to his speech.  (I thought the activities bored him.)  It was at the end of that year we found out she really was doing developmental therapy - not speech - because he didn't have enough speech for speech therapy. 

When he was three, we sent him to a regular, private pre-school.  In our minds, this was mostly because he loves being around other kids so much, and then, of course, it was also a good way for him to work on his speech. 

We were a little surprised at the end of that school year to have his teacher and his development person tell us they thought he'd be better off in a special needs class.  That took a while to sink in. 

We've never had someone explain to us exactly how and why he's delayed. 

Sure, we get the IEPs that tell us he's at X years and months for X abilities according to their charts.  We're never sure those accurately measure our boy.  Sometimes it's things he can do at home but doesn't do at school that are slightly off.  Or, it's things we think are mostly due to his being an only child. 

But, we followed the advice and put him in the school he's in this year.  A classroom with three teachers, a helper, and his speech therapy once a week.  There are supposed to be 8 special needs kids and four regular kids in his class.  There are a wide variety of special needs in his class.  The teacher also comes to our house every other week for 45 minutes of activities for him and is really good about answering any questions we have. 

This year we at least feel like his main teacher mostly understands him.  He had a IEP that was supposed to last until Feb. or so, and they're already amending it because he reached those goals.  I think at the end of January we all have another meeting to start figuring out what to do with him next year.  We're also happy that his goals are concrete and seem suited to where he is at now.

Our goal is to keep him on grade level and not hold him back.  But, we do know there are circumstances where that might not be possible.  We were happy to hear there are smaller, specialized kindergarten classes he might qualify for next year. 

Anyway.  All that to get to this.

He's getting closer to four and a half and shows no interest in potty training.  We have the two weeks of Christmas break coming up and I'm going to make a more focused effort and see how it goes.  For two or three months he's had so much trouble with pooping, we're afraid he's getting a complex about it. Last night we really wondered if him not wanting to take a bath was due to being afraid he'd poop in the tub.  We'd given him some poop meds for two days and it was starting to work.  He needed to poop and just wouldn't do it.  I swear he has an amazing ability to hold poop in.

He did poop overnight and was so happy this morning that he and I could just clean up him and his diaper and he didn't have to sit on the potty for poop.  We clapped and did high fives that he pooped at all.

We often find we don't know how far to push Noah and when to back off in the interest of not screwing up the future.  He is so stubborn in such a quiet way.  And he forgets nothing. 

Then there's the new NO phase, the telling us "Shhhh Quiet" when we tell him to do something.  The hitting us when he's frustrated.  The yelling we do.  The meltdowns.  It really feels like he finally hit the terrible two/three phase.  His being so tall and strong makes it harder to literally handle him than if he had done this back at age two or three. 

Is this part of the developmentally delayed stuff?? 

His teacher saw one of his meltdowns last week after school.  She and I were talking after class, everyone else left.  Then he didn't want to get in the car and go home.  I got him out the door of the school.  Then moved him along to the car.  He's saying NO over and over.  We get to the car and now I'm out of patience.  It's cold and raining and he won't get his backpack off and get in the car.  I finally get the backpack off of him and throw it in the car.  I finally yell at him, pick him up, and wrangle him into the car.  Sigh.

She said there really wasn't much to do differently.  I had talked nicely to him, offered him choices, told him he could have his gum once he got in the car (he usually loves that), told him he could watch his favorite cartoon when he got him.  None of the nice worked. 

In the car he's still crying and yelling and saying NO.  I tell him if he doesn't stop he'll have to go home and go to bed.  Four minutes later he says, "no bed", stops crying, and is fine.  Sigh.

Over the weekend he had other meltdowns over baths, bedtime, etc.  It's leaving us feeling exhausted and frustrated and horrible.  When they're over he seems fine.  But he's getting to the age he'll start remembering all of this later. 

His teacher is good with suggestions on a lot of this.  But I think Ching and I both feel alone together in this.  Over the weekend I was ready to pack it all up and move to Texas where there is at least family to hand him over to sometimes, and better food. 

Parenting is all trial and error.  It's figuring it out as you go along.  It's praying for wisdom and patience.  It's limitless love and limited patience. 

1 comment:

Megan Kester said...

Parenting is just doing the best we can at any given moment and praying everyone survives. :0)
I really like Becky Bailey's conscious Discipline philosophy. Her book Easy to love Difficult to Discipline helped with my strong willed two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight...year old. Her philosophy is geared toward the classroom but can be adapted for home. She also has a lot of YouTube videos with sceneries of how to use CD. Might check it out...
You guys are doing a great job! You are both wonderful mothers! Hang in there, you are NOT alone!