29 July 2009

Peanutish Report

Greta's just heard this update so she can go to sleep. The rest of you need to pay so much attention to what I'm about to say that you cannot even go to the bathroom first. NO BLADDER RELIEF FOR YOU.

OK, so as I said in the comments of the last one, Peanut's hearing is just fine according to the hearing chick, or at least he's hearing well enough that nothing should be barring him from hearing well enough to speak. Fine. We kinda figured that since he responds to us and all. We also know from three different evalutations that he's not autistic--not even close. This kid is about as socially engaging as you can possibly get. And given that I keep him locked in our basement with no contact with the outside world, that's pretty incredible. Conclusion: I'm an awesome parent, even when I'm trying to be the opposite. See there CPS investigators? No need for intervention!

However, there is still a distinct problem. He was evaluated by a pediatric speech therapist yesterday as I threatened you all that he would be. First, the good news. He excels in several areas of development. One or two he's completely maxed out on progress-wise, as in no child can do any better than that. In the area of gesturing to get what he wants, he's on par with a 2 1/2 year old child. And in the area of playing (how well he interacts with other children, his level of play, etc.) he's up there with kids who are nearly three years old. But there's a downside and that is this: the reason he's so advanced in all these areas is because he has to compensate for his lack of communication in the verbal region. The worst news is he's on par, verbally, with a child who is about nine months old. As a kid who is actually 21 months old, that's considerably behind the curve. He makes different sounds, but his favorite is a strange buzzing sound (like "thzzzzzthzzzz") he makes when he points at things. The therapist told him he sounds like a little bumble bee, which made me laugh out loud because she hit it right on the head. The Husband laughed too, and now that's what we tell everyone. Cracks us up. Anyway. So we accepted that he definitely needs intervention and they said he qualifies for the infants and toddlers program in our county, blah blah blah. Fantastic.

And then I talked to his assigned allergy specialist today. We went over the foods he's passed and those he's failed and what he has permission to try for next and all that. As we were about to hang up I asked her why all the speech people keep asking me how he's eating/chewing and if there's a correlation between the two. She said absolutely there's a correlation and if he can't chew/swallow well, he's that much more likely to have a speech delay. Well what do you know about that? Apparently the same way your mouth moves to properly chew food is the same way your mouth moves to properly form words. And the fact that Peanut is in the 6-9 month age range for speaking should have come to no surprise since he is at that level for food progression as well. I hope your mind just exploded. Because mine sure did!

See, when he was 15 months old he went to see the Uber Allergist Specialist which he sees once a year. He's the Big Cheese of Pediatric Allergy there at Johns Hopkins. We love him with the intensity of a billion suns. He's the fellow that you're not allowed to speak to on the phone but you're allowed to speak to many of his underling doctors who are assigned to you at any given time who is your intercessory with Big Cheese--much like the purpose of Catholic patron saints. Anyway, at the time he said that about half of the kids in Peanut's boat suddently click with the chewing thing between 18 and 24 months and half of them don't. Of the half that don't, they require occupational therapy to teach them how to chew and swallow properly. Seems strange that kids would need that at all, but as we've learned very young children with food allergies are terrified of food on several levels and resist any progress with eating and exploring with new foods, textures, consistencies, flavors, and anything else you can invent food-wise. So they need to be taught by specialists how to overcome their paranoias and do it correctly so they can move on to normal foods and beyond formulas and jarred baby food, which is all that Peanut trusts at this point.

I was resisting this therapy idea for some time, thinking that if he could just get enough different solid "snack" types of foods to try that it would click for him and we wouldn't need the hassle. That's apparently not to be. So we will try to get him into a very good program here that teaches kids his age to eat and, surprise surprise, these same people also teach them to speak at the same time. Seriously, who would have ever thought of this?? I am absolutely amazed that his speaking was related to his issues with allergies all this time.

And YOU thought I was just a bad mother. Stick it, jerks!!

P.S. Happy Birthday BStephanie! You're old!


Heidi said...

That makes such sense, but it never would have occurred to me...I wonder if that contributed to Jared being behind? I didn't get him on solids til he was over a year old. (Though it can't mean anything now. The kid will eat just about anything I will.)

I hope all the therapy goes well! Poor kid needs to be able to tell everyone how awesome his mother is.

Janie said...

Ok so am I a bad reader - because I totally could have helped you to the conclusion -- I did some of this back in the old days when I worked helping kids instead of tormenting mine.

The OT's will do a lot of fun mouth stimulation stuff - sometimes even vibrating things are involved - don't get too freaked out.

Both Benjamin and Maiya have had Speech therapy - just please, please don't let them discharge too soon - because we are still having issues with Benjamin going into fourth grade!!

Shoebox Princess said...

Very interesting! The interaction of bodily functions (in this case eating and talking) is a wonderous thing, except when it doesn't work out so well. My best wishes to you and your son and I hope that therapy helps.

We only had minor speech issues with two kids and all were successfully ironed out. One fix was as minor as holding my son's tongue down as he said "cat" so he could learn how to say the sounds that originate at the back of the throat. He was so pleased to speak clearly (he was four at the time). Hooray for trained professionals!

Jody said...

Wow! I would have never put the two together. The only thing the evaluators asked me was if Lily overstuffed food in her mouth. I almost grabbed the pictures of her birthday--the cupcake eating ones. Apparently overstuffing could be a sign of lack of sensation in the mouth which could cause some development issues blah blah blah.... One day, we'll both sit back and laugh as our kids won't stop talking with each other. In the meantime, let's hear it for speech therapists that come to us!

it's just lisa said...

Thanks for the update. You saved me a phone call:) That all makes sense. Food allergy- food phobia- not chewing- not talking. Very well. That is so cool that you got to talk to the Big Cheese. I don't know him but his name is awesome. Really who would name their kid the Big Cheese? Perhaps you should consider it for your up and coming little girl.

and a happy b day to stephb from me too:)

Stephanie B said...

Hey, you're older than me now. HB to you, Miss Abby. That's amazing the correlation with eating and talking. I was truly floored.

Bonny said...

I have a good friend who has two children with developmental delays (one of whom is severely handicapped and has needed a lot of physical and occupational therapy), and she is always talking about how Anne Arundel County has some of the best support out there for children who need any kind of therapy. I'm so glad you're finding some answers, and that you have the resources you need readily available. :)

elesa said...

It is nice to find the cause. I never would have made the connection between the two, but I guess that is what they have specialists for.

Harrison is 31 months and as of today he says 4 words. So far it is just being termed a "language delay". We've been doing the county's developmental program since he was two, and I can't say that I can really tell that it is helping, but he really likes it and I like it, so I guess we'll just keep going. And trust that someday he is going to talk so much that I will want to shoot myself.

Abby said...

Ha! I think about that when PW will not shut her fricking mouth. I'm positive she's completely physically incapable of shutting up, and she was delaying in speaking too, to the point where they were about to assess her for autism as well. And as I said, Peanut's own doctor didn't say a word until he was three and he passed medical school and all. Can't be that bad. If he's saying four words, it means he's capable of more. He just doesn't feel like it. So I would put him in time-out until he starts reciting for you on command. That's the Abby Way.

Meredith said...

That's crazy! I would have never thought of that, but it totally makes sense! Insane, and helpful!

Benteti5 said...

I'm laughing because it is so me to call some Dr. the hearing chick. Who knew kids had to have classes to learn to eat? I have to tell me they're full. I don't know what's so great about talking, sometimes I wish mine would shut it.