“Will he ever be…NORMAL?”

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Father and Son

Today was Jp’s evaluation. Which went about the way I expected. I told Dana when we arrived about my hypothesis from my weekend of “testing” and we decided to start the evaluation just to see where he stood. I could tell by her demeanor that she had not written the previous test off mentally and seemed to agree with me without too many questions. She is a positive soul but she is also very good at what she does (which is why I drive him clear across town to see her twice a week). If this were a graded test it would have been a fail. She didn’t even give me the score and I didn’t ask, ignorance can be bliss sometimes. She did mention that one of the things he missed on the test was an 18 month level, so….that isn’t good.

After that it was like we were starting therapy all over again. Day one, do over. She gave Jp one of his favorite toys and sat down with me at the tiny table. She started writing down goals-a new list-that focuses on Receptive Language. How we will broach teaching him to answer questions, ways to teach him inflection, starting with single word commands and working our way up, ect. It is such a different ball game than expressive language that I am really going to have to work on switching gears. The positive is that his understanding of the language that he has is solid so she feels that it isn’t as terrible as it could be and all of his phrases are used correctly in context and that is a big plus. Points for my Jpeezy.

Now to call my husband. I hate this part. Jp’s development is such a touchy subject between us. While I grew up volunteering and eventually working with children with difficulties I think Chris’s exposure has been more limited. He worries about Jp’s future but doesn’t want to talk about it, really. I can understand. He is our son and we want the best for him. We want him to play sports and be in school plays and kiss girls. We want him to break curfew and get into college. We want him to grow up like we did….with limitless potential. I was a brainiac science fair nerd and my husband was an all-state jock. We thought we had this breeding thing in the bag.

So while my husband has been steadfast in his resolve that everything will “turn out okay”, I saw a crack for the first time today. He asked how everything had gone. I told him. I had warned him about my fears the night before and he told me to just wait and see. Waiting was over. I was-sadly-correct. I wish on everything that I wasn’t but here it was. He asked about autism, if it was off the table. I told him no, that she didn’t want to take it off of the table yet but that she thought it LESS than she did 4 months ago. He inquired about kindergarten and what this meant for further down the road for him. I told him I didn’t know. She didn’t know. With a receptive delay it is more tricky to teach and could be more likely that it is a cognition issue (which could easily be a disorder) but it is impossible to tell how much until we begin therapy. The repeating in answer to a question could be echolalia or it could be that we literally “trained” him to say the word before we would give him anything (as part of focusing on using expressive language). Only time will tell. I hate not being able to answer these questions for him. I hate not knowing the answers.

What I hate the most is that I am starting to see some of his pig-headed need to be positive at all costs, dissolving. It breaks my heart.

As I try to explain what I do know I can tell he is becoming increasingly frustrated. “I just want to know if he will ever be…normal?”, he asked. There it is. The million dollar question. And the answer is that I just don’t know. I don’t know if he will catch up, if this will be a lifelong learning disability,  or if this is a symptom of something bigger. I don’t know if he will need a tutor in reading and language forever or if this is something we will look back on and laugh at how worried we used to be. I don’t know.

The only thing I do know is…we love our son and no matter what this world brings him that will never change.

Childhood Development Parenting Parenting and Childhood Development

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Amber Perea View All →

I'm just living minute to minute, hour to hour, day to day.

4 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Thank you so much for so candidly sharing this journey. I wish I had something more to add, something more to tell you. I’m so grateful that you have great resources and advocates on your side. I will be cheering on little JPeezy from afar and sending as much positive energy as I can!

    • Thank you. At times I wonder if I should document a journey that I yet know the ending for. Will it be the happy ending we are hoping for…or something else? But then it occurs to me that maybe, just maybe, someone in a similar situation will read it and see that it is OKAY to be mad, to be scared, to worry in this type of scenario. Loving your children doesn’t mean that we don’t want the best for them and being a great parent doesn’t mean that you have to be blindingly positive all of the time.

      We do have a great support system set in place for him and have worked tirelessly to maintain it. It wasn’t the “easy breezy” way that I saw parenting going but I think in its own way it has made it even more rewarding (if that is possible). We have learned to take nothing for granted with him, every little word or phrase is a gift. We have even made teaching him into a game that is a family event!

      Thank you for the positive energy! We can use all of the help we can receive!

  2. I don’t think there is such a thing as “normal”. He’s normal – for your family. He’s what you have, and know, and love with everything you’ve got. I think this is (I’m generalizing here) easier for a mom to swallow than it is a dad. Women, as a whole, tend to accept things more quickly in order to begin to search for solutions and answers. I believe it’s more difficult for a father to handle the idea that his child may never be what he expected. I also think once that acceptance happens a whole new world opens up.
    We had a really hard time with this – I took the information, digested it, and immediately jumped into “how do I make it better” mode. It took him much longer to get to that stage. As counter-productive as it seems, I think when some of the insistent positivity went away, and reality set in a bit harder, things got better. Being optomistic and positive is hugely important. But sometimes a bit of realism can do a world of good. I’m sorry the appointment didn’t go better for you – but I do believe you guys will succeed no matter what gets thrown at you. So, congratulations on having a bad-a$$ family 😉

    • I couldn’t agree with your comment more! As moms we are more inclined to absorb the information and think, “Okay, it is what it is. How can I make it better?”. Dads have fantasies of football games and soccer tournaments (at least mine does) and prom. The idea that their son could be “different” is just a hard pill to swallow. But, especially for my husband, this particular piece of the puzzle was even harder because just a few short days before he thought we were about to celebrate Jpeezy’s graduation from therapy.

      Deep down, I have always had concerns about him understanding me. It was just the way he would look at me, I suppose, like there was some sort of disconnect. I wasn’t as surprised by it as he was. Though I just thought that I was reading too much into it or that maybe at that age they weren’t supposed to understand as much as say, my friend’s little girls, who all seemed VERY advanced.

      But as a Mom I have to say that it is what it is. He’s still my beautiful, funny, bright little boy. No test on the planet changes that for me. And normal is the new boring, right? 😉

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