The infant specialist and the OT came to see my Isabella during the first week of February. At that time they tried to asses her. They have this checklist that lists all the skills that infants are supposed to have at a certain age. I wasn’t aware that there is such a checklist that existed until then. When they were assessing her and asking us all these questions I did see the OT and infant specialist look at each other with that knowing look. I’ve seen that look before and I have probably given that same look too. They whispered to each other and marked something on the list. At that time, all I was thinking was, “What?” What did you guys not find that my daughter was supposed to have during this period?”. I mean, just tell me already, right?
The OT and infant specialist didn’t finish their assessments and so we scheduled a follow up 2 weeks after. I asked them what their impressions were, so far, right before they were about to leave and their reply was we will meet with you when we have completed our assessments and have completed our reports and we will discuss it at an IFSP meeting. So I guess we wait what the specialists think. Which is hard because I already have a lot of things that I was worrying about.
Some of the questions that they asked were…
Does your daughter have eye contact? Our reply was No.
Does your daughter visually track objects? Our reply was No.
Does your daughter grasp on objects? Our answer, again, was No.
So, reviewing these questions in my head worried me all the more. It gave me the impression that my daughter does not have skills. That she will grow up so severely delayed that she will just be there… not looking, no response…. nothing. And, of course, as a mother, this pains me.
In the two weeks that followed, my husband and I worked double time on checking if my daughter has eye contact, tracking, and gripping skills. We tried to build her up on those skills. We tried really really hard.
When they came back two weeks after, the infant specialist and OT noted skills that my daughter has gained. She was already able to make eye contact, track objects, roll from side to back, bring her hands together, grasp objects for a short period of time, have better head control, can move her head from side to side, tries briefly to pull herself up, and my husband and I already suspect that she is starting to demonstrate a social smile.
This is indeed progress!
With my son, I did download a copy of developmental milestones from the internet of what to expect for each period/month. I was not worried that he was going to attain them on time, nor did it cross my mind that I need to assist him to achieve them. After all, he was “normal”.
I asked the specialists if I can possibly have a copy of that checklist that they were using. They obliged. The difference between this checklist and the checklist that I downloaded from the internet for my son is that it contains the developmental milestones for each period/month, and it also has the tiny skills that lead to the major ones. So, lets say the skill is rolling, the tiny baby skills that lead to this big skill include rolling from side to back, rolling from back to side, lifting the feet to try and roll from side to back, etc. I never paid attention to these tiny steps before, I guess I didn’t really have to.
You see lately, I would catch myself forgetting that my daughter has special needs. And whenever I do, I would ask myself if that was me
being in denial, or if it is me seeing things beyond the syndrome. I’m not quite sure. All I know is that I am scared going back to the “denial” phase because I already feel that I am moving forward. And that of course I can’t really keep looking at Isabella and keep on thinking “syndrome”, and “special” all the time. She needs to be given at least some credit that the time will come that she will show me what she is made of. So if this is what denial is like, then I guess, it’s a better place. Is this denial? Being realistic? Being more focused? I really don’t know for sure.
So, what have I learned from the last two weeks? I learned, 2 new things…
1) That I know there will be delays in Isabella’s development, I am viewing this possibility realistically, but this does not stop me from helping her work towards the big skills through helping her with the tiny baby steps.
2) That I should not worry about what’s going to happen to Isabella in the next 5, 10 years when I can focus on the NOW and help her through to attain the little skills on her own time and pace.
I was so happy that Isabella showed off what she has.
I’m a proud mama.