Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Finnian and Kevin

This morning, Finn's PT came over and did his developmental evaluation. Overall, she assessed him to be at about a 6-month-old level. In some areas he's evaluating at a lower level (like fine motor skills), and in some areas he's assessing at a higher level (like cognitive). I was actually surprised that she even assessed him on things like fine motor skills since it's never been a part of his therapy yet, and I haven't made a point of working with him on fine motor since I thought we were concentrating on gross motor right now. He can hold a toy for quite a long period of time, he grabs for objects and bangs on his little xylophone, so those are all good. But he doesn't "rake" with his hands/fingers, and he doesn't really pass things from hand to hand. She was surprised when she asked me about whether he picks up Cheerios and I told her that I still haven't started feeding him any solids. Yes, he's 7 months old and I haven't started solids yet. Maybe that's a whole other post, but in a nutshell, I just haven't been in a hurry because he hasn't shown me the signs of readiness that are supposed to be present - i.e., sitting up unassisted (which he can do for short periods but generally doesn't like to do and therefore resists doing), and showing an actual interest in solids (which he has not). I don't know . . . I introduced Kevin, my oldest, to rice cereal at about 5 months and it didn't go well. The others I've held off until they actually seemed ready rather than going with this standard, one-size-fits-all rule that babies should be eating some solids by 6 months of age. So I haven't started solids with Finn yet, and he's growing just fine on breast milk alone. However, now I'm being told that he actually needs to be introduced to solids to help with fine motor skill development. So. Hmmm.

She pointed out that the surgery he had as a newborn could very well still be having an impact on him, as he had an incision about 3-4 inches long cut into his abdomen, through skin, fat, and muscle, and it's likely that those muscles are still impacted by it. So that could have something to do with why he resists sitting up unassisted. His surgery to bring his testes down is scheduled for April 6, and that is likely to set him back a bit as well. We shall see.

Anyway, so really he's evaluating very well, and yes, I'm pleased. Am I not supposed to be? I don't know. Of course I want him to be as high-functioning as possible. Is it wrong to feel that way? I don't know. If he weren't high functioning, I would obviously have to accept that and I can't fathom it factoring in to my love for him, but yes, I want him to be high-functioning. I want him to be able to do as many things as he can, to experience as much as he can, to be as independent as possible one day.

So Friday morning I have a meeting with out service coordinator to go over the evaluation and talk about new goals for Finn.

~~~

Kevin was chosen as an Author of the Month at school, and today all the kids who were chosen as such read their writing submissions aloud in front of an audience of parents. The topic of Kevin's piece was "The Greatest Person in My World." He wrote about Finn. He wrote that Finn is the greatest person in his world for opening his eyes to the differences among people, for giving him the opportunity to learn about Down syndrome and become more aware of disabilities. He wrote about how the word "retard" is hurtful and offensive. He wrote how great it is to have so many siblings. I wish I had the piece so I could type it up here to share, but I do not yet have a copy. When I do, I will post it here. It was very moving, and I was in tears as he read it. I looked over and the woman next to me was also wiping away tears, and after the presentation several parents approached Kevin and told him how moved they were by what he wrote. I'm so proud of him - not only for being an outstanding student and being given the honor of Author of the Month, but for speaking out and impacting other people about such an important and personal topic.

18 comments:

Carla said...

I'm sorry you're having to consider solids from yet a whole new angle, Lisa. It's bad enough that we are made to think that "one size fits all" on this topic, but now it should be considered for Finn's fine motor skills, too? This mommy stuff is never easy is it? Please tell Kevin well done from me. You and Michael are good parents, Lisa.

Megan said...

OH KEVIN!! You rock the house, big brother. :o)

Finny, baby - Stella said "woot, woot" and "keep up the good work".

Good luck with his surgery next month. You are NOT ALONE with the high functioning wish ~ I'm right there with you. Everytime someone (PT, OT, doc, teacher) talk about how "high functioning" or "mild" Stella is, it makes me glad. I don't know. Why would I want my kid's life to be harder than it needs to be? Yes, we'll take whatever comes along, but like with anything, you can wish for the best. Stella + Finn living independently in a little love shack ~ it WILL happen, dammit!

Oh, and I do agree that the food is important at this point. I am 100% with you on delaying solids, waiting for a kid to show readiness, etc. We didn't start solids with A until 7 mos - and she was crawling at that point. She ate mush for a milisecond and was quickly on to picking up her own food. Stella, on the other hand, has been on mush for close to 4 mos. She just can't get down the picking up thing. We've also had those GI issues (for the past monthish) and I've reverted to all BM, so that's not helping! LOL! So, eating is a great way to work on those OT skills. Plus, it's necessary to get the oral/motor stuff going on which will be helpful with speech later on.

Following Him said...

CONGRATS Kevin! Even though I don't know you, you totally ROCK!
~Elyse~

My name is Sarah said...

The BEST BIG BROTHER AWARD today goes to Kevin!!!!

Liz said...

I'm in tears just hearing about it!!

Jeanette said...

Lisa you have to just be gushing with pride of your kids! Kevin is an amazing kid and Finn is doing great. Follow your mother's intuition on the solid foods. You've been down this road a few times with your kids and you know Finn better than anyone. You will know when to push and when to hold off.

Lovin Mama said...

You rock Lisa and so does Kevin! I'm sitting here with tears in my eyes. You are an awesome mom. Keep trusting your instincts with Finn. We delayed solids and never did cereal or jarred foods. I'd say it worked out well, Goldie ate steak for dinner tonight. ;) The DS clinic and EI gave me some crap, but I had the research to back me up. Let me know if you need me to send any of it your way.

Michelle said...

What an awesome big brother!! He rocks. Sounds like Finn is doing a great job in his development.

Ruby's Mom said...

Sounds like Kevin is a great writer like his Mom!
I haven't been in a great hurry to introduce baby food either.I let Ruby have a little applesauce yesterday but she really only seemed interested in playing in it.
I think I like Lovin Momma's approach.

JaybirdNWA said...

I echo the earlier posts that you need to follow your instincts. There is no use in feeding him solids if he is not interested. The only reason that we introduced John to solids is because he couldn't keep his eyes off of our food. Before we started feeding him, he would follow my food from my plate to my mouth as he sat next to me at supper. He'll let you know when he is ready.

Mrs. Mother said...

What a sweet older son you have. That's wonderful that he wrote about that. I actually signed a petition to ban the word "retard." The lady who started it is a writer whose brother has Down Syndrome. If you haven't seen it, I thought your family might want to sign it.

http://new.petitiononline.com/words/petition.html

starrlife said...

What a wonderful big brother and son! ALL mom's wish the best for all of their children. I know what you mean though- it is so hard not to compare... As for the solids and therapy- I am a firm believer in readiness as the gauge. I suppose with you could look for the edge more closely but it's not essential- he will learn to pick up Cheerios and there are other ways to improve fine motor skills. There's a blog by a PT called Therextras (http://www.therextras.com/therextras/) and she has ideas about lots of things. I'm sure the PT can give you more suggestions.

Jen said...

Damn, Lisa, I'M crying and I wasn't even there. You have raised a spectacular kid.

And, we all want our kids to be high-functioning. Of course we do! Anyone who says they don't is full of it.

Jodi said...

Okay, Kevin makes me cry. If his article is half as good as I think it is, we should see about getting it published. This is exactly the kind of article that should appear in parenting magazines.

Hector and Jennifer Varanini Sanchez said...

Kevin is a ROCKSTAR!!!! Wow!

Chrystal said...

I read this yesterday on my Blackberry and couldn't comment, but I'm back to say "Yayyyyy, Kevin!"

Great kid.

Sharon said...

You have certainly raised a kind and compassionate son. You must be so proud of him! I've never met him, but am truly inspired by him - what a remarkable young man.

glathreea said...

Oh wow Lisa!! Kevin is just an inspiring boy.
Having a teen myself,I know how hard it can be for them to have the courage to stand up for things even when it's important to them. He is a hero in my book.
As far as Finn goes....
#1 I think it's normal to want your son to be high functioning. Why wouldn't you want things to be as easy for him as possible? I remember those 6mos eval with both of my older boys. While it was a different situation,it was always bitter sweet for me.
I didn't start Cullen on cereal until he was well over 7mos and honestly he wasn't eating solids on an everyday basis until he was closer to 9mos.
Maybe just try some of those meltaway type puffs for Finn to work on is fine motor skills? That way you aren't being rushed into a regular solids diet. Just a thought

Alyson