"It's like learning physics."
That according to Beatrice's occupational therapist during her last appointment. I took her this time, wanting to witness the exercises she's put through -- learning to cross the midline better, improving fine motor schools and dexterity, and more.
Or having an apple and orange juice party with Daddy. She's more hip and fresh that way.
The Mama is witness to Bea's incremental progress every day, and while she's intellectually smart as a whip, she has struggled with some level of auditory processing disorder (APD). And that in turn has delayed various self-care activities and speech articulation, overall attention span and focus.
Not too long ago Bea struggled with potty training, dressing, stringing beads on a string, drawing a rainbow, speaking clearly, processing basic instructions -- while at the same time nailing her numbers and letters and other preschool academia as well as scoring quite high on the social butterfly scale. Kids with APD (or related diagnoses) have difficultly processing auditory signals and are visual learners.
Most children, even those with processing delays, fall into a broad spectrum of hitting developmental milestones. The big worry, one that we admit to having since Bea turned two years old, was that we were dealing with mild autism. But because of her progress and social prowess, both her speech and occupational therapists concur that's off the table, although it will take the next few years to see what other deficits might appear during grade school.
Activities like crossing the midline are critical, because when one crosses the midline, the brain begins to make new connections and the right and left hemispheres begin to work together. This communication process organizes the brain for better concentration and problem solving.
We are going to have some more testing done this summer to rule out physical anomalies, but while I watched her during her OT appointment, I was so proud of her progress. The physics of drawing a rainbow have been mastered, and even though her speech still includes a sometimes brief frequency-tuning undecipherable phrase before nailing a sentence, she's really doing quite well.
I was especially proud of her after taking her to the Happy Hollow Park & Zoo yesterday for a sunrise animal feeding tour. She really enjoyed it, paid attention and romped just like one of the regular kids. Don't get me wrong -- it's not that she's irregular, but for any parent who has a child with any "disorder," however mild, it's thrilling when they make progress like those children without any issues.
And we rocked the toddler roller coaster!
Beatrice's sunny disposition is the most amazing thing to be around, though. It's like she's mastered the physics of living a rainbow, something I wish I would've had more of growing up. We do hope she can carry that with her into grade school and beyond.
Bryce? Well, she's a different animal for sure -- bolder, more confident and developmentally in order than her elder sister was on the cusp of two. She's already mastered the physics of eating a rainbow. Seriously. More on that soon.
Look out world. My girls mean business.