I have had mixed feelings since Logan was dismissed from Early On services yesterday. In fact, I couldn't even finish writing this yesterday because it was too fresh, and I needed time to process everything that has happened recently. On December 15, his speech pathologist, Ms. Pam evaluated him. I was absolutely floored by the results which showed that he had the receptive language of a 3 year, 9 month old child and the expressive language of a 2 year, 5 month child. He was 2 years, 3 and 1/2 months at the time. I know this is a fantastic thing, that in the course of one year, he went from having NO language to being ahead for his age! But still I felt sad. I should have seen the dismissal coming, and it somehow caught me off guard. Ms. Pam was amazed by his progress, but she said we would continue to work his articulation and his low muscle tone, so I thought that he would continue with Early On.
However, his teacher, Ms. Michelle came yesterday and gave him an overall evaluation to see if he had any delays since his speech was no longer a qualifying area. She was so impressed by his skills, she decided to give him the 30-36 month portion of the evaluation even though it's slightly ahead of his chronological age. He aced it. He followed directions to build a three cube structure and was able to lace beads (and continue to pull the cord all the way through, which she said usually stumps the kids she evaluates.) The longer I sat and watched him, the sillier I felt for being concerned that he would no longer get services. He doesn't need them anymore.
I went to bed feeling kind of guilty for wanting him to still have the help, considering that I always knew it was short term and that eventually he would catch up in speech. I had just assumed he was going to age out of the program when he turned 3. We are so blessed that he has made incredible gains which led to the early dismissal. Meanwhile, there are lots of other parents whose kids are going through Early On, and while they will make some progress, many of them are living with disabilities that can't be outgrown.
This morning, I began to wonder if my sadness was caused by a sense of loss for myself. I would no longer have people coming to the house who help me be a better parent, and I would no longer get to take Logan to weekly playgroups where we all get to interact with others. I realized that I feel lonely being a stay-at-home mom, and this was a good outlet for me, not just for Logan. As the day has progressed, I've tried to really focus on the positives, the amazing progress that Logan has made.
When I contacted Early On just over a year ago I did so because I was a concerned parent. I was thrilled when he qualified for services and I made sure he participated in as many Early On activities as we were able to over the past year. I knew I was fortunate to be a stay-at-home mom because it gave me the flexibility to make our schedule to fit our needs. This was my gift to my son, and as it turns out, it was also my gift to myself. This experience has made me a better mommy. Now, I am able to recognize his awesome achievement, and that I played a part in it. Now I realize that I can't waste time mourning over a perceived loss. It's not about me; it's about Logan. And there is no real loss, only his great gains in speech development. Thank you, Lord, for providing me with some fresh perspective, and the desire to celebrate his success.
Michelle reminded me that his goal was to begin to use language to express his wants and needs. Obviously, he achieved that and more. He makes his wants and needs very clear, ("You help me.") and he even does so with humor and personality. His favorite catch phrases of the moment are "more again," "no like it," and "oh man!" the last of which cracks everyone up. She wanted him to have the "p," "b," and "m" sounds, and he knows those for sure. Not only does he recognize that adding "s" to a word means there is more than one, and he knows how to add "ing" to verbs, but he is having conversations with us all of a sudden. He's engaged in the world and interacts more with people instead of just watching. In the beginning he would just get frustrated when we didn't know what he wanted but he didn't seem to want to tell us. Michelle said, "Remember how hard we had to work to get him to say 'cup'?" It was great having him at playgroup to serve as a model to others, Michelle told me, but she questioned what he was getting out of it. He was playing in an interactive way she noticed, not in parallel play, which is typical at his age. She added that he takes pride in his accomplishments, takes turns, and is cooperative. I am so proud of my little man.
Logan can say his own name now, and fairly clearly. He has "Mia" down perfectly, and I remember when he first started trying to say her name, he pronounced it "Mya." He even says "Daddy" correctly, which had been Brett's ongoing frustration (in a joking way) of first being called nothing at all, and then "Mama" and then "Gaggy1 to 10. Then words were garbled so I wouldn't have recognized them out of context, but he definitely can count. This afternoon when we were getting ready to go outside to play in the fresh snow Logan told me "Boots on first." I suggested, "No. You have to get dressed first. That's not going to work very well." He insisted, "Yes. Work good." Of course, he eventually agreed that snow pants had to go on before boots, but the fact that we had this exchange was monumental to me. When he was ready to come inside he said his reason was "snow on us." And before his nap he informed me, "Hitting not nice... Bad Mia!" He was ratting her out for an earlier infraction, which means we had all better be on our toes since we now have a little chatterbox in the family. It's really amazing what a difference a year makes.