Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Yesterday's Outcome

Yesterday was exhausting, hopeful, stressful, and encouraging all rolled into one big ball of emotions. I'll try to be brief.

The doctor:
- I didn't like the unattractive, poorly lit office. Bad vibes right from the start.
- The doctor was rude to Sky right off the bat. She (the doctor) asked Sara what grade she was in. Before Sara could answer, Sky blurted, "Grade 2!" She looked at him, with no smile or teasing in her voice at all, and said, "Are you Sara?"
- I was informed on the phone that this appointment was strictly for meeting the doctor and gathering family history. I kind of hoped that we could address the autism issue a little, but after telling myself that probably wouldn't happen, I left my list of concerns and symptoms at home.
- I was forced to explain all of Sara's "faults" while she sat right next to me. My heart was breaking and I was stumbling all over my words, trying to say things with as many big words or vague terms so that Sara would be spared as much as possible.
- The doctor was obviously not a big fan of homeschooling. I didn't like the tone of her questions, especially the ones about socialization.
- I left with a requisition for a urine test at the lab (Sara still has daytime bladder control problems quite frequently) and the referral to a neurodevelopmental clinic.
-I also left wanting to cry, but I found the courage to paste on a smile and stay upbeat for Sara's sake. Poor kid. She didn't say much, but I can only imagine how she was feeling. I know I felt like an idiot.
- The referral is the one good thing I got out of the visit. I have to fill out a couple of forms, return it to the doctor, who will then send it to the neurodevelopmental clinic. She said the clinic would probably not give me booking until we had the results from Sara's academic assessment back. I'm getting Shelley's help with the form (my friend who worked with autistic kids).

Interview with Susan Peacock:

- Completely different atmosphere - my nerves were soothed immediately.
- When Susan came out to call us into her office, she looked straight into Sara's eyes and kindly said, "And you must be Sara!" That was not lost on me.
- Her first question was, "Have you explained to Sara what we're doing?" Her concern for Sara as a little person was very evident.
- The conversation with Susan was easy, relaxed and full of hope. She wanted to know the struggles, but she also wanted to know Sara's strengths.
- She wrote everything down which showed me that she cared and that she was going to be thorough. She never made us feel stupid for anything we shared. If it was important to Joshua or I, she made it important to her too.
- Susan affirmed us as parents and as Sara's teachers. She said something very early on in our conversation that I will never forget. She said, "Because you are homeschooling Sara, you are already 99% ahead of all the other (schooling) options out there." I think Joshua and I both really needed to hear that from an "expert." I was so encouraged with how pro-homeschooling she was.
- She assured us that at the end of this assessment, we would have answers and would be equipped with tons of ideas and suggestions to help Sara as we continue to homeschool. She was incredibly positive and we so needed that as a family.
- Sara's first one-on-one session with Susan is next week on Tuesday, at 10 a.m. She's going to try 2 hours to begin with, and see if Sara can handle that much. If not, she said we can cut the sessions back to 1 1/2 hours or even down to 1 hour if we need to. Our total number of hours with Susan will come to about 11 hours, so we'll just get there at the pace that's right for Sara.
- Sara seemed comfortable enough with Susan. A little shy, but that's to be expected! Joshua and I laughed on the way home, because by the end of the hour with Susan, Sara was exhibiting some very ADHD symptoms! Being cooped up in an office for an entire hour with nothing much to do, except listen to adults talk, will do that to you! I talked to Sara at bedtime. She said she liked Susan. I told her that if she felt nervous about anything or had questions that she could talk to me about it anytime.
- The beauty of this assessment, as Susan explained, is that it really doesn't "matter" what or how Sara does with the activities and testing. She doesn't have to get everything right or meet certain goals. Susan just needs to find out how Sara learns and where the glitches are. Then, Susan shared that there are really two ways to deal with those glitches. You can either find a way to detour around a learning problem and get at it another way, or once you know what the difficulty is, you will know how to fix it altogether in some cases. She said there is rarely something that comes up that you would just throw your hands up and say, "Oh my, there's nothing we can do about this - we're just going to have to live with it!"
- Today, I'm so excited to start! Last night, the stress of the day, got the better of all of us. Sara had a meltdown at suppertime. In the midst of trying to resolve that, Joshua and I ended up at each other's throat's (I know this NEVER happens at your house!), so the rest of the evening was rather tense. I woke up feeling terrible. I finally let the tears come - the kind that almost make you throw up... After venting to my dear friend, Karen, on the phone, I feel much better! Thanks Karen, for listening!

I want to thank each one of you, again, for the incredible prayer partners and support you have been to me (us). For those of you on Facebook, who have sent me long messages, thank you! I will reply to each one of you, but it's going to take me awhile to get to all of them. I have been so encouraged and I feel very loved by each one of you who have taken the time to read my epic posts and even care about them!


Mindy said...

You are dearly loved, Peggy! I'm glad that Sara is comfortable with Susan. That will go a long way.

I've never been tested but I know I have learning disabilities. My best friend is a school psychologist. She has told me she doesn't even need to evaluate me with a test, she can tell by speaking with me and reading the things I write.

I always made average grades in school. No matter how hard I studied, I never made good grades. I've come to learn I don't retain knowledge in the same methods as a good majority of people. That can be a problem when faced with standardized tests in school.

I've come to see my learning disabilities, and have grown with them. Sara will do the same and since she will know of them earlier in life, she will be a shining star in her school work!

My response is turning into a novel. I'm praying for wisdom and guidance and peace and comfort and all those good things the Lord gives us.

septembermom said...

That doctor visit was awful. It would have been tough for me to hold in my emotions too. You did a great job being supportive and strong for Sara. I'm sure she loves having such a great mom in her corner :) Susan's positive can-do attitude is terrific. She is going to be a wonderful advocate for Sara's progress. I'm sending you a big hug to help you with all this stress. Good times are ahead, I'm sure.

Becky said...

Hugs across the miles my friend. Sounds like Susan is truly a God send. (I'll reserve my thoughts on the doctor.) Anyway, I anxious to hear how things go and would love to hear the specifics of her suggestions. As you feel led to share of course.

We are fearfully and WONDERFULLY made...each of us. Remind Sara of that for me as you hug her. There is nothing "wrong", God was created her just like He wanted her.

Kerry Shealy said...

I love Susan already! Could she fly to Florida and help me with a certain two year old??? :-)

septembermom said...

Pegsy, I'm back to tell you that I left an award for you on my blog today:)

Karen @Snakes-Snails-Puppydogtails said...

It was SOOO great to talk with you too. I'm so glad I could be the listening ear for you. Just remember YOU care for Sara YOU know Sara - the doctor doesn't have that passion or love for her like you. Don't get discouraged... you are heading forward!
I'm so excited to see how things go with Susan and Sara!

Sarah M. said...

Wow! those roller coasters are rough on everyone!!

We continue to pray for you all. Glad you got at least one good doctor visit!

SOCIALIZATION?!!!?!!! We have homeschooled in the past and will again in the future. Don's answere to the socialization question is, "Sarah was homeschooled and I (Don) went to public school for all my schooling. Who do you think is better socially adjusted?!!!"

Don is doing much better here of late, but I am sure you remember his "people skills".

GE is me said...

Hey Peggy! Glad you had a good time camping. I'm a bit behind in blog reading, so just reading this now. Glad at least 1 of the visits went well. It's a shame that dr. didn't have a "good bedside manner." Maybe you could switch? (I'm guessing it's a pediatrician?)
As far as socialization, tell her you aren't a socialist. :)
99.99% of people I know that are home schooled are much more "socialized" than those that aren't. Doesn't make it any easier, I know, but still.
Hugs to you, -G