Saturday, June 24, 2006

Testing, Testing, 1...2...3

I took Owen to the Regional Center on Thursday for his three year evaluation. Aparently, we get a new counselor, someone who will track him while the school system takes care of most of his therapy needs. They will come back into the picture when he turns 18. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it wasn’t like I thought it was going to be. I met the woman who would be evaluating him, and she was very nice, and sweet. Owen immediately took to her. We went into a room where she told Owen she was going to have him play with some toys. I sat next to him, but she cautioned me that I wasn’t allowed to help. Then she asked him to do several tasks, like puzzles, towers of blocks, pick out pictures, etc. After it was over, which it didn’t take very long, she asked me some questions about his health, and his life. I saw her tallying up numbers on a “test” sheet. Then she said, “I have to say, he’s doing really great. He scored great.” Then she told me that he had an overall score of 70, which is below average, but not mentally retarded (or MR, as she referred to it). Then she said that his receptive language skills were 77, which put him in the normal range, and his performance was 70. I asked her what that scale meant. She told me that typical kids usually fall between 71 and 100. I guess 70 is the line, because she said that mentally retarded starts at a score of 69 and below. Now, I’m sure why Owen hit the line is neither here nor there, but I asked her to repeat everything because I was deliciously happy that she was telling me he was on the low end of typical, and not MR. She told me that if he continues to excel the way he has, given the services he needs, he could do well. I was so happy to hear that. I mean, really, nobody has ever told me what his cognitive levels are, and what to expect. We have always been told that they can’t really tell you what his cognitive levels are, until he’s older. And, I suppose, that's true. After all, these tests are imperfect. And Owen didn’t even do as well as I thought he would. There were clearly things he knew that he wasn’t pointing out, pictures he knew very well. But, I think he just got bored, and tired of being asked to do things.

So here’s what it comes down to: my child is just going to be on the lowest end of average, I hope. But he won’t be paralyzed by an inability to think. That, to me, is what is important. I don't know why it is so important, except that I realized the other day that it seems as if parents are always fixated on how "smart" their kids are. You don't hear them say, "wow, look how energetic he is!" or "wow, look how talkative she is" it's always, "look how smart my child is." Why are we so concerned about how smart our children are? And really, doesn't it just lead to heartache for those parents who push their kids so much because they are so "smart"?

So I brought Owen home, where my MIL was watching Tess. I explained the scores and what the evaluator had said, and after all that, she looked at Owen and said, “So you won’t be so dumb after all, huh?” It sounded so harsh, and so wrong, but what could I say? She thinks that kids his age don’t know what she says. But they do, they are sponges and absorb everything.

Owen turns three on Monday, and Sunday is his birthday party. Everything has been bought, and it is all ready to go. I even found a place to do a Wiggles cake…I can’t wait to see his face when we bring it out…


Blogger Shelley said...

Well done! I am very happy for you - I know exactly what you mean. Hannah is 20 months and her cognitive ability is still largely 'the great unspeakable'. Everyone is willing to pass judgment on her fine motor and gross motor skills but not her intellectual abilities. I know that that is for good reasons but how I have savoured the one time earlier in the year when the physio dared to say that her level of alertness and determination (in spite of very low muscle tone) boded well for her intellectual ability. I hope the birthday party is great! We love the Wiggles.

11:23 PM  
Blogger Sweet Coalminer said...

That is such wonderful news.

I think you really have your head on straight. It's good you got a nice SC and that Owen is just doing so well. You're a great mom, and your kids sound delightful.

10:33 AM  

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