As many of you know, either personally or through reading this blog, Hannah is a very special, smart little girl, with a few unusual quirks. Because of these particular quirks, Hannah's doctor sent her for specialized testing through the local early intervention program that serves infants and toddlers. Through this testing we have learned that what we believed (or rather had hoped) were just quirks are actually a medical syndrome called hyperlexia. Hannah's letter and number obsession, strong visual and auditory memory, sensitivities, and social difficulties with peers are the hallmarks of this particular syndrome. With early intervention this should have a very good prognosis-not a "cure" per se (I wouldn't want to change my little girl's personality anyway!), but the therapy she will receive should make her much less anxious in social settings, teach her coping skills for when she feels overwhelmed, and give her a much better chance at succeeding in school. One interesting thing we learned through this testing is that we received confirmation of what we believed was Hannah's exceptional intelligence but had always wondered if we were just being the typical parent who OF COURSE always thinks their child is brilliant. They did not do an IQ test on Hannah (they are considered unreliable on children of her age), but on the four cognitive development tests that they performed Hannah tested at a 4 or 5 year old level on each one! That's my smart little girl. Hannah will begin developmental therapy for 1 hour a week every week for the next year and at that point she will be reevaluated to see if she needs to continue. At 3 she will have aged out of the First Steps program (the early intervention agency), but if she still qualifies for services then we can start services through the school system. We haven't met her therapist yet, but I've talked to her on the phone and she seems really knowledgeable and nice. She has 2 other clients who are currently diagnosed with hyperlexia so that makes me feel like she knows what she's doing. We'll know soon enough. If we don't like her for whatever reason at all, we have the right to request a new therapist until we find someone we (and more importantly Hannah) click with. The therapist will do Hannah's therapy out in the community so that she can be around other kids to practice her skills and in August when she starts preschool the therapist will do her therapy at preschool. I'm very pleased about that because I have been pretty nervous about how Hannah will transition into preschool. At least this way I know she'll have support for at least one hour out of the 5 she'll be in preschool each week.
Another new development that actually goes along with her hyperlexia diagnosis is that Hannah has started trying to sound out words in her books. I guess now that she's mastered all her letters and their sounds she needed a new challenge. Besides writing the letter H, she has also taught herself how to write C and sometimes A. She is so proud whenever she manages to write a new letter. She's getting much better at recognizing some of the 2 digit numbers she's been learning and she's managed to learn to extend the number pattern of the 20's and 30's all by herself! She just started saying the number that came next when we were counting out loud one day and as far as we know she'd never even heard the numbers said out loud past 20 before! She's also really into to talking on the phone lately and has been having lengthy conversations with pretty much anyone who will talk to her. One day she was talking to Pap while walking around the house giving him a tour! It was so funny to hear him trying to make sense of what was going on without him having the benefit of seeing what she was pointing to!
I have LOTS more updates, but I'll save those for a new post so that you don't have to read a novel.