Sunday, February 19, 2012

You REALLY want to play the cognitive game, huh!?

You'll have to excuse the rant, and checklist format of this post. I'm in a mood. I had a LONG day (car accident... long story), and I really want to be all hyper-active-IEP-advocate-mom instead of search-for-a-new-car-with-a-lack-of-funds-single-mom. Bare with me...

The other day, at Cay's Review of Existing Data, his school IEP team decided to tell me that they suspect more than the Autism/ADHD/ODD/ED labels that he's been slapped with.... Wait for it... You sure you want to know?... ok, here we go... ((breathe, self. breathe))... Cognitive Delay. REALLY!? Albeit the fact that they did have a relatively decent explanation as to why, but it still wasn't one that amused me much. If they only knew how hard and often we work on his name, his personal info (he still asks me how old he is.. let alone other info), and work on phonics/numbers....

So, along with a bunch of other assessments (another post for a different rant day...) they will be testing his IQ again at a very in-depth range. At least I was able to do this with the advocate side of me.

Confession: Is it bad that I started bawling once I got into my car? Seriously. I teach special education for a living, for goodness sakes. I know the value of kids with cognitive delays. Helk, I want to adopt a baby with Downs someday. But.. ugh... my Caydon!? Really?! For some reason, that was quite difficult to take in. I think it was a slap in the face for the progress we HAVE made, while giving me a dose of potential reality.

Psychologically speaking, parents actually do mourn for their child upon a diagnosis. As if they are mourning the loss of the child that they thought they had. Truly, I practically took a class on it in my undergrad program. Is this what the tear works were? Hmmm.Maybe those tears weren't so odd, after all.

Anyways, I'm getting really sidetracked. I don't care about my tears, I care about Caydon's "cognitive function." Onto google I go. Cognitive Function concerns for a 5 year old with Autism.   Too complex. Cognitive Function concerns for a 5 year old. Period. Hmm. Closer. Congitive Function.... erase.... Typical 5 year old milestones. Closer. Normal 5 year old milestones. Bingo. Really? I had to dumb down my question?? I had to use the word "normal" verses "typical"? Hmmph. Google. Not a good night for you, I take it. Well, crappy day for me, too. I'll let it slide this time.

What I found:   (source-Medline Plus @

Physical and motor skill milestones for a 5-year-old child may include:
  • Gains about 4 - 5 pounds per year (sure does)
  • Grows about 2 - 3 inches per year (check)
  • Vision has reached 20/20 (nope.. this reminds me, I need to push those glasses he needs up on my priority list. Hmmmm. Car or glasses? Focus, self. Focus.)
  • Erupting the first permanent teeth (most children do not get their first permanent teeth until age 6) (hah, he got his first tooth at 14 months. Which I was THRILLED about. Easiest breastfeeding ever... did that until 17 months. Rockstar mom. Sad boobs. Maybe they were right about me having ADHD)
  • Developing increased coordination (come again?)
  • Skipping, jumping, and hopping with good balance (attempts. I was just happy he tries...)
  • Maintaining balance while standing on one foot with eyes closed (pah, I don't know if I can even do this..)
  • Showing increased skill with simple tools and writing utensils (he likes his tools like his mommy does)
  • Can copy a triangle (nope! but he can hold a pencil now! AND he finally draws pictures!!)
  • Spreads with a knife (this is his gig. thank you, Ikea, for your cheap plastic knives. blue, of course.)
Sensory and cognitive milestones:
  • Vocabulary increasing to over 2,000 words (yes, I count this consistently. REALLY!?)
  • Composing sentences of 5 or more words, and with all parts of speech (sort of. really, really bad grammar. Gosh, I am SUCH an English teacher!)
  • Identifying coins (ehhh, no)
  • Counting to 10 (yes, most of the time, he doesn't mess up! but this took a LONG time to do)
  • Properly naming the primary colors and possibly many more (yes)
  • Questioning more deeply, addressing meaning and purpose (Mommy, why did God stop making dinosaurs? Mommy, can I make a nesting ground to make more baby dinosaurs again? These count... right?)
  • Responding to "why" questions (he finally asks "why" questions... that's what they mean, right? No, awe man. Appease me)
  • Behaving more responsibly and apologizing for mistakes (hah)
  • Decreasing aggressive behavior (decreasing? possibly. worse because he's stronger? certainly)
  • Outgrowing earlier childhood fears (just beginning to get fears. hmm)
  • Accepting other points of view (but may not understand them)  (sooo far from it)
  • Demonstrating increased mathematical skill (he can count up to 10 now. finally. this counts!)
  • Questioning others, including parents (always has... even when he didn't speak, he still questioned me)
  • Strongly identifying with the parent of the same sex (well, since this guy is MIA. Let's just say, "N/A")
  • Having a group of friends (sadly... no...)
  • Engaging in imaginative play (for example, a trip to the moon)  (YES! The boy loves "We're going on a bear hunt!"  This mommy used to teach preschool, oh yes, she did!!)
Ways to encourage a 5-year-old's development may include:
  • Reading together (check!)
  • Providing the necessary space for physical activity (my house is a therapy and craft center, plus he has a backyard all to himself)
  • Instructing the child to participate in -- and learn the rules of -- sporting activities (check. effort here!)
  • Encouraging the child to play with other children, which helps develop social skills (always...)
  • Playing creatively with the child (ehhh I encourage it!?)
  • Monitoring both the time and content of television viewing (we don't own a TV. Check!)
  • Visiting local areas of interest (Dinosaur Museum? Always...)
  • Encouraging the child to take responsibility for small household chores, such as helping set the table or picking up toys after playing (Yes! Lots of hand over hand, but we're getting there!)

Hmm. This gives me a lot to think about... and a lot to stress about. I really shouldn't give those darn milestones that much thought, anyways. Who defines a "typical" child!? Really! There is no such thing as "typical" because the "typical" child is "atypical" to his peers in some way. Or so that's my quirky theory.

Am I the only one who runs wild with what someone says about your child? Tell me I'm not the only one with a kiddo on the spectrum who hears the "Cognitive Delay" thing!?! Any suggestions for the situation we're in... besides mommy stressin' out about it!?


  1. Yeah, I totally research, and then get all confused! :-) My son (ADHD, ODD, possible mood disorders) will be 5 in June...and he definitely cannot draw a triangle! (But the OT is working on it.) He does scribble nicely (and we almost hold the pencil properly)...we're holding him back a year from school since he has a summer birthday, but I'm bracing myself for "learning delays/disabilities" considering how long it took to learn colors...and we still have difficulty naming them although we can pick the right one out of a bunch.

  2. It's not really easy with your special child and I admit that I was having difficulties on finding educational games for him. Thanks for posting your ideas! learning math