Battle stations!

Zuzu’s assessment for PPCD with the school district has been scheduled for the end of August. In preparation, her SLP and I went through the standardized assessment Early Childhood Intervention uses in case we have any problems with the school district. In other words, if the school district says she’s assessing at or above her age and doesn’t qualify for PPCD, we want to have this assessment in our back pocket to say they’re wrong.

So, yes, we’re at battle stations and I’m happy to have her team at ECI on our side. I’m preparing for the worst- that she won’t qualify for anything and we have to wait two years before she can get into pre-k- and hoping for the best- that she starts five days a week at Beaty after her third birthday. And although it hurts my heart that she may be away from me that much, it’s truly the best thing for her and to ensure her continued progress.

As our informal assessment showed today, Zuzu has roughly a 30% delay overall. Her adaptive skills (self-care, like getting dressed and such) is at 27 months. Her social skills are at 23 months (crying when we leave tanks her score), her communication skills average out to 23 months, her gross motor skills are at 23 months, and the big puzzler is her fine motor skills scoring at 33 months- right at age. She can’t and doesn’t use her right hand, so the test’s standardization is what kills us here. Finally, her cognition is at 26 months. We know how capable she is at problem solving and reasoning, but the problems she has responding to and understanding concepts like “on/under” hurts her here. Her SLP and I realized that we’ve been working so hard on getting her to talk at all that we never did anything about things like concepts.

I will be heartbroken if somehow in a few weeks, Eric, our team, and I are unable to adequately communicate to the assessment team at Beaty Zuzu’s weaknesses. We know she needs this help for the foreseeable future. I can only hope they come to understand that, too.

Tonight, however, and last night, we’ve been battling something else: Zuzu’s wrath. Last night it was hunger and exhaustion, but tonight, it was her steel will. She had no nap yesterday and then didn’t eat dinner; after briefly falling asleep, she woke up and became enraged when I couldn’t understand what she needed. All her difficulties came to a head and it took about 20 minutes before we got her calmed back down.

This evening, however, she tore up Katie’s art project from summer camp, ripping the stickers off. I’m guessing she thought they were out of place (curses, OCD!). But it was intentional, not at all an accident, and Katie was quite upset when she saw what her little sister had done. It took no less than 20 or 30 minutes for Eric to convince Zuzu, who was screaming and crying, to apologize to her sister.

The girls have made amends with a hug, we’ve glued the art project back together, but it seems like we’re really seeing the repercussions of Zuzu’s delays lately. We’re a year behind on these sort of freakouts, which means I’ve sorta forgotten the frustrations of having a toddler. After our battle prep today, though, I’m wondering if maybe I’ve underestimated the road ahead with Zuzu although I’ve tried to be as realistic and grounded as possible. Or, maybe I just haven’t been honest about where she’s at. She’s almost three and assesses at younger than a two year-old in two areas. That’s…unsettling and honestly terrifying, even as it fortifies my hopes that she’ll make it into PPCD. Knowing your child is falling behind is a terrible feeling. Worrying that I can’t help her catch up is even worse.

So, back to battle stations. Back to preparing for and expecting an uphill climb the next few years. Back to working through these difficult spots, one day at a time.

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