I titled this post as a way to keep my chin up & smile. Every 3 years a child with a learning disability receiving services through Special Education has to be re-evaluated or re-tested. In Larkin’s case because she can’t take a test per se she is re-evaluated and I fill out a developmental work book and a social work book.
The twins have these same type of booklets that I fill out prior to their well baby visits and I am so immersed in what delays look like that I spend a lot of time watching them for any sign of trouble. It can be hard because all children develop at different times and levels and one twin is probably 6 months ahead of schedule in many areas. The other … well she will get there but she is going to do it her own way. I know someone a lot like her 🙂
Larkin’s testing booklets didn’t take me long and the Social Worker and school Psychologist warned me to not get caught up in the questions and answers as a lot are written for older children. I’ve never been the mom that compared her children’s percentile growth stuff to other kids or held much stock in it meaning anything. In fact I’ve never gotten caught up in a due date when I was pregnant simply because you can’t control it and so why get a number stuck in your head as if it holds any meaning.
That thought process has made this path somewhat easier as I have always said and felt that Larkin is Larkin. She will be who and what she is with all our help and pushing but numbers don’t mean anything when it comes to this girl.
IQ testing is simply a way to evaluate if a child needs services. We know she does and therefore we haven’t paid a lot of attention to it because frankly we had been fighting for her health for so many years that not much else mattered to us. We also have known for a very long time that Larkin does not translate well on paper. She is so much more than a percentile or IQ test could ever begin to say. If we had to base this on courage, beauty, and strength ~ Larkin would be off the charts.
Larkin has been stable since April of 2009 and as we approach a 2nd anniversary I grow more and more anxious. She started to walk in November of 2009. 2010 brought a lot of growth with her hair, nails, body, and her red blood cells returned to normal after weaning her off of the Ketogenic treatment. 2011 brings a change of school, team, some of her therapists, another brain scan in November and possible change in treatment, and all of that begins with the 3 year school re-evaluation. Filling out the booklet and realizing that a typical child her age would be doing a lot of these things and her team writing out formal classroom observations vs taking a test.
For the first time I paid a tiny bit of attention to the percentage. I wanted to hear it as I have all the other pieces of critical information that came in Larkin’s instruction booklet. Don’t ALL kids come with those? hee hee I kid I kid but seriously I wish this kid had one. I wish my 15 year old REALLY had one *sigh*
I asked the question during a meeting with a woman I consider a friend who also happens to be our social worker. I asked because I must. I asked because it’s my job. I asked because that tiny little bitty wentsy spot deep in my heart needed to hear what I already knew but confirm ~ from where do I start to write goals and expectations for my little Larkin as she begins Kindergarten.
I am learning how to write a beautiful IEP and I can tell you this ….. our’s will win Ms IEP Universe. I discussed the language we would be using to write Larkin’s IEP and agreement was made over the table that we would write this in positive language and only with Larkin’s strengths on paper because I am not interested in pointing out deficits. Don’t we all like to be talked about for our strengths? However as it is in life for a lot of people ~ IEP’s also love to talk up weakness.
I am going to talk about how strong L is. How she CAN walk CAN say a few words if you listen carefully, CAN be a part of things, CAN do all the things that our family wishes for her to achieve if we write the goal from a point of strength and clearly define roles for those who will support her.
Her re-evaluation number …. well folks ….. it’s low and I have to admit it stopped my breathing for just about a millisecond. The social worker and I met eyes and then I looked away for fear I would not breath again and then the tears would come and I simply can. not. cry. over a Farren’s steak salad. It is a sin to do that.
I push forward ever more determined to write from a heart of strength and the surplus of skills this amazing little creature has. She has survived so much and she continues to thrive and give us so much to be thankful for.
Just today she waved hello to Ms. McGee her bus driver who we dearly love. A 2nd wave hello this week of her entire life.
I’ll take a percentile 1 because I am going to tie balloons to this little girl and let her soar and we have no where to go but up while riding her coattails as she collects her IEP crown.