Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Busy few days. . ..

It's been one thing after another it seems like the past few days and the forecast is that it will continue until I leave for a work trip on Monday. Lots of deadlines and meetings for work, visiting and visitors, Will trying to keep up with his rowing and treatments because they so help him feel better, and yesterday Liam had an all day series of appointments in Seattle to be assessed for potential development delays.

Liam was given the Bayley Scale test of Infant and Toddler development. It was really interesting to watch the test. The equipment looked exactly like what is in this picture, except in Liam's kit the baby doll was missing a leg. (He still, or maybe because, was fascinated with the baby doll, he doesn't have any toys like that at home.)

The assessment is basically a play-based test. Liam was asked to do a huge number of specific tasks including:
  • Take cubes out of a cup,
  • Put all the cubes into a cup,
  • Make a tower (stack) of blocks,
  • Find something hidden under a washcloth,
  • Put pegs into a peg board,
  • Point to pictures in books,
  • Run a car back and forth to the examiner,
  • Imitate noises and actions,
  • Bang two spoons or blocks together,
  • Drink from a cup,
  • Pick up a cheerio,
  • Get a cheerio out form a small pill-like container,
  • Put shapes into the right places on the shape board (like a puzzle), and
  • Look at things when they are named. (E.g., where is daddy?)

The examiner also watched Liam pull up to standing and he obliged by toddling around the room energetically. (He also tried to turn a somersault on the play mat, which he loved. I think a somersault might have resulted in extra credit, but he stopped part way through.) Liam sat on my lap at a table during most of the evaluation and the examiner sat across the table. Will watched. We were not allowed to talk or help or encourage Liam. Liam was very interested in the whole thing, enjoyed the examiner, paid attention and seemed to like the testing. He didn’t cry and only got fidgety a few times when it was taking a few minutes for the examiner to get the next testing toys out of the kit.

The good news is that Liam’s scores were only slightly below average except for fine motor skills where he is a little bit further behind. But nothing was so far below average that it triggered a serious concern and right now there's every reason to believe that he will catch up on his own just fine. They will see him again in December to make sure he's making good progress.

Liam also had his blood drawn to be tested for lead and a few other things, just in case, and his hearing tested. Liam SLEPT THROUGH HIS HEARING TEST. The baby who doesn't sleep was so tired by 3:15 and after the drama of his blood draw, once he got into the quiet hearing test room he just curled up in my arms and went sound to sleep and would not be wakened. They tested Liam’s hearing using a method called otoacoustic emissions, where they put a little thing in his ear and it made a tone and they measured the response of the little ear hairs that process sound and graph it on a computer. Liam's hearing seems to be great. When he goes back in December they’ll do the part of the hearing test that he can’t sleep through, but they’re really not worried about his hearing.

It would be nicer if Liam didn't need to be followed in this way, but on the whole it was a very reassuring visit.

Then, at the end I made the mistake of picking up a pamphlet on MRSA at Children's Hospital and read that immune suppressed people shouldn't come to the hospital because. . .well, you get the picture. Great. Will spent all day there will Liam and me. He is careful, but, still. I will discourage him from going back. And then when we got home Liam wouldn't sleep until almost 9:30 PM and then FELL OUT OF BED at 10:45 or so and spent a least an hour crying. And who can blame him. The bed goes onto the floor today to prevent future falls. Liam seems fine this morning. So, one thing after another. . ..

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