At 3 years

A real mixed bag. She's been diagnosed as having PDD:NOS (Pervasive Developmental Delay: Not Otherwise Specified). This is similar to Autism, though not as severe. Think of it as "Autism Light." (Technically, PDD:NOS and Autism are both subsets of PDD.)

What's more, due to a lot of sleuthing on Blanche's part (followed by medical tests), we've discovered that she's sensitive both to gluten (wheat, barley, rye, oat) and casein (milk). Because she's not digesting these properly, they're causing some chemical side-effects. Thanks to a great amount of research and work, again by Blanche, we've managed to remove both gluten and casein from her diet. It hasn't been easy. Do you know how many commercial cereals contain wheat? Almost all of them! Rice Crispies, Corn and Rice Chex, clones of the brand names, and a few of the really junk-food cereals don't contain wheat. And we can't feed her oatmeal. There are a few specialty cereals (mostly "natural," and expensive) that are gluten-free. Sheesh.

Then there's bread. And noodles. One of her favorite meals is Macaroni and Cheese. Well, we've found some acceptable macaroni products, but finding an acceptable casein-free cheese sauce is a real challenge.

On the other hand, her behavioral changes have been dramatic. Three days after we cut her off from wheat she made a substantial jump in her attention span and has been more verbally expressive.

In the last few weeks, most notably in the last week (today is December 25), she has show tremendous changes. She did very well at a restaurant last weekend (less running around than usual, virtually no fussing when we prevented her). She gets caught up in the computer games less than before. She's playing with her parents and sister more. She makes more eye contact, is more cuddly, has asked for a number of items by name, chatters more, performs more context-appropriate echolalic speech*, uses the PECS cards more, better turn-taking during play. Sleeping better. Transitioning better. We stopped at the local consignment shop a few days ago; we were there for, heck, 45 minutes; instead of running all over the shop and making one of us keep her from destroying everything -- or just getting lost -- she quietly played with some childrens' toys. Blanche says Mariel is pretty comfortable at Pat's shop, but even so, she would normally have been poking into everything.

The last few days she's seemed like -- well, like a normal 2-year-old girl. That's over-simplifying a bit, she does have some skills a 2yo won't have, but the point is that her behaviour is immature for her age, but much more normal.

The endocrinologist is of the opinion that Mariel’s stature is not related to her developmental problems. He is of the opinion  that she would best be evaluated by a neurologist, a conclusion we had already reached.

* Some children may use echolalic speech which is the act of repeating or echoing words or sentences
that others have said. This is a normal pattern of development but some children "get stuck" in this