Noah's getting his oral motor skills evaluated by an occupational therapist on Monday.
He's made incredible progress over the past month and a half -- it's been hard to know what necessitates an update or not. Sit? Dessert? Hop, tick-tock? Clue? Big truck? The way he imitates Cesar Millan's patented TSSST! sound when Ceiba barks?
But. One problem. I'm the only one who can understand him.
(Car + Truck = Cahck = Noah joyfully shrieking BIG COCK! at every possible occasion)
His speech therapist doesn't think he's like most children she treats, since he's clearly ready and willing to communicate at a much higher level than he is. (Based on the way he plays and the signs he uses.) But something is stopping him. Something is causing him to make an M sound with his front teeth sticking out over his lip, and to go out of his way to avoid sounds that create vibrations in his mouth. Something is definitely up with his pronunciation.
He won't pucker his lips or make a fish face or eat with a spoon. Food must be extremely crunchy (cracker-like) or practically mush. He won't let us touch his mouth and brushing his teeth takes two people holding him down and ends with at least two people crying. He still won't blow on the damn bubble wand.
Once again, we're back in Squishy Diagnosis Land, since I imagine 99.9% of you read that paragraph and went, "Uh, honey? He's TWO."
His speech therapist thinks, when you put the whole picture together, that Noah is not processing sensory input from his mouth correctly. Oral defensiveness. Eh. Fine.
I'm not worried about Monday's assessment -- his regular therapist will be there, she hand-picked the OT and I am confident in her ability to advocate for Noah. (She's pushing for weekly OT sessions.) It will be here at home, and mostly consists of me feeding Noah a snack while the OT watches. (Although I AM a bit concerned about serving the best snack -- what IS the proper menu for showing off poor oral motor skills? Cheerios? Granola bars? Duck l'orange served with herbed mashed potatoes and paired with 2007 Green Juice?)
The assessment will hopefully tell us more about the nature of Noah's delay and I'm sure I'll get more handouts on strategies and activities and checklists. Make Mealtime Less of a Wartime! Better Speech Through Stickers! 101 Things You Should Be Doing With Your Child Every Single Day If You Want Them To Not Flunk Kindergarten! Ready...Set...Bribe!
I'm encouraged and discouraged and neutral and anxious and tired and ready to fight some more. Again.