Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Helping Isaac

I took my son in for an evaluation with the local school district today, to see whether he would qualify for special services to help him with his Sensory Integration Disorder. In addition to causing some severe eating issues, Isaac's SID has interfered significantly with his motor skills development.

During the testing, Isaac scored a full two standard deviations below average in gross motor skill development, a clear deficit. This score puts him in the bottom ten percent of kids his age for gross motor skills. Mind you, this is how he scored even AFTER a year and a half of occupational therapy.

I honestly wasn't unduly upset by this score. I expected this type of score. My son didn't walk until fifteen months, and didn't run frequently until he was almost two. He didn't start jumping, or standing on one foot, until just a couple of months ago, and that was with the intervention of his occupational therapist.

He is terrified of heights. He won't climb ladders. He clings to the rail when he goes up and down stairs. He refuses to go down the slide at the playground, even if we lift him up so he doesn't have to climb-- even if I go down with him. Whenever he does any activity that challenges his sense of balance, he becomes utterly terrified that he is going to fall.

Isaac's OT calls this issue a "motor planning deficit" heightened by "gravitational insecurity."

I personally call this issue: "Sweet merciful heavens, if we can't at least teach this child how to go at least down a slide without screaming in terror by the time he turns five, he is SO getting his ass kicked at the playground on the first day of school. Not to mention the fact that if I can't teach him to kick properly, jump properly, or hop on one foot, he will never learn to enjoy sports, and will spend the rest of his youth getting picked last for every sports team and constantly trying to duck out of PE with forged doctor's notes. And all of this is really starting to sound disturbingly familiar in relation to my own clumsy childhood. So, if it's at all humanly possible, I would really, really like to get this child a little more professional de-klutz-ification help, mkay?"

More help than my health insurance company is willing to provide even grudgingly, no matter how many letters from doctors I send them.

So, to tell you the truth, I was maybe even a teensy bit relieved that my son scored so low on this gross motor skills test. Getting a score as low as he did on this motor skills test is the statistical equivalent of scoring a 70 on an IQ test. If a kid scored a 70 on an IQ test, you would expect the school district to offer him some extra help, right? So, if a kid scores a 70 on a motor skills test, one might imagine that the school district would be willing to provide some help there, as well, right?


On the verbal development test, my three-year-old scored as a five-year-old.

He knew what day of the week it was.
He knew the names of the seasons.
He knew not only the word for telescope, but also what a telescope is for.
("He knew what a telescope was!" exclaimed the smitten speech therapist. "Would you like to give me the test, Isaac?")

And, well, there's also the fact that . . . he can read. About 40 or so words, last I counted.

Now I have a test for you: What does gifted plus delayed equal, in the eyes of special school district funding?


We were denied physical therapy assistance from the district.

I'd like to see my son eat words for lunch.

I'd like to see him read his way up a ladder, and down a slide.

I'd like to see him overcome his fear of fingerpaints with the definition of the word "telescope."

But, for now, I'll keep taking him to the library each week, and I'll keep watching proudly as he reads board books to the other preschoolers at story time.

And I'll keep taking him to the playground, and I'll keep praying each time that this will be the day he'll make it down the slide.