Last Hurrah
He Still Has Green Paint All Over His Hands & I Couldn't Be Happier About It

Still Talking About Not Talking

What was I saying about those boys of mine and their little pussy head colds? AW, POOR BABIES. EIGHT MONTHS PREGNANT. YOU'VE BEEN TRUMPED.

Well. Uh. You know what else trumps your pussy head cold? EIGHT MONTHS PREGNANT WITH A HEAD COLD. Oh, God. The agony. The pressure. The postnasal drip.

(Or...am I NINE months pregnant now? I am IN my ninth month, but have COMPLETED eight months? Are you only considered nine months pregnant right at your due date or do you get to whine dramatically about being NINE MONTHS PREGNANT WITH A HEAD COLD or NINE MONTHS PREGNANT AT THE GROCERY STORE or NINE MONTHS PREGNANT AND STILL EXPECTED TO TIE MY OWN SHOES for a couple weeks before that? I can never really follow the pregnancy math, but I would like it to work out to my optimal whining advantage.)

Last night we attended our very first Back To School Parents' Night Thing at Noah's preschool. I was a little bummed, frankly -- I thought there would be punch. Maybe cookies. Instead we got handouts and sat around perched on teensy little chairs and discussed our Educational Goals, Wishes and Dreams for our not-quite-three-year-olds. And the policies on birthday cupcakes. I learned a few things:

1) On the very first day of school, Noah was the first and only child to spontaneously request to go potty, and he started a small wave of peer-pressure-induced lining-up to go potty, including his non-potty-trained peers. I think this means we Win, and that I should get a Dora sticker.

2) The new obsession with pirates and talking like a pirate? No, he didn't get that from school, and as such, it remains a total mystery. Arrrr.

3) Other kids talk about Noah to their parents, but Noah simply refers to everybody and everything that he encounters at school as..."school." His teacher is School, his classmates are School, the paints are School. The playground, of course, is FUCKING AWESOME.

4) His social language continues to be a problem, as he doesn't really understand how to ask or answer questions or talk about anything that isn't going on right in front of him, in the present tense. Ask him about what happened earlier in the day and you'll get nothing beyond confused silence, since...no...he's NOT painting right now, why are you talking about painting? There are no paints. You're boring me, and I am going to wander away now. He rarely attempts to converse with other kids, except to mimic their speech or roar at them like a dinosaur. Or a pirate.   

5) His teacher has a son in elementary school with a PDD-NOS diagnosis. She became a preschool teacher while advocating for him during his early childhood education, since she found she needed to literally be with him in his classrooms in order to make sure his needs were being met and understood.

After Jason and I left and went off to search elsewhere for some damn punch and cookies, we realized we'd both come to the same conclusion, and after picking Noah up from school today and I went and upped his enrollment to five days a week.

The other kids in his class are...wow...way beyond Noah in terms of their verbal abilities. I know I'm not supposed to compare him to other kids; I know he moves at his own pace; I know he's special and gifted in his own quirky little way, but...wow. I'm not neurotic (much), but I'm also not fucking deaf.

It pricks at my heart to see him wandering on the outskirts of the group, reciting entire books and and vaguely comprehensible stretches of movie dialogue to himself, and I get a little angry at myself for being so easily comforted by some damn standardized test scores that allowed the county to hand Noah his "graduation" papers and leave us standing here scratching our heads because...well...SURE he did great on a standardized test. They sat him down with one other adult and showed him pictures of dogs and balls and toothbrushes and asked him to say dog and ball and toothbrush. They told me his articulation at the single-word level meant it was okay that he's impossible to understand when he strings several words together. They told me it was okay that he couldn't ever accurately tell me what he had for lunch earlier or what his dog's name is if his dog is not right in front of him. They told me it was okay that he just roared at other children and couldn't possibly tell me about his friend Chase or Michael or Eva because...Jesus, I don't even know WHY he can't tell me. 

Early Intervention's official report states that Noah's delays and developmental difficulties would "not impede or interfere with his ability to learn in a mainstream classroom." So. We're counting on that part being correct. Five days a week with the kids who can talk and the teacher who thankfully, blessedly, seems to understand our little question mark of a boy.

Comments

Lisa

Hang in there Amy. At some point you'll be able to look back on these early school days and sigh in relief that you have surpassed this hurdle. Noah will be fine...I promise.

Feel better soon! All of you!

christina

Wow. It just seems like every time you get to the top of a hill, it seems like there's another one in front of you. I know next to nothing about children (I am 6 months pregnant and planning to learn as I go) but I really admire your dedication to being sure that Noah gets everything he needs and doing whatever you have to in order for him to be understood and helped along the way. He's a beautiful kid and he is going to do great with a mom like you.

Anne

I'm so glad to hear you have a great preschool teacher who UNDERSTANDS, first hand. That has to make everything easier, even if it is still a bit of a struggle.

Jay

Pregnant with a cold? That sucks several kinds of poop.

And as far as I'm concerned, honey you've every right to complain about being TEN MONTHS pregnant. Cos that's how long it lasts. Or something.

You know, you're both still awesome parents, simply because you give such a damn about your child. I hope I can be as awesome with my kids.

The. End.

Daisy Duke

Maybe I'm not supposed to, but I find the roaring like a dinosaur at other kids to be pretty cute. And I really wish it were socially acceptable. I might try it out at work, just to see what happens.

Jenn

This is why I read your blog- because I think we're leading parallel lives. (except I'm not pregnant,and could never write like you do-) :) Our little question mark of a boy is almost 3 1/2- we did the early intervention thing and also "graduated" when he turned 3. (diagnosis was speech/developmental delay) I've seen a huge improvement in his verbal skills, but he's nowhere near where his peers are (We have a weekly playgroup and it hurts my heart just a little bit each week to compare him to others) Instead of roaring, he used to bark at everyone, and couldn't figure out any kind of questions that began with "why" "what" or "when". So frustrating. But now, he's coming along and even told me the name of 2 kids in his class that he played with today. We also bumped up his preschool time from one day to three days a week and have seen a huge improvement. All of this to just say- keep with it- you are the only one that knows your child. And thank you for writing your story- to let others know that they are not alone. :)

Shash

5 days a week is the way to go. I'm psyched that his teacher has a PDD-NOS child, because she will understand Noah better and give him a better start to schooling. She will think out of the box to help him and that? Is AWESOME.

(The playground though, is probably pretty awesome too.)

I'm so excited for Noah. He may hang on the perimeter of the playground, but he'll find friends. (Or more importantly, they will find him) My son had a gaggle of girls all through elementary school befriend him and care for him. Noah will have no shortage of girls to hang with. Trust me.

Email me at crazedmommyatgmaildotcom. I would love to talk with you. Please? I have some ideas that could help, if you want them. I've been here myself, and my son is mainstreamed in the 8th grade. He's doing great.

Yay for Noah!!!

Feel better soon, k? :)

Shash

Maria

This really hits home. The chipmunk doesn't have speech delays, but has a series of weird and highly repetitive behaviors that no one can seem to diagnose. And I don't neccesarily want a diagnose but I do want to know what's going on, if he's anxious in there, if he's going to do it forever, etcetcetc IT IS SO SCARY. His behavioral ped. appointment is four days before my due date, which is awesome and is so going to end up being canceled after I waited four months for it.

Also, I'm eight months pregnant and my menfolk got me sick all this week too. Clearly we are bosom buddies.

Feel better, lady.

Robin

Get a private eval done. The school is only going to look for educational impact. That's why he graduated from speech. He can label. But it sounds like he has some weaknesses in actually using language still. The schools, to the best of my knowledge do not test for this. My son is on the spectrum, and does not and will not qualify for an IEP/special ed services. He wouldn't have as a toddler either.
Am a stranger to you, but local if you need more advice would be happy to email offline.

Maria

This really hits home. The chipmunk doesn't have speech delays, but has a series of weird and highly repetitive behaviors that no one can seem to diagnose. And I don't neccesarily want a diagnose but I do want to know what's going on, if he's anxious in there, if he's going to do it forever, etcetcetc IT IS SO SCARY. His behavioral ped. appointment is four days before my due date, which is awesome and is so going to end up being canceled after I waited four months for it.

Also, I'm eight months pregnant and my menfolk got me sick all this week too. Clearly we are bosom buddies.

Feel better, lady.

Jen

As long as Noah's happy in school and his teacher understands him, ROCK ON! I have to say you're very lucky to have found a good fit, since I have seen some preschool teachers lost it over the smallest things. And roaring like a dinosaur? That's a 10 on the cute scale.

Maria

This really hits home. The chipmunk doesn't have speech delays, but has a series of weird and highly repetitive behaviors that no one can seem to diagnose. And I don't neccesarily want a diagnose but I do want to know what's going on, if he's anxious in there, if he's going to do it forever, etcetcetc IT IS SO SCARY. His behavioral ped. appointment is four days before my due date, which is awesome and is so going to end up being canceled after I waited four months for it.

Also, I'm eight months pregnant and my menfolk got me sick all this week too. Clearly we are bosom buddies.

Feel better, lady.

Jill (CDJ)

If it makes you feel any better, I think the not being able to recall or talk about details in the past is not that out of the ordinary. My almost four year old, who is very verbal otherwise, still cannot or will not tell me what he did during the day if I ask him pointed questions about it. What did you do? "Played." Who did you play with> "I don't know." What did you have for lunch? "Ummm... I don't know. I don't want to talk about this anymore mommy."

I know you have other things you worry about, but maybe that one you can move over to the "not worry so much" plate? Or I could totally be talking out of my ass, which is altogether possible.

Robin

Get a private done. School system is only going to test for and look for so much. Yea, he can label things, but he still has weakness in using language, despite his ability to memorize and recite.
My son is on the spectrum and never qualifies for services in the school. I know I'm a stranger, but I'm local if you want to email me offline for advice.

Robin

Get a private done. School system is only going to test for and look for so much. Yea, he can label things, but he still has weakness in using language, despite his ability to memorize and recite.
My son is on the spectrum and never qualifies for services in the school. I know I'm a stranger, but I'm local if you want to email me offline for advice.

Maria

Good god, the Internet. Why did you post my comment three times? I leave you with some dino-love:
http://www.vimeo.com/1390873

Brenda

Whether one is pregnant for 9 months or 10 months depends on what the definition of "month" is. If a month is 4 weeks, and one's due date is at the 40 week mark, well, that sounds like 10 months pregnant to me! (I went 42 weeks last time, so it's possible I mentioned this. A lot.)

Of course, most calendar months have more than 4 weeks (on February sticks to the 4), so that's where you get the 9 month thing.

Definitely, though, I'd say 36 weeks plus counts as 9 months pregnant. What? Is someone going to argue with you? Say you only look like you're 8 months pregnant? Ha!

Also, I'm really really glad that Noah has a teacher who understands his special dinosaur-roaryness and can hopefully help him learn to channel it in slightly more social directions.

My Buddy Mimi

We had a similar situation until one day (the day after Halloween last year) my daughter wouldn't go to sleep because she expected people to come to the door and get candy again. My husband and I looked at each other and realized that OMG, she remembers something about yesterday. It has gotten much better in the past year.

Anne Glamore

Yeah, the pregnancy math is like my son's algebra-- it does not add up! I finally figured out that you are supposed to tell everyone you're 5 months along for about 8 weeks, because you're really pregnant for 10 months, assuming you know about when you became pregnant and realize you are, which I never did, so I would go to the dr for a mono test and they'd do a pregnancy test and then a sonogram and there would be ANOTHER boy (or 2) fully formed in my womb practically waving and dancing and my GOD I'd been spending all that time on the Stairmaster for nothing.

Alicia

I hope the 5 day program helps him out some! It is awesome though that the teacher is aware and can really help Noah out if she has had experience in this area!

Sorry about your head cold, that is so lame and I say you are 9 months pregnant for sure, you just kinda get to skip saying I am 8 months and jump to 9! haha

ameliorateme

The pregnancy math drives me mad. I blogged about it two weeks ago (particularly the part where my husband doesn't believe a pregnancy lasts 10 months). Anyway, it's annoying, I feel you.

Good luck to Noah. And feel better!

Katherine

Not that the comments of a complete stranger are relevant, but reading about your son was like reading into the PAST. I was impossible to understand until I was six (and probably past that, I'm not sure I want to ask :) and drove my family crazy. I got along well enough with the other kids but I was the youngest and my inability to, uh, communicate, I was in small groups. ANYWAY I'm compelled to comment (from my workplace! I'm so busted!) because now I'm a wordsmithin' chatterbox (you won't know from the Internet but in person, boy howdy!) Now my only problem is I speak really fast. :) I hope Noah will have a huge vocabulary and leave everyone in the dust too. :)

Liz

My kid doesn't have any fancy non-specific diagnoses, but her speech has been rather delayed. At her 2-year checkup they encouraged us to see a speech therapist but decided that getting her miniscule size looked at was more important. (Guess what? It turns out she's short.) At day care they debated over leaving her with the toddlers or putting her in preschool, which is one class with anybody who's not old enough for kindergarten. We decided to give preschool a try, and HOLY CRAP what a difference it made. She'll be 3 next month. She still doesn't tell us what she did during the day, but if you ask whether she painted or made banana bread or whatever she will answer correctly. Things that make an impression, like Daddy's minor car accident, are topics for discussion for weeks. I guess hanging out with the big kids is helping her. Dora and Diego are a big help, too. I overheard her counting in Spanish the other day! Sheesh.

Sam

Ack! Of course there should have been PUNCH!

I really think (I have one whole whopping year of experience as a preschool teacher, would still be doing it if we hadn't mooooooooved! dang it I miss my kids!) that being in preschool with all those other kids and being in the midst of all that language is going to be awesome for Noah. I could tell you stories about one particular child I had last year, and how I was so sure he was somewhere on the spectrum of autism. All the teachers were concerned. HHe did get some help and yet what I saw was just the power of socialization doing its work, day by day. You're doing the right thing, and you're so far ahead of the game, I really believe this. Noah is awesome and I love that he has so much personality that he's rocking his schoolmates' little world!

Sam

Ack! Of course there should have been PUNCH!

I really think (I have one whole whopping year of experience as a preschool teacher, would still be doing it if we hadn't mooooooooved! dang it I miss my kids!) that being in preschool with all those other kids and being in the midst of all that language is going to be awesome for Noah. I could tell you stories about one particular child I had last year, and how I was so sure he was somewhere on the spectrum of autism. All the teachers were concerned. HHe did get some help and yet what I saw was just the power of socialization doing its work, day by day. You're doing the right thing, and you're so far ahead of the game, I really believe this. Noah is awesome and I love that he has so much personality that he's rocking his schoolmates' little world!

kzte

My nephew is 4 and loves to Roar like a dinosaur. Nothing wrong with roaring! He will be fine. 5 days a week will be great for him.

kate

Ah and another note about the roarer...he is now living in Africa and when they went to get their passports he is roaring in his photo at the photographer...it is hysterical!

Liz

Oh, typepad, why would you eat my comment? Well, at least I can write less of a manifesto this time.

This gist of it was that because of my 2-year-old's delayed speech, day care debated over whether to leave her with the toddlers for a while or move her up with the other pre-schoolers (one class of about 8 with 2-5 year olds). We decided to put her in the preschool and it's made SO much difference. I don't think she's totally caught up yet, but she's got to be close. She'll be 3 next month, and I don't think her doctor will be making the speech therapy noises this time.

I know that Noah's got more difficulties than my kid, but I hope his class helps him as much! The peer-pressure potty thing is something to be proud of. :)

hydrogeek

34 weeks pregnant with a head cold, just checkin' in to commiserate with the misery here.

Also to say YAY for a knowledgeable teacher. Sounds like the perfect place for Noah to be.

Heather, Queen of Shake-Shake

Hey, maybe the kid was friends with Eckhart Tolle in a previous life because, boy, does he know how to live in the now moment or what?

Three is still very young, and for some, it's younger than others, meaning some kids lag behind in social development and do things like roar at friends. We use to call them immature for their age. At 3, it isn't unusual for kids to still play along side instead of with other kids.

BTW, I just asked my 8-year-old what he had for breakfast. He couldn't remember. He's one of the smart but absented minded professor types. My 5 year-old can remember, but he's one of those smart follow the books type. It's amazing how different kids can be and still turn out ok.

Emily

De-lurking to put in my two cents, I know that Noah is on the SI/autism spectrum. Have you guys considered an ABA (applied behavioral analysis) program for him? I work with kids with autism, a huge part of what we teach is language, a lot of our kids come in with a language that sounds similar to Noah's... At his age, most kids make great progress. Just a thought though...

Betsy

So a teacher who's been there & done that AND the ability to sign him up for 5 days/week AND a baby just about to make his debut. You must've done something right in a past life.

Hang in there. I think at this point in your pregnancy its okay to refer to months as eons, anyway.

Trish

I'm glad Noah has a good teacher who's on top of things. And I'm glad you were able to sign him up for 5 days a week.

All kids develop at different rates. And some of them focus on certain things and not others. Our 3-year old has a wonderful vocabulary, but still roars at his friends like a dinosaur, and he is extremely slow to grow since he refuses to eat. I have no doubt that Noah is more advanced than average in some areas and a bit behind in others. I'm no expert, but to me, that seems normal. 'Cause that's how our son is.

It will all work out. I'm sure he'll catch up.

I hope the rest of your pregnancy goes swiftly. And I hope you found some really good punch and cookies!

charlotte

What? Roaring like a dino isn't acceptable at work? Oh, *that*'s why I get those icky performance reports ...

No, really, sounds like Noah's teacher is a great win for your family. Congrats.

And yes, you're so totally nine months pregnant. Because I am so totally seven months (almost). You always count from the beginning of the month, and you're entitiled to just that many pints of Ben&Jerry's New York Super Fudge Chunk a day. Ha!

rachel beto

Maybe he's just in the wrong school. In my city they actually offer Pirate Classes for young tots, and I'm positive your son would be setting the standard there and all the other parents would be blogging abou how their kids have such a long way to go. Just a thought.

anna

At your due date, you are ten months pregnant.

I don't know anything about speech development or delay, but it sounds like you are doing what is right for him, and he sounds like a smart little boy. He'll figure it out.

Pat

Amy.. I know that no two children are the same but my grandson, who is ten now, had us worried sick when he was 2 and 3. His lack of verbal skills seem very close to what you are experiencing with Noah. More than one or two words strung together and no one could understand him.. he couldn't seem to answer our questions, and we also had the bonus of unexplained meltdowns and tantrums..he was so frustrated.

He was in preschool and saw speech therapists and behavioural therapists and had hearing tests but there was very little change for a while.

Guess what? Not long after he turned 4, he just...caught up! On his own. Out of the blue almost.
At 10, he does very well in school and in this Grandma's eyes he is the sweetest, smartest, most wonderful boy ever. He is an articulate little speaker now!

I truly think the daily interaction in preschool was the turning point. I think you are wise handling this the way you are.

Noah is gorgeous, and congratulations on the new baby, dear.

I love your writing..you remind me a lot of my girls. I think they would like you. :)

(We are awaiting grandbaby number six now - Alex still has dibs on being the only boy so far!)

Charlene

Noah is clearly preparing for National Talk Like a Pirate Day on September 19. He's right on time!

Tiff@Three Peas

Your site was reccomended to me from a friend. I have two with learning disabilites. One with auditory processing disorder and language expressive disorder and one with autism and developmental delays. I so know what your dealing with. Although Having my son in preschool has made a HUGE difference in his ability to communicate. Granted he can't remember names or tell me what he did that day. But at least he's talking. . . non stop . . to the point it's exhausting. . . seriously! I get tired just listening to him. LOL but he sure is a special boy!

Sara

My son started "preschool" (read glorified daycare) when he was 3 1/2. He's never had any developmental or congnitive delays. Still, the difference between his vocal skills one week before beginning preschool and just one week after was so incredibly dramatic. Though I can't necessarily brag about some of the actual things he's learning to say - Hang in there Noah will be randomly talking about chicken butts and his best friend eating a cricket in no time!

ashley.marie

Just - I'm sorry and I hope it gets better.

Rooting for you and your family. :)

Sundry

Riley's always been pretty verbal but he canNOT be counted on to tell us what happened during his day at school. What did they eat? Ummm, turkey samwich. Oh, even though your sheet says spaghetti? BLANK STARE. Who did you play with? Um, played with toys. Etc. I've been wondering when this might change -- the only thing he'll tell us about is if there was a Traumatic Event (OMG BALLOONS LET US NEVER TALK OF THEM AGAIN).

Anyway, the real reason I'm commenting is to say that massively pregnant + head cold = completely fucking unfair and horrible. Hope it passes quickly. And that you don't get a cough that makes you pee yourself all day long. Which may have happened to, uh, someone I know.

DiaryofWhy

Well, Friday is National Talk Like a Pirate Day, aka Noah's Time To Shine! I think he's probably just preparing.

As for the rest...bon courage, as the French say. We're all rooting for you - all of you.

b

A great teacher is key, and it sounds as though you found that. She can reassure you about the things that you should NOT freak out about, and the things you might want to watch (aka sweat over). I'm so happy that you found a great teacher.

die Frau

Well, Charlene and DiaryofWhy beat me to it--Friday is indeed International Talk Like a Pirate Day. As a teacher, I know that Noah has someone looking out for him at school who really does know what to look for. Don't know if this makes you feel better, but my sister could barely count to ten at age five and she ended up getting all As at Yale, so things may well turn around. Sounds like you're getting good advice from fellow posters.

Feel better!

Stacy

It seems to me that what Noah emphatically has in his corner is a fight-for-it mama. That's a really great thing.

5 days of preschool should help and give you the time and experience to see where the next step is. And it will make itself clear.

And someday you will laugh about this.

Katie

I definitely think that 5 days a week is a good start, but if after a few months you don't start to see some improvement, I would ask for another evaluation. With ds's IEP in May they pused for him to be in an inclusion program in regular K even though I said he wasn't ready for that. So, after 1 week of school I asked for an IEP Review, had it today, ds will now spend the majority of his time in a cognitively imparied class and do inclusion for lunch, recess, etc. While I know that I may have to climb an uphill battle later on when he is ready for more inclusion, I know that he is much better off. I don't the public school system bothers me. Little kids are pused so hard and get homework every night, just so they can pass the SOLs. The stuff they teach in the cognitively impaired class is the same stuff that I was taught in K, some 23 years ago. Without so much pressure.

supertiff

we know that noah is the best boy in the world, and you know that noah is the best boy in the world. of course, in a few weeks, you're going to have to call it a tie, i suppose.

at any rate: what can i say to make you feel better?
you are clearly the most amazing parents ever. you take less-than-perfect situations and work hard as hard can be to wrangle them into perfection, and then...even when you're not working as hard...you're blessed with little gifts like a preschool teacher who will be entirely tuned in to noah's needs for her own personal reasons.

a pack of blessings lies upon thy back!
and a feral pack of internet supporters stand behind you, noah, jaspn, and baby tivo every step of the way.

Maria A.

Of course, every situation is different, but having six kids and having lived through the apraxia - speech delay thing with two of them, I HIGHLY suggest that you have him evaluated by a Developmental Pediatrician. This was recommended to us by our sons' speech therapists and they were diagnosed with mild Asperger's, which as others have suggested, is on the autism spectrum. The things you mention that remind me of my life are a) hanging on the edge of the group, b) not knowing how to initiate either play or a question with peers, c) reciting stretches of movie dialogue. But as a result of the diagnoses for both of my oldest boys (and none of the other kids), they received speech, OT and behavior help, which they graduated out of before they were seven. They are now almost 11 and 9 and are bright, well liked by their classmates, play sports and are brown belts in tae kwon do. I know a couple of parents who were encouraged by the kindergarten teacher to get these evaluations and the parents didn't because they didn't want their kids labeled. Well fine, the don't have a "diagnostic label", but neither do they interact with their classmates in a way that would be perceived as "normal". Be aggressive - even though you will be dealing with a newborn, in getting what you know in your gut is necessary. At the time this was going on with my oldest two, I had four children under the age of four. You will look back and be thankful.

erin

How AWESOME is it that Noah's teacher has experience in what Noah really needs. I hope it goes well. I hope he has a spectacular year. Hang in there. And keep asking questions, keep talking to the teacher, keep asking what you can do to continue helping him succeed. He'll get there.

willikat

the good things:
a teacher who understands
he asked to go potty! before all the other, more verbal kids!
a teacher who understands!
he asked first!
plus, being around more verbal kids might help him?
a teacher who understands!
also, he is darling and perfect and he will catch up. i will be sending these thoughts to you via la internets.

Winston

You're nine months pregnant starting at 36 weeks. (the pregnancy lasts for ten four-week/28-day months, nine calendar months)

Ellie

I'm only 21 and have no children and so therefore no real clue about anything related to motherhood, except for my own fantastic mum. But I do know from silently reading your blogs for the past few years Noah has been given everything you can possibly give and he is a very lucky boy to have such brilliant parents. It will all be fine in the end. (That's my personal mantra and it hasn't failed me yet)

Collette

You are nine months pregnant and you more than trump the pussies with the cold. I swear, their is some seriously important information missing from Y chromosone. 3 legs vs 4 legs is a big deal.

Your little guy will progress. I have a nephew who spent years hearing things as if he were underwater because of serious nasal and ear issues. He barely spoke and played alone because he couldn't understand the other kids. That was kindergarten, he is 5th grade now and is doing wonderful. It just took a little time and some wonderful teachers.

kim at allconsuming

somehow, by the grace of god knows what, we have had teachers every step of the way who have 'got' our son. Who have blessedly worked out what makes him tick very quickly and worked it to his (and I suspect their) advantage.

He never really interacted with other kids at pre-school except to do something to them to get a reaction. It took the teacher about two days to work out what he was doing was actually showing a sense of humour, not bullying or such. Otherwise he'd just go off and do his own thing - and if too many other kids came over to what he was doing he'd just pick himself up and move on to something else.

Once, at a friend of a friends child's birthday party, I found him sitting alone in the middle of a large grassy area while all the other kids ate party food and climbed on play equipment. I walked over to him, my heart in my chest, tears pricking my eyes thinking 'what the hell is wrong with my child' and asked what he was doing. 'I just needed some quiet time on my own mum.' He was four.

He roared at other kids and family members for a good two years. No one in our family particularly 'liked' him for a long time because of the roaring and the inexplicable tantruming and plentiful meltdowns over something as inoffensive as someone looking at him.

So now he's eight. And he's the 'normal' one while his elder brother has profound special needs.

I'm not telling you this to say everything will be fine, because people who say that shit me to tears.

You're on top of it. You're cognisant of it - unlike so many parents who just refuse to acknowledge the 'quirks' of their child may well be indicative of some bigger issues that may rear their fat ugly heads down the path.

Your reaction and fears are all perfectly justified. And as the parent of one kid with high special needs and three others who are all sitting beautifully on graphs everywhere, all I can say to you is let yourself be pissed off, let yourself be worried, let yourself wallow in that parental angst for a time (I give myself 24 hours following any particular meeting with teachers/specialists etc) and then - as has become my motto that even gives me the shits - just keep swimming. Just keep swimming.

Or waddling as the case may be.

zdoodlebub

That teacher is going to be a life saver. She's either going to tell you that he's doing fine (and you'll be able to trust that) or she's going to give you a head's up if you need to get back to more testing or extra help. She started as an advocate for her son and now, dude, she's an advocate for all our little question marks. Buy her something really expensive for Christmas.

Sara Tseng

Hi -

I've read for a long time, our son is 4 and his speech delays sound remarkably similar to Noah - right down to the mimicking and the roaring like a dinosaur - only ours was a kind of urgent grunting really close to his playmates faces.
:-) I'm really glad you have a teacher that understands and can give Noah the kind of love and support he needs. It will make such a big difference for Noah. We found a speech therapist for our son who is absolutely wonderful (after one false start with someone else), she has done amazing things with him. One and a half years later and our son has made so much progress - it's really helped him learn to communicate and now he can even ask and answer questions with no problem. Yeah!! I'm a big advocate for speech therapy with someone who specializes in and is great with the little guys.

Shenley

I second the comment about looking into Applied Behavior Analysis! At the agency I work for, we are always getting calls from parents who's kids graduated from the early intervention programs and they aren't sure where to go from there. They realize their kids may not be considered 'delayed' anymore, but there are still some issues to tackle like converstaion skills and social interactions. Not a necessity of course, but something to consider - good luck!

Christine

I just met Max's new teacher and developed his IEP today. It was hard - to admit that things aren't quite right and he needs extra help. But it's not as hard as watching him refuse to interact with other kids.

He's going to be starting school next week in a combined special ed/regular preschool. We're hopeful, in a way we haven't been in a long time.

Bluestreak

I don´t have children yet, so I can only relate on the human level, not the parent level. You have a lot of strength that shows through in your writing. Coming from a completely ignorant point of view, I think that having a sibling will do wonders for his communicative abilities. He´ll need to play the teacher role all of the sudden to someone that needs to learn from him.

dj

this is so hard. we've just recently realized that our perfect little boy has a bunch of problems. somehow he went from "the easy one" who always seemed to glide through life effortlessly to "the problem one" who needs OT for his fine motor skills, gross motor skills, speech therapy for his speech and you're somehow left thinking: IS ANYTHING WORKING RIGHT HERE? anyway, because it isn't ALL about me i will say that i'm glad to hear you've got such a good and on target teacher. that can definitely make a difference.

dj

m

The description of Noah sounds like one of my younger son when he was in preschool. He didn't talk to the teacher the first week or two of school, to my horror. And he was always pretty detached socially. We had him evaluated by a developmental doc, who diagnosed mild PDD-NOS.

Have the teacher scope out a potential buddy for him--someone who may have similar interests--and see if she can try to seat them together regularly. Making a social connection really helps them increase their communication.

My guy has come a loooooong way since then and is doing great in school. He will never be the Great Communicator. But then again, he carries a Y chromosome, so how much can I really expect?

Compa

Wow, everything you write reminds me of my son about two years ago (which, age-wise, is right on spot).

He's come a long way since that time, but some things still persist (lousy grammar like the inability to contstruct a question as opposed to a statement, mostly).

For the time being, I am just trusting that he is getting better and better all the time, and am trying to focus on literacy & numeracy, because those are areas he may have difficulty with.

Like your son, he frustratingly tests normal on every language test, when I can hear for myself that his sentence construction is not what it should be at 5.

The social stuff has mostly resolved itself (no more roaring) though some things still set him apart from other kids (running around in circles while he is supposed to be waiting quietly on a bench for his turn by the pool for swimming classes; yelling THANK YOU FOR THE SWIMMING- I LOVE YOU!!! after the class was over do come to mind.)

So yep, just keep swimming as the other mama said, and believe it will turn out all right in the end. I did make one promise to my son (and myself) never to underestimate his abilities, and I think it is an approach that is working out for us. I hope.

Kristin

It sounds like you have a fabulous teacher for your little boy. Best of luck.

Also, I know when I was pregnant, I checked and all the ingredients of Thera-Flu were on the approved medicine list. It worked wonders with my cold.

Tricia

Amy -- I'm going to STRONGLY ditto Robin and the others who suggested a private evaluation. Yes, kids do develop at different rates. Most of the time it's absolutely true. But some of the things you wrote about Noah make the alarm bells go off. Noah sounds a whole like like my son (currently 6.5), with the only difference being that my son only has mild articulation difficulties. His difficulties were initially dismissed by the school as not being "educationally relevant", but it quickly became obvious (especially to me) that his quirks were indeed getting in the way. Ean is very much the type of child who could easily fall through the cracks -- he has mild difficulties in a broad range of areas. Mild articulation disorder. Mild-moderate sensory modulation disorder, mild-moderate fine motor delay. He's often described as "quirky" around his peers -- he doesn't quite get how to interact with others, and he often opts to just be by himself. When you look at any one of his difficulties, it's easy to dismiss it and say he'll catch up. But, when you look at the whole picture, it's a little more daunting. But, because nothing SCREAMS "problem", the schools/EI programs, etc. are less likely to use their limited funding to offer any services. When it comes to these "quirky" kids, it really is up to the parents to advocate, advocate, advocate. Please feel free to email me -- and I hope your head cold goes away!

Marie

reading your story is like reliving the first few years with my wonderfully amazing question mark of a son all over again. He is now in the 2nd grade and no longer qualifies for any SPED assistance because he kicks butt academicly. It's the damn social stuff that remains a speed bump. I wish I could say it gets easier but in some ways it doesn't. I am constantly wondering why so many things have to be so difficult for him. But I find more often than not that I am the one doing the worrying and hand wringing and he is out there joyfully soaking up life. Which is how it should be. Noah is such a lovable little guy. It seems that no one is immune to just wanting to gobble him up. So keep on pushing for what he needs and keep on celebrating how amazing he is. He needs both. BTW, YOU ROCK!!!

Joanne

Does Noah get any OT? My son is autistic so we throw the book at him, therapy wise and I am amazed at how much better he can connect the dots once he is balanced. He has amazing amounts of sensory issues and I can see it helping him when he gets OT and feels right. Our boy goes to a development preschool where he gets OT and ST during the week and then we take him for OT and PT at another place so he is good and therapized. Our insurance covers the OT and PT at the extra place and so it's just a matter of us getting him there. I am just remembering your experience with the OT but maybe just a good round with an exercise ball or a swing would help him out? I know he'll be fine, I think a lot of our problems will be resolved as they get older. BUT I do know what you mean, watching your son on the outskirts is one of the most heartbreaking things to go through, ever. Never in my life have I tried so hard to just live in the moment. Hang in there, sister!

Barbara

Hey Amy,

I've only posted twice in all the years I've been reading. You and your writing just get better with time. You are wise and insightful beyond your years (I'm about 10 years older than you with similar life circumstances if that is even possible). I wish you all the best with your family and baby son #2. I do want to put in my two cents about that Coolmom website; it truly is one of the worst I've ever come across. Very arrogant, self-serving and trite -- not up to your standards in my opinion. I hope she is paying you for the space.(and no, I dont know her at all -- I clicked on it b/c I value the links on your website)

nonsoccermom

How excellent that Noah will have a teacher who is familiar with his needs. That will be so great for him, and I bet going 5 days a week will work wonders. (With the bonus perk of you having more one-on-one time with Tivo.)

Good luck to all, and hope you feel better. Postnasal drip + pregnancy = SUCK.

Jean

Amy,

My son started preschool at 3. He didn't have speech issues, but had social issues. He wasn't around other kids a lot (having stayed at home until that point) and didn't understand how to interact. By the end of last year, he had totally gotten it together and you should see him now. Preschool helps them to learn how to interact with other kids. By being around other kids/teachers, his speech will probably improve to. Don't dispair, it will get better. I think you were super smart to increase it to 5 days a week :)

Tracy

You are doing the right thing! Preschool will be just what he needs.

My three year old is obsessed with talking like a Pirate right now too. I am pretty sure he learned it form the Backyardigan's. "It’s like preschool on TV!" Ugh. Like I don’t already feel bad enough for letting him watch TV all day while I was on maternity leave. I now find myself singing "Days are the sunniest, jokes are the funniest, rabbits are the..." at work. Is anybody with me here?

Owen also roars at everything, including his three month old brother while he is trying to sleep in the swing – just a warning.

Anyway….YAY for Noah being the first one to use the potty!! Lots of three year olds will not even try to use the potty yet.

mtngray

Once Noah's 3, you can request a speech evaluation through the school district, if you're still concerned.
My son was in a great speech class offered through my school district. He went 2 afternoons a week at a local elementary school with a great teacher who had a masters in child development and was working on her Ph.D. And he also got speech therapy during that time. In fact, the speech therapist spent an hour in his class each time. I really saw a difference in him after that year.

Michelle

Don't worry... most children have some sort of verbal "disability" that typically goes away by the time they're six. You've got plenty of time.

sheilah

You are a cool mom. My almost-6-year old does not tell me what he did at school either, nor does he remember what he had for lunch or who he played with on the playground.

Don't know if it's normal or not. This may be worth another post on my blog...but I don't get feedback so it would just be me talking to myself. Business as normal, I guess.

Melanie

Good thing you were not in our room for back to school night. The parents were asking the poor teacher if she would be teaching phonics blends to the class this year. I had always assumed we were on par with the other kids until they were claiming their kids can spell and recognize all 26 letters and are beginning their novels....uuuggghhhhh!

Karen

We were diagnoses with PDD-NOS yesterday and my eyelids are so swollen from my non-stop crying. Any advice while we wait for our formal report to be typed up? We've signed up for the UNC University system program of playgroups and supposedly get speech therapy at my son's school. This is a a scary new world for me. (by the way a friend is a loyal reader and passed your site on to me)
Thanks and I wish Noah a wonderful school year with his incredible teacher. I'm pursuing my teaching certificate after 11 years in journalism. I hope I can help some other PDD children along the way one day.

Karen Ladley

I forgot to include that my son, Andrew, is 27 months.

Cursingmama

I haven't been pregnant for 13 years and 2 days - and I still use it as a reason I am more worthy of attention showering than the never been pregnant folks in my house.
I was pregnant and NOW I have a headcold - Woe is ME!

Missie

Dinosaur-rawring, Pirate-awwring aside, Noah is still the Second Cutest Boy Evah, my Zach being Number One. ;)

Andrea C

I agree with everyone else, you have to get him a priviate eval. They are missing something. he's so sweet and wonderful, but reading your blog is reading a recap of my life with my brother. We kept thinking was a sweet quirky kid. Even when he wouldn't let just touch him, we thought that's just Austin, well austin is also high functioning autistic, that doesnt' change a single thing about how wonderful he is. But i look back and wish so much we had him start OT when he was 3 rather than 5. I think those two years could have made a real differance. I'm going to e-mail your privately a referal to one of the top experts in Mont. county for testing and diagonising kids like Noah. She has to be resonably priced becuase my family couldn't have afforded her otherwise.

Oh and you can be as many months pregant as you want to be! you have a Kid in your belly. WHOA

Suzanne

I'll try not to be too long winded.

1. Go, Noah! Show them all that you're a big kid.
2. OMFG, a teacher who *gets* PDD NOS?
3. Kudos to you and Jason for changing his enrollment to five days.
4. Hate to say this, but the county knows very little about Noah, and you still have to be the tireless advocate for him.

How I wish my older son's pre K teacher (who knew something was terribly wrong, mind you-she told us as much two years later) had done something, anything, rather than push him off on an indifferent principal each time he had a meltdown.

You're in the right place, doing the right things and I have to say this because it needs to be pointed out: You are not compromising Noah's needs because its. just. too. difficult.

There are people out there who choose convenience over what's best for their special needs child. You obviously recognize his need and are willing to juggle newborn TIVO and driving Noah to school. The rewards will be worth it-but you won't see them for a long time.

Hang in there, you're doing the right things!

lolismum

I agree with everyone who says you need to get him a private evaluation. The county services are underfunded and stretched and once the kids pass the basic standardized tests, they graduate them from the system. My daughter's preschool class had 3 kids with varying degrees of autism, all three were verbal, with varying degrees of social language. They had all been given their graduation papers by the county. One kid made improvements, another actually regressed and a third showed very little improvement. Finally the parents got them private evaluation and therapy and the changes after that were remarkable. You would be doing a disservice to Noah if you listen to the commenters who constantly chant, "Oh, he'll catch up, oh he'll talk soon, you are doing everything you can." With all due respect, that's just B.S. A lot of children simply do not catch up on their own, why even take the chance?

And, correct me if I am wrong (since I only get to see a sliver of your daily life through your blog), it seems to me that Noah still watches a lot of TV. It does not matter if it's cute Dora or smart Blues Clues, TV is detrimental to his language development. Sorry for the assvice.

Tricia

I have to respectfully disagree with Michelle who said that most kids have some sort of disability that just does away by age 6. While it's true that kids do develop at different rates -- and,certainly, some are slower to develop verbal skills than others, I think that there's a lot of danger in such a caviler attitude about it. First -- most kids do NOT have a verbal disability. Second -- when it comes to your child's development (and the possibility of ANY sort of delay or disorder!), waiting to see if they outgrow it by age 6 is not a risk I'd be willing to take with my child.

Robyn

A good teacher can make all the difference in the world.

I hope your cold goes away soon!

Stacy

Sorry to hear about your head cold!!!

Give yourself a giant pat on the back..you're are doing an amazing job at raising a wonderful young man :)

Wendy

I am a Licensed Professional Counselor, and, in my graduate training, worked extensively with PDD kids. While I don't want to alarm you, at the same time, I feel I would be doing you a diservice to just read this, and not echo to please, have a private psychological evaluation done. While Noah may indeed just have a "quirky" side, he also has enough traits/symptoms of Asperger's to make my alarms go off. And, the thing with every single child with Asperger's I've worked with is that they're just so darn likable! If you have the eval and he's fine, great. You've spent a couple hundred dollars for some further peace of mind. However, if he does have something on the PDD spectrum, early intervention yields the best prognosis.

And, for what it's worth, I've heard that Bill Gates has Asperger's! I'm not sure if that's real or fiction, but there are plenty of very high-functioning (usually very rich and successful!) people out there with mild forms of Asperger's.

I am local (Northern VA), and, if you ever want to email me with questions, etc., I would be happy to talk to you further about various resources, etc.

Bonnie

OK, I know you're way-pregnant and have so much going on with your life AND worrying about Noah and there is nothing worse than having someone tell you "hey, you should do this...". But my son had Early childhood intervention and was slow to develop speech and be able to converse. And what helped him was cranial-sacral therapy. You can research it to find out more, but for Jack it has helped immensely with speech development when he was younger and when he started stuttering a few months back,I brought him back in and did some sessions and now that has gone away. You can look up a local certified therapist on the website for the Upledger Institute.

Oh good lord, and now I read some of the other comments and realize you are being bombarded with "Hey, you should..." comments. And I just added to them. Sorry.
Feel free to email me about it if you want.

Candy

So the pirate thing? Spongebob, maybe??

jen

school SLP here...
i have also worked in a pediatric rehab setting...
get an outside evaluation (depending upon your insurance...)

feel free to email me with any questions.

Kim

Wow, I just sat in a meeting with my son's speech therapist, his rep with the county early start program, and a member of his future school district. I too was told that since you could understand simple words that it didn't matter (in terms of coverage) that he can't be understood when stringing words together. The reason I started reading your blog was when I found out you had a son with similar difficulties as my own son. And now here we are facing the exact same challenges again. I thank you so much for writing about these things. Even though I am like the 500th comment and you might not even read this far down, I wanted to tell me how much your sharing your stories about Noah means to me personally. And thank you from the bottom of my heart. Keep us posted on his progress.

Erin

Amy - For what it is worth, Aidan is 3.5 and we still have no idea what he eats for lunch each day. When he was two, he grasped that he could answer "sing songs" as an answer to what he did in school that day, and told me that every day. It wasn't until around 2.5+ that he started to differentiate his activities, friends, etc. I am not trying to undermine the diagnosis you have received or your expertise in terms of your own kid (which always trumps everything, in my opinion) but I don't want you to have unrealistic expectations of what happens with other kids at this age. When school is new, it felt like we heard about "SCHOOL" for a while until he could segment the experiences into little pockets. And I assure you, Aidan rarely doesn't talk, so verbal skills are fine for him - it really seemed to be a combo of the age and the new experiences coming at him when he started in the "Twos."

And my kid wasn't potty trained until he was 3 1/4, so Noah totally rocks in that area; I bet all the parents appreciate his peer pressure!

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