Today I received the “Notice of Initial Findings and Proposed Action” form that I needed to sign and send back in for our scheduled conference meeting about Daniel’s IEP. When I read the first sentence, I was all like “Whaaaaaat?” That is my street talk. Forgive me I am quite silly today. Seriously, I was shocked at what I read and I could feel the anger surging through my veins. Here is what set me off.
“Daniel is functioning in the extremely low range of intelligence.”
Huh? I agreed with several things such as his non-verbal reasoning skills are much higher. He has difficulty processing information WHEN he is sitting in the middle of a library with blinking florescent lights, people talking, huge windows where he can see every car drive by because we are facing a main road at a stoplight, a man is sitting right behind him who moves his chair makes noise, and is breathing. Oh, and the doctor is asking questions as if she is speaking to a 45-year-old person… just a few things that could possibly cause him to not be able to take a proper assessment.
There was more on there that quickly offended me.
On the day of his psyche evaluation, I asked her if we could go into to a conference room, or one of the quiet rooms. She said it would be fine out there. I do not know if that was on purpose or not. She evaluated Daniel in an environment that triggered some of his highest levels of sensory stimulation. She observed him in a new social setting and he did not know her. He had anxiety about the whole situation. I later discovered that he had predicted that it was going to be like all of his other evaluations – it was not. I tried to prepare him as much as I could, but I did not know what to expect either. When I read it, I finally understood why the OT said what she did to me. I did not understand why she was surprised at how well Daniel listened and followed her directions. She was amazed that he only needed one break.
She said, “I did not know what to expect or how I would get him to do anything after reading his eval.”
I looked at her in confusion, but quickly shook it off thinking I had misunderstood her or something. After reading it today, I completely understand. She was under the impression that he was completely non-verbal and had the IQ of a chicken. Ok, maybe not a chicken, (I mean no offense toward chickens I am sure they are highly intelligent beings.) but it all made sense to me why she also said at the beginning of his testing, “We handle all ranges here of ASD from non-verbal and seriously developmentally delayed to high-functioning geniuses.” and “I do not know how far we will get, but we will try.”
I found all of these statements odd.
However, what did I do? I got confused and did not have the words to express what I was thinking. I assumed that there must have been something wrong with how I was interpreting her. I am very glad that we will be doing his therapy virtually because the more I have processed all of the things she said to me the more I feel uncomfortable with her. She asked me if my other children were on the spectrum. I told her that they have definite traits, but they have not been diagnosed, yet. (This may be happening in the near future.) She asked about Ariel because she is Daniel’s twin. I shared with her that she does have sensory issues and social issues, but she is highly intelligent. I also told her that she can normally articulate what she feels and is very direct.
She said, “Oh, she is Aspergers?”
In a tone that made me feel hurt and angry. Then, she proceeded to tell me about another woman in the office who has a daughter with Aspergers. “She is a genus, I mean a GENUS, but uhhh, she is so socially inappropriate. I mean she says the most appropriate things!” (Insert her eye roll) Later, she introduced me to the woman and said to her, “Her daughter has Aspergers too.” They gave each other a look and the woman looked down at her desk, nodded her, and sighed. Obviously, I was under too much sensory and social stress and had too much to process to try to understand all of this stuff until today.
She also asked me at one point, “Do you have your degree in education?”
I knew that several of her comments offended me, somehow, even though I was not exactly sure how. This question came right after she had made the Aspergers comment about Ariel and the woman’s daughter. I promptly answered her, with eye contact even and said, “No, I am just an obsessive learner.” My way of getting back at her the best I could under the circumstances. We saw her again today when we met with the Speech Pathologist for his evaluation. My gut feelings were confirmed we are not a good fit with her. The Speech Pathologist was great and Daniel again did a remarkable job.
He did not need any breaks and he soared through the evaluation.
We were in a quiet room in the back that did not have any odd sounds and the fluorescent lights were covered to ease the blinking, fuzzy, attacking vibes that they give off. I was happy about that – I hate fluorescent lights they invade my particles. Now that I processed all of that, I will explain what bothered about the “functioning in the extremely low range of intelligence” statement. I would not have a problem if this was true, but it is not. The thing that bothers me is that it is inconsistent with his schoolwork. If it were only me gauging his work or his everyday intelligence I would be less disturbed, but Daniel is at a 94% average for all of his classes.
He is struggling in Language Arts mainly with writing assignments.
However, he understands his work and he puts in a lot of work to get his assignments done. He loves it when he gets 100% on something, he also understands that when he misses some questions that it is ok. He comprehends his work my biggest issue is that he is completely dependent upon me. I have been forcing to him to work on assignments alone. He does refuse to read large amounts of words such as paragraphs or his lessons. I know he can read some things though. Today on one of his quizzes he had to sound out and read the words “people, bought, and probably.” He did it, he struggled with bought, but he did it on his own.
It concerns me because of it being so inconsistent.
There is no middle here. At home when doing school he is doing extremely well, but according to the psychologist, he is in the extremely low range of intelligence. I find that bothersome and in a way, I feel as if I need to defend him. I know that I do not though. His teacher has had several phones meetings with him. She knows that he comprehends the work and that he can do the work. He does need help and if what is written on the evaluation will help him get everything he needs to succeed I do not care. The inconsistency still bothers me very much. It is not settling well in my mind. I hope that writing this out will help me let it go.
I am so proud of how hard Daniel has been working.
He has been working on trying to be more positive with school. He has been working very hard at learning how to calm himself down. He has been working hard at trying to be creative with Lego’s. He has tried to be more interactive with Ariel and Joshua and making his desires more clear. He has been expressing when he does not understand something instead of getting upset. This is all in the last months where he has been the one initiating all of this. There have been no prompts from me. Also, he has been going through all of these evaluations without complaining and trying to do his best. I am happy that he feels proud and happy for himself. He is becoming more independent and letting more of himself come out and that is pure awesomeness!
I do know how I feel about that – I am one proud and happy mama.