When we had our last school meeting, we all noticed that Joey's evals were all woefully out of date, or oddly inaccurate. So we ordered a bunch of testing done, and on Wednesday, we get to look over what Joey looks like on paper.
In many ways, I love evals. They give me a little snapshot of what Joey is doing, what he isn't doing, hat he can do, and what he won't do. It also tells me a lot about the folks evaluating him, as they interpret what they see (and don't see), and how numbers on a paper relate to real actions and skills. Since Joey has so many splinter skills, it can tell me a lot when people act surprised, or talk about the problems of the testing tool, or what they think ought to be done based on the numbers. Some folks are brilliant evaluators. Some are mediocre. Some are idiots.
In many ways, I hate evals. To me, Joey is so brilliant, so creative and intelligent, so hard-working and really pitching, that seeing what that means on paper can be startlingly depressing. When you see how far he's come, and how hard he's fought to get there, to see those low percentiles and scores really takes the wind out of you. Oh, right, he's still disabled. But wow, this disabled? Really? And when I see how many kids are in worse shape than Joey, I wonder what their evals look like. And how their parents feel at these meetings. I get the feeling it ain't pretty.
I worry when I can be reading a story and have Joey just stand up and walk away, as if I wasn't even there. Andy asks questions, wants to look at the pictures, wants to talk about what might happen or what he knows is coming up in his favorites. Sometimes I think Joey is listening, but then he abruptly leaves. Or I think he's busy wiggling, and he comes back with something parroted from the book (so at least he's hearing me!) He has a lot of trouble remember what happens in a story from page to page. I think when I write my Joey Story, I am going to put him in it (to give it appeal) and keep it on a single spread (so we don't have to turn the pages).
I worry when he can't find an object that is right in front of him, or when he can't hand me something I am pointing to. Joint attention remains such a challenge for him. Following instructions in a set sequence is so frustrating. Using a button is still impossible. He's eight years old, and can't tie his shoes or button a pair of jeans. He can't follow dynamic pretend play. He can't maintain a conversation. Answering questions is still a challenge. Communicating events in his day is a distant dream for us.
What will the numbers say? Will they reflect his abilities and disabilities? Or even worse, will they not reflect his abilities and disabilities? How does the Joey on Paper relate to the Joey who is trying to survive school?