While I don’t mean for this blog to seem selfish in explaining this experience – it is reality. Many families find themselves experiencing worse life events than this…so please bear with what is just an honest reliving of the experience. Soon the ‘finding out story’ will be finished and we can move on to other REALLY important, REALLY helpful stuff.
Schools, teachers, and AEA folks know how to make this testing seem ‘fun’ for children. Yes, there is relief in testing and understanding and knowing. There is relief in being able to plan for the future. The process of what was going to happen had been explained to me. I knew the ‘games’ they would play. I knew what was about to happen.
I was led to a small room attached to the room that Tucker was taken, but it had a separate door. They made sure he was in his room before I was led down the hallway – that way he wouldn’t get upset that I wasn’t with him.
Out of sight, out of mind.
The opposite for me.
Within sight, out of my mind.
This dark small room had a table, a couple of chairs, and a one-way window. The AEA representative asked me if I had any questions or if I needed anything. I wanted to say…
Can we leave now?
Will you let me help him?
Can I translate his meaning for you?
Helicoptering, yes. Maybe all parents should go through this – because it does teach you VERY quickly that letting your child go and watching them struggle will ultimately be best for them.
I stood watching them ‘test’ him through play. I sat watching them ‘test’ him through play. I paced watching them ‘test’ him through play. Repeat cycle. Stand. Sit. Pace. Stand. Sit. Pace.
If you know of someone going through this, please do not let them go alone. It’s excruciating.
I watched. I knew what he was thinking, I had enough knowledge of the process to know what they were thinking. I knew what they were doing. I knew what my son wasn’t doing. I wanted to jump through the window and explain him to them. I wanted to jump through the window and help him understand. I wanted to jump through the window and make it all okay.
But I knew I couldn’t. I shouldn’t. I wouldn’t.
I saw him amaze them with his ability to multiply, even though he didn’t know that’s what he was doing. I saw them take notes when couldn’t use his language when he became angry. He didn’t follow their directions and couldn’t tell them why. I watched them try to engage him in eye contact, I knew it was futile to try. They were astonished at his puzzling.
I watched it and all I wanted to do was burst through the doors, scoop him up, take him home, and homeschool him.
At the same time, I knew that was not the answer. I knew I wouldn’t be able to give him what he needed. He needed socializing, he needed structure, he needed to struggle…
Then they finished. The AEA folks gave me the nod to come into the room. I took a deep breath and left one side of that mirror…to head to the other.
I walked in that room and scooped him up. I held his head and looked in his eyes and told him I loved him. He threw his arms around me. I knew right then it would always be us, Tucker and his mama, advocating for him to the rest of the world. In that moment I changed…as a mother and a teacher. My responsibility would be helping him become more than he could imagine. I would do this both behind that window and in front of that window.
That is the moment it all really began.