A couple of weeks ago, at the recommendation of Nate’s doctor, we took Nate in for occupational therapy and speech evaluations. We got the full written evaluation in the mail over the weekend. I wasn’t particularly surprised by any of the results, and I was pleased with how thorough and observant the evaluators were. He has a greater than 50% delay in speech/language development (both receptive and expressive), a 47% delay in cognition, and a 47% delay in social/emotional development (the name of this one surprised me, as Nate is happy and doesn’t seem to have emotional “problems,” but reading the description explained it, since it relates to his not paying attention when his name is called, not shaking his head no, not imitating facial expressions, and not bringing a toy to share with a caregiver). They evaluated other areas, but these are the ones with the greatest delays.
They recommended an hour of occupational therapy per week, an hour of speech therapy per week, and three hours of ABA per week. I had to look up what ABA was, and I found some links like this. Although it talks about autism, Nate has not been diagnosed with it (I’m not ignorant or blind, though, and I realize there’s a chance this diagnosis could still happen). The “social emotional/ABA play-based goals” the evaluators listed for Nate are that he will “imitate clapping at appropriate times … imitate facial expressions … stop playing and turn to look when his name is called … bring a toy to therapist/adult/parents to share … [and] follow one-step commands in play such as put in, put on, put away, etc.”
I feel a little overwhelmed with the amount of therapy they are recommending… five hours per week? We were only doing one hour before with the physical therapy. I’m interested to see how they want to break that up (five days per week? Two or three days per week with several hours at once?). Though the number of hours is a little overwhelming, I’m still not overwhelmed by the outlook for Nate. Nothing we read in the evaluation changes who our son is. Nothing changes how we love him. He is still a happy, sweet, funny, good-natured boy who has a family that loves him. We would do anything for him, so if it is good for him to have some therapy several hours a week, then so be it.