I was already starting to educate myself on the terms and definitions used by developmental therapists and social workers, by the time I met with the social worker at the regional agency. Terms like receptive language and audiology and sensory processing disorder. I read books like "The Mislabeled Child" and "ADHD and your child." I already was somewhat familiar with ADHD -- my oldest daughter had been diagnosed the same summer I was beginning the journey of investigation with my second child. But this didn't seem the same.
While I was waiting for the paperwork to be processed and referrals put in place, things were going from bad to worse at home. My daughter seemed to have abnormal pain issues. She could run full tilt into a wall, like 2 yr olds do, but it wouldn't phase her. Yet cutting her toenails required 3 people to do, as it seemed to cause agonizing pain! Falling down and cutting herself didn't seem to slow her one bit, but a minor graze on the arm in passing was the end of the world. She also seemed to have no self-soothing regulators. She would get herself so worked up, she would melt down into a screaming fit, that would last for hours. I remember just rocking this rigid, screaming child, holding her arms down so she couldn't scratch her face or bang her head, for hours on end, crying myself, hearing the cries of my infant daughter or my older daughter and knowing that I couldn't help them at that moment, because if I left this child, she would seriously hurt herself.
Getting her dressed was a battle, feeding her was a nightmare, and bathing was something done only as necessary and as quickly as possible. Our days were structured to minimize the meltdowns as much as possible. Loud noises were dealt with as quickly as I could, because she startled so easily. Unfortunately, the apartment building I lived in did monthly fire alarm tests. After the first couple of tests, I asked for a schedule, so I could make sure we were elsewhere for the day, because the fire alarm going off created havoc for my daughter.
I met with the social worker a couple of weeks after I had seen the clinician at the Early Years Centre. He was a nice gentleman, who listened carefully to my growing list of concerns regarding my daughter. He photocopied my report from the SLP. He promised to contact the public health unit from our previous county of residence, and took the time to explain to me about the resources available to me, as her parent. It was a couple of hours while we covered all the forms and consents necessary to access the services she possibly needed.
One of the things he suggested that I didn't like, was the idea of putting my daughter into daycare. I knew, without knowing how I knew, that she would *not* do well away from me. I resisted, but agreed that if after she was assessed further, I would consider it.
He also helped me get the names of some pediatricians in the area. My best option, according to him, was to pursue a medical diagnosis, while getting her therapeutic services.
Armed with this information, I left to make my own phone calls, and to wait for the assessment time, to find out more about what was wrong with my child.
To be continued...