♦ Tuesday Weigh-in: 226.2 ♦

You’ll be so proud of me!

Background first: BamBam now has speech therapy on Mondays and Tuesdays with the same therapist, Megan (not to be confused with the speech therapist he sees in our home on Wednesdays – that is Sarah, who I love above all other therapists). Last week, when we increased to two days a week, she told me she’d still see him by himself on Mondays, but I should now join him for the session on Tuesdays. I did that last week because I felt that I would appear to be (and thus actually be) a disinterested, uninvolved mother. I’m not sure that me sitting there yawning through the session did much to dispel that, but I was there.

Then I saw my therapist on Wednesday. She informed me that I was involved 10,000% and should tell the Megan that, while I understand the value of having me in the session, I really need the time to sit alone in my car. I had planned to send her an email beforehand, but didn’t get around to it, so I just told her, “I need the time today, so I’m not going back with you.” She looked surprised, but didn’t say anything about it.

So now I’m sitting in my car working on this post, which is what I really wanted to be doing. See? Aren’t you so proud?

In other news, BeBop started vision therapy last week. I noticed last fall that, while he could finally jump with both feet, he wouldn’t jump over even the smallest object. At a local playground (the Sensory Garden at RTC, for those of you familiar with the area), there’s a stream, for lack of a better word, that’s maybe eight inches wide if you include the stones on either side not very high, practically flush with the ground. One day there was a kid about three years old that was jumping over it and BeBop decided he would do it too. He would stand at the edge and gather all his energy to jump…and then switch to just step over it at the last second. I mentioned this to his OT. She said it meshed with what she was seeing and recommended we take him to a pediatric ophthalmologist. I was surprised because his vision seems fine – he notices lots of things I don’t even see until he points them out to me and I have 20/20 vision…or I did until I turned 42, but that’s another subject. The OT said this was for his visual acuity, to test his depth perception and saccadic (yeah, I had to look that up, too).

So we had him tested. Turns out he has issues with eye coordination and tracking. They think he also has a visual processing delay, but will need to do further testing along the way to suss that out. So we’ve added vision therapy once a week to our schedule. They also want us to do 15-20 minutes of homework (basically a shorter version of what they do with him in the office) 3-5 times a week. Fun. Actually the homework’s not so bad. He insists that his stuffed dog, Ty, get a turn with all the exercises, too. It’s pretty cute.

Last week was our first session. The first exercise involves a ball the size of a tennis ball, but softer, that hangs down from the ceiling (or my hand at home because I haven’t bothered to hang it yet). He is supposed to hit it with his hand (both in a fist and open handed) and other body parts like his head, elbows, and knees (Ty uses his ears and tail a lot – he’s pretty good at this one) for about five minutes total.

The second exercise involves two different colored balloons and an eye patch. He puts the eye patch over one eye and stands in front of me while I hold a balloon out to each side of me. He’s supposed to look at each balloon in turn without moving his head. Ty’s not so good at this one, as his eyes don’t move, but BeBop makes him try anyway, holding the eye patch on his head and everything. Then we move the eye patch to the other eye (BeBop’s eye – Ty only has to do this once) and do it again. As he gets better at it, I’ll also hold the balloons in different positions so he has to look up and down and eventually at angles. All without moving his head, which is really hard for him. I can see how it’s helping him with eye tracking.

The last exercise for now, though I’m told they will add more, involves a modified eye chart (the letters are all the same size) hung on the wall, or propped against it when we’re at home because Mom hasn’t hung it up yet. He stands a few feet in front of it and I hold a little piece of paper with a target on it in front of him. He’s supposed to look at the target, say “clear,” look at the eye chart, and tell me the first letter. Then he looks at the target and tells me the second letter. And so on. It gets harder as you move toward the middle of the chart, so we’ve been sticking to the first few lines for now. I can really see how this helps him with the eye coordination. He really has to work to coordinate his eye movements enough to be able to focus on the letter and tell me what it is.

So, that’s vision therapy as we know it so far. I’d never heard of it before, but I’m glad we have it because I can already see how it will help him with reading. In fact, most kids don’t find out they need help in this area until they start having trouble in school. Most of the questions they asked us had to do with reading and homework, so it was a challenge to answer them when he doesn’t do either on his own yet.

On a side note, after music class today we played at the playground with the little stream described above. There’s a fence around it with entrance/exits in the back as well as the front, much to the chagrin of all the parents. BamBam usually spends his time there running straight through to the back door, out, and around to the front in a loop that only ends when he decides it’s time to move on to the elevators. Which is why I have to shadow him on every pass. Anyhoo, today he decided play inside the fence, which was a fabulous surprise for me. He even squatted down at the stream to check it out. Then he stuck one finger in the stream, but didn’t like the feel of the water, so he walked over and wiped his finger on a little girl’s shirt. That’s kinda social, right?