November 21, 2010

The Test

On Wednesday, November 17th, Grant was given a psychological evaluation to assess his cognitive level.

I caught myself holding my breath as the psychologist set up her testing supplies - a peg board, puzzles, a doll, various pictures, miscellaneous toys that didn't seem to go together, etc... I tried to keep my focus on Grant as I stole glances around the small, simple room and sized-up the evaluator.

The process began with questions I have answered over and over again on a regular basis since I first suspected something was wrong with my precious Grant. Then a quick explanation on what was about to take place.

Everything was exactly as I expected. For the next hour Grant worked hard. Aaron and I nervously watched from our designated chairs and I constantly fought back overwhelming urges to prod Grant harder at certain tasks or scoop him up in my arms and tell him how much I loved him.

Finally, it was time for the evaluator to give her feedback.I smiled and put on a calm face as waves of nausea almost overtook me.

"Grant is testing at an 18 month level."

That's all I heard. The sentence echoed in my head. She went on to say many positive things about Grant but my mind was still reeling and replaying the bad news. I can't say I was completely surprised. I'm a realist (and, yes, that IS different than a pessimist). Grant's delays are like a neon sign that blinks unrelentingly at me all day every day. But I was still hoping that this time my fears, my intuitions, were wrong.

Since the test, I am replaying the positive things the psychologist said. Grant has come a long way. He has advanced approximately 8 to 11 months in the last 13 months (Grant's disorder, Sensory Processing Disorder (hypo-sensitivity), is considered a learning disability and, therefore, impedes on his ability to progress at the same rate a "typical" child would).

Progress is taking place.

Grant works hard and doesn't easily give up. In fact, the evaluator praised the fact that Grant didn't pitch fits or throw tantrums when the going got tough but persisted and gave clear indicators on when he needed a break. Also, he was great when it came to books. When a book was brought out during the test, Grant grabbed it, sat down, and flipped though it - pausing and studying each page. After a minute or two he quickly stood up and handed the book back to the psychologist. She thought he was done looking at it. Nope. (Aaron and I both smirked and looked at each other - we knew what he was about to do.) Grant proceeded to crawl into her lap and bring her arms around him so she would read the book to him. She melted. The test continued with Grant sitting in her lap and he excelled with the questions asked concerning the pictures in the book. That is definitely my Grant. :)

Summary: What I learned from the evaluation...
1. Grant is quite behind in his development but is progressing at decent rate (around 60 - 80% of the rate a typical child develops at his age, by my calculations).
2. He responds well to affection and praise.
3. He is a visual learner - make sure verbal instructions are given with examples (do not get frustrated if he needs be shown repetitively).
4. Teach him from where he is currently at cognitively - not at where he should be at his age.
5. Listen to him when he is "saying" he needs a break.
6. Continue to use books as a tool to teach.
7. It is imperative that Grant's body get the sensory input it needs - it is and will be the key to his development. Constantly assess his sensory needs. They can differ from day to day.
8. Push harder for an appointment to get Grant neurologically tested.

Below are a couple links for those wish to know a little more about Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD):
Thank you for your prayers. Grant will go back to the Watkins Center on Tuesday, November 23rd, for his vision test (they had problems with the camera when we were there on the 17th). During that appointment, Wesley will be given an intensive hearing test.

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