Recently we attended Dylan’s appointment with his speech therapist and his occupational therapist! We learnt a lot of new things, got lots advice and some more referrals to get Dylan the help he needs!
First off I’ll tell you about the occupational therapist who was very positive. She said that he has good fine motor skills for his age, but to keep working on using his fingers etc for being able to do buttons, zips and little things! To do this, I am going to continue using his posting toys, his ring stack and other toys like those to encourage his fine motor skills to grow! We have also been told to encourage him to have some tummy time, which is going to be a lot harder than it sounds to implement! I am going to try to get him to colour while lying on the floor, and to do his pop up toy etc while on the floor too! This is to try and encourage him to accept pressure and weight on his tummy and this will also help to build up his neck muscles which are essential for life! While doing this I also need to encourage him to sit at the table when he is doing things as well! This will help to build up his concentration and get him used to sitting still for a period of time in preparation for school! While he is sitting playing with a toy at the table I need to ensure that he gets used to changing toys, and doesn’t get so fixated on the one that he enjoys.
The speech therapist was very pleased with his improvements on making eye contact and that he made a very big indication of communication with me when he came over to me and took my hand and walked me to the door to indicate he wanted to leave. She has said that I need to try to find things that are very motivating for him so that he will start to learn that through communication he can get what he wants and it is a positive thing! I am going to start to put only a few mouthfuls of juice in his cup and encourage him to bring his cup to me when it is empty rather than going and sitting in the kitchen and screaming, and putting toys up that he really likes so he can see them but has to take me over to where they are so that I can pass them down rather than him just screaming. It will be hard, and take a long time for him to pick up on what he has to do to get what he desires but we will get there!
She said that when we are setting targets for him to achieve we need to set ones that are very small and are in reach, and that we are not to add speech to any of our targets for him. She was very positive, but said that it may be some time before he speaks as there are a lot more stepping-stones to go across before he gets to the speech. She said that he is making progress but it is all very slow and tiny, tiny baby steps! I am starting to get used to the baby steps, and celebrating the mile stones as we get there rather than being disheartened by the ones that we aren’t or haven’t met yet.
They are also referring him on to a dietician due to his very limited diet, though have said that the best way to encourage him to eat a few more things is through messy play. Once he accepts different feelings on his hands and arms then he is one step closer to accepting it in his mouth! I have lots of messy play plans, with very slow stepping-stones to getting them messier and messier.. first we are starting off with a box of pasta with only 2 or 3 cooked bits in, and then adding another 2 or 3 cooked bits in after a few weeks of accepting the first few bits of cooked pasta!
She has also refereed him to go on a DIS (Developmental Intervention Service). This will be a 5 week course where he goes for 1 hour a week for five weeks! He will be in a small group with several other children where they will try to encourage them to interact, and many other things! She started off and told me “unfortunately there is a waiting list.. its 12-13” When I heard that I sighed, thinking that she meant months.. another big wait, but then she finished it by saying “weeks” I nearly jumped out of my chair with excitement! That isn’t long at all!
The speech therapist and occupational therapist also want to see him on a regular basis, but not to regular, every 2-3 months. They said that there would be no point seeing him every week as it just wouldn’t be beneficial for him as it is all such baby steps, and if we are seeing them that much and he isn’t making great bounds of progress each week it is also harder on the parents. I really like Dylan’s speech therapist she is very caring, and seems to really understand how hard this is for the parents as well as the child.
We have his CDC review appointment the end of next month, where they will be referring him on if they think it is necessary and doing his education plan… I know that he is going to be refereed, but I know that it wont make this appointment any easier. I know that hearing it from a professional will be really tough. I am already worrying and stressing about it, when in reality; I can’t change the inevitable, nobody can.