Tiny Coconut

I have things.

Monday, August 15, 2005

In Search of Certainty

I thought today was going to be the end of a road. Any road. We had an appointment for N and us to see a developmental pediatrician at CHLA, and it seemed the perfect coda to the occupational therapist's observations, the speech therapist's observations and the preschool assessment team's evaluations.

You noticed I used the words "thought" and "seemed," didn't you? You're smart that way.

Instead of a coda, it was more like a comma. It gave me pause.

Why? Well, for one thing, she completely contradicted the school's speech therapist and preschool assessement team's speech and language pathologist, telling me that his articulation does not seem to be age-appropriate (or, at least, that his intelligibility is occasionally very low) and that she has concerns about his pragmatics. So she'd like to see us persue private speech therapy for him, knowing that there's no way we're getting speech from the school district with two reports that say we don't need it. At least not now. (Once he's established in speech therapy outside the school district and we have any deficits on paper, then we can ask for it to be continued in school, I suppose, and they'd be harder put to argue the point with us.)

For another, she sees "serious red flags" in his behavior. Red flags for what, you ask? I did, too. She couldn't say. (OF COURSE SHE COULDN'T! THAT WOULD BE TOO EASY! THEN I'D HAVE A NAME TO CALL THIS! Ok, ok, I'm calming down.) She expressed grave concerns (which I'm tempted to put in quotation marks, because I think she actually used that phrase, but maybe not) about his ability to handle a 20-kids-to-1-teacher classroom, even in a year from now, even with therapies in the interim. She asked if we had any "options," meaning could we find him some tiny Montessori school with four kids per teacher or something I suppose, and I shut her down, which she understood. But don't think THAT isn't going into the pantheon of guilt/ways in which I've failed my son.

She agreed that we'd have better luck teaching him to fly than we would of getting the school district to give him social skills training, but she still thinks would benefit from the "right" kind of social skills group; I got the impression she meant one in which he was surrounded by high-functioning kids and not really taught social skills but rather given the chance to use them. Actually, she admitted, she would love to see him have a one-on-one aide to facilitate social interaction in his regular preschool. Yeah, me too. I'd also love to have the money to even consider that, on top of the private speech therapy, the social skills class and the private school she thinks would benefit him. Feh. Another brick in the Guilt Pantheon.

I left even more confused than when I'd started. I liked her; she seemed smart and engaged and intersted in helping, even if she didn't. But most of what she was saying was based on talking to me, rather than interacting with N. I don't know what we were doing there, and I don't know what the point was. She didn't end up testing him, because he'd already been tested by the school district, and she said that as long as I thought the testing was more or less accurate, there was no need to put him through it again. She's going to read the school district's report, and I guess she'll send us a written report as well, but overall, we walked out of there with some vague recommendations that we get him speech therapy, do more one-on-one play dates with children other than WeeyumWise, and consider finding a social skills class. Not exactly the overarching final say that I was hoping for. Not really a say at all, in fact. Just one more person saying, "Yup. Something's definitely wrong here. Nope. Can't really help you, aside from throwing you in the direction of other people who will, untimately, disappoint you as well. Have fun! And nice meeting you, N."

Did I say feh? Feh.

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