Saturday, November 04, 2006
Christina's Evaluation Came Today
As you know, my little four year old, Christina Maria has Down Syndrome. As you will read in my upcoming article in "Faith and Family" magazine, it has been a blessing to have a special child.
Yet there are challenges, and having the Health Department and School District professionals involved with her life since birth is certainly one of the challenges of special mothering. I have had Physical Therapists, Occupational Therapists, Speech Therapists, Special Education Teachers, Social Workers, and Suffolk County bureaucrats in my home countless times. It has to be clean when they come, and my homeschooled older girls have to look busy, lest one of these women feel compelled to make a report of educational neglect.
Most of the therapists have warmed to the idea of homeschooling, if not for them, at least they admit it works well for us. I think the fact that I am a certified K-12 English as a Second Language teacher helps their acceptance. They see how the girls care for one another, and how comfortable they are in social interaction with adults. Homeschooling with a special needs child has the added benefit of big sisters seeing the therapist's lessons with Christina, and reinforcing them later. I have seen Gabriela eliciting speech from Christina, "what's this animal called?" and Bella singing the same songs with Christy used in her Special Ed sessions.
Getting to the Evaluation, it made me laugh, and it made me wince by turns. I laughed at the 'behavioral goals' section where it stated that one of her goals was to, "avoid eating everything in sight". I winced when they used percentiles and IQs to describe my precious daughter. I know they are useful, but seeing her at the first percentile, and borderline retarded in IQ cuts me to the quick nonetheless.
Sometimes I forget she's functioning at the level of an 18 month old toddler, she's just Christina, and I rejoice at each milestone, because they are so difficult to attain. We need the cold hard facts, but sometimes they are hard to face!