Some of you may remember that Charlie got evaluated for preschool back in April. Or something. I can’t remember. What am I, his mother? Anyway, since Charlie is such a “complex” child, they thought it would be best for me to bring him to the special education center where he could meet with all the evaluators at the same time.
When I arrived, one person asked me questions while the others did things with Charlie such as show him switches, evaluate limb stiffness, and generally put him through the paces. I noticed that they seemed to be shielding me from the evaluation and were most-definitely not interested in hearing my ideas on the best way to test him. I’m a mom. We’re a pain. It’s our job. Best keep me at bay.
We got the results of the evaluation a few weeks later. OT and PT were spot-on. He actually came in as “moderately impaired” in OT, which was a pleasant break from all the “this child is so behind even a rocket pack can’t help him.”
We were told that Charlie had the cognitive abilities of an eight month old. I know this isn’t true—I’ve got experts and my own two eyes to tell me so. I realize that kids have off days, testers have a specific set of questions, blah, blah, blah. I don’t want to read it, but I understand that it’s not a message sent from God. So, I sucked it up and headed over the pages of “suggestions.” Now, if your kid is completely normal, you’ll be unfamiliar with this—lucky you. Basically, they provide you with a list of activities you can do to stimulate them in the areas where they’re lacking. It’s usually pretty easy stuff that you can work into your daily routine.
Alternately, it could be a list of completely inappropriate activities that clearly have nothing to do with your child. Perhaps something cut and pasted from another child’s IEP.
Guess which one we got? I’ve actually never seen a suggestion list that was so clearly not for my child. Multiple items suggested that Charlie “tell” me things even though he’s non-verbal. Other items were for much older children. Believe it or not, my nerd self actually looks at educational benchmarks for preschoolers. This stuff was for a Kindergarten kid or older. One of Charlie’s therapists actually said, “they should be embarrassed.”
I get it. It’s the end of the school year, you’re tired, and you’ve got a stack of papers to fill out. I’ve been there. But come on, you’re gonna tell me my kid is horribly behind and then give me a list of suggestions I couldn’t possibly use? Have you really gotten that jaded?
So today, when I saw that same evaluator at Walmart—what do you think I did? Did I smile? or wave? Or maybe stop to chat? Did I put on my big girl panties and let bygones be bygones?
I pushed my cart in the other direction as fast as I could.