The next morning, I rose early to prepare to fill out the forms we needed for the meeting. Some of it was very straight-forward: medical history, doctors, medicine, conditions, sign releases, etc. But the seemingly innocuous describe your child was there with its impossibly small lines and check boxes that left no room for gray area. I filled out what I could and then "interviewed" C. so that I wasn't just putting in my ideas. I modeled the kind of information and how to give it, with examples to illustrate the issues. She started to remember really good examples of instances that demonstrated some of the adjectives that otherwise would have been meaningless or open to interpretation, such as "innocent."
I had to physically take a break to give myself some emotional space. I was afraid I would lose my ability to write up a reasonably objective description. It had to be something the psychologist could interpret as observation not emotion. If nothing else, the skills I have gained in graduate school around observation and writing up those notes are good for something. I typed up the results of my interview, but then I decided we should turn it in handwritten.
So, as I wrote it out over two pages of college ruled paper, C. and Q. got dressed. We made it to the place about ten minutes late … drama and concern and lack of sleep and eating made us a little out of sorts. At the last minutes, I asked Q. to bring a stuffed friend or other toy and her favorite clay sculpture. I wanted her to feel comfortable, and usually holding one of her favorite toy/friends works well for that. But I also wanted her to share the work she does at home … away from school with really no influence other than what she has in her mind. I think it illustrates both the view from the world she lives in and some of the abilities she has that her verbal skills do not.
They saw us immediately, and the intake person attempted to interview Q. It was interesting to see what she would/could answer. The intake person wrote furious notes. Pretty quickly, the psychologist joined us, asking questions and taking notes. The psychologist took Q. in another room for testing and we continued with the intake person who had a few more questions. We needed to fill in the blanks of all the things Q. could not or chose not to answer. It was again heartbreaking to list her abilities in this way. Her deficits are so clear, though their origins are not so easy to distinguish.
They have until November to let us know if she is eligible for services. But, due to her age, the psychologist administered the adult intelligence test. I am guessing that means it was pencil and paper. Thus she will qualify for intellectually disabled because she cannot perform on paper above a first grade level. I corned the psychologist for a bit before we left to give her more of my observations and interpretations. Though the intake person had finished her part of the interview, she took out her notes and began to scribble more as I talked to the psychologist. There were more follow up questions and knowing looks between them.
I felt elated and confident after we left … hopeful, really. Not because they now think that she is intellectually disabled, but because we have our foot back in the door. There is no doubt way more work to do … and battle with the school district about the IEP and the services before school starts in two weeks. But we are on the road to getting her the help she needs. We have a long haul ahead of us.
But the absolute best part, in reflection after these few days, is that I learned so much more about Q.'s conditon. I will try to write more about it later. Suffice to say that really uncovering the outside behavioral issues opens a box to much deeper understandings.
Did I mention that two beautiful butterflies captivated us as we entered the center? I sure hope that my brother and sister were there because they believe we are doing the right thing. We could use a little spiritual support right about now.