Thursday, May 8, 2008

Food For Thought

We had one of those crazy days today. First, we had vision therapy, which is a once-a-month deal. Then, the speech therapist called wondering if she could come by today instead of tomorrow since she was having some scheduling issues. I obliged since we didn't have anything going on. He did super with the speech therapist. He's learning to make the baby sign "more" and he kept using it when she played with bubbles. Truthfully, his "more" looks a lot like a left hook, but I'll take it. We worked a little bit on "all done" as well. He's still not making any babbling sounds, but he is making a lot more noise and the guh sound is happening pretty frequently. Also, he participates in reciprocal sound making--she makes a noise, he makes a noise--which is a good sign.

Vision therapy is a little more emotional for me. He did great, though. He attended to the therapist frequently, he showed interest in batting objects, he eye movements looked purposeful for the most part. I even broached the subject of Braille v. print, which is a tough one for me. At this point, I've decided that I'm going to present Charlie with both--we'll let time tell us which one works better for him. We were getting to the end of the session when I remarked that people in stores and restaurants often think Charlie is sleepy. The thing is, when he's introduced to a new place, he tends to close his eyes and take it in auditorily. Also, if you look at the picture from yesterday, he often lowers his eyes some. I don't know if it's a little light aversion or what, but he does it a lot. No matter what, he doesn't ever have that wide-eyed, blank stare that most babies have. If he's looking at something, it's purposeful.

The vision therapist said that she'd given a talk on this very issue at a recent conference. In her opinion, the way you tell others about your child's vision reflects how you feel about it. That, in turn, tells your child how to feel about it. Lie to strangers and you're sending the message that there's something shameful about it. Face it head on, and they'll grow up knowing that it's nothing to be embarrassed about. She recommended saying, "He's blind, but he's listening to everything you say."

So, I'm agonizing a little bit. First, Charlie isn't blind. He has confusing, hard-to-understand vision issues. Second, people aren't asking me if he's sleepy--they're telling me. I used to just nod my head and keep doing my thing. Currently, I just tell people that he's playing possum, which is partly true. Too much noise and excitement and he'll shut those peepers pronto. His father was the exact same way as a baby. He does look around, though, and he'll usually throw a quick glance at whomever is talking to him before returning to gnawing on his hand. Is an explanation really necessary at this point? Am I ashamed or am I just just uncertain myself?

So much to consider.