This probably won’t be the most upbeat of all my posts, just to give a fair warning. I’m writing about our Early Intervention evaluation which happened just this afternoon, so I’m still trying to think it through myself.
Today, we had a lovely speech language pathologist come to our home to do a developmental assessment for Miles, our 2.5 year old who is fascinated with letters, beginning to read (both sight words and sounding out phonetically), but struggles a bit socially and in speech. She spent almost exactly an hour with us and she was wonderful. Miles took to her easily and showed off quite a bit when she first arrived, jumping all over the place, giggling with her. After asking my husband and I several questions, she began scoring his assessment, going through several areas of development: motor skills (fine and gross), adaptive behaviors (things he does every day like eating, drinking, awareness of safety concerns), social skills, and speech (receptive – what he understands & expressive – what he says).
After going through all of the different areas by playing and talking with Miles, she went through her assessment impressions. Based on the scoring, his motor skills and adaptive behaviors are great (no concerns), his social skills are “borderline,” and his speech averages out to be “average” (he has more expressive language than receptive language — he says more than he understands, which she explained is the opposite of most kids). She did say that he is indeed hyperlexic. She stopped short of taking sides on the debate about hyperlexia, “Is hyperlexia always present with speech and social deficits or can it be present in typically developing kids as a splinter skill only?” She seemed to indicate that time will tell in Miles’s case.
Because his scoring didn’t indicate significant delays in any aspect, he is ineligible for Early Intervention services. I wasn’t surprised by this, as I had read that only the bottom 10% of kids (in terms of functioning) are eligible, but I was a little frustrated by the lack of direction we have now. So he has this ability to read at 2.5 years (which I realize isn’t unheard of, but it’s certainly not typical) and his speech and social skills are clearly not at the same level of the reading ability. So now what? Do we just wait it out and hope we don’t forget to “keep an eye on” his comprehension of questions? She suggested that preschool would be great for him, but she worried that he would be bored by the time he got to Kindergarten. I mentioned that I hope to homeschool the boys and she perked up and said homeschooling would probably be an excellent choice for him so that we can go at his pace and challenge him at his level. She said to just get involved in a homeschool co-op or other kinds of groups for the social aspect.
I really am relieved to hear that there isn’t a huge glaring issue that we had overlooked. I am thrilled that we don’t have to seek a medical diagnosis and worry about insurance covering therapies. I was happy to hear her say that we should celebrate his obvious strengths. I guess I just feel a little lost. Do I just keep doing what I’m doing? Keep helping him develop his social and verbal skills by using his visual strengths (writing out things like “I want a drink.” or “I am a boy.”)? Continue practicing scripts for conversation? I think I just wanted someone to tell me what to do and get some feedback about what I have been doing already.
I guess that’s one of the lessons we have to learn about parenting. We have to figure it out every day. There is no parenting manual, regardless of what book publishers tell you. Sometimes we have to do it on our own.
So here we go.