This morning the physical therapist came to evaluate Carter. This appointment was made well over a month ago when there were some developmental red flags, but most of the issues I had been concerned about seem to have resolved themselves while we were on vacation, as I noted in the last post. Still, I was glad to have the therapist work with him to get her professional opinion. There is a tremendous amount of research on micro-preemies that indicates they will likely eventually have some sort of developmental delay, and I want to make sure we recognize any potential problems as soon as possible.
It turns out that Carter is generally right on track for his adjusted age of 14 months. In all areas of the evaluation but two he scored right at 13 or 14 months (communication, social, and fine motor skills). On his cognitive skills, he was at 17 months, which made me really happy, as you might imagine. The therapist even remarked, "He's going to be a smart one." :-D
Oddly enough, he scored 13 months for the communication category, despite all of his signing and new words, solely because he doesn't ask for a drink from a cup. He asks to nurse, either by signing or by coming over and pulling up my shirt, but apparently that doesn't count. The developmental skill is that he can ask for a sippy cup by either a sign or a word, and he doesn't yet do that. I thought that was odd, but there you go.
On his gross motor skills he scored at an 11 month level, but the therapist said the only reason for that was because he wasn't yet walking. She said the test assumes most babies walk by 11 months, and admitted she thought that was a pretty high expectation. She said that all of his pre-walking skills were in place, and there was nothing she could see that would prevent him from walking any day now. She said most babies get all the skills in place and then plateau for a while before taking those first steps.
So she didn't see any reason to worry about him, but that low score did qualify him for services, so we'll be getting a visit from the ECI folks once a month to keep tabs on him. If we lived in NC, he would have been getting these visits all along, but in Texas the services aren't quite as robust. I'm glad we'll have another resource for him, and it certainly doesn't hurt to have an extra set of trained eyes, in case something does come up later on.
At the end of the session, the ECI representative was telling the therapist how early and small Carter was born, and she was just amazed at his progress. He really has come a long way. I know so many other preemie parents struggle with significant issues every day, so we're really lucky that Carter is, at least for now, a very normal toddler.
Here are some pictures and video from the last couple of days. Carter LOVES watermelon, and here he's gnawing on a piece of rind.
This is a cute video of him trying to eat yogurt with a spoon. He's working hard on it, but it's still a very messy process. You can hear him say "uh-oh" a couple of times in this video.
He's really climbing a lot lately, so much that we've had to re-evaluate our babyproofing. Here is a picture of him climbing on the couch, mostly taken to show off this diaper. ;-)
Here is a video that shows just how good he is at climbing these days.
And this one shows how he can get on and off the couch by himself. It's funny how it wasn't that long ago that I would physically follow him as he crawled on the couch because I was so afraid of him falling off. Now it's totally no big deal!
You can also hear him babbling a little in those videos. He's gradually adding new words and signs to his vocabulary. Last night at dinner, he finally signed "more"! I had baked a take-out pizza, and he ate almost two slices of it by himself. After the first piece, I figured he was done, so I went to put the leftovers in the fridge. When I walked away with the plate, he made a whining sound, and when I turned back to look, he signed "more". So he ate a second piece. Granted, they were small pieces, but still, that child can put away some food! He can scarf down a hot dog in no time, and regularly eats an entire container of yogurt at breakfast. He can eat his weight in fruit, I swear. If he eats like this now, what will it be like when he's 13?
So we're doing well! Carter is almost back on Texas time. He went to bed at 8:30 last night and woke up at 6:30, which is entirely acceptable. Before the vacation, he was going to bed at 9:00 and waking up at 8:00, so we're really close to normal. His naps are still all over the place, but he'll settle down again soon enough. :-)