Cognitive: 8 - 9 months
Perceptual Fine Motor: 9 months
Reflexes: 10 months; Stationary: 11 months; Locomotion: 8 months
Communication: 9 months
Social Emotional: 9 months
The eval took place when he was 13 months old. Nice, huh? I mean, like I said, I know he is delayed. But seeing it in black and white? Depressing.
However, I know it's just a snapshot of one hour of one day of his life. I know it doesn't tell the whole story about Finn. I know it's impossible for anyone to really assess what he knows and what he is capable of and what his ultimate potential is. I know that. And I keep telling myself that.
But still. Somehow the evaluation still pisses me off. I still just don't get the point of assigning age levels to him that compare him to some arbitrary "normal." I understand that it provides goals to strive for, but come on. He's never going to be age-appropriate "normal" in their assessments. And I feel like all this is really doing is demoralizing Finn and certainly me.
Here's a passage from Disability is Natural:
The constant monitoring of a child's progress in EI programs is enough to cause parents monthly heartaches. Parents have told me stories of watching their babies develop and grow and do new things. The joys of parenthood are great. We're so pleased with every new thing a child learns and accomplishes.
Our pride and pleasure are often diminished, however, when an EI expert arrives with another assessment or developmental chart, or when we realize the baby is not meeting the "goals" in the IFSP. We learn our babies are still "behind," according to the charts. Whatever accomplishments our babies have achieved are good, but not good enough. Our babies are still not-OK as compared to "normal" babies. Just how good do they have to be?
Some of us are able to ignore the disappointment produced by the official tests. We understand the EI professional is just "doing her job." Even so, many of us become beaten down and demoralized by these routine assessments. After awhile, we no longer rejoice at our children's triumphs. Their successes - large and small - are overshadowed by the generalizations made by the professionals. We once believed and celebrated, but now we begin doubting our children and ourselves.
EI professionals don't intentionally try to hurt our feelings and burst our balloons, of course. They're trying to be helpful. But here we are, doing as much as we possibly can to help our precious children, and it's still not enough. How good do we have to be? We may become wracked with guilt, embarrassment, and shame. Most of us are working our little tushes off to handle everything coming our way - we're not watching soap operas and eating bonbons all day - but we still doubt our own abilities and actions because our children don't measure up to artificial standards of normalcy, as reflected in developmental charts.
So there I was this morning, watching Eun walk Finn around the living room and dining room with weights on his ankles, while he cried almost the entire time. And I thought to myself, "Why are we doing this again? This is how he's going to learn to walk, by having weights put on his ankles and being forced to walk laps around the house? Really?" How is forcing him to do something he so clearly hates going to motivate him to do it on his own? I'm just so tired of this all. I mean, he'll walk when he's ready, right? The human urge to be upright is going to hit him sooner or later.
I just don't know anymore.