March 25, 2009
Our insurance company finally reviewed our claim for Noah's proposed speech therapy plan.
I...I just don't even have the energy to get worked up about it. We'll appeal the decision, of course, but Lord. We waited close to two months for the initial evaluation. We waited another two months for the insurance company's decision. And now. Pfft.
There's a "private" rate for the therapy, of course, but I know it's more expensive than another speech/OT program in the area, a program that I think is more comprehensive, a program that I didn't contact initially because...they don't accept our insurance. Our insurance which, on paper, offers fantastic coverage for speech therapy, so it seemed like a logical trade-off. But if we're going to be paying out of pocket ANYWAY...I should...we should...should we? And then there's another, even better program in the city, which we could afford if we downsize to a condo and reduce our mortgage and again, if we're going to be paying out of pocket ANYWAY, if Noah ends up needing private schools ANYWAY...should we? What if Ezra needs early intervention? What if Ezra doesn't?
The school district evaluation has become our own personal red wheel barrow glazed with rain water.
They graciously offered a private screening, since they typically start with big group clinics where kids play together and there's chaos and lots of transitions and redirection, with one skill set being observed and evaluated right after another. In other words: a total freaking nightmare for a sensory-senstive child, and likely to set off a number of Noah's triggers. They said they'd be happy to adjust their tactics and conduct the evaluations one at a time, in our home. I said no, thank you, I'm sure Noah will be just fine.
I know he won't be fine. I'm practically counting on us being dismissed from the clinic setting early with appointments for private screenings at home. I need them to See It. I need them to see him Fail.
We took Noah to Barnes & Noble the other night to pick out some new storybooks and play with the train table. I sat and watched him and paged through a towering stack of parenting books. Books about Raising Your Quirky Sensory-Sensitive Spirited Unpredictable Out-of-Sync Different Child, books that promised Practical Simple Solutions To Everyday Challenges, books that promised to Fix It.
Of course they don't. They look substantial but spend chapter after chapter rehashing the same information, the same in-depth scientific descriptions about Vestibular Systems gone awry. You find some comfort in the anecdotes -- kids who sound so creepily like your kid, parents who also admit to snapping and scolding and just being so tired -- but then the actual strategies are all the same ones you've read about before and tried already. Social stories, check. Take breaks, trust your instincts, shaving cream and bread dough and electric toothbrushes and above all, the right kind of therapy. Which: dooood. I am trying. Two paragraphs about choosing the right preschool (Trust Those Instincts! Talk To The Teacher!) are followed by sections about elementary school and junior high and high school and oh, God. It just doesn't end.
Noah came over to show me something. "A gween train, Mommy," he announced. Two feet away another little boy rolled his eyes and muttered a correction. "Not gween. Green." Noah didn't seem to hear him. He honestly didn't even seem to register that another child was there.
I ended up putting all the books back on the shelf. As I tried to remember where I'd gotten each one, I stared at the rows and rows of parenting books. Books about diet and discipline and how to get your kid to do this and that and coping with this and that. Bullies, anxiety, allergies, learning disabilities, illness, grief. It's tough for everybody, the books seemed to say. It's a terrible business, this raising human beings thing.
We got home and put the boys to bed and I stood outside Noah's door for a bit, listening to him talk.
"Not gween. Geen. Not geen. Guh-een. Guh-reen. Guhreen! Good talking, Noah. Not gween. Guhreen."