Friday, March 2, 2012

A special child

In my previous post, I mentioned that my younger child went to a therapist yesterday afternoon. Our first session with the therapist, Mdm Sue from U.K. She is a trained Montessori Nursery teacher and the only licensed Brain Gym consultant and Instructor in Kuching (or Sarawak??). Some more she is a mother of 4 "special" children. And I noticed that she went to the same university as me; although I did not go to the main campus in U.K! *wink*

Okay, back to our first session. It was an interaction session, as a lot of Q&A. She was trying to understand Baby Jay more. If you are wondering why we brought him there in first place; first reason, there is a concern that Baby Jay may have autism or dyslexia just like few cousins and nephews of hubby. It seems to run in his family. And secondly, Baby Jay is still slow in speech.

During the 2 hours there, Mdm Sue observed Baby Jay's interaction with other children, and his communication with me. After few minutes warming up, Baby Jay went to play by himself and wander away to the playroom.

And Mdm Sue confirmed that usually boys are at risk of developing autism and dyslexia. And the statistic is that out of 10 boys, 8 are likely to have autism or dyslexia problems or some sort of learning difficulties. And most of the times, parents are in denial of their children having such problems and end up, too late to seek help, resulting in their children having social, learning, confidence or personality problems in later stage of life. And yes, I noticed mostly boys at her centre, ranging from baby to teenager.

So after 2 hours of surveying Baby Jay and talking to me, Mdm Sue concluded that Baby Jay has a speech delay for his age (2 years and 6 months old) and behaviour problem. For time being, there is no sign of autism shown (a sign of relief!).

Her analysis as follow:

1. Baby Jay only talk in one word or two, which is pretty slow for his age. And Mdm Sue said it could be because of lack of vocabulary. Maybe he did not have much vocabulary to develop his speech. So when he has lack of vocabulary, he cannot express well, so that is why he tends to throw tantrum. For Baby Jay, he needs to hear the same word (e.i. water) about 800-1000 times until he can form a sentence out of the word. For example, "Baby Jay, do you want to drink water? Oh, you want me to pour the water into your bottle? Which bottle would you like me to pour the water in? Do you want a cold or hot water?" Hmm, and this reminded me of hubby's uncle. When he went to pick his 2 sons (eldest being an autism boy), the uncle will recite the multiplication table to his kids in the car. End up the younger boy picked up the multiplication better and the eldest is studying for his professor in U.K.

2. Baby Jay is to learn to share. Sharing is important part of communication. Baby Jay must learn to share his stuff with others. During the session, Baby Jay is seemed pushing other kids away when other kids take toys (which belong to the therapy centre) away and some pushing around was observed. Mdm Sue said it is normal behaviour for young children, but Baby Jay is to learn to share his stuff with other kids. So, she told me to bring his favourite toy and his sister's favourite stuff and exchange them. Bring each kid to different room and leave them behind for few minutes. After that, bring both kids out from their individual rooms and exchange back the favourite stuff. This is to show that it is alright to share and play other children's stuff as at the end of the day, your stuff will be handed back to you.

3. Baby Jay is slow in learning. He is not dumb, just slow according to Mdm Sue. He can talk just in singular, and he understands what we are talking about. Mdm Sue can see that Baby Jay is not afraid of people, otherwise he would not be running around from one room to another and experiment with new toys and games. He even know how to differentiate colours. Because Baby Jay suddenly came to us with a bunch of red balls. There were so many coloured balls in a basket, but he only picked red balls. And he arranged them in one line. This, Mdm Sue said he is better compared to some kids of his age as he can differentiate colours and arrange things in one line.

4. Mdm Sue advised me not to discourage him from learning. For instance when he brought the 1st red ball to me, he said "orange" to me. My first instinct was correcting him. "No, this is not orange, but it is a red ball". There is no right or wrong, but Mdm Sue said this will discourage him from expresssing himself. I should instead said "Yes, it does look like an orange, because orange is round. But this is a red ball." Does this sound better?? Mdm Sue said there is a reason for Baby Jay to say "orange" in first place, because he can associate orange with shape. So, do not correct him, but indirectly encourage him to learn more.

5. Communication with other kids. Mdm Sue will help me search for a nursery that accept Baby Jay for one or 2 hours a day. This is to encourage him to mingle around with kids of his age. Probably because lack of communication with other kids, he tends to be aggressive towards other kids.

6. Sign of aggressiveness. Baby Jay tends to have a habit of staring or glaring at people from corner of his eyes. And he has that fierce expression too. And he tends to scratch or bite people whenever he throws tantrum. Mdm Sue advised me when ever he throws tantrum, seperate him from other kids or adults and get rid of "harmful" materials. Baby Jay has to learn to deal with his tantrum and accept that agrresion does not learn to rewards etc.

7. Patience is the key to deal with slow learner and aggressive kids. Mdm Sue advised me not to hit or scream at Baby Jay when he did something wrong or cry for something. Instead leave him to cry or throw tantrum by himself. He will stop eventually. After few minutes gone, then I can approach him and praise him for being a good boy. But do not make it into a habit, because he would associate "cry/throw tantrum, then be quiet, then got praise or reward". Or, bring him to another room or a chair where to leave him behind. After few times, he would know that when ever he is naughty he will be confined to a room or chair. No hitting or shouting, because children learn from adult. It means that if daddy or mummy can hit or shout at me, it is alright for me to hit or shout at others. So, positive psychology intervention is important. This I would learn in the next session.

So, thank god that I brought him to the therapist. I learnt that my boy needs some special needs and attentions from me. Hubby and myself also have to learn to handle him in different manners. In my mind, Baby Jay is my "boss', but I must change this mindset and let him know that I am his "boss". *wink* More to come after my 2nd session which is next Friday.


Chinneeq said...

instead of going into nursery, how about attending playgroups in your area? I know some church and buddhist center organise such activities. U might wanna ask around.

Yannie said...

It is a very beneficial session for you and baby J. Encouragement, positive discipline, patient, love and care are all essential to raise your boy.

Ezvina said...

Good to hear the positive outcome.

suituapui said...

Some kids are late bloomers...and true, some start speaking slower than others as parents do not talk much to them. At the babysitter or day care centre, they are placed with others who have not started talking much like not much opportunity to expend his vocabulary and many do not bother to teach much or are not even qualified to teach properly.

What a relief! Not autistic... My cousin has one - can be very destructive. Had to resign from her job to take care. The hubby had a nervous breakdown, caring for the son. So depressing.

Willie a.k.a Reptoz said...

Hi ROse,

Kinda worried when I first read your entry for the first few lines. But after that, It's glad to know that the therapist did not conclude him as dyslexia.

The behaviour? Thanks for the tips. I think although my boy is born normal, I will apply some of the technique to discipline him. Haha!

I'm a full-time mummy said...

Good to hear there are positive feedback from seeing this therapists.

For item 1, Ben used to speak ver little but I do remember at 1 yr old, he did achieved the normal 50 words range around this age but I was worried he might not be talking especially since I'm a SAHM and am not very sociable (cos I am super shy) so don't really bring him out for playdates and etc (except Sunday schools) so what I did was just talk and talk and talk to him, whether he listens or not. Good to note he is talking a lot nowadays though maybe kids at his age might be more advanced than him, I don't know. Different kids, different outcome, also depend on environment (if you have other kids in the family they learn faster)

Hope your boy will be placed in a suitable nursery :)