The long long long wait was finally over. After receiving a referral to see Dr. Brazdziunas at Children's Memorial in August, we met with our world class doctor at the DuPage Hospital--Children's Memorial Outpatient center.
Emily arrived home from school at noon, and we practically threw lunch into her mouth so we could make our appointment on time. My nerves were shot; I was surprised at how anxious I felt. It seemed liked everything in the world was trying to slow our progress to Winifield: the rain, the fog, the million cops pulling folks over for doing 5 over the speed limit. The longest car ride ever was followed by the world's busiest parking lot. It took 20 minutes to find a space inside the parking deck. I really was concerned we'd miss our appointment and have to wait another 9 months to see the doctor. Emily, on the other hand, had no idea what we were doing and took everything in stride. My little sweetie sometimes has more sense than her Momma.
We made it on time, thank goodness. Emily was seen right away, and the appointment progressed very much like the testing she's undergone in the past. Dr. B and Emily played a series of "games" that allowed the doctor to judge her progress in the areas of language, social interaction, cognitive abilities, and physical development. As they "played", Ryan and I sat and observed in the room.
The first test was given with the aid of a book. Emily was asked to look at a series of pictures and identify the objects and colors by name. She did very well in that task. When asked to count objects, she was able to do so with precision. The next part of the test involved the doctor describing objects with a bunch of adjectives rather than by name. Emily failed this test, and I could feel my heart breaking as she looked at the doctor with complete and utter confusion on her face. The doctor asked Emily to point to the object that was "in a store, made of metal, that food goes into when mommy is shopping". She had no idea that was the description of a grocery cart, even with the picture of a grocery cart right in front of her. Several other objects were described in a similar manner, and again Emily failed to understand the relationship between the words and the object described.
The second portion of the session involved role playing with a set of family dolls. There was a mom, a dad, a baby, and some animal pets. The doctor asked Emily to have the family interact, and she had a hard time understanding the directions the doctor was giving. She played with the toys, but in her own way. She was more interested in the animal toys than the human figures. Emily's social interaction was also tested with a baby doll. The doctor gave Emily the baby to see how she would treat it. Emily rocked the baby, talked to the baby, and even shared some of her goldfish crackers, which made me proud.
The last portion of the testing looked at Emily's physical development and coordination. As her OT therapist noted in the past, her muscle tone is low. This would explain why she was late to crawl, late to walk, and still has trouble with potty training. It's the reason why, at school, she is still struggling to hold a pencil in the correct manner. It could account for why she is so uncoordinated, but I think a lot of that has to do with the fact she is my child! (I trip over my own feet on a regular basis). Emily will never grow up to be a professional athlete, but as a scholar myself, I'm ok with that. She did manage to jump around for the doctor without falling over, and made us all laugh when she ducked under the table to hide from the crazy balloon.
When the testing portion was over, Dr. B. left the room to go over her findings. When she returned, she surprised Ryan and I by saying she had decided to wait on diagnosing Emily until she could talk to her teacher, Mrs. Mack, and her speech therapist at school. She felt that Emily was a unique child, and not easy to classify without further information about her peer-to-peer interactions. What she did tell us was that Emily's cognitive abilities are almost off the charts. She placed in the top 90% of her peers for smarts (she gets that from me too!! J/K). Unfortunately her language abilities were much much worse than I expected. She tested in the bottom 10% of her peers for expressive and receptive language. Wow. That is pretty bad, and hard for a parent to hear, especially since I have been so pleased at the progress she's been making. She's a chatter box compared to her former self, but next to her peers she can barely communicate. Her lack of coordination was noted, but not necessarily seen as a major problem.
And now, the waiting game continues.