The little lady in our household (who is fast approaching eighteen months) seems to be getting a little confused in her development.
Things that she was able to do a few months ago seem to have regressed.
I’m not referring to her mobility skills or her cognitive processing, these all seem exceptional and she could probably run rings around most bubbas of the same age.
It is her speech and language and her unusual behaviours that are giving me some concerns.
She has had some extra hearing tests done as she was showing a strong sensitivity to noise. So much so that she would scream uncontrollably and avoid things that nobody else seemed to notice, or suddenly plug her ears with her fingers to block out the din.
This was something I used to witness with a boy who was pre-verbal and had autism.
Words that my little lady used to attempt to say have suddenly disappeared and to have been replaced by a single one: ‘mumma.’
She has a repetitive ritual that she does all day every day and that is to point at everything to say ‘mumma.’
Then followed by running after her siblings, “mumma, mumma, mumma!”
We say her name, ask her where she is, she points to her self, “mumma!”
She used to call out ‘nanny’ to her grandmother, it’s been replaced to ‘mumma.’
“Where are your eyes?” we ask her. She pokes herself in the eye as she excitedly proclaims, “mumma, mumma, mumma!”
This might not seem a big deal to most, but it signals a warning to me that there has been a significant decrease in her expressive language.
The levels in her receptive speech have remained constant and yet her expressive skills seem to have mysteriously dropped.
I take her to the park and she runs to the swing. I try to encourage her onto the other equipment but she becomes distressed and continually tries to drag me, by the hand, back to the swing and only ever to the same one. This to-ing and fro-ing of communication and desperate need will last even after the park visit.
We arrive home and she walks around the house ensuring every cupboard is shut, the bin lid is closed, then usually empties pans or trays in a row and stands in one.
The bin lid becomes jarred and doesn’t shut properly, she arches her back and screams uncontrollably. At this point she usually picks up an object and throws it over her shoulders in frustration.
I try to say the word ‘no,” and instruct her to pass the object to me.
Her bottom lip turns up and she cries struggling for breath, she runs to find her eldest PDA sibling and holds her arms up to be picked up, ‘mumma!”
Why has her language regressed?
Is it typical to experience some challenging behaviours with a child whose not even yet a toddler?
There was a statistic I saw once on the AutismSpeaks site stipulating that for parents with an autistic child, then there was a one in five risk of having a second child with autism.
Sometimes I wonder am I looking too much for signs?
I’m sure that’s pretty natural when you’ve already got a child whose development did not happen the same as her peers.
Other times I’m almost certain that my youngest could also be wired a bit differently.
I’m not seeing the same things as the eldest and I wouldn’t describe the youngest as being demand avoidant.
The littlest lady is unique to herself and has her own curious ways of discovering the world.
She is not her eldest sister and must not be compared to her either.
However, I feel much more confident as a mumma to face any new challenges that may come my way.
Our family dynamic changed over the last year and we have survived, some of which I’m sure I’ll blog about when I feel emotionally ready.
We may be an unconventional household and the littlest lady may think she has three mummas, but that’s ok, my new years resolution is to teach them that different does not equal less.
I have learnt that we must adapt to the challenges life throws at us.
It may have not been the way I envisaged it, but I’m ready to embrace and be proud of being a new family unit: Three Mummas And A Little Lady.