A Completely Different Child

Just a few months ago, my little Bear….

Oh, my Bear.

He has always been such a sweet little boy.

But, he really struggled.

Developmental delays.

Sensory Processing Disorder.

Speech delays.

Even the big “A” word was tossed around.

All as a result of an illness that he had.

No one could tell us if the effects would go away as his body healed or if there would be permanent neurological damage. Just typing those three words makes me want to throw up.

I tried my best to hold it together during the day, but I would go into his room when he was sleeping, run my fingers through his hair, and pray for God to heal him. And cry. Wanting him to be “normal.” Wanting everyone to be able to see the sweet little boy that he is.

Bear, on his first day of 3 year-old preschool.

He would try to express himself, get frustrated that he couldn’t, and sometimes bite someone.

Or scream.

He’d try to tell us things, but couldn’t really string many words together. Unless he was singing. It’s the reason I tolerate the weirdness of Yo Gabba Gabba. Their songs helped us communicate with our son.

He’d cover his ears and leave the room if things were loud.

You could call for him and it was like he couldn’t even hear you.

And not in the same way that my other boys might choose to ignore me.

He really couldn’t hear me.

Getting him to do simple things like sit down or walk with his classmates in a line were impossible for him.

He wasn’t trying to be difficult or defiant.

It was just beyond him to be able to do those things.

Even trying to get him to cooperate enough to be able to be evaluated by the early childhood interventionists was near impossible. They weren’t sure what to do with him, since they couldn’t really tell us any results that they considered valid. So, all they would suggest is that we retest him in a few months. Over and over again.

But, oh, how he’s changed.

We all understand him now.

He speaks in long sentences.

He answers when you ask him a question.

Sometimes he says or does things that his older brother would get in trouble for, but we laugh and hug him. Excited that he CAN say these things.

He is able to sit and participate with his classmates.

He can hear you when you call for him.

Sometimes he might choose not to actually do what you tell him to, but it’s a choice, not an inability to process what you are asking him to do.

He still has some struggles, but he is healing.

It’s like he is a completely different child from who he was just a few months ago.

Bear, on the day of his preschool Valentine’s Day party

I’m typing this with tears in my eyes.

He went through another early childhood intervention screening recently. I watched from another part of the room as he sat at the different stations, following directions and talking to the evaluators. We only hit one small bump, because they had over-scheduled the evaluations and at one point, he had to play for about a half an hour before moving to the final station. By that point, he was tired and wanting to play and didn’t cooperate.

But, that was only one small segment. And I think it’s even understandable for any three year-old.

The results of that screening told the team that he did not need to come back to undergo the full screening. Not unless I, as the parent, had additional concerns.

Because I like to be on the safe side and I’d rather he get additional help now if he needs it, and because his score was not much above their cut-off point for needing to have further evaluations done, I did tell the team that I wanted to bring him back for the full evaluation. That is where we are headed this afternoon.

I still worry about him. I don’t know if I’ll ever stop.

But, I know now that he is getting better. And pray that in time, there will be no lasting effects from his illness.

What a blessing.

Click HERE for other people who have to tell you the story behind their pictures.


  1. Missy says

    That's great news. I hope he continues to improve. I understand the importance of early intervention, but I have to admit, sometimes I think pre-school teachers jump the gun on "disorders" in the young. Good luck!

  2. This Mama Works It! says

    He is so adorable! I am so happy that he is making improvements. That is great!

    You are a great mom and I am sure your love and encouragement has a lot to do with his improvements.

  3. Rebecca says

    What a story! One that so many Moms can relate to. So glad to hear that things are working themselves out, but I'm sure that your determination and love helped things along too. The music is huge (in my opinion) and sounds like it did wonders for his communication (as annoying as Yo Gabba Gabba is). Keep up the great work!!!

  4. FRANNIE says

    Stopping By from SITS but I had to say that you've described my oldest nephew exactly.

    He had such difficulty when he was 3 doing the most basic of things, he had all the tests, early intervention pre-school, my SIL quit her job to be at home and work with him constantly. They thought it would never get better, they were deathly afraid that it would be permenent.

    He's now 5 and the change has been nothing if not miraculous.

    My brother said he actually cried at Family Game Night at school when my nephew waited in the line with the other kids until it was his turn for something. Such a small thing for the other kids but huge for him.

    It seems like the road is never ending but it will get better. Good Luck.

  5. The Manic Mommy says

    Thats awesome news! I'm really happy to hear that Bear's doing better! He is truly an adorable kid & I hope & pray for nothing less than the best for him! He sounds like everythings getting better – it's amazing what a little prayer & hope can do! I'm really happy for you & for bear!!

  6. singedwingangel says

    I am so glad he is becoming okay again.. as a mother to a bipolar child who was misdiagnosed for years I can understand the fear and frustration as your child cannot begin to communicate what they are feeling… so glad BEar is okay and he is a doll baby..

  7. Ginny Marie says

    I'm so glad Bear has improved so much! It's wonderful that as a teacher you know early intervention is so important, and you're not sticking your head in the sand like some parents do when their child has a developmental problem. I think with you as a mom, Bear will only continue to improve!

  8. Rachel says

    I don't have children yet, but my biggest fear when I DO have them is the "A" word. I'm so happy that your child is doing better!

    Go see the new home for your button! Thanks for letting me know.. although your button is the only one working for now lol. I tried to get the SITS button, and all that did was give me a red X. So I will try again later :)

  9. Stepping On Cheerios says

    Shell, he is so handsome. I am so glad to hear how he's turned things around. I have my own concerns with Muffin, going through his 2nd eval this coming Monday.

    Good luck to you and Bear today. Hope to hear how it goes:)

  10. Elizabeth Patch says

    thanks for stopping by my blog and helping make my SITS day so wonderful. I hope your beautiful boy continues to grow to his full potential!

  11. Terry says

    Shell…I think I was in tears with the first few sentences of this post! That was without even knowing what it was going to be about. Your Bear is adorable!! And having 3 kids myself, one with ADD…it's tough! And scary!! I'm so glad he's moving along in the right direction :)

  12. Adoption of Jane says

    THANK GOD!!! So glad the big "A" hasn't hit you!! Congrats on going through everything necessary to find out whats going on. So many mothers just say… oh well he will talk on his own time.. blah blah blah, but early intervention is so important! Good Job Shell!! Nice dodge of the A bullet too! WHEW!!!

    P.S. I am in Love with the MotherBitches Button!!! I forgot you emailed me about it… just saw it and its on my (underconstruction) Blog!! Woot Woot!!

  13. Melissa says

    I'm so happy to hear that he's doing better! He is so adorably cute! I hope he continues his progress. He's lucky to have such a great mom too!

  14. We live in a Zoo! says

    I don't think we ever stop worrying about our children.
    I'm so glad to hear he is doing so well, that is awesome!
    What an amazing kid!

  15. Kmama says

    He is such a cutie pie!!

    I'm sitting here with tears in my eyes too.

    I know exactly how it feels when you don't know what a diagnosis will mean for your child. The fear and anxiety that you go through. And for me, the depression and sadness as you try to sort it all out in your mind.

    I am so glad that he's doing so well. Good luck today!!

  16. Evonne says

    I have tears in my eyes from reading this. That is so great that he is doing better! I hope his progress continues.

  17. Angie says

    Oh, how I love Bear!!!! He really is such a sweet little guy! I miss him a lot!

    Good luck today! Praying for good news!

    (I can't believe how grown up he has gotten in the past 5 mo!)

  18. Lucy says

    So glad to hear that he is making strides with his development. My monkey is just 1 and during my pregnancy and now I worry, I worry a lot. I am a teacher, I see it all, and I used to work closely with toddlers with Autism. It's worrisome. Best of Luck and best of luck on a continued path to recovery.

  19. a49erfangirl says

    I hope today goes well with the evaluations. It's the strides that the kids make that make us think of the positive side :)

  20. Mama (Heidi) says

    Such a handsome little guy.

    What great stride he has made, I hope today's evaluations can give you more answers than questions.

  21. Kerri says

    Moms never stop worrying…at least this is what I hear when I wonder aloud the same thing…does the worry every stop?

    Probably not.

    I hope today at least puts some worrying to rest.

    before there's something else to worry about.

    ;o) he's a handsome little man.

  22. Eternal Lizdom says

    Oh wow wow WOW!! What an amazing story and turn of events!!

    My brother- who is currently a junior in high school- had delays until he was about 3 or 4. Then they subsided. He had a very involved mom and a very nurturing and teaching home environment. He struggles a bit now and has gone through a lot of tests and such. They now know he has a hearing problem- he basically only catches and comprehends a certain number of words in a sentence. It's a minor disability and it's easy to work with.

    So there may be troubles later on down the road- but given that he has an awesome mom and home environment- he'll come through whatever lies ahead just fine.

    As always- when in doubt- I always turn to prayer!

  23. Kearsie says

    What a sweet Bear.

    I will pray for him, that he continues to grow and learn, and for you, Mommy, that you will have the wisdom and peace to handle anything that may come up.

  24. Alexis AKA MOM says

    I'm tearing up right along with you, what a wonderful thing! I'm so glad he's been able to take such leaps and bounds! What a wonderful story and blessings!

    Many prayers with you and the family!

  25. Jennifer says

    You are such a great mommy!!

    I'm so glad to hear that Little Bear is continuing to improve! He is such a handsome little bugger :-)

  26. Dondi says

    Oh that's so awesome!! I'm so glad things are getting better for you guys! I have been there countless times with my son – he was born with Down Syndrome and in the last year we've discovered he also has SPD stemming from high functioning Autism. It's been a long road through evals & therapy but he is making his way nicely through it all. And it's such an amazing thing to watch as they grow & progress. When I look at my son now it's crazy to think of how he was a year ago. He's such a different kid thanks, in part, to the amazing teachers & therapists he has that have never given up on him.

  27. Just Another Mom of 2 says

    Oh, you have me tearing up with you reading this post! I'm so, so, so, glad that he is improving so well! I would take him for the full one too, because after all you have been through, you want to make sure you're thorough. You're a dedicated mom, I can feel your emotions through your words! Good luck today and lots of love to you and that precious little boy.

  28. mom2three says

    My son has some characteristics that are very similar to Bears.
    We adopted him from Guatemala so he was always a bit different than us but then he started showing autistic traits. He was screened for autism and we were told what he has was a social issue and very mild it would most likely go away on its own.

    We are now learning of this SPD and think we may have found out what he has. He has high anxiety (if you watch the video I posted of him yesterday you can see it), he can't answer simple questions without being coaxed and if at some point you don't help him come up with the answer he will completely shut down.
    I am so happy to hear that your lil guy is pulling through this and opening up, it brings me hope. We didn't get my son into an early intervention because we were told he was "a delightful sweet child" I blame myself for listening to that lady…so needless to say when things started getting worse it was to late for the state to help us out. He will be 4 in a couple weeks and is probably at a 2 1/2 year olds learning level when it comes to emotions and friendships…we are working on it and all I can do is just love him!

    Thanks for posting this and sorry my comment is so long…your Bear is beautiful!!!

  29. Michelle @ Flying Giggles says

    First of all…adorable! I am so happy he has progressed. As a parent it is so hard to just hope and pray that things go well, all we want is for our children to be okay. Why didn't anyone tell us how difficult it would be?

  30. Danielle says

    I'm not a mother yet but I suspect I too will always worry about my kids when I do have them.

    As a EI evaluator, your absolutely right there is a limit as to what a three year old can and will do and if we need to have them come back sometimes we will do that to get better information but it doesnt necessarily mean anything bad.

    I believe (and again not a mom yet so I can't say how my thoughts will change when I am), your in charge of the 'nurture' component in the nature/nurture argument.. You are in charge of loving and working with and teaching and caring with all your heart for your child.

    God's up to the nature aspect and prayer is awesome and God is awesome, but you cannot control it so your son will do whatever he can or cannot do and its just your job to love him!:)

    and I think your doing awesome at that!


  31. Shelle-BlokThoughts says

    I love to read posts like this. Good things happen to everyone…but the hope and understanding you portray is so uplifting!

    Your little boy looks like he stepped out of a magazine!

  32. Semi-Slacker Mom says

    He is so cute! We were almost at the point with Bo when he was around 2-3. Now, he is one of the smartest kids I know. And I'm not saying that because I'm his mother. He spells & he turned 5 in Dec. He still has hearing issues, but that has nothing to do with his delay.

  33. Sarah says

    This post made me have tears in my eyes! I'm glad to hear your little one is doing better. Stay strong!

  34. Tgoette says

    Great story! It's a blessing that he has rebounded so well and I am so happy for you and your family! Such a cute boy too! Doing great, mom!

  35. Elle says

    What a fantastic post! We're having similar struggles with my four-year-old nephew right now, and the "not knowing"–whether he'll grow out of it, whether it's a result of trauma, whether it's hereditary–is frustrating, scary, and sad.

    I'm so glad Bear is doing so much better! What a relief and a blessing, I'm sure!

  36. Krystyn says

    What a cutie. Worrying is what we moms do best right? And, it's best to go with your gut. I would have done the exact same thing.

    So glad your little Bear is doing better and making progress.

  37. Contemporary Troubadour says

    Wonderful news, Shell. In your shoes, I imagine I'd opt for the full evaluation too. I've always found it more helpful to get thorough answers when they're available — but to each her own.

  38. Crazed Mama says

    Yeah for Bear and you Mama. I am an Early Intervention Specialist and it is because of mama's like you that kids make progress like his! Big hugs from the other side of NC

  39. The Mommyologist says

    I am just so happy to hear that he is improving so much!! I can't even imagine what you have gone through with worrying about him. I am SO thrilled to hear that things are looking up and that he's on the right track now!!

  40. Joy says

    glad all is going well and glad top hear that you are so proactive at getting him help and not just sitting back and letting him get a label and live with that.

  41. Chelle says

    Oh, honey, I LOVED this post. The realness of it. I felt as if I were there with you while I was reading this. I am so happy for you and you are such a loving, caring Mommy.

    He is a cutie pie–so adorable!

    I know this afternoon will go wonderfully for him and for you. Sending you love and prayers.


  42. Lisa says

    He's such a little cutie!! I'll admit I got tears in my eyes reading your post. I am so happy for you that he has improved and getting more awesome all the time:) Bigs Hugs to you Girl!!

  43. Momma Fargo says

    He is absolutely a very beautiful child! Sounds like you are on top of things and taking the right measures for him. Keep up the good parenting. Great strides already!

    Big hugs and prays sent your way!

  44. Margaret says

    He is so cute!!!!!!!!! At least he is improving and getting better. I hope everything goes well for you.

    Your family is in my thoughts and prayers.

  45. Erin says

    That was so beautiful. Thank you for sharing his struggles and triumphs. You are such a good Mom. I hope that he continues to show progress.

  46. Anna says

    What a nice story of success and triumph. What is "normal" anyway? It's too bad that we as moms feel so much pressure for our children to fit into society's definition of normal. I feel it too, but also try to embrace the differences of my child and love even the things others may see as negative attributes, because they too make him who he is.
    I'm so happy Bear has made such progress!

  47. Kane's Mom says

    I cannot even imagine how strong you must be. You said you were writing with tears in your eyes, but what mom couldn't help but read this with tears in theirs? I am happy to hear that your beautiful child is improving. He's such a doll!

  48. Ams says

    Aw, he is absolutely gorgeous!!
    Parenting is the hardest thing we will ever do in our lifetime and to watch our kids struggle? Oh my goodness, there are no words to describe how hard that is.
    I love this post… and what a blessing indeed!

  49. Shandal says

    Stay strong Momma. That's a very heart wrenching story for a Mom to have to tell as it is her own story. I can only imagine your feelings going through all that. What a relief though that he seems to be doing better. I'm glad you're getting more tests done. A mother knows what's best for her children. I'll be thinking of you guys for the rest of the day. :)


  50. Sara says

    How wonderful!

    It sounds like something clicked for him that is allowing better communication and far less frustration.

    So glad to hear it!

  51. Sunday says

    Oh Shell, I am soooo glad Bear is doing so much better.

    I would have gone ahead with the expanded testing as well…like you said, if there is a delay that is lingering it is better to get the intensive therapies now rather than later.

    (Hugs) to you and your sweet little boy!

  52. Sonora says

    The part about you going into his room at night and praying and crying for him brought tears to my eyes. It is one of the hardest things as a mother to watch your child struggle and not know how to help them. I am so glad he is doing better!

  53. Jeannie, Jane, Angel, Mommy, etc.. says

    My little cousin has sensory. He also has an issue with his ears. He has had several surgeries to help. So glad to know that your little man is getting better.

  54. Nick, Ali and Kendall says

    He is such an adorable little boy! You are one lucky mom!! I'm glad things are getting better for you both! :)

    Sending my Love!

  55. Tam says

    Beautiful tribute to your littel guy, Shell. And to you, for being such a strong and loving mom. You are both very lucky!

  56. Busymom3 says

    Shell, I am so glad that he did well on his evaluation. Follow your instincts, never stop fighting for him, you can never ask for too much. We have gone through issues with two of our children and had to fight all the way to make sure that they have recieved all of the interventions and assistance that they need. You are his best advocate and as long as he has you on his side he will be fine.

  57. Helena says

    It sounds really encouraging for your little man. I also would want to do everything possible to bring him up to speed! It's a scary thing to have to stare the A word in the face. Hats off and congratulations! He's really really cute!

  58. Heather @ Two Little Monkeys says

    Glad Bear is doing much better. I have had that A word thrown at me about Lil Big Man. You guys are in my prayers ((hugs))

  59. Midday Escapades says

    Aw, Shell, that so touched my heart. So glad to hear Bear is okay. He's very lucky to have a mom like you. :0)

  60. magically ordinary says

    What a beautiful boy you have! I am so glad he is doing better. What a great mom he has!!

  61. Sarah and the Gentlemen says

    Oh man, Shell. That's so hard. I'm so glad to hear that he is improving and you can breathe better now.

  62. Cameron says

    wow, I was welling up in tears reading this. I'm about to have my first child in may, and I can't even fathom all that you go through in worrying and hoping for your boy. I hope that the hardest part is done and he's in for a normal life …you are a great mom.

    thanks for sharing.

  63. Foursons says

    He is gorgeous. Just remember, he is the same child before the diagnosis and after. The label doesn't change who your beautiful little boy is.

    My Jakob is on the autism spectrum. Which is HUGE by the way. If by chance the tests come back with non stellar results and you want to chat- I'm here. :)

  64. Much More Than Mommy says

    This gave me goosebumps! I'm so happy to hear that he's done so well, I pray he continues to improve!!

  65. Jene says

    What an amazing story. You must be so happy that he's growing up to be a healthy little boy. Thank you for sharing!

  66. Booklover1212 says

    I'm new to reading your blog, but this post brought tears to my eyes. What a sweet little boy he is!!

    Praying that he continues to heal and soar with leaps and bounds!

    ~ Jennifer

  67. Desert Rose says

    I know you have spoken of difficulties before, so happy to hear that there is progress! Yay for him and the family!

  68. Masala Chica says

    He's a beautiful boy and will be that much stronger because of the challenges he has gone through – he is lucky to have your guys as parents.

    He will soar with love and support from you.


  69. ModernMom says

    Shell! I'm so behind in my reading I had no idea the day you were having!
    You have one strong beautiful little boy there. And one strong Mama to see him through what ever he might need. It sounds like he has made unbelievable gains in the last little while! Such a blessing!
    As a Resource Consultant who used to sit and hold the hands of parents while their babes were being assessed by a team of "professionals" I would just like to say no one knows your boy better then you. Always follow your gut and you will never be wrong.
    You go girl, and congratulations on every little victory.


    had to read this. he is a beautiful baby boy and such a little blessing. i am so glad he bounced back. they are tougher than we ever think they are :) big hugs from just another motherbitch

  71. Ms Bibi says

    He's such a sweet little boy. I am so glad to hear that he's doing well.

    My little nephew is going through evaluations for AS right now. I know what they will tell us, but my little sister is living in denial.I wish I could snap her put of it so she can concentrate on her little guy and help him along the way.

    Bear is so lucky to have such a caring and loving mama bear.

  72. Tammy says

    He is such a cutie…love his smile. I am so glad you shared this story. It will help so many moms out there not knowing what they need to be doing for their child. Give little Bear a bug hug all the way from WA.

  73. Messy Mommy says

    It's so hard to watch your child go through something like that. We went through something similar with Otter and his epilepsy. Prayer is power and God is a miracle worker! Praying for you and Bear!

  74. HeatherOz says

    I'm so glad that things are getting better for you and your cute Bear. Both of my boys had speech and physical delays. After they started preschool they really made a lot of progress. Now they are the youngest kids in the "regular" 1st grade class. I'm so proud of them!

  75. Deb says

    This is exactly the kind of story I needed to read tonight. I'm so happy that your boy–and YOU–are healing and I can feel your joy at Bear's progress. Thanks for the reminder to appreciate the little things. XOXO

  76. Kimberly@PrettyPinkMomma says

    I am so glad to hear that Bear is doing so much better! Every child grows and learns at their own rate and in their own special way. This, I have had to learn.

    Shell, you and I have so much in common – its crazy. My middle son, Benji who will be five in a month sounds exactly like your Bear. It was like you were talking about my son in your post – to a tee. We have been through so much with him, the A word was thrown around and now, thankfully, totally dismissed. I agree, thank goodness for songs! It helped communication so, so much!

    He still receives private speech lessons and he also goes to a developmental preschool. Both of those have helped to thrive so that when he starts kindergarten next year hopefully he will be able to adjust and behave like how they expect a five year old to behave. I fear his social awkwardness combined with his speech issues will jeopardize his ability to learn alongside all of his classmates. Only time will tell. I wish for everyone to be able to see the bright, sensitive, loving, silly kid that I see. I too, remember the moments when I cried, praying to God for him to be seen as normal by other children as well as adults. I still struggle with it, as does he. He is very aware when another child points out that he is "weird" and it hurts his feelings. I just do my best to explain to him that he is special and if others can't see it than they are missing out on wonderful friend.

    Sorry for this super long comment!!

  77. Lisa Marie says

    confessions of a working mom sent me over and I am so glad I did.
    I have worked with many kiddos with different types of developmental delays and disabilities. Sounds like the early intervention has done wonders. Early intervention is the key. I am glad he is thriving and is happy. I can not even imagine how hard it has been for all of you. My thoughts are with you.

  78. says

    Thank you for your honesty and courage to share Bear’s story, I’m sure this was difficult for you. God doesn’t make mistakes, and if He brought you to it, He’ll bring you through it. My prayers are with you and your family, wishing you much love and happiness, and fulfilling lives.
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