We finally got the occupational therapist's report on Conor's balance and coordination issues yesterday. The good news is that no one thinks that there are any problems with Conor's intellectual development. That is doing just fine. The other news is that yes, Conor does have a real problem with balance, coordination and tone. His teachers think that his body has just grown quicker than has his ability to keep up.
Indeed, in some ways, his gross body movements and his ability to move objects (i.e., throw or catch a ball) are similar to those of a two year old. YIKES! That part still freaks me out when I read it.
As I suspected, the OT confirmed this morning that the only real problem that would happen should we not engage in therapy is that Conor would become very frustrated in group activities when his friends could do things he could not. Speaking from our own tall experience, Dave and I can relate.
And yes, we have noticed things. Conor doesn't climb the monkey bars as well as the other children. Once, this weekend, he tried one funky ladder at the playground and when he reached the top and was supposed to lean over and climb onto the slide, his legs were visibly shaking, he was so afraid he was going to fall. Also, when we asked him to balance on one foot (a marker for this sort of problem), he wasn't not able to do so for one full second, a skill that he should be able to do for 5 seconds without swaying right now.
I pointed out to the OT that Conor can hit a ball with a bat when we pitch it to him and that he can really swing a golf club. The OT said it's not what he does, but how he does it. Conor has to contort himself to do these things. My hopes are that once his body can do these things more easily and gracefully, he could really be able to tap into that eye-hand coordination he has (and we don't).
I'm only slightly upset by this. There is no "real" problem here. He is emotionally, socially and developmentally really blooming. It's just a bit unnerving to find out that my precious little pumpkin is not perfect. (and no, I don't expect perfection, but wasn't that a nice alliterative sentence?) Dave and I both acknowledge that neither of us would have noticed this if the school hadn't. And if we can fix these issues before Junior High gym, why on earth wouldn't we?
So he will engage in play occupational therapy twice a week at school. From what I gather, it's called play therapy because it feels like playing for the children. (And the OT said Conor was one of the sweetest little boys she's worked with!) We will get some exercises to do at home, too. And also, she encouraged us to let him play on the playground more, to take him swimming and to enroll him in a gym class.
So there we are. I have to admit that I'm glad we're at this school where they are trained to notice these things. But I sort of wish we didn't think there was a problem. But it will give us all practice, no? Conor will practice now when it's fun and it's not embarrassing in front of his friends, and we will practice dealing with all the problems that are going to come up in our child's life.