Tuesday, November 29, 2005

My Two Sons

Actually, I have three sons (and a daughter)...but this post is about two of those sons.

I'll start with the youngest. He's three. He's also cursed with quite severe food allergies. Milk, egg, nuts, and peanuts. (And, just to interject a brief complementary educational moment, peanuts are not considered nuts, which is why they are always listed separated. "Nuts" grow on trees. Peanuts are from the legume family. Remember that for the next time you're on Jeopardy.) Two months ago, he also had a significant asthmatic "event" that put him into the hospital for a few days. Since then, they changed his meds, which we soon insisted he take off of because the medicine was, in fact, demon-possession in a easy-to-administer breathing treatment. So, we tried a different medication. That actually worked really well for his skin. It cleared up his eczema nicely, but it wasn't enough, apparently. Almost two weeks ago, now, he contracted a viral infection in his lungs, triggering the asthma yet again, and sending him into the hospital again!

(You can see, now, why I am thankful for health insurance, as I mentioned in my last post.)

He's healthy for the moment, again, and he is now on two different medications. One to keep the asthma at bay, and the other which is helping his eczema. We also had him tested for some environmental allergies. It turns out, he's allergic to...well, just about everything. Trees, grass, mold, dust mites, cats, and dogs. There's probably more, but that's all they tested for this round.

Now then...onto my other son, who is six. As I mentioned several weeks ago, he was undergoing some testing to determine if he had Central Auditory Processing Disorder due to some learning and listening problems he's had for several years. Well, believe it or not, our diagnosis was wrong. Instead, he has a mixture of things. Cross-dominance (which means he is right-handed, but left-eared and left-eyed, which can contribute to learning issues), as well as an Auditory Descrimination Disorder, extraordinarily low-functioning short-term memory (though, his long-term memory is fabulous), and articulation issues. There are a few other areas, but those summarize it quite nicely.

Last night, my wife and I met with the speech pathologist to discuss our game plan. We are so relieved about all this. It is has been several years that we've been having him tested in various forms to find out what was wrong. We brought him into the school system for testing last year, and though they noticed some delays, there wasn'tt anything they would treat. We would go over exactly the types of problems we have seen, but would be summarily brushed off. Yet, my son is six-and-a-half, and has yet to be able to read anything. Only a few months ago could he finally recognize his alphabet letters. We weren't to be brushed off any longer!

And so now, we have a diagnosis. We have a game plan. We have hope.

Let me pause a moment here to say, however, that going over my son's test results was a bit scary...because many of the areas he was tagged as having seem to be areas I have always struggled with, myself. The short term memory problem, for one. Like, if my wife tells me to go get something and then tells me where it is, unless I consciously stop whatever I'm doing and focus on her every word, I will typically only remember the item to get, and the last thing she said. All the detail in between is lost to me.

"Honey, go grab her pink outfit. I laid it on the shelves next to the white dresser."

So, I go to find something pink in the dresser. This is nothing new for me, so I can't blame it on age. It makes me think that my son inherited this from me.

From all of this, I can tell you that I'm thankful for Speech Pathologists, and the fact that they can decipher all the symptoms my son has and come up with a way to treat him.

Anyhow, there you have it...news about my two sons.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi..daughter #2, third child had the same learning issues. Remembering the last thing you would tell her but not the first two. She also had a wonderful vocabulary but reading was a task since she could not remember what she read from previous pages. Comprehension was poor. Sad. As a parent you know your child and you can sense when "something is just not right". You can't put your finger on it..but you know. We had my daughter tested beginning in the 1st grade. Not until the 5th grade when we had the school test her AGAIN and have them tell us that she was performing up to her potential(1st grade level) and therefore not eligible for an IEP that we had her tested independently. The hosptial that tested her did not agree with the schools assessment. When we went back to the team at the school they read the independent test document and did a proverbial "flip flop" of their original assessement. they said that on one test alone...the results confirmed that she was eligible for services through the school. Her teacher and I were speechless. However, since she was going to get the help she needed, we didn't "rock the boat". When the child is not a discipline problem..sometimes they just let them slide. She received an educational plan throughout her grade school years as well as high school.Once she became eligible for the services, they were wonderful. She graduated! HURRAY. But had we not pushed and pushed..who knows. It simply destroys the childs self-esteem. I learned to always follow your instincts because you know your child best. You did that and your son will benefit enormously!