Tuesday, March 10, 2009

"I should have known"

When the paper came home from school that my daughter had failed the vision test, I just thought she must have bad eyes like the rest of the family (we need glasses for distance). But when the doctor told us about her amblyopia it all started making "sense" to me.

The first thing I wanted to know was how come this took so long to diagnose in her (she is 4). Many of my friends had children who started wearing glasses around 2 years old with similar conditions. Well, first of all there was no outward visible signs like a floating or crossing eye. On top of that, her right eye (the "good" eye) is near perfect sighted. So, she has been always using that eye and meanwhile the left eye has faltered and she has about 20/200 on that side.

But, looking back I've started to have lightbulbs turn on all over the place. I feel like I should have known. I was busy barking down a tree that she might have some kind of Autism Spectrum Disorder or Sensory Processing issue because her brother is autistic.

First, when she was born the pediatrician noted that she had a very slight Infant Torticollus- cocking her head to one side. But she also had some other asymmetry including one leg slightly shorter than the other - who is completely symmetric, anyhow? My step-mother-in-law and I also noted that she had one eye that seemed to go inward a bit but by the time she was a few weeks old that stopped. I didn't think of it ever again.

And then, there is the fact that my daughter is a huge clutz - I always figured she got that from me. Well, she tends to run into things and bonk her head a whole lot. Kids do that though - especially active kids who don't pay attention. I did wonder about her balance and I had her ears screened and that came back fine.

So just a week or so ago before we got the diagnosis I was on vacation with my daughter in Disney with her grandmother. We were discussing how she is such a fearful child. She is deathly afraid of the dark and is almost paralyzed by it if you leave her in a dark room. Its been a huge issue with her sleeping in a big girl bed - even with nightlights. When other kids were happy going on ponyrides, boardwalk rides and carousels she would not. She has since gotten over some of the ride phobia but is very selective about it. I had her evaluated by an occupational therapist that I knew at the school and they said there were little to no concerns that weren't age appropriate. Diagnosis: Clingy little girl.

As it turns out all of the above issues could very well and most likely be rooted to my daughter's amblyopia. The falling, running into things, fear of the dark, uncertainty about the rides -- well, she has very poor depth perception and very bad night vision - it all makes sense now.

I feel like I should have known.

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