This week, after nearly a year of waiting, The Captain had his appointment with the Developmental Psychiatrist. We are looking at his cognitive ability and his school readiness. Back in April, we had not one, but two ARD meetings to decide – well – his fate, school wise. We wound up with a plan that sent him to Kindergarten, but with a dedicated aid an hour a day and with some other accommodations.
This was the most the school could offer because so far his only noted exception is his speech deficit. I argued that he is lagging behind in phonemic awareness, number awareness and every other sign of “readiness” I am aware of. They countered that lots of kids enter kindergarten knowing nothing and with no social preparation. It’s not that I think he cannot learn, he definitely does learn; it is just at a glacial pace. The first year of “school” he learned the letter “G,” and became aware of several numbers. Last year, he added in “B” with occasional “E” thrown in for good measure. I worry about what sort of magic is supposed to take place in Kindergarten to create a faster pace of learning.
The Psychiatrist was very surprised he is only being recognized for speech deficit. Yet in almost the same breath, she said, “The school districts like to do their own testing and they believe 6 is the appropriate age to begin testing.” With school now less than a month away, my vacation from worrying about it seems to have ended.
Our plan with the Developmental Psychiatrist is to move forward with two kinds of cognitive tests in order to have some idea of his IQ now as well as a realistic assessment of the likelihood of that number improving. The big question is: are his delays really just delays–a result of his traumatic beginnings–or are there deficits that he is not going to be able to overcome?
It’s not clear, right now, if the tests will really answer these questions. 5 is a little young; the tests are very forgiving of young ages. There is no way for the tests to take into account environment, or exposure. We will have some results by early fall. In the meantime, I’m doing what I can to prepare him for school. I’m hopeful that at a minimum, the Psychiatrist will be able to offer some practical advice for helping him move forward. I am reminded again that I am this child’s greatest advocate and it is my job to keep trusting that inner voice that let’s me know when we’re missing the mark.
Photo Credit: Dreena T