So my son is being tested…literally. So far my son and I have collectively spent three and half hours and (I can’t believe I’m admitting this) $1000 on a doctor who is evaluating and testing my son in an attempt to figure out if he has a learning disability or disorder of any kind and how to best deal with it within a school setting. I tried to prepare my son for the meeting without making him nervous but I failed miserably. When it was finally time for his first appointment my child was bouncing off the wall in a rather bizarre display of nervous energy. Two seconds before I introduced the doctor to my son I had (truthfully) told her that he rarely waved his hands in the air in excitement, made up words or talked in weird voices. The minute that they met he started doing all three. Once they had disappeared into her office I dropped my head and started praying right there in the middle of the crowded waiting room. I asked God to help my son be cooperative for the testing and work with the doctor so she could give me the tools to get him into a classroom environment in which he could be successful.
Apparently God was really tuned in at that moment. When my son’s hour was over he came out a happy, calm and collected child. He walked up to me and said, “You’re really going to like this doctor, I love working with her.”
The doctor smiled warmly at me. “He was great,” she said. “I gave him the Stanford-Binet test and he was very cooperative.”
Music to my ears. We waved goodbye, knowing that we were going to be back the next morning. I smiled down at my son. “So was the test hard?”
“Well I guess it might have been for some kids, but not for me,” he responded. "You know, all kids have different strengths and talents."
“I see,” I said. “What kind of questions did she ask?”
“Oh just a bunch of different stuff. Like she asked what a baseball and an orange have in common.”
“And did you know the answer to that?”
“Of course mom!” he said with a roll of his eyes. “They’re both inanimate objects.”
I stopped walking for a second. “That’s what you said?”
A few minutes later he asked in a very quiet voice, “You don’t think she was talking about an orange before it was picked, do you? Because if so then the orange isn’t really inanimate since it’s part of a living plant, right?”
So now what really should have been a very simple question with a very simple answer has morphed into a discussion of what qualifies as an inanimate object. But that’s par for the course in my house because my son doesn’t do simple which can often be charming but not always. I mean lets face it; there are times when simple is a good thing. There are times when we just want to focus on an item’s shape, not the scientific nature of its material composition.
Anyway I decided that it wasn’t all that important and the next day I took him to the doctor again. This time he wasn’t nervous at all. He walked with her to the office without any prompting or undue encouragement. The doctor had told me that she was going to be giving him a test that is apparently referred to as the Gold Standard within the school system. She said there were timed portions of the test and some perceptual aspects to it as well. My son has a hard time seeing certain patterns and he hates doing timed activities so I fully expected him to struggle with this and had warned the doctor that he might be a bit resistant.
He did better on the Gold Standard test than he did on the Stanford-Binet. The exact opposite of what anyone expected. Furthermore he was the poster boy of cooperative behavior. As it turns out my son loves having his “brain tested.” He wants to do it all the time. So now I have a new fear…maybe my prayer was answered a little too well. What if after spending an enormous amount of money my son never exhibits the behavior that has hindered him in school in front of the doctor thus making it impossible for her to help me deal with him when he’s at his worst? As difficult as it is for me to get my son to behave himself it’s unthinkable that I ask him to purposely behave badly just so I can get my money’s worth.
But there’s another issue too. How is it that a woman who has met my son twice is able to get him to behave like the model student? Is there a trick that I’m not privy to? If so then none of my son’s teachers are privy to it either.
The whole thing is insanely complicated and (for me) more than a little nerve wracking. The financial expense is significant but I justify it by reminding myself that I would’ve put out a lot more money if I had enrolled him in a private school this year. Plus, I’m desperate. I have tried taking advantage of the public school services in the past, from testing to occupational therapy and the whole thing (for reason’s I won’t get into here) was a pretty miserable failure. As it stands now I spend more time in teacher parent conferences than my son spends in class. That’s not to say that he’s not being educated but I’m the one doing all the educating and being mom, dad and teacher to a wonderful but high maintenance child and still finding time to write…well it’s beginning to wear me down.
So keep your fingers crossed for me and for him. I’m sure there are people who will read this and think that I’m wasting my money and that fancy doctors and tests are useless. Maybe they are, but I don’t waste my money on very much…okay I spend too much at Starbucks, but I rarely shop for myself, I bought my car used, I have basic cable and I may be the last person of my generation who doesn’t have a camera phone or an IPod so if I want to waste my money traveling down to LA in order to spend more money on tests for the kid (tests that he enjoys) then what’s the harm in that? If nothing else the trips to So Cal give me an opportunity to work on my Spanish.
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