Sunday, March 25, 2012

THE Evaluation

January 4th we had a full check-up for my boy. Head-to-toe with his pediatrician to rule out anything medical that could in any way explain G's struggles. She had to slowly-slowly move across the room toward him while she and I chatted and ignored the little elephant in the room. She couldn't speak to him or make eye contact or he would squawk, cover his face and hide behind me. When she was finally able to get close enough, she continued to talk to me, pretending to ignore him, but handing him each tool she would be using(stethoscope, otoscope, tongue depressor, etc) to inspect, play with, and decide he wasn't afraid of before she could use it on him. In the end she declared him the picture of health, in the 50th percentile for height and 95th for weight. The next day, however, was the day I'd been dreading and yearning for all at the same time: His EI evaluation. One part of me was praying he was having a low-down, no-good, terrible day so the core of evaluators could see him at his worst and know what we're really dealing with. On the other hand- who wants to hope their kid is having an awful day?! Me, that's who. I had been told by so many that he was 'just a boy' and a myriad of other bull-crap that I was beginning to doubt my intuitions. Maybe it WAS just my inability to parent a spirited boy. Maybe it WAS my failure. Maybe the evaluators would come tomorrow and tell me to quit being paranoid and MAKING my kid seem to have problems like my husband often did. 
The day came, and G was having a good day. A GREAT day, even. The team of evaluators arrived a little before dinner time, and he settled right in. Five strange women sat in a circle around him on the living room floor and he was completely unphased. They gave him toys to play with, interacted with him, tested him in various ways, and he charmed them all. All five evaluators stayed longer than they even needed to simply because they were having fun with him(so they claimed- LOL).
Once they were finished, we sent G upstairs to play with his sisters and the evaluators went over his scores with us. Both my husband and I sighed heavily(though for different reasons) when they explained the numbers to us: He more than qualified for services- Occupational Therapy, specifically. He also qualified for Speech Therapy, but they believed his verbal issues were due to oral muscular and sensory issues and that OT would help that. They told us we'd be getting a call from our service coordinator in the following days and learn how things would proceed from there.
I was relieved. SO relieved. It wasn't me being a failure. It wasn't that I was a bad mom, incapable of raising a boy. It wasn't the dark cave of Post Partum Depression I'd been struggling with since the day G was born stealing me away from my child. Best of all: HELP WAS ON THE WAY! It could still be weeks, but it was coming and before long there was bound to be improvement and other resources. 
My husband struggled. For him it was not relief, but rather a confirmation that his only son, his name sake, was defective- labeled as "Special Needs." I struggled with that from time to time as well, but the relief of help  for improvement and hope for the future often chased away the fears. 

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