Monday, March 03, 2008

On a serious note

I just realized that we never really updated after meeting with the neuropsychologist. *sigh* I might have a different update next week after Haley sees her Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrician for a follow-up but for now, this is what we know. Haley's medical condition has caused some developmental delays and concerns all along. She has non-progressive brain damage. We've felt very much on top of things and have been blessed to have great medical and therapeutic care for her. She's doing great. She's smart and funny and loving and compliant. Sometimes. In some ways. In some things. She also has a lot of difficulties - anxiety, poor attention skills, very poor coping skills, explosive outbursts, etc. Lately we've had trouble knowing how to help her. We knew she had Sensory Processing Disorder and we expected she would have balance and coordination issues due to her brain malformation but that didn't seem to cover the things we've been worried about. Turns out, she has Nonverbal Learning Disorder. She's very young for an "official" diagnosis (most children are diagnosed many years older than she is currently) but she fits the profile and even has most of the secondary attributes. NLD (also called NVLD) fits closely with pervasive developmental disorders. It has life-long implications. It is similar to Asperger Syndrome. NLD generally includes problems with the following skills: •motoric - lack of coordination, balance problems, and difficulties with graphomotor skills •visual-spatial-organizational - lack of image, poor visual recall, faulty spatial perceptions, problems with spatial relations and difficulties with executive function (neuropsychological functions including, but not limited to, decision making, planning, initiative, assigning priority, sequencing, motor control, emotional regulation, inhibition, problem solving, planning, impulse control, establishing goals, monitoring results of action and self-correcting) •social - lack of ability to comprehend nonverbal communication, difficulties adjusting to transitions and novel situations, and deficits in social judgment and social interaction •sensory - sensitivity in any of the sensory modes: visual, auditory, tactile, taste or olfactory NLD also has some typical assets - excellent rote memory skills, superior verbal abilities/vocabulary, high overall intelligence (but a large discrepancy between verbal IQ and performance IQ) and strong auditory abilities. What does this mean for Haley? Truthfully, we have no idea! But we expect that she'll continue to delight us and exasperate us. We're excited to see what the future brings for her and for us. Stay tuned!

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