Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Last night I ran away from home (with my husband's permission). I went to the local library for some peace and quiet, and made use of their wi-fi to catch up on reading my fellow bloggers' work. For once I was at the right place at the right time! I read a post at Simple Mom by Jamie wherein she reviewed and recommended ten picture books that teach good life lessons to our kids. I decided to head to the children's section and pick a couple of books up. Leo the Late Bloomer by Robert Kraus was among them. I am aware this is a classic book. I think it probably is a great book for kids, especially those who are struggling to learn skills and keep up with their peers. Leo has a hard time with reading, writing, drawing, eating, and talking! His father is concerned, and watching for the day when he will "bloom." His mother is more sanguine..."Leo is just a late bloomer..." she assures Dad. For children with challenges I hope it would be encouraging to see that Leo "made it". I read it to my daughter tonight and she said, "It's good!" high praise for a new book that she didn't choose.
I am a bit worried about the message to parents. This partly has to do with our history with our dear girl. I first noticed language delays (the most obvious of her challenges) at 18 months. Our pediatrician recommended giving her some time to catch up. Good friends of all stripe asked, "What are you worried about? Lot's of kids don't talk until they're two...she'll be fine." At two we got more hand patting and, "Speech Therapy doesn't really work at this age..." (False!) So we waited until she was three to find out about her language delay, and then another year and a half before we learned there was much more to the story. Good news: she is doing great now that we stepped up interventions on many levels. Bad news: Mom is forever haunted by not following the only known effective treatment for ASD of intense interventions happening by 2 years of age if possible. In the end, there are a lot of voices out there telling parents to let their kids "bloom" at their own pace, and in many, many cases this works out just fine. In our case there's no telling what would have happened if we had continued to just let it go. I now tell parents who ask me for advice that if they are concerned they should seek professional advice until they feel their questions are completely answered and addressed. In other words one shouldn't be laying awake at night wondering what's up with their kid. That is what I wish someone had told me. I don't think this is mutually exclusive to the rest of what Leo's parents typify: concerned, watchful, but patient and loving...the snugly tiger family portraits are the best. They all made it!