Monday, February 1, 2010

It's Strange.

Dylan had his 18 month evaluation last week. It was the first time that everyone from our Early Intervention team was together, in our house, at the same time. So, all sitting around my family room, was our Service Coordinator, Family Counselor, OT, PT and ST. I wish you could have seen the look on Dylan's face as they walked in the door one by one. He was SO surprised, excited, confused, overwhelmed, happy...

And with all of those emotions going at once, he was now expected to focus and perform well on his test. Hmm. Being the social butterfly that he is, I thought, this ought to be interesting.

It's strange, this stuff.

Everyone sitting around, writing feverishly, as Dylan does or does not uncover a block hidden beneath a towel. Did he put the required 9 blocks in the container? No, only 6. It doesn't count then. All the while, I'm smiling, but thinking, "Will he do the sign for 'milk' this time or not? I mean, he'll do it a hundred times when it's just me who is asking, but will he do it this time? Aw, c'mon Dyl! You know how to say mama! Look at me, Bud. Point to me! You know how to do this."...

Ah, my poor little guy was so distracted. I think he thought it was a party rather than an evaluation...

At one point, they asked me to ask Dylan to point to my nose. I made the mistake of piping up about how consistent Dylan is with this one. "Oh! He always does this one - watch!". I got right up close to Dylan and asked, "Dyl? Can you point to Mama's nose? Where is my nose?". Sure enough, as I sat there awaiting the nose poke, he jabs his finger right into my EYE. I didn't even see it coming. Everyone laughed politely. And I was left wondering...

It's strange to go through these "tests". To have your baby sit in the center of a big circle, while each of his movements and sounds are being recorded. To watch, but not be able to do anything. Or say anything to help. Oh, I know that it does not matter what the results are. I know Dylan and whether or not he'll perform on command does not change a thing in my mind. Of course, I still want him to do well, though. I want everyone to see the nice progress that, with the help of his EI team, I get to see each day. They reassured me that they all know Dylan very well and do see progress each week. This test is just something that they have to do...

I asked, as I always do, to please not share Dylan's "scores" with me. His EI team respects that, which I truly appreciate. Hearing where Dylan could or should be if he didn't, in fact, have that ol' extra chromosome, is useless information to me. I know, just as I think they do, that Dylan is progressing. We know that Dylan is learning.

He is a healthy, curious, motivated, social, and loving 18 month old little boy. And that all seems pretty darn good to me.

It is still strange, though. Evals...

14 comments:

Angela said...

Ugh. I read your post uneasily, as I, too, can't stand the evals! Ours are only once a year (formally) I think.
That's a good idea to not have them share the results w/you, but I don't think I'm that strong...I have to know.
At our last meeting for setting goals, the EI Coordinator told me that the ST (a friend of mine for years, actually) set B's six-month speech goal for "saying or signing ten words." I *literally* laughed (albeit nervously) outloud. I said, "Ummm...let's change that to five." That was over two months ago, and still, we have one sign and no words. And the sign ("more") is used infrequently and not always at the right time.
Siiiiggggghhhhh

Anonymous said...

Isn't that the way it usually goes.I do know that all the people on this blog have seen Dylan progress an awful lot.Sorry to hear about the poke in the eye,his aim was a bit off.take care and God Bless.
Art & Betty

Kelly said...

I'm not a fan of evals either. Landon didn't perform on cue either, but really, what child does??!! I agree Laurie, it doesn't matter what our children score, all that matters is that they are loved, happy and progressing at their own pace. We see how hard they work each week and know the excitement we feel with each milestone they hit! They are working hard, trying and thriving......isn't that all we want from "any" of our children?! Focusing on the score only adds pressure, and I don't think we nor our children need any of that (after all, society will throw its evil pressures their way at some time). I prefer to be a safe haven! Dylan, like many other children, have given me so much hope for Landon's future! He is doing "GREAT"!

Sharon said...

Not a fan of evaluations here, either. Luckily, there have been some changes at our EI and Brennan is no longer required to do evaluations. I think he did one at 12 months, but will not need to do any others (unless I request them - which I'm pretty sure I won't!). Even my 'typical' kids won't perform on demand!

Tricia said...

It IS strange. TOTALLY strange. You really captured how completely ludicrous (and uncomfortable and anticipatory) the whole thing can be.

One thing it is not, is natural! G ALWAYS did lousy on those kinds of evals, and I just tried as I might to not let it bother me. I mean, if I had to sit in the middle of a bunch of people evaluating me I would CERTAINLY be distracted!

Katie said...

Yep, just our little kiddos get these fun tests! Our state does it a little different and each "test" is done by each therapist alone, just during their regular weekly visits. That's a lot of pressure to do it all at once with all eyes on you. I'm sure Dylan did great!

Rachel said...

Who likes to have their kid tested? Our teachers actually do it the same way, but if they have seen her do a task in therapy, then they mark it off. They only ask her to do things that they haven't seen her do. It makes things a little better and we sit on the floor in the play room which makes Aubrey much more comfortable. Just some thoughts that you might ask them about for next time.

Tausha said...

Oh I am so with you, it's strange. I hate evals. Sam can point to everyone's nose in the family but if asked by someone he has to be a performing monkey for he doesn't do it. He needs to have his 18 mth evaluation as well but not sure when they are going to be doing it. That's a lot of pressure for a little child and for his Mom. Dylan is so beautiful, i love reading about how he is doing.

Derek, Kenzee and Gage said...

What an odd situation for them to put Dylan in! Of course he is going to be distracted by that! I think our therapists must just do it as they come on their own because they don't ever make it seem like anything new is going on. I'm sure he did awesome, I think I would like to sit in a room and watch Dylan just be himself though, he seems like such a sweet fun boy!

Jessica said...

wow, that sounds like kind of a circus - no wonder he gave you a poke in the eye :) I really hate when Drew has to be tested like that, you have such a great attitude about it, good for you!

Sasha said...

Wow that sounds a little bit overwhelming. I am glad that you don't ask for the scores. Who can expect any child to perform with a room full of adults. If I put Blyss in that room she would have hid or come over to me and covered her face. You know what Dylan does well and what he brings to your life in terms of spirit and love and I think that is all that matters. I too am getting tired of all of my meetings.

Loren Stow said...

I've never had a complete evaluation of Malakai's 'abilities'... I just take him to his various therapies and we discuss his progress as it happens... He doesn't score any points as such...
The idea of an evaluation is silly to me - especially since it must be so overwhelming for any child, which affects their concentration and confidence.
I know you have to do the evaluations, so your attitude of them is great - they have to be done, you know that they are not truly reflective of your son and his abilities, and you are not bugged by 'scores' because they are not accurate (and even if they were accurate, your son is not the sum of points)!
Take heart of your post - I think it has made a big difference for many mommies!

Ladybird said...

Ah Laurie, I doubt that Cass and Silvia would perform any better. We all know children choose when they do things. If you've seen and heard him do all the things they asked for, then he is doing fine. YOU know better than anyone how well he is doing.

Melissa said...

I don't see how many kids would perform well in these situations. Claire was 4 1/2 weeks old when we first met with her EI team and the extra voices were distracting enough that she could hardly focus to take a bottle, let alone perform on command.