In the midst of looking through piles and piles of paperwork to unearth an assessment on Lily when she was in kindergarten, I of course ran across the huge stack of Bobby's assessments and records. I sat on my closet floor, the piles in my lap, and read the last formal assessment again--a decade ago this month, and saw how little things had changed in terms of language delays, academic delays, and shook my head in disbelief that so little could change while, at the same time, so much could change. No, academics will never be my son's strong suit; even Rosie has surpassed him academically, but the changes that really matter, oh my, those are so numerous and significant that they deserve recognition and applause.
Verbally, Bobby is in the first percentile. How painful that was ten years ago to read, to hear, to accept. Not because I wanted him to be the smartest, the best, but because of how hard he worked (and still does) to overcome these weaknesses and how often they limit his ability to process and understand information. And yet, that same report showed strengths in the visual and performance that placed him well above many of his peers at the time.
Bobby is a bundle of surprising and unexpected contradictions, and words on an assessment can and will never capture the reality of who he is. He is kind-hearted, sweet, loving. He is mastering sarcasm (last week I asked him to do something and he cracked, "Sure, ask the 22-year-old autistic kid to do it." He laughs a belly laugh like I do, from inside himself that must be let out, that cannot be contained. He delights in being helpful (most of the time), and can spend hours in animated conversation with Lily and Rose about Pokemon, Yu-gi-oh and Dragonball-Z. He can annoy the hell out of them, too, proving that normal sibling goading is a skill he has mastered well.
I will remember these things as we go through this new assessment for Lily, that words from an assessment can not possibly capture her totality, her wonderfulness, her exuberance for life, her zest and her zany smile that light up a room. I will remember that we go through all of this because she needs some extra help to allow her to be her best, not because we want to change her, cure her, make her other than who she is, but because we want her to have the help she needs to reach her potential.
the only way to clean a room--in a trench coat!
Who we are, the totality of our personhood, that is an indelible part of us. Pieces of paper that catalog our weaknesses cannot capture the whole of us, only guide us in way to get around the weaknesses by capitalizing on our strengths. I will remember that, counter each listed weakness with a strength, and we will get through this, recognizing it for the hassle that must be gotten through, rather than making it into a catastrophe.
And if it comes that Rosie will need reassessment for additional help when she reaches the same age Lily is, we'll get through that, too. They're just unpleasant hoops that must be jumped through.
Rosie arranging toys.