Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Other skills

I realise we've been focusing an awful lot on Emily's speech development, but there are other areas that we are going to need to work on soon so she doesn't languish behind.

Potty training is at the top of our agenda. It's one of those things that just sounds like a pain, you don't want to do and you hope will just mysteriously sort itself out. We know it won't, we know it will be painful and probably messy but Emily will thank us for it in the long run.

This morning I was watching Emily eating breakfast and ... well, eating is ANOTHER area of concern. Anyway, Em had her elbows on the table as she was eating and it just made me realise that manners like this will be another area we need to get her to do.

We're trying with please and thank you, but no elbows, eating with cutlery (and not hands).

The list grows.

Em also tried to dress herself today. She took the wrong end of her pyjama trousers and tried to pull them onto her leg. A for effort, F for result. I tried to get her to do the same thing, the right way round, with her actual trousers but she was having none of it.

Teaching and training your child is a full time job. I realise that once over the hurdle of language delay we're not on easy street, but just the last day or so I've been realising how much there is to do, just in this phase of her life that's above and beyond her difficulties.

Being a parent's hard.

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Thursday, 10 February 2011

Double appointment day!

We're finally in full swing with appointments for Emily.

This morning we had our NHS appointment with the speech therapist and this afternoon was Portage. I wasn't able to attend both, so made it to the speech therapist, as we hadn't seen her since October.

It was more of a recap meeting that anything else. She was quite impressed with the progress Emily has made and felt that the various strategies put into place from the various other organisations was paying dividends.

We also asked about the paediatrician issue where we won't be seen for another six months. She let us know that a number of autism assessments aren't really optimal for children under 3 years old. Given the normal NHS back log, seeing us in May or June doesn't actually seem all that bad now. Just wish we were told this at the original meeting. Also, the doctor we WILL see is apparently quite good.

This all culminated in the should we / shouldn't we debate about going private. There's the concern, raised during the meeting as well, that we will put on a parallel course of therapy and it will be up to Sue and I to police it between the various organisations.

Although Em is still developmentally behind - she's only NOW saying words that a "normal" two year old should be saying - I'm quite happy that we are getting lots of help and strategies to help her and that (most importantly) she seems to be responding. I can only imagine if we were doing all this and there was NO improvement.
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Sunday, 6 February 2011

Grinders and the fine art of bruxism

Emily's been grinding her teeth on and off for the last few months, and when we've noticed we've tried to stop her. Emily's quite adamant at continuing and has even cried at some attempts to stop her.

This led me to do what every parent in this age would do - consult the internet. Sue and I fear that if she continues, she'll have nubs soon where she used to have teeth.

Of course, the Internet has proven this half-assed theory completely wrong. It's also given a name to Emily's new  habit "bruxism"! Apparently, the worst thing about Emily grinding her teeth is the noise we have to put up with.

The Internet, that bastion of truth, even said that Emily's not alone in her grinding and that kids generally start around 3 - 3.5 years of age. Finally, Emily's not developmentally delayed at something. Take that nature!

The quite search on the web has alleviated my fears that Emily's doing something that could be harmful, so I can go back to worrying about everything else. Yay.
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Friday, 4 February 2011

Fennie's development meeting

After the high of our visit with Portage yesterday, it felt that any more meetings regarding Emily could only be a let down.

It was nice to be proven wrong when we met with Fennie's and the Croydon Council worker who is going to help them initiate strategies to help Emily.

I came out of the meeting feeling that the tide seemed to turn and that people had Emily's best interests at heart - and not just going through the paces and offering bureaucratic rhetoric when it fit them.

The nugget of information that really solidified today is that Emily is really quite a fast and brilliant visual learner. Pictures, symbols, etc. really get her going. I'd like to think that Sue and I are doing a lot of this type of teaching, almost by accident, but it's stuck in my mind since the meeting and I'm going to try and keep my concepts and chatter with her as visually aided as possible.

Today, I feel positive. It's good. Oh God, Emily... what's that smell???

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Thursday, 3 February 2011

Portage second visit

We had our second visit from Portage today. This is an organisation that helps disabled and learning impaired children under the age of 3.

We had about 45 minutes of intensive learning-helping play with Emily where she had to choose, take turns and do other developmentally helpful activities.

Sue and I then listened to Sheila (from Portage) give us more information about services and help available to ensure that we do everything we can for Emily to get her over the current development issues she has.

There are schools we can sign up to (Dragonflies), government grants we can apply for to help with the cost of her private speech therapy and all sorts of other things.

As the icing on the cake, Sheila also left some of the toys she used with Emily so Sue and I can use them to coax her out of her shell.

We also have to enact "special time" which is where we let Emily play with a bunch of toys and mimic her while doing a football-style commentary ("Emily is hugging her bear.") I'm going to try and do this every night when we get home and see where this gets us.

I'm glad we're getting this help ... finally. Of all the people we've seen so far, the help and advice from Portage has been 100% invaluable. By far the best resource we've dealt with yet.

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