Did you know we all learn different? I have seven children and some of them are naturals at school and some of them aren't. I have seen the cycle of "not being able to succeed in school and thus giving up on school" a few times at my house...actually one of my darling kids could write the book. I recognize this cycle because it is how I was when it came to school :) School was oh so hard for me and I never understood why. I had some successes. Enough that I know I liked that success feeling. But I was never able to figure out the reasons why I had some successes and some not so much successes :)
My child number seven is one of the Baird kids who struggles in school. She has an individualized education plan and has had it for a few years. Through a long chain of events last year our pediatrician finally decided to get involved in Natalie's school struggle. She used her pediatrician authority to decide we needed a neuro psych evaluation. I have finally learned that in this school game everyone has a part...the school...the doctors...the mom..the insurance... and no one can cross the lines and step on the other peoples parts. It is a little frustrating that they can not all simply just talk to each other but there are so many laws about who can say what, when and how. The pediatrician is the one in this quest who can do the "order a neuro psych evaluation" part. I confess, I was not really clear what exactly a neuro psych evaluation was but I was "in" nonetheless. I called to make the appointment for this important sounding evaluation in April and was stunned and disheartened when they told me they were making appointments for OCTOBER. But what could I do? So I waited for October and guarded the day of the appointment with my life.
It was an all day appointment where they did test after test with Natalie so that they could learn how her brain works. I sat in the waiting room reading, studying and listening to other peoples conversations...duh :) I got to see her when she got a break from the testing for lunch. I was so curious about what they did for the test but I never got to watch.
Before we left the doctor office that day he made an appointment for me to come back in November and discuss the results of the test. In the meantime, I got a very thick, long envelope in the mail with the results from the test. I was so curious to read those results but imagine my surprise when all the words in the letter were words doctors who give neuro psych evaluations use....silly me, what did I think? That the report would be written in professional ice skater words? Which, by the way, I would totally understand :) It, honestly, felt like I was reading goobeldy gook. I gave up on page 4 or 5 as I struggled to make sense of ALL those words. Do they have to use all those words? Can't they just say according to the results of your child's test it looks like:
This child will be very successful at being a fireman
You need to make sure they always have lined paper since no lines will freak them out
You should never, ever show them a picture of just part of something because they will never figure out what the picture is of.
Never give this child a rubix cube for Christmas.
Every day of their adult life this child should have a Franklin Day Planner in their pocket.
There were so many neuro psych words and so many references to such and such a test and way too many percentages. It was clear that you had to have information I did not have to understand what it all meant.
Finally, the deciphering appointment with the doctor came and I confess I really did not understand much more after meeting with him I think he may need a neuro psych evaluation himself :) He showed me pictures Natalie drew after looking at a picture he showed her. He showed me the results of her doing puzzles. He drew a bell curve on his yellow legal pad and made marks on it. All joking aside in the end I really was amazed at all they can learn about someone and I wished with all my might the pediatrician could order a neuro psych evaluation for me. I know it would have been extremely helpful to know how I needed to hear directions when I was a kid in school.
My next step was to meet with the school and figure out what to do with the information we had. There were seven people at this meeting. And as we sat there and discussed Natalie for 45 minutes I had to smile to myself as I observed each of these peoples little quirks and realize that every single one of these people learned differently. I joked at one point that we all needed a neuro psych evaluation and they all laughed and agreed.
The information once it was deciphered was very useful and helped the teacher to understand how much time Natalie needs to understand something and how to best deliver directions to her. So lets all cross our fingers that she can have some successes. I remember how it felt to notice that all the other kids were having academic success and that it seemed so easy for them and to wonder what was wrong with me. I wish I passed on just my hair color to my kids and not this :)