Saturday, July 14, 2012

It Takes a Village...

My son, The Wild Child, is being raised by a whole team of people it seems. I've written about some of his issues before, but I'll summarize again. He's borderline gifted, first of all. (And if his tester didn't have such a heavy accent and he could have understood everything, I think he would have been well over the border into gifted... not to take away from the tester, she was very nice, competent, and worked well with him, I just don't think he understood her clearly in a lot of instances- I know how bright my boy is!!) He's also got a reading disability, some working memory problems, and fine motor issues. To that end, we have him working with a reading tutor and going to an occupational therapist to work on his fine motor skills.

He was diagnosed a year ago and we started with the interventions shortly after that. He did some brief computer work on his memory issues but he's been with the tutor consistently to address the reading this past year. She's great with him; she's using specialized techniques to get his body involved in triggering his memory of the sounds and words he's learning. He's made amazing progress with that, so now it's time to work on his other issues. I got him into an occupational therapy program a month or so ago. The therapist who evaluated him said he is having trouble because he doesn't have the upper body strength to support the muscles involved in fine motor work, largely because he didn't crawl enough as a baby. (He walked at the end of eight months.) His therapist is working on that, and, at my sister in law's suggestion and with the therapist's approval, I signed him up for taekwondo, which will also work those upper body muscles and increase his core strength. He's not weak, don't get me wrong, he's just not proportionately strong.

He's also a big boy. He's tall for his age but he's also heavy, and that's my fault. When DH and I decided to go vegetarian it wasn't exactly a decision The Wild Child had a say in. In the beginning we told the kids they could still eat meat when we dined out, we just weren't going to buy it to bring home. We went on like that for a little while and happily settled into our new way of eating... mostly. The Wild Child didn't eat what we would eat and turned his nose up at most of our alternative protein sources. (He HATES beans and eggs, for instance.) I started noticing my boy getting dark circles under his eyes and looking a little peaked. OK, that's enough of that, the boy needs meat. I started buying him organic sandwich meat every now and again, turkey hot dogs, things that he could make on his own. Now here we are a year and a half later, and he's overweight. He wasn't overweight before we went veg but he sure is now, by a lot. My healthy diet made my son unhealthy! That was not the intention, for sure!!

So now that it's summer and I have time to deal with issues like this, I might as well add one more person to our village that is raising my son. We went to a nutritionist. We've only been once so far so there hasn't been any time for progress, but we both like her. She's a mom like me so she gets it. She spent a long time with us asking all sorts of questions and conducting her evaluation; she also made a couple of recommendations for meals and snacks he might like to try. (He liked one suggestion, hated another.) I'll meet with her by myself next week, then we'll both go again after that. We're both keeping food journals- I guess she can tell a lot about how things go in our house to see what he's NOT eating as well as what he is eating.

To digress for a paragraph, someone suggested that I get a George Forman grill for The Wild Child, so I did. I picked it up for him the day after we saw the nutritionist so he would be able to cook the food she suggested. He LOVES it!! He likes it a lot better than cooking on the stove top. He's made steak, chicken sliders, and hot dogs on it. He's going to try pineapple slices as soon as I pick up a pineapple from the grocery so he can share them with everyone. He's such a sweetheart of a boy.

The drivers in the family (me, DH, The Eldest) keep busy with getting him where he needs to be all the time. His schedule is intense, especially for summer, but he's a trooper about it for the most part. His reading tutor raves about him all the time. He does have his days where things don't go so well, when he whines and rebels and gets bad reports from the adults he's working with, but those are few, and he's a 10 year old kid- he's not perfect. The most important thing is that we can see dramatic improvement. This time last year he couldn't even identify all of the letters in the alphabet, in spite of working with him over and over and over on them. Now he's reading, although he's still not reading much outside of the materials the reading specialist uses with him during his sessions. He's not on grade level yet but he's advanced a lot more than a year's worth in one year's time, that's for sure. His main issue, the reading disability, is being addressed successfully. Now it's on to the other challenges my sweet Wild Child has to conquer.

Thank goodness for that village of people out there- we couldn't do it without them.