Last week we had our annual with Early Childhood Intervention Services. It has been such a joy working with these individuals the past year! We went through a few changes; with ECI switching companies, going from one OT to a new one and back to the original, and working with three different special skills therapists. Each person has played an important role and I am so pleased with Zilla's treatment team right now! I can tell how much they all care about him and his success and it warms my heart to know that I can be very raw and honest with them when I have questions or concerns.
I remember starting out this process so scared and worried how we would progress. Our first special skills therapist did an amazing job calming my fears and listening to me as I sat at Zilla's daycare and cried. And our OT, I just love her. She might be one of the most optimistic people I know and she works great with Zilla. And he loves her too. When she came over to our house (we usually meet at daycare) he was so excited and kept running over to her to give her big hugs. And our newest special skills therapist has made me see how truly amazing our son is. She honed in very quickly to Zilla's talents and did such an amazing job challenging him and helping him to build on his strengths. It has been such an amazing journey and I can't help but think what a blessing it has turned out to be. I get to spend extra time with Zilla, that I wouldn't have spent with him otherwise; we've gotten to help him develop skills that he may have struggled with otherwise; I've gotten parenting tips and advice from the experts; I've learned new techniques and games that will help me be the best mom I can be.
More than anything I am so proud of my little Zilla. I just got his score report from a year ago. At the time he was 14 months old and with his left hand was testing as a 4 month old. And in communication he had a 5 month delay. But he has worked so hard, and I've been lucky enough to watch him in sessions where he truly tries his best and adapts and learns new skills. I am so proud of his resilience and I am so proud of all of the little personality traits that while frustrating at times, I believe have helped him tremendously through all of this. I remember one time expressing to our first special skills therapist in frustration how stubborn he is. She just looked at me and smiled and said she notices this in a lot of the kids she works with and believes it's truly a gift. Because sometimes when life hands us some extra limitations, it's that stubbornness that will get you through. So Zilla, today I am so grateful for your stubborn self, because you have come so far!
Okay, mom brag time. The whole time they were doing his assessment, they just kept commenting how exciting it was to get to do the different tests because they had never been this far with a kid as young as Zilla. So of course I'm all beaming and stuff and trying not to interfere because I know it's all standardized, but I just want to jump down there and cheer him on. Instead, I just let him do his thing and kept watching in amazement. If he would miss something the therapists would quickly reassure me that it was a "high level", 4 year old skill and not to worry. So I didn't. Maybe next year I shouldn't be in the room while all of this is going on. But really, I enjoyed watching the testing process. By about 45 minutes in (the typical length of his therapy sessions) Zilla was mostly over it. But he hadn't gotten enough wrong answers for them to stop, so we went for another 30 minutes. In the end, here's how he did:
His lower scores were, not surprisingly, in fine motor...but I am no less proud! Zilla has jumped 7 months in his fine motor skills! I've known there has been progress, but it's nice to see it on paper too. And before they adjusted for his left hand, his right hand fine motor scored at the equivalent of a 40 month old. He also scored a little low in his peer to peer interactions, which didn't surprise me too much because he doesn't always get along with other kids great. But it wasn't anything drastic or too concerning.
On the other hand, he scored in the 91st percentile compared to other kids his age in: personal responsibility, adult social interactions, receptive communication, expressive communication, attention and memory, and reasoning and academic skills. In these areas, he tested equivalent to a 31-35 month old.
In the end, we decided, per recommendation from our treatment team, that we would no longer receive the special skills therapy service, but that I could send her emails if questions came up. We will continue with weekly OT.
So yeah, I was just a little bit beaming with those scores. Not because they are so great, but because it reaffirms to me that I should trust in God's plan. I was so scared when all of this started but, it truly is in His hands, and this is more than enough. The day after we found out about his diagnosis, a dear friend of my family text me and asked me to find a song that gave me strength to hold onto for the day. And here's the song I sent to her that was on my heart then, and continues to remind me of the incredible journey we have been on the past year.