Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Psycho-Educational Evaluation

Last night I attended a workshop titled, The Psycho-Educational Evaluation. It was held at Julianne’s school, The Miriam School. I wanted to attend this workshop because Julianne has had one of these evaluations in the past, and I assume she will have another one in the future. These evaluations are incredibly difficult for me to understand. I thought that if I went to this little workshop, that I might learn how to interpret the exam , learn about what I can expect, and yadda yadda yadda.

Well, I left there feeling anything but good.

The speakers were fantastic. The entire time that they were talking, I was trying to figure out where I knew them from. Had they worked with Julianne before? Had they been one of the people who have given Julianne this test before? Or did I just know them from seeing them at Miriam? I never did figure that out…I just know that I have met them before.

I sat and listened to the speakers discuss why somebody would want this type of evaluation, and what tests are typically given, and why social history is a factor. Parents started asking questions, and the speakers started answering the many questions, trying to explain many different things. . .

When the parents started questioning what would be needed as far as getting “services” in high school or college or “extended time” on SAT/ACT tests, I began to slowly internalize how stupid I felt. For the rest of the discussion, my mind was spinning with how much I still did not know, and how much I should know, and how very little help I can actually give my daughter…because I am just so not very smart.

Or at least, that is how I felt in that room, at that time.

I have never taken the SAT or ACTs. I never went to a real college. I fear that I will be of no help to any of my children when it comes to getting them into college, much less my child who struggles 100 times harder than the rest of us when it comes to education.

As I drove home, I started to cry. And then sob. I had so many things going through my head. So many emotions at the same time.

I felt angry at myself for pretending to think I would actually be able to understand what they were going to be talking about. If I have found out anything about myself during this “special-needs kid” journey, it is that I am dumb when it comes to knowing how to help my child. I am dumb when it comes to knowing what the hell people are saying to me when trying to tell me what is wrong with her, or how to help her. I am dumb when it comes to understanding what I can do to help her to get her what she needs.

I felt sad because I couldn’t imagine Julianne being able to go to college.

I felt disappointed in myself for thinking that maybe Julianne would not be able to attend college. How dare I think such a disgusting thought. Shame and Guilt on me!!!!

I had a little meltdown.

Then I started thinking about how lucky we really are. And blessed. Devine intervention has placed many wonderful people in Julianne’s life. People who actually know what they are talking about, and know how to help her, and how to get her where she needs to be. Saving her from me, in a way. I don’t say that to be self defeating. I say that because it is truth. When I started this whole journey, I didn’t even know that there was a difference between speech and language. I had no idea about services through schools. I had never even heard of an IEP or a psycho-educational evaluation. I had no clue what OT was even for. And so on. And so on. And so on.

And so on.

But, there has been a village of people that have told me what to do for Julianne, and where to take her, and how to do it.. They have saved her…and given her a chance at a decent life. A life that will involve her potential. Thank God for them. She is a blessed child to have all these angels here for her. It is amazing, really.

So a day later, I am trying to not think about the future for her. She may or may not go to college. But based on how things have gone so far, I am confident that God will continue to bring in magical people to guide and love her.


Grandma said...

What ever happens with Juli in the future, she is blessed to have all the people who have helped and are continuing to help her. Most of all she is blessed to have you. Without you and Jeff she would not be where she is today. Shame on shame and shame on Guilt. She is where she is today because she is BLESSED to have YOU.

Agie said...

Thanks for sharing your honest thoughts in such a clear and understandable way. I decided I wanted to leave a comment to acknowledge your appreciation for the angels. I think when a crisis hits it is best to step back and focus on the learning and understanding and not on the emotions. Easier said than done - and that is where the guides are so important. You are very smart to know your limitations and stay open to the advice of others. I love Grandma's post and her recognition of the importance of you and your husband as no matter how many experts you consult - you provide what no one else can - and that is your unconditional love and care. If you happen to learn about all of the technical terms and processes - that's a bonus. Helping your family to see Juli for the jewel she is going to be an amazing journey and you have put your faith in the right place - yourself and God. You will be His hands and many more people like me will be better for your care. Thank you.