The paperwork has been sitting on my desk for three weeks now. I can’t do it.
All those forms that I need to complete if I want to get Lewis evaluated by the team at the Center for Children with Special Needs…they are still blank. I can’t fill them out.
I started to – I really did. When we got home from the appointment with Howie’s developmental pediatrician (remember her? she called me “Super Mom“?), I sat down at my desk with the stack of forms she gave me. It was the quickest way to get in to see the speech/language pathologist, she told me, since we were still concerned about his speech delay. And it couldn’t hurt to have a full evaluation, could it?
So there I sat that afternoon, pen in hand, ready to answer all those questions again, just like I did a year ago for Howie.
But then my eyes glanced down to the bottom of the page. “Please include a picture of your child here.”
I stopped. I put the pen down. And blinking back tears, I walked away.
That was three weeks ago. Right now, those forms are staring at me as I type (ok, they are actually under a pile of blue paper snowflakes, but they can still see me and I can see them…)
I can’t fill them out because I don’t see it with Lewis.
I’m going to try to explain what it is.
Here’s what I don’t see: I don’t see the long, protracted meltdowns that seem to go on forever. I don’t see the impulsive behaviors and the inability to control them. I don’t see the feeding issues, the sleep issues, or the motor planning issues. I don’t see a child uncomfortable in his own skin. I don’t see a child desperately trying to interpret the world around him.
Here’s what I do see: I see empathy. I see pretend play. I see a child who can feed himself, undress himself, and sleep through the night unassisted. I see the ability to hold a crayon and do a puzzle and transition from one activity to the next without a tantrum.
It was the complete reverse with Howie. All the things I see with Lewis, we didn’t see with Howie. And all the things we worried about with Howie, we don’t with Lewis.
That’s the it, I guess. I don’t see the autism.
And that’s why I couldn’t put his face on that form. Because I’m not sure it belongs there.
This is not to say that I’m not seeing things that worry me. I still see a child who understands everything but still has a very hard time expressing himself and that gap concerns me. Lewis is very shy and won’t talk at all to anyone he doesn’t know.
There are some sensory issues too – he has a fit if his socks aren’t just right and would be happiest staying in his pajamas or not wearing any clothes at all. This sensory avoidance stuff is very familiar, though. Throw in a hatred of turtlenecks and a fear of touching cotton balls and this kid is…me.
So long story short, I don’t know what to do.
I do think he needs to see a speech therapist again for another evaluation. We’ve come a long way but I don’t know where we really are in the grand scheme of all-things-speech. If I fill out those forms for the developmental evaluation, we could see someone quickly since this particular clinic takes the youngest kids first. But I can’t get past the fact that in my heart I feel like we’d be wasting all the other doctors’ time – that we would just be going there to get a faster speech eval. I can’t stand the idea that we might take up an appointment time that we don’t really need. We could use up a spot that could have gone to some other family – one desperately seeking answers and help. A family like just like ours, only one year ago.
But what if I’m completely wrong? What if I’m not seeing it because I don’t want to see it again?
Would I be so quick to give up my spot on the appointment list if this was my first child and not my third?
Sigh. Parental guilt. Never ending.
I do know one thing. The speech pathologist from Early Intervention will come back in February to test Lewis when he’s 2 1/2 years old. She promised she would. I’ve already called her and left a message to set up an appointment.
And for now, I think I’m going to stop there.
I’m trusting my gut on this one. If I’m wrong…if I’ve missed something…
I’m keeping all that paperwork on my desk. Just as a reminder that it’s there, waiting for us, if we need it.
“Sometimes I think I know too much
’bout what goes on in the real world and such
Half of me is certain, the other isn’t sure
One half has the symptom, the other has the cure…
It’s a fine line, a very fine line
It’s a fine line, a very fine line” – Split Decision by Steve Winwood