This morning, a week and a half after Leon’s occupational therapy needs assessment, I went to the parent consultation with the director/owner of the clinic to discuss her findings.
Long story short, he definitely has some auditory sensitivities, and she congratulated me for being so in-tune with his needs. For the auditory-processing test, scores range from 10-50 with “typical performance” marked as a 35-43. Leon scored a 13.
He also failed almost all of the tasks that involved closing his eyes. This went along with her secondary finding that he relies on his vision almost exclusively out of all his senses, which may be why he’s so scared in the dark (he can’t see where the sounds are coming from).
She found that Leon is extra sensitive to tactile/touch as well, which surprised me. He is less sensation-seeking than others, possibly because he is overstimulated; and he still has some primitive baby reflexes, which may or may not be limiting/hindering his movement patterns.
She gave us a couple options for treatment, one of which is an occupational therapy plan tailored for him that would address not only the hearing but also the touch sensitivities and on strengthening his non-visual senses. He’d have a standing appointment with a therapist once a week where they’d work with him on these things for 50 minutes. I’m excited that there’s “something” out there for him, and looking forward to getting him the help he needs.
What is your name?
[wearing firefighter hat] “Um, Fireman. And I got my water hose.” [swings wrapping paper tube]
How old are you?
“Um, no! I don’t wanna talk to Mommy.”
When is your birthday?
“It’s Leon’s birthday?”
How old is your dad?
“Um, Daddy’s birthday?”
How old is your mom?
[No answer, playing with wrapping paper tube]
What is your favorite color?
What is your favorite food?
“Pineapples!” [He does not like pineapple]
Who is your best friend?
“Ummm, Claudia and Elmo and Cookie and Ernie and Bert and Grover.”
What is your favorite animal?
“Um, a cow say ‘mooooo’!”
What are you scared of?
“The thunder and lightning.”
What makes you happy?
Where is your favorite place to go?
“Pick a balloon.”
What do you want to be when you grow up?
“No, I don’t know. Mommy, spray the waters.” [hands me wrapping paper tube]
Leon got a black Batman slap-bracelet while trick-or-treating at my office on Halloween. He has refused to take it off for the past three weeks (aside from baths and showers) and also for some reason he insists on wearing it around his right ankle. How does one explain to a toddler that it looks like he’s wearing an ankle monitor 🤔
Leon: *holds his favorite Big Bird doll lovingly*
“A is for apple. B is for…BYEEEEE!” *chucks Big Bird across the room*
Leon’s been up until 11 p.m. the last few nights because he was terrified of the wind outside. I started writing a blog article yesterday about how Leon is afraid of everything, moreso than what I feel is typical of toddlers, and in writing the post I listed all the things he’s scared of.
- Fire alarms
- The refrigerator when it makes ice
- Motorcycles, car engines revving, traffic
- The vacuum
- The sound of the daycare kids in the gym next door
It didn’t take long before I realized that all of the unusual/unrealistic things that he’s scared of are noises. So I started doing some research and came across an article about Auditory Sensitivity and Auditory Processing Disorder, and in the list of signs and symptoms, Leon literally identified with all of them:
- The child dislikes loud or unexpected sounds, e.g., fire alarms, sirens, school bells, fireworks.
- They may startle easily to unexpected sound, e.g., sirens, motorcycle going past.
- The child may dislike higher-pitched sounds such as vacuum cleaners or hand dryers.
- They could have difficulty with low hum pitched sounds such as a refrigerator or lorry engine.
- The child may be easily distracted by background noises such as traffic outside, background music, an air conditioner, a refrigerator or buzz from fluorescent lights.
- They may notice sounds that others don’t notice.
- The child may cover their ears to sounds.
- They could dislike of cinema or concerts due to the noise level.
Obviously that doesn’t necessarily mean he has anything, but I felt like looking down that road might bring us some answers. So he has an appointment with his pediatrician on Monday to get a referral to a pediatric occupational therapist or audiologist.
Me: “You’re a sillypants.”
Leon: “No, I’m not a sillypants.”
Me: “Well then who’s a sillypants? Is it Daddy?”
Leon: “No, Ava’s a sillypants!”
Me: “…Ava? Who’s Ava?”
Leon: “A sillypants!”
Me: *puts on a big baggy hobo shirt to hide how bloated I feel*
Leon: “You look like a princess.”
Me: “Awww, buddy!”
Leon: “Mommy’s a princess.”
We were sitting at the restaurant booth when Leon pulled out some old Play-Doh, molded it, and stuck a few pieces to his dinosaur toys. We spent a few minutes pondering where he got that color Plah-Doh before Minh realized it was gum from underneath the table 🤮
Minh and I went to Portland last weekend. I was so anxious about leaving — not only because of what I needed to prep for Leon, but because it would be the first time we’d even leave him overnight. I printed out the “week” from a calendar and color-coded the days we’d be gone with a star on the day we’d come back; we put stickers on each day as they went by. He seemed to really understand it and enjoy adding the stickers, so as the week came I stressed a little less.
Then the morning we were leaving and carrying our bags out to the car, he panicked any time I wasn’t right next to him and ran screaming from room to room to find me. As we were putting on our shoes, he cried “No, Mommy!” He looked devastated. It was a somber drive to the airport.
But honestly, as soon as we got on the plane, I was confident he’d be fine. And he was. Halmoni sent me photos, daycare sent me photos — and in none of them was he crying or upset. In fact, it looked like he was doing a ton of fun things — hugging his friends, visiting the spa, and pushing a kiddie cart in the grocery store.
He was so excited when we got home, he crashed on the floor before he even ran all the way over to us. I spent that afternoon unpacking, but Minh and Leon played outside and did tons of fun things together. I feel like this trip unlocked some doors for us. Maybe we should go out of town more often!
Me: “Do you remember what you say when you want candy today?”
Me: “What do you say?”