In the 20 months since Sam was born, we have been really lucky. Yes, he was just 24-weeks when he was born, spent 95 days in the NICU, had heart surgery and eye surgery... but other than a hospitalization for RSV last December, we have had no long term issues to deal with. So it was with great surprise that our 18-month high risk clinic evaluation didn't go well.
I was sure we would walk in, they would take one look at Sam and tell us that there was no need to come back. I mean, here he was, walking, talking up a storm (in two languages no less), playing with toys, and interacting with other kids. But no. Not only did they not fire us, but they referred us to OT, PT, speech therapy and a pediatric ophthalmologist.
According to the doctor, Sam was showing some delays in his fine motor skill and perceptual motor skill development. This could be related to his ROP, hence the referral to the opthalmologist. It could also be a developmental delay between in his hand-eye coordination. Whatever it is, we will be seeing a bunch of specialists over the next few weeks.
On top of the fine motor skills issues, the doctor was concerned about Sam's lack of eye contact. He never once looked the doctor in the face. It seemed like he went out of his way to not look at her. I have noticed that Sam is not that big of a fan of strangers, and doesn't go them easily, but I have not really paid attention to his ability to make eye contact. I know he will look at me and other people he is comfortable with in the face, but strangers... I don't know.
Here are just a few shots of Sam interacting with his oldest friend - Bennett (also a NICU grad):
Of course, all of this has gotten my terror over autism back to the forefront. I told the doctor this was one of my biggest fears, and while she didn't say what she was seeing was a sign of autism... she didn't say it wasn't. I am doing my best not to let my mind wander, but its hard.
Do you have any experience with fine motor skills delays? Any advice?
I am also happy to lend you an ear if you want to talk to somebody who has gone through many evaluations with potential outcomes anywhere from harmless and transient to potentially life impacting. I sure know that fear, and though I have a child who had to tackle a number of challenges, she is overall healthy and happy. Given that history, I also know a great number of various specialists. No need to contact me, if this is not what you want now, but know that you can always ask for my help.