My oldest son, L, is on the Autism Spectrum and every three years or so the school psychologist at his public school is supposed to administer a battery of tests that pull him out of the classroom to reevaluate his diagnosis and services for his IEP (Individualized Education Plan). I've heard stories from families whose children are older than L, that their child tested differently as they aged and suddenly the services that their child was receiving in their IEP was taken away as though his/her
Autism changed and no longer rendered additional help. I've been told in hushed voices within vacant hallways, whispered information followed by the "you didn't hear this from me..." from school staff and administration that sometimes this is done because of budget cuts and there are other kids in the school who need the additional services more than my highly functioning autistic child. This is obviously not right but the reality is, that it is happening in a lot of public schools.
So it comes as no surprise that I go into this reevaluation with dread, I have a sinking pit in my stomach waiting for the results. I dread L being so successful that they take services away and I have to put my mama lion costume on and insist that he still keep the services that he has in order to continue to be successful
. Also within these test results right in black and white is the prediction of your child's age based on how he answers the questions. One of the tests they administer is called the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children also known as WISC. We are now on the 5th edition of this test. And the purpose of this test is to provide insight into the child's performance, cognitive strengths and weaknesses, problem-solving and approach to learning.
When L first took this test the results said that he was functioning at an age that was two years younger than he actually was. I remember crying, sobbing actually when I read that. I looked over at my two boys playing and realized in that instant how this diagnosis was going to change everything for them because my other son is exactly two years younger than L. This meant they would be functioning on the same level even though they were two years apart in age. How could this not impact their relationship both good and bad?
This test, when it was first administered, fueled my desire to have Logan repeat kindergarten. It has also impacted how I perceive what he's mature enough to deal with or do regardless of whether or not he is at the age when other kids are doing it. For example, being allowed to stay at home by yourself. In our state, you have to be ten years old but L didn't do it until he was twelve. I know that these results will influence future decisions, we are on the cusp of being old enough for him to learn to drive, but also it will (hopefully) give us room to celebrate. L has made such strides recently, inducted into the National Jr Honor Society and cast in a local community musical, things that I didn't think ten years ago when he was first diagnosed would be possible for him.
I've learned to see my son
.... all of him, including the Autism characteristics that don't make him unique in any way but actually make him Autistic. I know that the results don't define who my child is but they still feel like a blow to you as a parent, emotionally. This is the part of having a kid with special needs that a lot of parents don't understand. Our kids are constantly being evaluated and we are constantly being told about their deficiencies and weaknesses. It's a slippery slope that leads to depression and we parents of special need kids have to teach ourselves how to hold on to hope, how to see past the diagnosis and how to fight for what we believe our children need.