Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Parenting, early intervention for my little star

Last night we went to our first class on "Conscious Discipline".  It the form they use at my son's preschool, other head start classrooms, and several other day care's in the area.  Did I mention I like it?  But I don't really know how to do it, so that's why we attended the class.  Its a six week thing, so the first class is mostly introductions, and introducing their "brain" model.  The scientist in the family thought the model was not accurate, but that using Maslow's hierarchy of needs was perfectly reasonable.  

I was pleased to find one of her examples was exactly what I had done in that situation... but not exactly because I knew what I was doing.  And that's the point with this idea, you are conscious of what your are doing.  I began reading the book, and find the point really is to discipline yourself, and gain your own self control.  I think it will help- I really do get quite emotional at times in unhelpful ways.   Also, it does not contradict anything I already think- it just points out and explains what problems are and how we can respond to them better.  So, knowing what little I do, yes, I recommend this stuff because I really like what I see in the preschool.

Today, a mental health person for head start observed my child.  I believe she spent some effort on it, because unlike the last person (who admittedly had been observing the class, not my child specifically), she agreed that my son's speech is just fine.  She pointed out some nice things about my child that were my little star's strengths, and clearly she "got" him.  She mentioned his sweet spirit (or something like that- funny how she used the word spirit- I don't hear it very much), meaning really that he's not aggressive, like a lot of kids she had to work with.  I can see how my son would be nice to work with.

She did seem to think he needed some help on "connecting" to people, a description that really does describe what he seems to need help with, so I was pleased that she seemed to get what the issue might be.  She spoke of some interventions they can do with parallel play, and some things we might do at home- I imagine we'll find out details at a meeting next week.  Anyway, these seem to be the interventions I thought might be helpful, but I didn't know what they were (professionals are useful!).

She also did suggest we get him evaluated to see what, if any, spectrum he might be on.  I didn't really know there were other spectrums other than autistic, but I suppose there could be... or she was just using a euphemism.  But again, this is not shocking news, and I think early intervention, if there is a need, is a good way to go.  The professional implied that some parents were not nearly as interested in working on things early- probably they are afraid of labeling their children.  I can see that- especially labeling about IQ.

The professional was quick to let me know that my son did not seem to have any learning disabilities and she implied that he seemed to know and understand quite a lot- perhaps more than expected.  How could you not know a lot when you spent every second of your time exploring everything to its fullest? I think she wanted to reassure me that he would not be labeled in that way. I wasn't concerned about those particular labels, but I suppose labeling can be a concern.  But I think early intervention is more important- before there gets to be a bigger problem.

I have to thank a friend of mine for helping me think about this- before it was a concern.  She writes a blog about her family and life, but one of the aspects is that her son has Asbergers that was diagnosed in primary school.  The blog really made me think that even though my son is not a problem child right now- his meltdown, whiny, issues are like other three year olds, there might be problems when he gets older. If he's not neurotypical problems may crop up, and be worse we have not addressed them early enough... if they can be addressed.  So I supposed I'm just relieved to have a professional agree that yes, there might be an issue, and yes we should get it checked out.  And, yes, here are some things we will start doing.

I guess its too bad that when he was two and in the early intervention class (as a typically developing kid) nobody suggested intervention with him though we already wondered if there was some concern.  I think then we thought, well, he's  just a bit slow at social development, kids develop at different rates, and his father was late on some things.

Did I mention my little star has lately been answering  or even asking "how are you?" with  very deliberate eye contact and clear answer.  It's like he's been coached (it seems very deliberate), but we are not sure who taught him so we say, must be his grandparents.  We also assume they taught him what a whole note is.  Thank you.

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