Thursday, March 12, 2009

Our Bear

Today was a big day for us.  Bear has been exhibiting odd behaviors such as hand flapping and stimming and some problems with his motor skills.  His hand flapping happens when he is excited or learning something new and often is accompanied by him rocking his body, flapping his knees and sometimes making a humming noise.  From a distance it appears he is autistic but he doesn't have the main indicators of autism, which is good but frustrating because figuring out how to help, understand, and convey his differences to others is difficult.  He also struggles with opening containers and food packing, such as string cheese and he has a hard time sometimes getting buckled in the car, shutting the mini-van door, and figuring out his jacket.  On the flip side he is brilliant beyond belief.  He is reading above his grade level and can write well and his math skills are far beyond average.  He's also very affectionate and loving with everyone he meets, which makes him all the more lovable.

So today we were given a handout on complex motor stereotypies, which is what the neurologist feels he has.  This diagnosis sometimes accompanies ADHD, OCD, or learning disabilities, but Bear seems to have none of these issues.  We were also told that Bear has ataxia, which means in layman's terms he is clinically clumsy.  We were advised to work on his motor skills at home and he didn't recommend any therapies at this time. 

So now that I have some answers I feel I can move forward and help him a bit.  I am so thankful that it's something that can be helped and something that he will eventually be able to leave behind him.

On a side note, you should have seen the look on the resident's face when I told him Bear breastfed for two years.  He looked shocked and repeated "He was breastfed for two years?"  "Two and a half," I stated proudly and matter of factly.  The guy seemed like he didn't know what to say.  I guess he's never run into a crunchy mom such as myself before!