Wednesday, December 19, 2012
To Test or Not To Test, Part II
Just when you think you've made a great decision...no...just when you know you've made a great decision, your kid turns on you. Flat out turns on you and your brilliant decision-making abilities, throwing a wrench into the already creaky works, bringing what you thought was a path to nirvana (okay, maybe that's a stretch) to a mind-numbing, screeching HALT.
We had been unsure about giving our consent to having Sammi IQ tested before her re-evaluation (read HERE for the background). I'd submitted our consent form. Then I'd withdrawn our consent form. Then, upon discovering that it was actually critical to the re-evaluation process, that the whole thing would be shut down until someone cries uncle, and upon discovering that the people involved in the process were not out to get Samantha nor were they planning on making any changes based on the results of the testing but were just trying to get a full and complete picture of who Samantha is, what she's capable of, we decided to go ahead and re-submit our consent. It just wasn't worth it to decline, and we'd likely wind up shooting ourselves in the foot (feet?) along the way.
So we felt good about it. We were ready for it. Ready to get the ball rolling, anxious to get to the eligibility meeting in December and haggle over labels.
And then Samantha got involved.
Like, she was kinda supposed to be involved, but seriously she has her own agenda and is ready to rain chaos down on a perfectly-well-oiled machine, perfectly-well-laid plan (too many mixed metaphors?).
And that's just. what. she. did.
Testing, Day 1. In someone's office, with the resource teacher present to lend Sammi support while the psychologist administered the test. First 5 minutes went great by all accounts, Sammi happily answering each question. And then? Everything stoppped. Something triggered Samantha to completely shut down. Nothing. Zip. Nada. They tried everything. Nope. She wasn't having any part of it. Not wanting to push too hard, they ended the session and sent her back to class.
Testing, Day 2 (about a week later). They started out in someone's office, but as soon as Sammi saw the psychologist, she immediately clammed up, presenting a carbon copy of her behavior from the week before. The Assistant Principal, another person Samantha adores and feels comfortable with, stepped in to try, to no avail. They tried changing the location, moving it to the classroom environment, everything short of all-out bribery. Still futile.
Testing, Day 3 (a few days later). One more, final try, everyone holding their collective breaths, searching the sky for the alignment of the stars...aaaaaaaand...that ultimately ended as badly as the first two sessions.
There was nothing more they could do. You may be thinking that perhaps Sammi would respond if either Daddy or Mommy were in the room, but I can tell you from experience, it wouldn't have made a lick of difference. Now the evaluation has been concluded with only testimonial from myself and Sammi's teachers, a big hole left in the spot where she would have been able to speak for herself, where she could have likely competently spoken for herself in many areas of the test.
We got the evaluation report back yesterday, 48 hours in advance of the meeting, as required. It was tough to read, I mean, really tough, and essentially made it sound like my kid is a giant behavioral problem. But we know better, and her teachers know better, and we also acknowledge that we need to take it for what it is, and that the report is not what's in dispute, the label is. The report was really what we'd expected anyway, but that doesn't make it any easier to read. On the plus side, it was so heartening to read that she's above average in her reading skills (sweetens the painful borderline found on her math skills...), and everyone agrees that she's got great social skills, makes friends easily, and plays very well with the kids in her class. Oh, and that they like her. :-) Some things are definitely more important than others, and that's at the top of my list.
The eligibility meeting is tomorrow afternoon. We have no idea what to expect. While we know the results are incomplete, will that mean they have to try again at some point in the future? You can pretty much bet that attempt will end in much the same way. Will that mean they're going to accept the incomplete and base their conclusions on the testimony of the adults, and move forward? I hope so.
And then that will just leave the question of what label she is given. I'm honestly not too worried (famous last words?). I think everyone knows how we feel, and that we're likely all on the same page. But the one wildcard in the picture is the main decision-maker, someone neither Steve nor I have met, someone neither of us has really had any kind of interaction with, someone that represents the school system, rather than the school itself.