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Jul 20
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by Dennise Goldberg

Small for Gestational Age (SGA) is what my son was classified with when he was born.  When I was pregnant, my doctor kept a close eye on my son’s size.  She even sent me to a specialist to track his growth the last trimester.  He was always on the lower end of the growth chart during pregnancy.  My doctor told me that small babies have many problems, so she had me drink a can of Ensure once a day in the hopes he would gain weight.  Unfortunately, I gained the weight, not him!  It was just meant to be…..I delivered a 5 lb 4oz baby boy at full term.  What I didn’t know then, were the magnitude of problems an SGA baby could have.  So it began at birth......the first of many developmental delays.

In order to bump his weight up, the doctor put him on high calorie formula immediately after birth.  However, he had Apraxia…..which interfered with his ability to suck from the bottle.  I had just given birth and my son was already having problems.  I was exhausted trying to get him to eat every two hours.  Between the pacifier and the bottle, he adapted and began to eat.  His developmental problems continued with regards to eating and speech for a number of years.  As result, he’s been in therapy for a long time to overcome these issues.  By the time he was 2 ½, his developmental delays effected his gross motor and fine motor development.  Once again, I was faced with a whole new set of obstacles my son had to overcome.  It was all I could think about….how could I fix his problems so that he could have a normal childhood?  I knew therapy was the answer, but that takes time.  I realized I had to push the concept of normal out of my head and know that he would eventually catch up, but it may not be for many years to come.  At age 9, my son still receives Occupational Therapy and Adaptive P.E. in school.  Unfortunately, developmental delays are not the only problems SGA babies have.  Learning Disabilities are also quite common.

Fast forward to second grade and his Auditory Processing Disorder reared its ugly head.  I think this one worried me the most because it never goes away.  How was he going to get through school or life with a Learning Disability?  It starts with home and school.  At home, my husband and I had to understand how his mind processed information…..I call it “going around the block.”  We’ve learned how to explain concepts by using a roadmap to help our son understand what is being asked of him.  The hard part was making sure he was receiving the right help in school.  This part will go on for as long as he’s in school because we know with the right teacher, educational therapist or resource specialist he can learn how to deal with his disability and still be successful in school.  There is also a third part to this equation…growth problems.

To the present day……my son is no longer on the growth chart.  Since he has always been small for his age, he’s been seeing a pediatric endocrinologist since the age of four.  The doctor has been watching him to make sure his bone age remains on track with his chronological age.  Well this year, it changed!  His bone age jumped a year ahead of his chronological age which dropped him from the growth chart.  Once again, I am faced with a problem I must try to fix.  As a result, my son is going to begin HGH injections in the hopes he can achieve average height in the future.  He might have to do this for a maximum of five years.  There’s no guarantee what results will come from this, but if we don’t he may not grow past five feet.  Don’t worry; my son will be rewarded weekly for his bravery.  I’m letting him tell me what he wants, so that he feels in control…just a little bit.  I know it’s going to be hard in the beginning, but if I didn’t at least try to help him in this area, it could affect his self-confidence for the rest of his life.

There it is; a little insight into what my life has been like with my beautiful boy.  Yes, it’s been tough at times, but he’s also a wonderful human being with a big heart.  I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect kid!!!!

Update 5/19/2011 My son has been on HGH for 10 months and has already grown 4 inches.  We are hopeful he will continue to grow at this speed for awhile until he catches up.

Please come join our SGA Babies Support Group and ask a question in our forum.

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3 Responses to “Giving Birth to an SGA Baby”

  1. My son was small when he was born also. I wondered if that has anything to do with his speech delay.

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  2. As the mom of 2 affected daughters (different growth conditions) I know it is really helpful to have support. Have you guys hooked up with the other SGA moms at MAGIC? We have hundreds and an active listserv for communication….www.xxxxxxxxxx.org Best of luck!

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  3. I have a 4 month old sga baby girl! I’m worried there will be delays, how was your son as a baby? She’s in the 3% for height, 1% for head and 23% for weight (I’ve been overfeeding her because I wanted her to catch up!)

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