About this blog.

My son was diagnosed with PDD-NOS at 24 months. I created this blog to bring meaning to the often-confusing label. Sometimes I have answers. Other times, just more questions.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A Lie Becomes the Truth (Alternative Title: "What Happened?!?")

Lo and behold, lie #3 - older sib speaks for younger sib - has become the truth.

By way of background, Jeremy is 22 months older than Bradley, and Jeremy is about as typical as they come in terms of childhood development. I knew Jeremy would be a great big brother to Brad. He's nurturing and caring, and likes to lead in play. Jeremy is also a good peer model, with good social skills and language. What I didn't call is what a great friend Brad would be for Jeremy. Jeremy always seeks out Brad to play. It's not a one-way street, at all. They're like two peas in a pod, and I couldn't be happier.

They often play together, sometimes unattended, and inevitably there's some sort of conflict. After all, they are ages 4 and 6, so play requires some referee-ing.

Into the room I barge.

"What happened?!?"

The problem: Jeremy does all the talking. Perhaps I'm facing Jeremy instead of Brad when I demand an explanation. Perhaps I'm at fault here too.

I've noticed this a lot lately. Sometimes Jeremy reports aches and pains to me, on behalf of Brad. And sometimes, Brad needs help (wiping) in the potty, and rather than holler, Jeremy will come get me.

Now that this revelation has dawned on me, I'm going to make a conscience effort to elicit speech from Brad and tell Jeremy to shush when he goes into spokes-brother mode.

I'm not sure what else to do by way of remediation here. But at least now I know what lie #3 is all about.

Lies I Told Myself

When Brad was flagged for autism spectrum at 24 months, I was floored. Floored. I had no clue. Even though he displayed early signs of autism.

How did I keep my head in the sand? Here, I present the top 3 lies I told myself:

Lie #1: "He's just a boy." I got a lot of denial mileage out of this one. After all, boys speak later than girls, and are less socially attuned. As the 24 month mark approached, that lie became less viable.

Lie #2: "He's independent because he's a younger sib and my attention is divided." This is the way younger sibs are supposed to be, I reasoned. Even though he had no - and I mean zero - separation anxiety as a baby. I rationalized that this is because I didn't carry Brad around as much and cater to his every cry, as I did when Jeremy was a baby.

Lie #3: "He's late to speak because his older sib talks for him." Seemed reasonable enough. No reason to be concerned about language delay.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Speech Update: Four Years, Three Months

I received the written report from his most recent speech evaluation. (A post on last year's evaluation here.)

Bad News First: Overall, his expressive communication was pegged at two years nine months. Over the twelve months from May 2009, he only progressed five months. He scored a 63 on the expressive language portion of the Reynell Developmental Language Scale, a test in which the mean for his age is 100 plus or minus 15. So that's discouraging.

His deficits appear to stem from four types of issues: verbal/visual association errors, paragraph comprehension, semantic errors and rigidity. The examiner also observed "as expressive language tasks became more complicated and Brad was ask to describe pictures or re-tell narratives, he began to resist." Go figure. He's four years old!

Excerpted from the report, for your information and amusement:
Although Brad responded accurately with regard to production of grammatical skills, errors were noted in semantic abilities. For example, when asked to label an illustration of a group of men, Brad responded, "children." When shown a picture of several people trying to escape the rain and asked, "What's happening," Brad responded, "It's not raining." The examiner continued "It is raining. And the people are getting ____" and Brad responded, "frozen." He provided definitions for concrete or abstract concepts with inconsistent accuracy. When asked, "what's an apple - what do you do with an apple?" Brad responded correctly by showing the examiner eating. Error responses were predominantly reiterations of the targeted concept. For example when asked, "What does cold mean, "Brad responded, "I'm cold." Brad's motivation waned when asked to describe a group of illustrations depicting a family engaged in various tasks. He fell out of his chair and told the examiner that the task was "so so hard. It might take a very long time." With encouragement, Brad provided short sentences that in general described the pictures. For example, in response to a picture of a family washing the dishes, Brad responded, "She's making a recipe." In response to a picture of the same family setting the table, Brad provided, "He's making dinner." Brad substituted "he" and "she" pronouns thoughout.

The picture card sequence probe outlined in the language comprehension section of this report was used to assess Brad's formulation skills for sequenced activities. Brad experienced difficulty on this task. He repeatedly pointed out numbers on the cards that existed outside the illustrations. He appeared to focus on pictured details and neglected salient features of the illustrations. For example in the sequence that depicted a girl making her bed, the line that the sheet's border had created intrigued Brad. He ran his finger along this line and asked the examiner about the "rope."
That's Brad in a nutshell. Marching to the beat of his own drum. Falling behind in communication but getting ahead in numeracy.

As a parent reading the report, it was hard for me to figure out how much was attributable visual/verbal association problems versus semantics versus he's four years old and the exam was taxing on his attention.

The good news: The perpetual tough grader wrote:
In contrast to previous testing, Brad made several improvements in nonverbal and verbal pragmatic skills. During current assessment, Brad followed the examiner's gaze and engaged in joint attention.
He also did very well with object identification, sentence completion, syntax construction and pragmatic judgment, scoring within the average range for each of those assessments.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Quick Hit

Psychology today muses: Not Quite Autism - At the Borderland of ASD. (Hat tip or...er....belly rub...to GoodFountain.)

It's all there: intersecting spheres, blurry lines and a slew of vaguely defined conditions. I've resigned myself that this is all there is until and unless epigenetics makes a quantum leap.

Have a great holiday!