When I was in school, I never would have thought I would be begging for extra work to do over the summer break. With Jake, however, I need all the help I can get to get through the gap between in-home therapy and preschool. So far, between the two therapists, I have about three pages of activities to do. Since my short-term goal is to get Jake as ready as possible for preschool, I’m really glad we have so much to work on!
After the preschool assessment last week, we discovered that Jake has an auditory processing problem, in addition to the hypotonia and sensory processing disorder. As far as I can figure, an auditory processing problem means that Jake’s brain, ears, and mouth don’t communicate well with each other.
For example, if Jake is holding Cooper the Bear and I ask him if he’s holding his Big Monkey, he’ll say, “Oh, yeah!”. Or, if I ask him if there is an elephant outside, he will look a little confused but say that yes, there is an elephant outside.
We are pretty sure that he knows he is holding his bear and that there isn’t really an elephant outside. (How cool would it be if there was an elephant outside?!) However, he either doesn’t give himself enough time to answer correctly, or even though he understands, he doesn’t know how to answer correctly.
The opposite problem could be that he knows that it’s Cooper, not Monkey, but he doesn’t understand the question. I’ve equated it to being asked, in French, to go to the store and buy some milk. I know how to get to the store and buy milk, but I do NOT understand French, so no matter how many times I would be asked, I would never be able to go get some milk.
This has all risen to the top of the list of things we are working on with Jake. Throughout the day, I will work on his comprehension skills between fifteen and twenty times. A typical way that looks is that I will hold up a green shirt and a grey shirt and ask him which one he wants to wear. I have to wait until he says, “green shirt” or “grey shirt” and correctly points to the one he named. Sometimes, he gets it right within ten seconds, other times, we work on his wardrobe choices for almost three minutes. Hopefully, that will get the synapses firing in the right sequence and his comprehension and verbal responses will start to correct themselves.
I’m also working on recognition of objects. This one is really fun for me! I get to sit with him at my computer and look at pictures of animals, trees, rivers, lakes, etc. and help him name the correct one. We go for walks and talk about what we see. We did a lot of that anyway, but now, instead of waiting for him to name it on his own, I name it first and then prompt him to repeat it. That way, he doesn’t call it the wrong thing, have to wait, and wait, and wait, until his brain gives him the right answer, getting tired and frustrated along the way. The theory is that this will help narrow the gap between the comprehension and responses as well.
In other news, our pediatrician is a little concerned that Jake might have something wrong with his throat, causing him to snore and cough a lot. We had a CATscan last week, which is always tough on both of us. I ended up having to lay almost on top of him while a nurse held his head still so they could get the picture. The next day, I got a call from the doctor’s office saying that Jake does have a chronic cold (sinusitis). She went on to say that they ordered the wrong CATscan and that we have to go back and do another CATscan of his throat. This one will require anesthetic and a short stay in the recovery room at the hospital. I am not sure I want to proceed too far since we don’t know if it is necessary and since my family struggles with anesthesia. I would like him to be old enough to communicate to recovery room nurses what is going on if he’s having trouble waking up and functioning. I would appreciate prayers for wisdom on this issue particularly!
We have one more session with our occupational/feeding therapist and two more with our physical therapist before we are cut loose by the program we are in right now. I am so thankful for all the help we’ve gotten and I’m already beginning to pray for his new teacher, the class, and the therapists that will be working with him in the Fall. I continue to be thankful for the lives that have touched ours and those who have helped light a very dark path for my little monkey!