I was standing outside last night thinking about my son’s Diagnostic Testing earlier yesterday when I saw this image; a little bright red chair in the spotlight and a plastic slide that is getting too small in the shadows left behind. It reminded me of time and how much he is growing.
Diagnostic Testing is for kids who show red flags during Early Education screening. It is just a more thorough screening by testers that go over specific groups and for us it was Language, Cognition and Social / Expression. I gushed over the Early Education building/people some time earlier in “The Promise of Early Education”, so it comes as no surprise that these testers were incredibly friendly and my son loved ‘his teachers’. Before they even came in the room it was like he already was prepared. He sat down in the little chair at the little table and he waited; when they came in he happily exclaimed, “There’s the Teachers!” I only wish I could have captured that moment. The moment I realized he was growing up.
He loved looking at the flip cards and he tried so hard to do what was asked of him. He never once looked back at us or asked us for help, which is a huge feat all on its own. We were so proud of him, so silently proud watching from behind as he did his best to understand. So many times I got tears in my eyes from this fearful joy of knowing this was the beginning to the road where Mommies and Daddies only get to play a part, we get to be the watchers, the silent observers of time as they forge the road into education.
In the end there was wonderful news and expected news. The wonderful news being that his obsessive clapping isn’t an autistic trait, but rather it is just a vivid expression of his happiness. Had it been an autistic trait then he would do it constantly, without reason. He is just an overly expressive happy child and although he scored a point below where they would like him to be socially, it is really only because he hasn’t had that much exposure to other children his own age, but he is learning.
The expected news was that he has serious developmental delays in language understanding, which also means he has delays in cognition. He scored extremely high in vocabulary recognition because he has an exceptional memory, but he lacks understanding (and so also speaking) of language. He can’t answer open ended questions or what, why, where, who and how because he doesn’t understand what is being asked of him. However, once he learns this, it will make all the difference in the world. So our next step is going in for our IEP, Individualized Education Plan and hoping that he gets to have a special ed classroom with a one on one tutor where they believe (and we believe) he’d excel more.
When we got home he was so happy. Later he would tell us, “You did a great job with the teachers!” He’s still learning his I’s and Me’s. He was beaming, so proud of himself. And he did, my little guy, he did do such a great job. I’m really happy that they will be the ones helping him through this first school year and that they are doing all they can to make it possible that he gets the assistance that he needs. I will always be overwhelmingly thankful for that.
… but I must say that it is hard, as he’s laying on my lap, I can’t help but have the bittersweet feelings of time passing and him growing older; the sorrowful knowing that one day I will have to let go enough (like I had his big brother) to watch him learn to walk forward on his own.