I look at my son and wonder, how much of this will become his story? Will the words “he looks like a child who doesn’t get it” be ringing in his ears when he’s 35? How much of this 4 year old evaluation will become the story he tells himself, the person he sees himself as as an adult?
“She’s smart enough, she’ll get by.” Those were the words the psychologist told my parents when I was in fourth grade. Not “she will have problems with organization” or “friendships are and will be hard for her, help her with them” — the individual features of a person weren’t recognized. It was a full evaluation, and in full, I had the skills to get through school.
And I did. But I never understood why I had to study and work so much harder than my peers. I didn’t understand-as I do now-that I could not handle working during school, but it would take all I had to make it through. That there were reasons that, although I was as smart as the people in the top of the class, I lacked what it took to make the same grades.
And now my child. My firstborn. Could recite the alphabet at 18 months but has to be reminded to put his fork down when he picks up his cup. Wants to play with his classmates but doesn’t know how.
And I hurt for him. I hurt that he will be relegated to special ed preschool. I hurt that he is smart enough to know he is different. I hurt in my feeling that management of this won’t make it go away–he won’t grow out of it, and it can’t be taught away. I hurt for the struggle I see him facing. I hurt for myself, with the thought that if I had received early intervention I may not struggle as much.