Well, I ended up scheduling an evaluation for my son with a physical therapist and an occupational therapist. It was the poor school report about his writing skills that spurned it. D is super, super smart – he has a large vocabulary, a sophisticated sense of humor, and he understands concepts easily. But if you ask him to write 5 sentences about his favorite food, he will slack off for all of writing time and produce 2 sentences that may or may not be legible.
I’m not a high-pressure parent. In fact, if anything I am a sub-par parent, the one who forgets it’s show n tell day for 3 weeks straight and neglects to return the permission slip for the kindergarten field trip until the day before. I have totally lied about the kids’ reading times. Shut up, I clearly recall my own mother signing the Parents As Reading Partners log every year and I can assure you we did not read together. Anyways, my point is I do not feel the need to put pressure on the kids to perform academically. They are in kindergarten and second grade, not college. But when it became obvious that D was not performing at grade-level in writing, well, I became concerned. Because I know he is smart, I was uncomfortable with his performing at a level below even the average 2nd grader.
The physical therapist quickly ruled out anything related to her area of expertise. The OT seemed to note some things quickly. She also gave me a questionnaire to complete that she scored. In the end, her take on things was sensory integration dysfunction and general muscle weakness in D’s left arm.
I have been digesting this over the weeks since then. Part of me sees it. SID explains so much – D’s reluctance to leave the house, his inability to swing or ride a bike, his fear of being hurt when playing sports, his issues with wearing socks and shoes, the freaking out over loud noises.
Part of me, though, thinks it is wrong. It doesn’t fit. It can’t be right. I must have exaggerated on the questionnaire – my maternal desire to find help overriding my ability to be reasonable. I looked it up online, consulted with parents of kids dealing with sensory issues, and I don’t think it captures hims completely.
I know about sensory issues, by the way. In my BK life I worked with disturbed kids and most of them received OT as part of their IEPs. I have seen how it works. The kids I knew, though, were…well…crazy. Kids who attacked me over losing a point on the daily reward system. Girls who had their own poop caked under their fingernails. Boys who assaulted family members with knives and screwdrivers before they were 8 years old. These were the kids who needed OT. Not my kid.
When I tried to explain it to my husband, he asked if that meant our son was autistic.
Clearly, in the Big Picture, having some sensory issues isn’t exactly a deal breaker. It’s not cancer, or autism, or epilepsy. I just can’t shake my nagging suspicion that a mistake has been made somewhere – and that it is probably my fault.
The other little gem about this situation is that our insurance company will not cover OT services until we meet our deductible, which is $1500. Each week I pay $90 for him to receive these services. Have I mentioned that I am unemployed? And my unemployment will be running out next week? I’m changing my name to Freaking Thefuckout.
I feel so confused – the dueling emotions of relief that there is something off with him and it has a name coupled with the fear of what this new thing means for all of us. But I am also hopeful that this new label gives us some direction, and also helps me to understand what might be going on for D below the surface.
I don’t know how things are going to play out here.