My Aunt Yetta was the matriarch of my mother’s family. Technically she was my grandmother’s aunt. She was a feisty little thing, bustling with love, up until age 100. If she were admiring the view from her window, and someone would point out an unsightly construction site or blighted stretch of highway, Yetta would wave away the notion and would say, “I don’t look at that part.” She chose to focus on the trees and the birds and the beauty of the world and refused to weigh herself down with negativity.
Here’s one of my favorite Yetta stories: when Yetta was around 80, she fell and broke her arm shortly before she had planned to take a road trip with her girlfriends to Las Vegas. She said, “I can be miserable at home, or I can be miserable in Vegas!” So she went, broken arm and all. Her girlfriend hit the jackpot on a slot machine, and they spent the weekend being driven around in a limo, having a fabulous time. Had she chosen to focus on the broken arm and stay home, she would have missed all the fun.
Last month I brought Ryan to the Board of Ed office for his psychological evaluation. The psych eval is “part of a comprehensive evaluation process to determine eligibility for services under the Committee on Special Education.” I scheduled the test for immediately after school, so he would be tired and would do poorly, to increase his chances of receiving the services he will need in (gulp) kindergarten.
And boy, did my plan work.
As Stu said, “he totally sandbagged it.” I was not in the room for the evaluation, but according to the report we received yesterday, Ryan wasn’t able to follow the verbal directions necessary to engage in the test. The district psychologist showed him some items and asked him to pick two that went together; he just labeled all the things on the table. When asked questions, instead of responding, he would drift into scripts.
Because of this, the psychologist decided to scrap that test and rely on my responses to a long survey to make her evaluation. The report is full of scores and percentiles and age equivalents for various “sub domains.” Scores ranged from “adequate” to “moderately low” levels of adaptive functioning, whatever that means.
I could admit that his composite score puts him in the 12th percentile for similarly aged individuals in the norm sample. I could dwell on the fact that he scored an age equivalent of 1 1/2 years for the Play and Leisure Time sub domain and that his Personal skills represent a weakness.
But I don’t look at that part.
Instead, I will boast that Ryan is on the level of a 5 1/2 year old for the Domestic sub domain (whatever that means), and that his Coping and Writing skills are considered strengths. I will focus on the fact that my son will now almost certainly qualify for the CSE services he needs. I will marvel at the joy my son takes in rollerskating and drawing and writing his name.
Don’t bother me. I am enjoying the view.