We didn’t know early on that E was different. He hit all of his early milestones, including crawling at 9 months, which was 3 months earlier than his older brother. But, he didn’t walk until 18 months. That was our first indicator that something may be wrong. Next was his language skills, but W was a late talker, so we decided to wait that one out.
As the months passed, we began to notice things that, on their own, wouldn’t cause much concern, but coupled together they meant something more. At around 3 years, all of these things gave us pause that pushed us to get E help.
- He had a very odd gait while running
- He chewed on everything
- His lack of language skills
- He always plugged his ears when scared, regardless of noise
- Lack of eye-contact
- Lack of awareness and fear, as in he didn’t recognize certain dangers like a busy road
- Lack of social skills
When we looked at all of these things together, and after many Google searches, we knew there was something bigger going on, all the while most everyone else said “He’ll grow out of it. He’s had big life changes with a new baby and moving out of state, and that’s just thrown him off track.”
Because we were new to the area, our first and quickest option was getting an IEP and special services through the local school system and Early Intervention. Even at 3, and as home-schoolers, we were entitled to these services, as long as he met their qualifications. We went through all of their evaluations: cognitive testing, fine motor skills, sensory processing, autism, and articulation. Afterwards, he came back as significantly delayed across the board, but with a non-diagnosis, which meant he could not receive the help he needed. The director of special services told me that E met the criteria to receive service, but did not meet the qualifications. His scores were low, but not low enough. He did not qualify for speech because only his articulation was tested, not his language, even though everyone speaking to him knew he had a significant language delay. He did qualify for Occupational Therapy due to his lack of dexterity and his sensory processing issues, but in Alabama, OT is not given alone.
So, again, we got the “Oh, he’ll probably grow out of it,” response. We waited and watched as precious time slipped by.
Was there ever anything your child did that caused you to be concerned about their development? What steps did you take to intervene?
Continue on to part 2