Wednesday, May 12, 2010

School Assessment

Today was the day I took Jordan to his assessment at the Great Beginnings campus, and let me tell you, THAT was fun. Ok, it really wasn’t so bad, and they were done with us in a couple of hours, so pretty quick and painless really.

But let me tell you what was not so easy—separating the conjoined twins so that Jordan could go to the appointment alone with me. This meant leaving Jadon behind, which shouldn’t really be a big deal. Oh, but it was. Very big. As soon as he caught wind of the fact that I was leaving the house and that Jordan was going with me, he immediately began rushing around, gathering shoes and mismatched clothing so that he, too, could go with us.

He begged. “Peeeeease, Mama.”

He demanded. “I go with Jo-Jo!”

He reasoned. “Jay-Jay need to go school, too.”

All to no avail. Jordan and I left as scheduled and drove across town to the building where the pre-school and testing centers are housed, and all was actually fairly calm…until we walked in the door.

Ok, seriously, do these people not know that some of their kids have attention-related issues and tend to short circuit when presented with more than one stimulating item at once? Because, I can tell them now, I nearly watched my kid’s head explode as he tried to process what to do first and then next and then next…and so on.

As soon as we walked in, we were greeted by a nice lady who really would have liked to have held my attention for more than 2 seconds. I’m sure she would have, because she kept pausing and waiting for me to finish redirecting Jordan before she continued. Except that never happened. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’ve now been diagnosed with ADHD, and I wasn’t even the one getting tested.

But here’s the situation. We walked in, and immediately across from the nice lady who was supposed to greet us and get our information was a fish tank. With fish. Lots of fish. Brightly colored fish that were swimming all around. And Jordan was off, and the rest of the filling-out-paperwork session went sort of like this:

“Jordan, don’t put your hand in the fish tank. Yes, he’s three. Jordan, don’t leave. No, he doesn’t talk. Yes, he’s always this busy. Jordan, don’t lick the glass. Jordan, we don’t need all the books. Yes, ma’am, we’re concerned that he’s behind for his age. Jordan, you can’t go outside right now. Jordan, Mommy has juice. Do you want juice? No, we don’t have his complete medical record. Jordan, don’t get in this nice lady’s file cabinet.”

And so on. So, I’m not really sure what I told the nice lady at our initial screening, but I’m pretty sure she’s convinced that I need Ritalin or something. I’m not sure I got a complete sentence out during the entire conversation, but she must have gotten what she needed, because it didn’t take her long to tell me to have a seat, that someone would be with me shortly. Really, what she was probably thinking was, “Downer, anyone?”

Our wait wasn’t too long, but it’s funny how much havoc a determined 3-year-old can wreak in a few short minutes. Just as Jordan finally plopped himself, back to everyone else, in front of a chosen toy, they called us back for the first part of the assessment. This is the only part where Jordan had to go in alone, one on one with the teacher. It’s funny how she left the waiting area with him in tow, looking all groomed and professional, but when she brought him back, she sort of looked like she had been hit by a tornado. Oh yeah, that’s my kid.

Then we went to do the speech analysis, where I promptly told the lady that he doesn’t talk. She gave me a “there-there” sort of look and stopped just short of rolling her eyes and saying, “Yeah, right.” So, I thought, ok, see for yourself.

She proceeded to ask him some questions, and that part went something like this:

Teacher: Jordan, can you tell me what this is?

Jordan: Mmmmm

Teacher: Jordan, what’s your name? (Really, lady? You have to give away the answer in the question?)

Jordan: Mmmmm

Teacher: Jordan, how old are you?

Jordan: Mmmmm

Teacher: (Toward me) Maybe you are right. He doesn’t say a lot.

That’s when it was my turn to do the eye-roll and “there-there” look, but I refrained. I was adult and professional, and all I said was something like, “I told you so! I was right, and you were wrong!” sort of in a sing-songy playground voice. Ok, I didn’t…but I really, really wanted to.

Long story short, that boy can work a mean puzzle and can organize just about any shape you hand him, but if you ask him to tell you about it, he’ll look at you and grunt. No words. Just grunting…and gestures. It’s sort of like a frantic game of charades when he’s upset and I can’t figure out what he wants. Sounds like…looks like…starts with…you get the picture.

At last, we moved on to the hearing and vision test where the ultra-hilarious lady said, “Now, if you’ll just hold him still on your lap…” I didn’t catch the rest of it because I was laughing so hard. Hysterical! She wanted him to sit still. On my lap. Uh-huh, and I want to win the lottery, too.

So Jordan gets to go to pre-school next school year, four days a week, for 3 hours a day, which will really be good for him. I think it will help for him to be around other kids and different teachers who can help him even more. Now, we just have the Children’s Mercy appointment ahead of us, and when we get specifics from them, we can forward them on to the school. We are on the road to helping our little guy!

And I still have to figure out how this separation thing is going to work for the boys. As soon as we got back into the house, Jadon ran over to Jordan and hugged his legs, which were dangling because I was carrying him, and said, “My Jo-Jo home.” I know it’ll be good for them to have some time apart, too, and not be so attached at the hip—but you know, it’s sort of cute to see them sticking together, too.

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