Not long ago, I asked for some advice about Nora’s shyness and if it was normal for a child her age or excessive. I got a ton of comments, Facebook messages and emails, and I really appreciated all of them so much. I think one of the things I most love about my online community is how supportive everyone is and how I know I can always count on you for honest thoughts and reassuring words. I thought I would post a quick update on what’s going on for everyone who is interested.
After mulling over all of the comments, we ended up deciding to call Early Intervention to get an expert opinion — it seemed so much better than sitting around worrying and not knowing what I’m supposed to do as a parent. They came this morning and spent three hours with us, playing with Nora and afterwards talking with us about the assessment.
Honestly, I had no idea what to expect from Nora during the meeting. We had just had a different woman over to the house to talk with Chris and me, and Nora had cried the entire time, for over an hour and a half; I was both nervous and hopeful that she would do the same thing (hopeful, because then they could see it first hand). It turned out that Nora had no problems interacting with Nancy and Shannon, and as I watched her perform like a rock star on all of the play tests (even doing things I had no idea she could do) I began to feel a little silly about calling them…like here I was, this paranoid parent, with the above average child, freaking out about nothing.
The final verdict is that we have a child who is either age appropriate or advanced in every area except for her social skills, which are a little bit behind but not enough to qualify for early intervention. (Nora was 5 points above the cut-off in the social category).
Even if I felt a little silly for calling them to assess my child who is developing just fine, both Nancy and Shannon reassured me that it was good to call, and ultimately I am so glad that I did. Though we had no concerns about her development it was still really nice and interesting to watch the assessment in action. The most helpful part though came afterward when I was able to speak with Shannon about my concerns and when she gave me more direction for how I can help Nora to not be limited by her cautious personality. All along, one of my biggest concerns was that I just don’t know what is the appropriate parenting response when she gets uncomfortable and that I’m afraid I’m making it worse. After talking to Shannon, I feel a little more comfortable with how I am supposed to respond; I’m sure as I continue to mull over everything that comfort level will increase.
There are some immediate changes I have to make in my parenting, but nothing too drastic. Hopefully once fall rolls around, we’ll have worked through summer crowds and Nora will have spent more time away from me and Chris, she’ll be able to be a little more trusting of others.
I’m sure I will keep you all posted. Thanks again for caring about Nora and our family. We really appreciate it.
That’s great news and wonderful that you were able to get a professional screening done so quickly. One thing I thought of – is there something similar to the people who cause Nora to get upset? Perhaps it’s a smell (perfume?) or a tone in their voice or how they “vibrate” (anxious/nervous…) that she picks up on that we, as adults, become immune to as we ignore our intuitive sense… Just something to think about… Can’t wait to see you guys in a few weeks – I’m looking forward to that ocean air! 🙂
Sometimes it is impossible to tell what the similarities are, but one we know for sure is that she’s been developing a consist fear of the Jamaican men who work in the kitchen (even if she sees them in a different context, she is afraid). She had a couple of (for her) scary experiences with them (being picked up and jokingly being told she was being taken away for example), and those experiences have really stuck with her. Needless to say, that fear worries both of us quite a bit because we don’t want it turn into a bigger racial issue, so it’s something we have to tackle head on.
Wonderful news Amber! It’s wonderful you had this professional assessment done. While reading your post, I thought how important it was they told you ways to cope with Nora’s shyness, and different strategies you could do to ease your concerns in helping her. You have educated yourself further and this will help everyone. I’m sure years from now, you will look back on this, and Nora will be a social butterfly!
I’m curious- what” immediate changes” do you have to make in your parenting? Private message me if you prefer.
I don’t mind sharing. A lot of it is changing how we react to the fears — less coddling or letting it keep her away from experiences, places, and people. For example, if we go to the playground and she asks to leave immediately because she sees lots of kids there (which she’s done a couple times now), I need to say no. She doesn’t have to play with other kids or talk to strangers, but she needs to learn to be comfortable in the situation, which can only happen through exposure. So, I need to try even more to take her somewhere everyday and we’re going to gradually work on reintroducing going to the Brotherhood (we had been keeping her away). I’m also going to continue to make a more conscious effort to be better about telling people to leave her alone, but without the “she’s shy” explanation. The biggest change is that we aren’t going to try to talk about things after they’ve happened, which we have been trying to do. Nora is pretty advanced verbally and has been talking in paragraphs for a long time, so we would often try to talk to her about experiences after they were over (why are they scary, etc. trying to reason her out of her fear). Shannon pointed out that though Nora is a really good communicator, she likely doesn’t understand the deeper reasons for her fears and that those conversations were only reminding her that she was scared rather than helping her to work through the fear.