So we have come through the child study portion of the SpEd process, and we now need evaluations. They want psych evals, social evals, educational evals. All the things I thought they would do the last two times I brought him to the system's attention. But that's water under the bridge now.
The next step is eligibility, and these evals are a part of that. The fear? That the popularity of dismissing ADHD will mean these evals will come out as not significant for eligibility. That his behavior will be labeled a discipline problem instead of a real issue to be addressed. We need help teaching him to cope and gain self control with extra challenge of the way his brain works. We're scared to death of being told "no" by the very people who are supposed to be helping.
After all, the last two times we did this, we were told he was just fine and didn't need any help.
When we went through this part of the process with Joey, the fear wasn't that we would be turned down. It was so obvious he needed service that the question wasn't "will he qualify?", but "how much will he qualify for?"
I spent a lot of this last meeting explaining that we need help, why we need help, and about being lectured by the psychiatrist about him not already being in the system. I think it was clear I was Unhappy, but did they move us on because there really is a problem, or because Momma Bear is roaring?
Why is there so much doubt and nerves? Well perhaps because after our last round of Child Find/Child Study, we were told he didn't need service. There was no asking for more evals, even though he spent the entire session in constant motion. What was the message to me as a mom? That the motion and behavior issues were my fault. After all, discipline is the job of the parent. It is my job to teach him to sit up straight at the table and follow instructions. It is my job to help him learn to listen to a story while sitting in a group. Just ask anyone on the street whose fault it is when a child is running around a restaurant, or talking loudly in a library, or when asked to do something, yells "No! I don't like you!" and hides in a corner instead of doing what he is told. Even when all the "usual tricks" you read of in magazines and see on SuperNanny fail (often spectacularly), the school just said he's fine, he's normal, this is just the way boys are. And if what the school says is true... well, it can't very well be the child's fault, he's just learning and being himself as best he can. And there must be a fault, because other kids don't do these things, and they are not acceptable behavior. That leaves... me.
In the meeting, the regular ed representative, a very kind lady and someone I feel is an excellent regular ed teacher, attempted to reassure me by explaining that kindergarten teachers do a lot of transitioning and many of the things my OT was recommending for Andy. We've been through kindergarten and seen the classes in action. We know the drill. Having to explain that we were talking about a matter of degrees- that these weren't suggestions for when Andy is in crisis, but things to do more consistently and more intensely in order to avoid a crisis. Once you are in the middle of an incident, it is too late. And we understand that ADHD is really a matter of degree. All boys have energy... but Andy has significantly more than you expect, and a quicker temper than you can anticipate without being very clear and consistent with everything. If you take him to the cafeteria without support, life will be explosive for the twenty minutes after you leave- not just wild. Explosive.
It's kind of like trying to explain the difference between a tantrum and a meltdown. You can get lost in semantics and forget there is a child here who needs support, more support than his peers seem to require, on a regular and consistent basis. Perhaps we are back to the questions of "why should I need a diagnosis?" and "Why can't kids just be taken as they are, and supported as they need, no matter their label?"
Perhaps I will muse more on that later.