Sunday, September 30, 2012


Those blasted milestones! My kids routinely missed them all. Sad and deflated by well-baby check ups, I would hurriedly rush to pack up the diaper bag, trying to scoot well on my way home before welled up tears trailed down my cheeks. 

But, since I am also an incurable optimist, I wisely spent my time researching the root of our issues and strategizing to make it better. Years later, we've left many of those milestones in the dust. Here's a few we've mastered recently:

1.  Ashi can brush her own teeth.  This is something we have worked on for years. I suspect the same issue that makes it impossible for her to pedal and steer a bike at the same time also makes it difficult for her to put the brush in her mouth and move it. I still have to check those teeth of course, but please, understand the freedoom I now have. That's 10 minutes, 3 times a day!!!! Wow!

2.  Remove her seatbelt and her little brother's.  Again, sounds small, but this is major!  Now when I open the van door, both kids are prepared to get out because my "lil' helper" has helped herself and Izaiah out of those belts. What a backsaver!!

3.  Turn on the water faucet all by herself.  Another major accomplishment.  How many times a day did I hear, "Mommy, may I have some water?"  Maybe a hundred! Ashi can now help herself to a drink and get one for her little brother. Hear me there? Cry freedom, Mommy!!  This skill has two parts. Ashi can also drink out of a regular glass too!

4.  Ashi can put away school all by herself.  We homeschool using a hard drive system and speakers that plug into her laptop. When school is over, we stow it away on a shelf  ("we" typically meaning "me").  Ashi has relieved me of this duty since she is able do it herself. It's a big deal for little fingers pulling out those USB plugs and jacks!

5.  Opening doors with round knobs. When I'm lugging an armload, plus toting a diaper bag, and shouldering a sleeping 2 year old; having someone open the door for me is a very welcome courtesy. Thanks, Ashi!!

6.) Blowing bubbles.  This is just super-cool, because every kid likes bubbles! I'm super proud because Ashi also has oral sensory issues too, so this is a huge achievement!

All of these milestones involve fine motor skills which have always plagued us. Ashi has weak, uncoordinated, hands that are slightly curled; and dysgraphia. We've spent six years building strength and function simply by integrating activities into everyday life.

Here's something  fun that happened a couple of days after this post.  7.) Hanging.  I found Ashi climbing and hanging on this tree just like a swinging, little, monkey. Ironically we were at the zoo when it happened. 

Currently, Ashi can also with scissors and do cursive writing. We're practicing hair brushing, independantly bathing, strapping on her seatbelt, opening the van doors, opening the sliding glass doors from outside ( it's trickier than from the inside), nose blowing, etc.

If a bare, baby-book milestone page is longingly looking back at you,  know that most of the toys and other things you already have at home can double as therapeutic tools; so get busy! Most therapy is about investing time, playing/interacting together, taking turns, building relational trust, and practice, practice, practice.

Your child's milestones will be personal, unique, all his own; not like a cookie-cutter, photo-copied, chart that can be found in any baby book. No, his timing is special and anything that special requires patience. Try to look for the good. There will be talents and skills that your child can do ahead of time or exceptionally well. When you focus on those strengths, the weaker areas will come before you know it.

Annie Eskeldson writes for parents with young children on the spectrum. Her daughter, Ashi, was non-verbal until after the age of 4, but could read at the age of 2.  Now, THAT'S a neat milestone!  You can find OT ideas here and learn more about dysgraphia here.  Visit Ashi's Gift Website!  You can also read about her little one on the spectrum at Izaiah's Scroll.


  1. Love this! Hooray for Ashi! Great job Annie, you are an inspiration to many :) :)- Meredith

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