The ongoing saga of Tad

These last two months have been very interesting for us and for Tad’s verbal development. We stopped speech therapy at the end of November, due to the fact that the insurance coverage had run out and the clinic had forgotten to tell us that… we have a pretty nice-sized bill to cover as a result.

But by the end of Tad’s speech therapy appointments (and determining that he has no hearing problems at all, just listening ones), his therapists wanted to send him somewhere else. Despite all their reassurances, I really did feel like they just wanted him to go somewhere else because he wasn’t making the progress they thought he should.

I took him in at the beginning of January to see Therapist #2 (who I greatly preferred), and she was stunned at the progress he’d made in one month of doing nothing. She even said that she would take him back, but they were losing a therapist and didn’t have any free space at the moment. I appreciated that, but I was ready to move on myself.

Last Friday, I took Tad to his pediatrician. He is also Ane’s pediatrician, and when I took her in for her annual check-up on New Year’s Eve, I briefly mentioned my concerns about Tad. He encouraged me to make a consultation appointment, so he could see Tad and we could talk about it further.

The biggest, fattest question on my mind was: Are we missing anything?? The nagging thought in the back of my head for months has been whether or not, having ruled out a hearing issue, does Tad have a behavioral disorder or some kind of quantifiable disability that is keeping him from developing as his peers are?

The answer is a qualified “no.” Tad is not autistic (too social and too much eye contact), and since he doesn’t show any delays physically or any developmental ones beyond speech and general maturity, the doctor felt that nothing was popping up on his radar. We had a rehash of the previous conversation, and noted the progress that Tad has made in the last couple of months. He did recommend that we go get a formal assessment from the developmental facility that Therapist #1 and #2 had strongly suggested that we go to for ongoing therapy, if for nothing else than that it would give us a clearer picture of where Tad is developmentally.

He also pointed out that Therapist #1 and #2, while very good at what they do, really work in a straightforward speech therapy philosophy – i.e. teach kids to speak clearly. While some of that applies to Tad, he needs more age-specific attention.

“And another thing,” the pediatrician said, “do NOT compare Tad to his sister. Ever.” He had just seen her a month ago, and has been her doctor all her life, and she’s not the kind of kid you forget easily. “If you took away 75% of all her verbal skills when she was 2 and a half, that’s still a hard measuring stick to put him against. So don’t do it.”

That’s been one of the hardest things for me to not do. Ane has always been a precocious talker – and when she was 2 and a half, Tad was a little baby who needed a great deal of attention, and her verbal skills were something that I just started to take for granted. When Ane was two, she had special names for everyone. Tad can say “Mama” and “Dada”, his version of Auntie’s name (sometimes) and his own name (sometimes), but unless you’re Lightning McQueen or Curious George, you don’t have a name yet. I always knew that Ane was very verbal, but I had no idea how much I relied on that until it was apparent that Tad was not as verbal.

I was talking with my mother about it, and she said that she had to do the same thing when the Captain and Resiss were learning to read. I had begun to read, without any intervention from my parents, at three and a half, and took off from there. My brother and sister didn’t do that. “And I had to reassure myself that they were completely normal,” my mother said. “If anyone was abnormal, it was you.”

So, the upshot of all of this is that I am trying to get Tad an appointment at a developmental facility for a complete assessment. I can’t take him to the one that was recommended to us, because we live in S. County and they only serve the residents of K. County due to their federal funding guidelines. However, I have heard of the facility that we can go to, and it is muchmuchmuch closer to home for us. The coordinator will call me back sometime this week to set up an appointment for Tad.

I feel hopeful, nervous, and a little like I just got off a roller coaster and just got back in line to get on it again.

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