Friday, June 10, 2016

It takes a village

This week while at occupational therapy, P seemed to be attending to everything but the task at hand, looking all around per usual. After several failed attempts at a task, his OT looked at me and said, "Can he see?"

"Of course he can see," I replied, taken aback.

"Have you had his eyes checked?" she asked.

"Well...kind of..." I said, doubt creeping in. "They check at the doctor. But he can always see the smallest line on the eye chart."

"Let me see," the OT replied. She led him to a quiet treatment room and asked him to follow her finger with his eyes as she moved it in a big circle. He tracked her finger around, his eye movements surprisingly choppy. But when her finger moved around to his left eye he stopped following it and just looked around for it. She tried it again, same result. Next she moved her finger back and forth in front of his face, and he lost the finger around the same place.

I felt confused. How could he not see? And he was trying to track it...gritted teeth, hands gripping the seat of the chair, he tried to move his eyes to follow it. He just couldn't.

So this has kicked off a whole new slew of issues. After my initial freak-out (Is it seizures? Did he have a mini-stroke? What causes motor delay, general weakness, and visual tracking issues?) I found that visual tracking issues can be caused by one of the infant reflexes if it fails to integrate...and P's has. I guess ATNR integration failure is just the gift that keeps on giving. However, it's not a terrible thing and it's definitely treatable. Treatable to the tune of $5000 that isn't covered by insurance, but still treatable.

However...P is down to going to OT only once a month. I had started to consider adding in another therapy. Vision might be a possibility, depending on what his pediatrician and ophthalmologist think. But if not vision, it would either be speech therapy - it's time to face up to the fact that those r sounds are just not going to come in without help - or some kind of counseling to help with his emotional regulation. Adding in the possibility of vision therapy made me ask, once again, how many professionals is it going to take for me to raise my child? How much professional help will it take for me to do what every other parent on this planet does by themselves?

And yes, I realize that taking him for therapy isn't a failing on my part. It's actually a good thing. It's helping him be the best kid he can be. OT has been wonderful for him and I'm so happy he can have access to this help.

But knowing that and feeling it are two different things.

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