Friday, November 16, 2007

Preschool at 12:00, Captain!

Today was Captain Adventure’s big day, the day on which the gathered professionals would give us their professional opinions about what (if any) professional intervention he needed to make up for my bad parenting overcome the bad genes he inherited from me move him out of this strange world he’s mired in and into this so-called ‘real life’ we humans have invented for ourselves.

So first they gave me the run-down on their test results, which they were anxious to assure me were to be taken “cautiously”, because, duh, he’s only three. They tested a three year old, and he didn’t necessarily ace the test, WHAT A SURPRISE! He can do a lot of these things we did not observe, they said. Blah blah blah.

And then they laid on me that my three year, four month old son tests to about a one to one-and-a-half year level on everything from speech and language to social skills. His motor skills are all over the place – on some tests, he comes back at that one year level again, on others he’s either at or even above age level.

I wasn’t surprised at all. If you asked me, that’s exactly what I would have said from my position of Not A Professional, Nor Do I Play One On TV. As his mommy, I would have said that my son talked like a baby of 18 months old-ish.

I still wanted to cry, though. And get all defensive and try to bring up whatever-all he’s done lately that was so definitely better than that.

I’m not sure why I do that. I want my boy to get whatever help is appropriate for him. Sugar-coating his issues is not helpful. I want other people to take his problems seriously and HELP US DAMMIT.

So why I find myself going all weepy and denial-y whenever someone agrees with me that he has issues that need intervention, I cannot begin to fathom.

Anyway, after they laid their results on me (and I resisted the urge to argue with them), they then made their recommendations.

Get the paperwork filled out right away, because the boy is eligible for and welcome to the special needs preschool, Speech and Language Edition. This is a pretty heavy-duty program (for a little guy, anyway), five days a week, three hours a day. There is speech therapy, physical education, preschool curriculum including pre-reading and pre-math. I was hoping and praying he would be invited to go, because I had heard incredible things about it from other parents around town.

He starts the week after the Thanksgiving break (eep! that’s so soon!), and these lovely ladies are really expecting that he is going to take to it like a duck to water and that we will start to see his speech and language and social skills ramp up at an incredible rate.

I believe them, because frankly his progress just here at home with me has been incredible already. He’s even lost most of his separation anxiety over the last couple months. He runs right into the speech therapy center without a backward glance and has a rockin’ great time without me (sniff!), and loves to go to the daycare at the gym.

This being only three hours a day, I’m pretty sure he’ll be fine.

I, on the other hand…may be sniffling into a hankie a lot the first couple weeks. I mean, don’t get me wrong: I am very much looking forward to those roughly two hours a day I will have with no Denizens clinging to me. I can get my nails done, do my grocery shopping, pay bills, whatever – without either having to turn on the Electronic Babysitter or repeat “Mommy is busy, please go play for a little while” eleventy-zillion times, or dragging them along and then saying, “NO!” every eight seconds for the duration of the outing.

Sometimes, I just want to grab the milk and some bananas and get out of there, without having to defend my decisions to a gaggle of over-opinionated children.

But still…I am very protective of Captain Adventure. That thing where I agree that he’s like a one year old baby? That’s kind of how I view him, and I coddle him as such. Whiiiiich of course makes it a darned good thing that they will be prying him out of my over-protective cocoon. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if a lot of his delays are because I enable him in them.


But then came the part I was pretty sure was coming, but was hoping against hope they were going to dismiss as impossible. This is the part where I once again start arguing and denying something that I have demanded and insisted be looked into for my son.

There are still concerns about autism.

The problem is, the few behaviors he has that could maybe might be signs of autism are also classic signs of a frustrated three year old who can’t figure out how to communicate with people. He doesn’t always do any of them, and most of them only occur when he is tired, sick, over-stimulated (say, at parties) or otherwise off. None of them are the obvious signs, but many of them are “troubling.”

Instantly, I’m getting all defensive and arguing. But he doesn’t do this or this or this! And he does do that and that and that! Sure, he’s a little odd, but he’s only three! He’s getting better!

I have to sit there and say to myself, over and over again, that what I want, what I’m there for, what I have fought for and argued for and otherwise made a pain in the butt of myself to get, is precisely this. For this group of skilled, experienced people to give him a good hard professional look, and tell me what to do for my boy.

We are still walking his path together, just as I am with his sisters. Sometimes, the paths are easy (having Eldest tested for GATE, for example, is easy-peasy). Sometimes, they aren’t so much fun. Denial is not going to make it all better. I don’t have to like it, but I do have to walk down these various possible paths with him to see where they lead…if anywhere.

I’ve got to keep walking onward, even if what I want to do is snatch him up and run back home and pretend there’s nothing wrong, and that his path is no harder than anybody else’s, and that absolutely without any extra work he will be just like any other five year old by the time he’s five.

So onward it is. To preschool, and more assessments, and more screenings, and more “now, does your son do this? and that? I see…what about this other thing? No? Are you sure?”

Which I very much want them to do.

And it would be much easier for them to do it if I were not so busy sticking my fingers in my ears and shouting, “LA LA LA I CAN’T HEAR YOU!!”


Anonymous said...

Hello Tama

I understand you concern about autism & all that can follow with this condition - but none the less, even IF he was born with it, he is still the baby you bore and loved, and did not change into a mini-monster because you gave him too many cookies or let him have a vaccination (Certain vaccinations are accused of being able to vause autism).

I, myself am an autist, though it is the less severe form of Aspergers Disorder, which lies right smack in the middle between "severe autism" and "absolutely not autistic". My parents have, like you, fought a hard fight for me, but nobody ever recognized my autism before I was 20!! In those 20 years, I had learned so well from life and all, that people are very suprised to hear that I am, after all, autistic.

So life is not wrecked for Captain Adventure, not at all,he might just not be President of the USA when he grows up, but a farmer, worker og computer nerd instead who comes home to mom and dad for brunch each Sunday :-)


Anonymous said...

Hang in there, sweetie. Captain Adventure is a pip and he will be fine. He's got concerned, loving parents who are doing their level best for him, and that's half the battle right there. Don't beat yourself up, give yourself a treat for being on top of things! (Yarn comes to mind...) All will be well.

21stCenturyMom said...

I'm sure I would be exactly in the same place you are in emotionally under these circumstances. Everyone wants to defend their kid as perfect because ...well... because they ARE!

I'm really glad he will be getting help. Here's to his progress!

Yarnhog said...

The freaking out is perfectly understandable, but you are absolutely doing the right things for your child. Keep fighting for him...even if it means fighting your own emotions. With a mom like you, he's going to be just fine.

RaplhCramden said...

Hey Tama,

Not really a comment on this blog entry, but I did find a website for someone who knitted a ferrari and I thought you might be interested.

Anonymous said...

From the mama of an 18 month old who's about six months behind... and a 3 year 7 month Feral Boy of my own... and an almost 5 year old girl who has yet to nail down this "poo on the potty" thang... all wonderful and charming kids... I feel your pain. And worry, and wrongful guilt, and anger, and all that schtuff. Here's hoping the Wonder Preschool will help.

Science PhD Mom said...

You are doing so well with handling everything to do with his assessments and preschool requirements, etc. You know he's a lovely little boy and in a year's time he will probably shock the hell out of you with the thoughts and expressions he'll be using after attending the Wonderful Preschool. He will just emerge like the beautiful butterfly he is. Hang in there!