Evaluation Nation, Part II
April 29, 2009
God, these things are getting boring. I've got them down to a science:
Trot child in, answer questions, watch child stack blocks and complete puzzles and string beads, curse self for neglecting to cut child's long fingernails that are now caked with dirt because SOMEBODY has been reading The Snowy Day a little too much and wants to make snowballs out of EVERYTHING, including the mulch outside of school district office buildings, watch child absolutely excel years beyond his calendar age in educational concepts, watch child struggle with scissors and crayons and get increasingly agitated and line up toys obsessively and boil over when he's not allowed to pretend the occupational therapist's pencil is a choo-choo going through a tunnel of blocks, and finally then watch child wander away from the assessment team and get his head stuck in the miniblinds.
Oh, and my favorite: Laugh your damn fool head off when asked if this is what you'd consider a "typical day."
Even the conclusions are reruns now: fine and gross motor skill delays, sensory-integration-related behavioral problems. Oh, is that all you've got? YAWN. Bring it, dudes. I've Googled worse shit than that.
And of course, the least surprisingly thing of all, EVER, in the history of educational assessments, we won't know whether those conclusions will result in actual help and services for another month. Because everybody has to go off and write up reports and mail the reports in triplicate and then get together and compile those reports, each personally leveling two square miles of redwood trees to produce enough paper for all these reports, and THEN we get called back in for the verdict.
He'll also be observed at preschool by the school psychologist, and the special educator wants to talk to his teacher. Who, for those of you just joining us for this exact sentence, has (to date!) attempted to subtly diagnose poor Noah with everything from SID, ADHD, PDD-NOS, Asperger's and probably swine flu. So I bet that phone call will be really fun for her!
What's not routine for me -- what I hope will never be routine -- is the discomfort I get discussing Noah with these people. I know I need to stay on message and discuss what we came there to discuss, and obviously if I thought everything was just peachy I wouldn't be there in the first place, but after two hours of reducing my son to the sum of his quirks -- what he WON'T do, what he CAN'T do -- I start getting agitated. I start thinking of sticking my head in the miniblinds. This is Noah. This is my baby. My heart. Yes, he's a little different, a little difficult, a lot exceptional and I do really believe he could benefit from what our school district can offer but please please please don't look at him like that. Or at me, like that. With the pity, with the hand pats. Judge me for his dirty fingernails, for the fact that I don't know his current sensory opinion on glue, but don't feel sorry for me because my kid is who he is, because we fucking adore him and you should only be so lucky to have a kid like him RAWR SMASH MAMA BEAR HAD TOO MUCH COFFEE I SHIT IN YOUR WOODS WAIT WHAT WAS I TALKING ABOUT?
And then I wonder if I should have kept my mouth shut about how he's usually really well-behaved at restaurants (because he is!!) but maybe they didn't need to hear that part, oh God, our report will say: CHILD BEHAVES AT RESTAURANTS. IS CURED. MOTHER CLEARLY SPENDS TOO MUCH TIME ON THE INTERNET. NO SERVICES REQUIRED.
Anyway. Yeah. It was disastrously normal, overall. Which is good. I think they've gotten a pretty clear picture of what life is like for Noah. Complicated and contradictory, with a side of incorrect crayon grip.