...and onto day two!
Our morning started with the speech language pathologist. (Who, by the way, was FANTASTIC). Ayden was already in a mood when we got there. I think the past two days were wearing on him after being in the car for 7 hours, sleeping in a new place, and the previous day's evaluations. He did get a good night sleep, but we could tell early on he wasn't doing well.
The SLP spoke with us about his history, his current IEP, and basically where Ayden was at overall. We then had him go through the standard SLP test - he's done it before so he kind of knew how it worked. He is asked a question, the points to the corresponding picture. As expected, his receptive language tested right at or around his current age, with his expressive being of course much lower.
The most interesting thing to me was that he actually has a medical condition that makes it so he can't speak, as opposed to him not wanting to speak. Developmental Appraxia of Speech is what she called it. Speech therapy will be very effective in treating this, and with time will hopefully correct issues. It is why we often hear words from Ayden, then sometimes never again. I do have to say it is a relief to know there is something we can do though and working with the SLP one-on-one should help out immensely.
So, our recommendatons from the SLP were as follows: get a one-on-one SLP to work with Ayden to work on oral facilitation and touch desensitization to his face. This is over and above what he is/will be receiving at school. We should also work on comprehension past nouns including stabilizing words (under, over, up, down etc), verbs, and word approximations. Also work on motor noises, environmental sounds, and identifying parts of a whole. She recommended looking into an AAC device and/or alternative communication such as signs, PECS, etc keeping in mind to use multiple ways as they all will actually help facilitate expressive language. She also recommended using purposeful play for most of these things I listed out above. Another thing she was very insistant on was making sure we were following his non-verbal queues such as when he was done with something. She said positively reinforcing the non-verbal queues he was sending to us is just as important as reinforcing the verbal ones - which I totally agree with, though we of course never thought about that.
She really was amazing to work with. I wish we lived closer because I know she would work exceptionally with Ayden and our SLP experience hasn't been great after "firing" our first one, having mixed feelings about our second, and while I have no complaints about his in-school SLP, the one in Akron made me realize what we are missing out on.
Our next and final stop was at the Occupational Therapist (OT). I do have to admit, I was extremely spoiled with our first (and only) OT Ayden has ever worked with. Ms Jane was so beyond amazing....it's hard to compare anyone else to her. Unfortunately, she retired at the same time Ayden moved out of the EarlyOn program. Anyhow...this OT left much to be desired. We came in with specific questions of which none were answered. The entire time we were with her she basically just asked questions we had already answered and put Ayden through the standardized testing - not very well I may add. It took a lot of help from both Mr Awesome and I to get Ayden through it, while she mostly just sat there. I know she CAN do that, but having been through this testing before - I know there are multiple ways to get the same goal and she seemed very unwilling to do anything outside her little box. For an already over-stimulated little boy...it was just a lot.
As expected, Ayden again tested within his age range for cognitive functioning, but tested very low in fine motor skills. Her recommendations were to work on drawing upright and full body movement to keep him interested. We need to work on drawing and handwriting for him a lot to prepare him for kindergarten. She did give us a couple programs to try as well as a few other activities to work on fine motor skills. As with everyone else we saw, she did recommend additional one-on-one OT that was sensory and motor based.
Again, I am just so disappointed in how the OT worked with Ayden. She was supposed to be better for FX kids, but it seemed like she was almost annoyed by Ayden and the fact he was overstimulated. She was really the only person we saw that I have anything bad to say about. I really hope her report that she sends is much more conclusive and answers the questions we posed to her. I know Ayden would benefit from a sensory diet, but I have no idea how to incorporate that and that was our biggest question/concern we posed to her! (to which she replied "I'll put some ideas in my report") The one positive thing was that she was from Michigan, so did have a few local resources for us.
So, between the two posts here I think it's a good summary of what we covered. We have Ayden's IEP coming up on Thursday to set next year's goals, and Mr Awesome and I have goals for him for the summer as well. We basically had to piece through all this information and decide what was most important because we obviously cannot tackle all this at once. Not only would it be overwhelming to us, but also to Ayden.
Now, we need to go about finding a local SLP and OT for Ayden for one-on-one work. I have to admit, this is going to be difficult. We of course need both of these therapists to have a pretty specific skill set - and while I don't think we will find one locally familiar with FX, I can hope, right?! I emailed the FX Clinic coordinator at UM to see if they could give us some recommendations for therapists explaining we had just been to the Akron Clinic where they were unable to give local therapist recommendations (understandably so), but was basically told we had to fax them medical records and obtain a referral - THEN be seen at the clinic before he could talk to me about it. FRUSTRATING. So, I guess I will just have to start looking up some SLP/OT in the area and see what I can find out. We definitely want to get at least an SLP for Ayden over the summer.
And that is where we are at now. It should be a busy week with the IEP coming up and we are once again going to try some potty training with little brother. All-in-all, great fun. If anyone has any insight or recommendations that may help with any of this, I would be extremely grateful for the advice!