Wednesday, February 6, 2013

And Then It Hits You LIke a Ton of Bricks

Yesterday's post, fueled by the receipt of Samantha's report card last week, talked about acceptance and the shift of expectations that occurs when you realize that all things do not look the same for all people, that that cookie-cutter shape that you think designs the goals for your child's development and future does not actually exist.

Today's post is fueled by the receipt of Samantha's psych (read: IQ) evaluation yesterday, in advance of tomorrow's eligibility meeting.  Those of you who were around me on Facebook lastnight know what I'm talking about.

It hit me like a ton of bricks.

I had expected low

I did not expect that low.

And, it seems, according to the report, that Samantha, while off to a sluggish start, became a willing participant for the psychologist. 

So, how to view these results?

Big picture NEWS FLASH!!!!

I don't have to.

The results do not matter in the grand scheme of things. 

The question is not so much how to view the results, but do I have the FORTITUDE to view them *objectively* and move on.

Move on.

That's what I'm doing.  Tomorrow's meeting is not about the score.  (Well, I suppose it could be if she somehow scored as a genius - we may lose eligibility if that were the case!)  It's strictly about eligibility.  We could not previously find her eligible under any of the available categories if she did not have the psych testing.  She has to change her label from DD (Developmental Delay) to something else by the time she turns 7.  Don't know why, but that's just the way it is (oh, how I hate saying something like that - I'm taught to question things, but this one, as far as I know, cannot be questioned).  To get the ID (Intellectual Delay) label, which best fits her, we needed the testing.  Once we get the ID label, we will make it clear we don't like the wording, and will ask for Child With a Disability, something a bit more palatable, something that will force anyone in Sammi's educational future to look further into her file before making judgements.

So I take a deep breath, gather the strength to keep my mouth shut about the test results at tomorrow's meeting because, again, that's really not what that meeting is about.  It's just a means to an end.  The participants in tomorrow's meeting are not against us, and are looking out for Sammi's best interest.  I know that.  And once the end result is achieved, we move on, and don't look back.  Apparently the IQ testing is an option every 3 years going forward, not a requirement.  An option that we may choose to do, if we feel something may need to be changed, or if we feel we need some more accurate answers than we have just received.

And for now, I gain strength from the fact that those test results are not an accurate gauge of who Sammi is, of what she is capable.  The people who surround her every day, us, her teachers, her friends, all know better.  A friend posted this for me on Facebook lastnight. 

It speaks volumes.

(okay, so don't look at the fact that there's no apostrophe in the 3rd "its" - I tend to be a bit anal-retentive about that kind of thing!)


CJ said...

There is no test or piece of paper that can tell you what she will be able to do. There is no evaluation that takes her heart, spirit or determined mama into consideration. She is Sam. Period. Hugs to you!

Anna Theurer said...

Becca, good luck today at the meeting. Remember, it is just a number and by no means dictates what Sammi is capable of. Of course, I know that you know that! Hugs and loves, mama bear!

Leah said...

Wow! What great perspective you already have on this. No matter how much you can know in your heart that it doesn't matter, it would be difficult to hear news like that, especially when it doesn't seem to correspond to such a bright and amazing girl. Good luck today. And thanks so much for sharing. You are such a big reason that I am not quaking in my boots thinking about these things in Cora's not too distant future.

The Sumulong 3 said...

Seriously, your perspective on this is already awesome. YOU know who Sammi is and what she can do and so does the team and that's all it's about. I hate reading those reports (we haven't done the IQ testing yet, but the other test reports are just as frustrating). I wish you luck today; looking forward to hearing how it all went!

Becky said...

We are doing this testing in the next couple months with Kristen. It is not easy, and I am not looking forward to it at all because I full well know that the results will never reflect the true picture of my daughter's potential and capability. So, as a parent, I have to remember this in my mind and not think with my heart when I read it. It is not easy though. It is a truly a means to an end. It is one of the necessary evils we have to go through to make sure our kids are supported in the proper way. Then, after the label is put out there, we have to figure out as parents how to get the teachers and team to look past that label and see what we really see. It is challenging but it can be done! Good luck at the meeting...I do know how you are feeling.

Lisa said...

We just did testing on Cate because she needed it for her medicaid re-app. It was completely a parent interview evaluation so I know that although on some questions I answered conservatively as to her ability for the most part I was truthful. I was totally shocked when in most catagories she came back in the 2-3 year old age range. Seriously? But when I think back to the questions I remember how little this portrays her. I mean really one questions was "Does (does was previously defined in instructions as completes task independantly without reminder for adult) child carry breakable item to sink or dishwasher after meals?" How many kids in general do that, how many teenagers do that for that matter? "Does child always use the sidewalk or curb when walking down a street alone?" Really?? Why would I let my 7 year old walk down the street alone - we don't live in that kind of neighborhood. I try very hard to just blow off testing as a neccessity that gets us what we need and we are lucky to have a team that complete ignores it.

Michelle said...

When Kayla had her first IQ testing done I felt much as you said you felt - I anticipated it being low; but not as low as it was. Then when the optional 3-yr re-eval came around they said we didn't have to do it, that if she scored high enough she wouldn't qualify for spec ed blah blah blah. I didn't have any worried about that happening, I just thought I would see where she was 3 yrs later. Again, hit w/a ton of bricks as it was even lower. I hate those tests. I'm pretty sure I will opt out of them from now on.
From what you've described of Sammi's team though, I don't think the results of her test will have any negative bearing for her...just to get that label and continue receiving services.

Lisa Morguess said...

Oh, Becca. I dread this. You're one of my role models, so I'll refer back to this post when the time comes for Finn to undergo IQ testing.

Kerri said...

Wow. I would have to look at the results. Then have a pity party. Then put on my big-girl mommy pants and fight to get Boo the label that will allow her to receive the services she needs. Good luck tomorrow!

Rochelle said...

Well said my friend. A test is just a way to get them eligible. Hope it is a great meeting for you as always and that your positive perspective sticks.

Chromosomally Enhanced said...

Oh my not ready for this! So need to take a cue from you on how to handle it! My brother-in-law told me something the other day about this topic...he said that I can look at it as how low or outside the norm that Maddie or Max will be or you can use it as a tool...and he told me how he took this test and came up lower then his brother and was way he decided to see if he could improve his score..he said I could look at it and see where Maddie and Max are and the next time see if they improve...I guess I have been holding on to this concept and hopefully I can apply it to Maddie! Sammi is a ROCKSTAR! Good luck with everything and I will be thinking about you all! Smiles

Megan Landmeier said...

Ah! Our student study is Friday!

Kay said...

Imagine if they didn't give you the report in advance and your first time seeing it was in your two hour meeting parsing over all of the test results before quickly deciding on the most appropriate label and being asked if you have checked out the county's life skills programs. Yeah, my relationship with my "team" has never been the same.

Anonymous said...

Our son has his own set of challenges (autism and social issues) but scored very well on his IQ test. I can tell you from 'this side of the aisle' that the IQ test changed nothing for our family. He has the same challenges and struggles (and the same cruddy report cards) as before the testing. The input you receive from your daughter's teachers and your own observations are far more significant indicators of your girl's intellect and/or abilities than any standardized test. There are some people that 'test up' and others that 'test down'. I was the former and married the latter. However, my husband is at least as smart (usually smarter) than I am. But don't tell him I said that. ;). An IQ is just a number, like an SAT score. Possibly useful in getting services / support when needed, then never mattering again (when did someone last ask you your IQ or SAT score?). Best of luck with your sweet girl!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your experience, it is so helpful!

I was talking with my sister (she's a psychology college professor) in law a couple weeks after Little Bird was born. Our discussion was about Little Bird's cognitive development, IQ tests, my fears that he would have cognitive difficulties, etc.

She told me that the IQ test is not considered a very good measure of a person, and that her profession sees major flaws in the methodology and arbitrary nature of IQ testing.

She also said that the IQ test is heavily weighted to speed - so 2 people could both get all the responses "correct", but the one who does it faster will have a much higher "IQ".

After hearing her position that the IQ tests measure brain speed - not intelligence - I've decided a couple things.

1) I'm going to call it the BS-Q (meaning Brain Speed Quotient) *wink*

2) I'm going to treat IQ...errh, BS-Q... scores like height and weight - interesting numbers that may be helpful in qualifying for insurance benefits or other financial assistance, but that don't tell us a lot about how smart/intelligent a person is.

3) I'm going to make sure all my kids know this - not just Little Bird.

I love your blog and writing style! Keep it up!


Melissa said...

Gah, the dreaded IQ test! I think you have a great perspective on the whole testing thing, but I know when (if!) the times comes for Claire to be tested that it may be hard, but it doesn't define her.