Emotional Development

Last Tuesday, I discussed my care plan with my support coordinator. She needed to update it because the facility is going to apply for a higher care profile for me. Besides, it needed to be made current for my living in the facility rather than at home anyway.

My care plan is divided into several sections, including general health, diagnoses, intellectual, emotional and social functioning. The part about my intellectual functioning unfortunately still lists my IQ as measured 20 years ago. Since it according to the test dropped some 35 points between 1999 and 2017, I’ve wondered whether this is merely due to Flynn effect or something or I’m actually experiencing cognitive decline. Still, my IQ as measured in 2017 was above-average, so it doesn’t really matter for long-term care funding anyway.

In the part about my emotional functioning, I saw for the first time the results of the emotional development impression the consultant from the Center for Consultation and Expertise had written in 2018. This was a bit shocking to be honest. I knew I’m thought of as functioning at an emotional level equivalent of a toddler. It was difficult though reading that in several areas, i’m supposed to function at a level of less than 6 months. This wasn’t surprising though.

For instance, one area in which I function at a level of 0-6 months, is body awareness. The reason the consultant listed was my inability to make contact when overwhelmed. I would add to that my inability to distinguish different bodily sensations, such as hunger and pain. I tend to react to everything that’s physically overwhelming by acting in a self-stimulatory way. The consultant also listed my craving physical stimulation such as rocking as a reason for this.

I also apparently function at 0-6 months with respect to differentiation of emotions. In other words, I don’t do that. The consultant explained that I have a lot of distress and am hardly ever relaxed. While this is true, I’d like to add that I don’t generally distinguish between different strong emotions. Like, at all. Each strong emotion feels equally overwhelming to me, even strong “positive” emotions.

With respect to verbal communication, my level is 3-7 years. Because this scale was developed for people with intellectual disability, the highest level is 7-12 years and I in some ways expected to be qualified as functioning at that level. I do with respect to handling familiar tools, such as my computer. However, the consultant apparently recognized my less-than-great (understatement!) language comprehension.

It was rather interesting to read this assessment, even though of course the concept of mental age used here is a bit off to say the least.

8 thoughts on “Emotional Development

    1. Oh yes, that makes sense. That being said, this is verbal IQ. My performance IQ can’t be measured because I’m blind and I performed very poorly on a test designed for blind children when I was 11. I don’t question my verbal IQ being at least average.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I understand. My verbal IQ is at least above-average and may be in the gifted range. This leads many people, including professionals who see me in real life, to assume I’m far more capable than I am.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Oh, baby, baby, baby!

    All the big big feelings and sensations – the world is overwhelming. Just like it would be to one not long out of the womb.

    Make contact = signal?

    Seems that even the expectations of a six-month-old emotionally would be enough to send you – infant you – in a tizzy.

    All that is BAD BAD BAD and you feel BAD BAD BAD so you GO AWAY.

    Let alone being a toddler – that is way too much!

    And in those ways you would be the youngest and the tiniest and the most vulnerable.

    Being nuzzled … and the whole capacity to fill/contain.

    Yes – even all the nice stuff – you would pull away or push away from it.

    And you would move and fuss and kick. And scrunch up like WAAAAAAAAAH.

    Like on the changing table or the bath.

    And if you’re not physically stimulated you feel you don’t exist and the world doesn’t exist – never mind other people.

    And you would be unsettled and unsoothed.

    And hurting when you eat and eating when you hurt. Oh, when everything is huge hunger – including skin hunger. Very engulfing.

    It would be like feeling naked or skinless all the time with PAIN at the centre.

    The whole “you don’t get what you need and you don’t need what you get”.

    And when you can’t/don’t connect between your body and your emotions – that is even more ungrounding/unrelieved. Infants need lots of help with that. Especially over the weeks and months. And they need their caregivers to be very proactive.

    There is a young man who I will call C – he loves to be tickled and play baby games like This Little Piggy and Where – he is attached to his lovey [blanket] and a ball. When someone he trusts plays those games he smiles and squeals. A very sensory-seeking person especially around the skin.

    Physical stimulation like being fed and full and clean and dry. And being wrapped/swaddled and swung and moved.

    In the “Milestones that Matter” series [it goes from one month to two years old] Coleman talks about all systems coming together. They do also talk about what makes newborns and infants safe and secure.

    And the whole “burst and pause” thing. That helps baby structure and anticipate interaction.

    Speaking of emotional continence for lack of a better word – do things go straight through you or do you hold on for a few seconds or a minute? The emotion or the sensation completely surrounds you.

    Do people talk to you softly or whisper to you when you are distressed?

    When you rock or are rocked does that relieve or do you want more? When you’re in the chair do you face the rocker or cuddle inside it or do you go on your back?

    And do you like to be bounced like joggity-jig?

    With the positive emotions and showing them there seems to be a lot of “progress” between 1 and 4 months; especially through relationship.

    The whole trust/mistrust thing.

    Baby; baby; baby.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks so much for your extensive reply! I’ll have to think on it and ponder your questions. I never knew about that Milestones That Matter series. I mean, I got this info from the booklet that goes along with the assessment tool the consultant used. I am thinking of reading up more on emotional development.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Milestones that Matter is on the Fatherly dot com website.

        I did think I would ask some more questions. That came up in the course of the night and the morning [I had something written up and the computer ate it because of being a memory hog].

        Do it, Astrid [read up on emotional development].

        There is Peter Fonagy and I think this retired Canadian psychologist who writes in short bursts and bites. Nind and Hewitt on Intensive Interaction.

        There is a paper I am reading right now about the cerebellum and social mirroring. Consensus paper so a lot of the common thinking there and the latest thinking.

        Back to Milestones that Matter – which focuses a lot on trajectory; rhythm and temperament [history too]:

        So a really important thing for a 2-month-old is to be able to hold its head and neck up.

        It is also a really good way to get people to engage …

        Also tummy time. Do you like being on your stomach or having your stomach stimulated? Or does it frustrate you when someone puts you there or you fall down?

        Or is gas/belching/burping really consuming and hard?

        Lots of self-stimulatory stuff like rubbing into your blanket or your spiky ball or your bear. Or your sheep.

        On Quora it was said that for a baby gas is the worst thing in the world.

        Seems infants develop from the top down and the middle/core out to the arms and legs.

        There is a lot of stuff about floppiness and listlessness – and tightness and favouring one side.

        About being awake and alert: about 15 hours.

        The whole 45-minute cycle wake-up thing and the differences between night and day.

        There is a whole other series about infants and sleep.

        I did wonder if you had mostly fussy periods when awake or when going to sleep or rest.

        And at about four months babies start to fuss when they are not being stimulated *enough* as well as too much.

        The first three-month milestone is about being sociable. The second one is about movement and more tummy time. And bodily awareness.

        Now at three months you were still very very much a newborn who probably slept a lot or very little.

        Four months is about burbling. About being more communicative in general.

        And I picked up from somewhere else [Parents dot com] about positive sounds being big as well as negative sounds/noises at about five months.

        Voice change and ranges.

        Solomon wrote about hidden pain.

        Lots about exploratory opportunities and tracking.

        Do you use your sides to turn away from stimuli that may be too overwhelming at that moment?

        And I think of course of the Baby alter and how they came to be.

        And it really never ends, does it?

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Thanks so much once again for commenting. It’s interesting that even a young infant is able to hold its head up, since I still as an adult don’t have the best head balance. My parents attributed this to an unwillingness to engage, of course, but an educational psychologist who assessed me at age 11 said it may be a motor impairment, as probably is my poor core balance. (I haven’t seen a rehabilitation physician since age eight or nine, so a ll info I have on my mobility comes from ed psychs and the occasional physical therapist.)

          I don’t really like lying on my stomach. That is, when I go to sleep, I usually start on my back or side then at one point turn to my belly. I don’t roll over in bed nearly as much as non-disabled people do and it costs me a lot of energy. I at one point had a handle beside my bed that I could hold onto to turn over, but I haven’t gotten it at the care facility yet.

          As for using sight to turn away from stimuli, yes I tend to cover my eyes or look away even when the stimulus isn’t visual or I can’t see it.

          Liked by 1 person

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