A new chapter


Last Tuesday was Tommy’s last day of first grade.  I am a bit sad to see it come to an end, as I think I will be at the end of every school year.  On the other hand, this year has been an intersting chapter in our lives, and I’m happy to say that we’ve survived it.

Academically, Tommy is doing well.   His report card shows that he excels in reading, performs at grade level in math, but is behind in writing.  His teacher reports that he is reading at an end of 2nd grade level, which we are very proud of.  Math, I think he is capable of much more than he gives himself credit for, but we have time to work on that.  Overall, pretty much what I expected.

A couple weeks ago, I had the follow-up meeting with the school psychologist and Tommy’s teacher about the observations and rating scales.  The report was a lot for me to digest at once.  I hadn’t realized that the method the psychologist was using for the observations would actually allow her to quantify Tommy’s percentage of time on and off task.  Wow.  I knew that he had a problem with attention and focus, but I had no idea just how prevalent it was in his school days.  Not only does the report provide numbers, but she has also included a short narrative description of what she observed at each session.  It was like having a birds eye view into the classroom. (which I’ve often said I would like to have!)  During her observations, he was reported to be on-task ~50% of the time.  His off-task bahviors are predominantly passive, with motor not far behind.  In other words, when he’s not on-task, he’s either staring off into space or wiggling and fidgeting.  It is clear from this report that we need to follow up on this.

In the days following the meeting, I spent a lot of time talking to other parents about their experiences with their children.  I went in search of recommendations for all sorts of medical professionals.  I pondered this quite a bit.  I didn’t really know which way to go, who to see, or what to expect.  At some point though, my mommy instinct kicked back in and I was able to see more clearly.  I wanted to take him to someone who would look at the whole picture, not someone who would read this report and slap a label on him.  I wanted to be confident that we had considered all the options.  Obiously there are attention and focus problems so ADHD is a likely possibility.  But, what about anxiety and self-confidence and social skills?  Do any of those play a role in this?? 

Based on a recommendation from another parent (which was backed up by Tommy’s OT), I chose to contact a clinical psychologist.  What she will do is a full cognitive assessment.  It will take place over 3 sessions of ~2.5 hours each.  After all the tests are scored/evaluated, she says we will have a better picture of “why we’re seeing the types of behaviors we’re seeing, and what we can do about it.”  Sounds right on target with what I was looking for.  We’re on the calendar for these sessions at the end of July, so it will be done before school starts.  I’m anxious to see how this goes.

Thus, we begin a new chapter.

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