My son, who just turned two and has SPD, is a delightful little boy. He is growing by leaps and bounds lately, and just so full of life. His eye contact is night and day from 6 months ago. His ability to focus and engage with others is steadily improving. People who do not see him regularly sometimes picture him how he used to be, and people who do not know him misjudge his capabilities. Some assume because he flits about from task to task or does not respond to his name means he must not be clever. Others think that because he doesn’t speak or enjoys tearing tissue that he is not normal. To them I say my boy is normal, and he is sensational.
At session with his Developmental Therapist, M, this week, Bud was well behavd but not very interested in her activites as he’d quickly lose interest and run away to play with one of his own toys. When M gets out something he is really interested in, he can stick with it. He really likes her puzzle. It is one of those large piece wodden puzzles with 5 basic shapes. When he first startd DT, he could not do this puzzle. He gained new skills as the weeks went on and he has since, as M put it, mastered this puzzle.
Since Bud didn’t seem impressed with any of her tricks this week, M decided to give a more difficult puzzle a try to see if he might be into the challenge. Bud leans toward getting frustrated easily, but I was all for it. This puzzle was also a wooden shape puzzle, but the pieces were much smaller and there were 8 shapes. Pairs of shapes that were similar were the same color. For example, the oval and the circle were both blue. M handed Bud a piece. He looked at the piece, then his eyes scanned the whole puzzle board. Boom, he slammed it down into the correct spot, gave it a little wiggle until it slid in place, and got it first try! He proceeded to do this with all 8 puzzle pieces!
The thing that was really cool to me was watching his eyes. You saw him scanning the board, locating and matching up where the pieces should go. M said she was super impressed. M said that typical 2 year olds ususally finish this type of puzzle by trying the piece in all the slots until it fits the right one. M said the fact that he scanned the board and looked for the right spot was big. He was differentiating by color and shape, something he had not really done before, or cared to do. M is always saying how visual Bud is, and after his puzzle success she said it one more time, adding that he might be a great eingineer when he’s all grown up.
Now, I think my little boy is smart and love him to pieces. Yes, I sometimes I still feel a twinge in my heart when we are at the park and a child younger than him speaks to his mother in an understandable phrase, or when a parent looks at me funny because instead of getting Bud’s attention by calling his name I am making some crazy sound to pique his interest and capture his attention. These twinges are duller now, and infrequent, compared to last year, 6 months ago even. As I get to know Bud and his strengths, I feel prouder of him and blessed each day.
All that being said, I was surprised that Bud mastered that puzzle first try. M had him do it again just to make sure it was not a fluke, and he did! Later that day, I got out some puzzles that months before I had put into storage because he only threw the pieces or gave them a ride down the slide. I got out the car puzzle, and he got all the cars in first try! His brain must have made some new leap or connection in the last month or so, and it was wonderful to see. This whole puzzle thing made me realize that I need to be careful about underestimating my son. I am always so worried about other people misjudging him, that it never occured to me to watch out for myself. I think he is the bees knees, yet I was surprised that he finished those puzzles. I must always believe in his capabilities and challenge him. As a mom, sometimes it is hard to push our children because we do not want to see them upset, but I need to give him the opportuity to grow. Sometimes, he might not be there just yet. But sometimes, he will surprise even this already-a-believer mama bear.