Evaluations are Crushing to a Parent

As you may have noticed, I am writing this blog a bit backwards. It took me a long time to gather up the courage to put my feelings into words and I want to make sure that I write the whole story.

Around 2 1/2 we really started doing a lot of new things with Cooper’s care. He was in speech therapy twice a week at our local hospital. The school district was also coming into our home one time a week. I have been very honest about my opinion of the school district. They never really paid attention to Cooper. When we go to Speech Therapy, the therapists treat Cooper like he is a star. They are there for him. I usually get a hi halfway through. But the school district was different. They would come to my house and talk about our week. I saw no interaction with Cooper and it didn’t make any sense to me. There was this huge push to evaluate him. HUGE. Which we did at 2. If I remember correctly it was called the Bayley exam. Three people came to our house and sat in my little living room and tried to get my kid to perform like a monkey. I know that sounds harsh. But that is how I felt.

Cooper can do a lot but honestly doesn’t care to most of the time. He bombs evaluations. After the test one of the teachers told me that she could tell that Cooper could do almost all of it but because he wouldn’t she had to mark certain things as ‘fails.’ Thankfully, besides the language component, Cooper passed all the sections. But the scores weren’t pretty. At this point our eyes were opened. This was bad. Really, really bad.

Cooper couldn’t jump. He couldn’t stand on one foot. He pointed but struggled to use one finger. He couldn’t use utensils. He couldn’t use a straw. He couldn’t color or draw a line. He sat in the W….the dreaded W. He didn’t know the difference between a spoon and a fork. Or want to kiss the baby doll. Cooper loved trucks and trains. I don’t think he even knew was a baby was. Mommy fail. He couldn’t use scissors. He still crawled up and down big sets of stairs.

These evaluations, while very necessary, are like Pandora’s Box to a parent. Once you find one thing wrong with your child, more follows. And it builds and builds and builds. I started to think in ‘cants.’ Cooper can’t do this. And he can’t do this. I felt like each thing he couldn’t do was on my shoulders weighing me down.

The evaluation also said some things that were really hard to see in print. Like, Cooper did not acknowledge third teacher that was in the room.’ WTF does that mean? I knew exactly what it meant and it crushed me.

While this was happening with the school district we also decided to get an Occupational Therapy evaluation. His speech therapist recommended it and we really trusted her. She has always been very honest with us. The OT evaluation was a sensory overload for Cooper. He was a MANIAC and wouldn’t do any of the things she asked him to. He wouldn’t stack blocks or turn the pages of a book. He wouldn’t walk on a low beam or roll down a mat. This was so frustrating because Cooper can do all of these things. Thankfully my husband was there and we just had to laugh about it.

The Occupational Therapist was awesome and said that she said a lot of sensory issues with Cooper but no real autistic signs. She wanted to meet with him once a week. We were now up to 4 appointments a week.

I would do anything for my child but this was getting to be a lot. With work and a baby and life I was really struggling to do it all. And I still honestly wasn’t seeing a bit return on all of the therapy. We needed a breakthrough. Bad.

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4 thoughts on “Evaluations are Crushing to a Parent

  1. I can definitely relate! Our Mercedes is a twin, and while her speech was delayed due to her hearing loss, her twin sister also had language delays and no-one could explain why. The speech therapist found her most frustrating. Then one day when she was 3 it was as if she suddenly decided she wanted to talk, she got up one morning and we haven’t been able to shut her up since! In my experience, doctors and therapists sometimes get so caught up in the diagnosis and explaining what they see that they forget that our kids are people, that they have personalities, and that sometimes the lack of co-operation is not indicative of a disorder, they’ve just had enough of being scrutinised!
    I’m glad Cooper relates well to his speech therapist, Mercedes is a big fan of her social worker so that’s her fave person to visit at the hospital.

    • I love this comment. I once read a blog post that talked about a little boy that didn’t like to have tags on his shirt. The mom was scared to death about it because of all the negative things people say. She brought her son to the doctor and was told, ‘he just doesn’t like tags on his shirt. That’s it. Nothing more. Don’t read into it.’ That has always stuck with me. So many people in our lives want to put Cooper in a box and I really think what ne needs the most right now is time. Just plain old time to allow him to be a kid. Thank you for your comment!

    • We haven’t done genetic testing. It has never came up…his pediatrician doesn’t seem to be too worried about anything beyond the speech. But also, she doesn’t see him that often. I guess we may go that route if all this continues. Scary though.

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