I am dealing with more junk from Dino's special ed program. As you might remember, Dino goes to a special ed preschool with the public school program for speech and gross motor issues three days a week and a private school two days a week.
We had what I thought was a quick meeting. I thought it would be the typical quick parent conference. Dino is great at this, we love his little smile, work a bit on this, he's a joy, he has trouble here, blah, blah, blah. Not quite. I walked in thinking I have a little boy who is a bit delayed thanks to minor low muscle tone issue (as I have been told by doctor after doctor, expert, after expert). I left the room scared my son has a serious problem with his brain and needing an MRI now.
So yeah, not feeling too great.
The meeting started off OK. Not many positives but pretty much things I knew. He can't balance on one foot, he doesn't alternate feet on steps, he only plays with the three other children (all girls--two of which are 'peer' models--ie advanced for their ages) for short amounts of time. And he isn't holding his pencil right. I was not too concerned. I know this. I work with him at home. He didn't walk until 24 months, I know many physical things are going to require more practice and effort. I smiled and jointed done notes--we'd do more climbing, work on walking in straight lines, writing correctly with stubby crayons. He was going to be fine.
And then the physical and occupational teachers walk in. My world crumbled very quickly.
They began stressing how bad he is at jumping, not jumping with feet together, not jumping over objects, not hopping around on one foot, using his feet to kick off his shoes. I mentioned his doctor said he would be a good year behind for a while because of the low muscle tone and as long as he was improving (and oh my goodness--can I brag--he has amazed me with his improvements, willingness to try; the boy is night and day from a year ago), he was not concerned.
"Oh he's over a year behind," the teacher begins.
I purse my lips and look at her.
She continues, "What does his neurologist say?"
"He never saw a...."
"He's never been seen by a neurologist?" her tone is almost scolding. "Do you mean he has never had an MRI?"
"The thing on his head is just a birth defect, "I said.
Dino was born with some skin missing on the top of his head that showed his skull. I have discussed this with his doctors at birth, the doctors at the hospital, his old ped, his new ped and anyone who listen. ALL of them assured me he was OK and this rare condition just happens from time to time.
"Well, "she says. "If it were my child, I would have had an MRI done."
The other teacher is quickly nodding her head and I want to sink in my chair and die.
"I mean. There could be something very wrong and we need to know."
"Does it seem like something is very wrong with him? No one has ever said this. His other preschool says he is great and just like the other kids. He does well in his Sunday school class too."
"Really?" she looks shocked. "But did your other kids act like this?"
"Not to this degree but Sarah and Spanky were late walkers," I really want to cry right now.
"Well, we need the MRI. We need to know what is wrong."
"You don't think it's his muscles?"
And that was pretty much it. I went over to the other side of the room to get the kids and asked Spanky to stop throwing the play food. Dino started to pick it up. And then the teachers were calling Dino "Spanky" again and again. I don't know if they were just thinking of how I was just speaking to Spanky and since I said his name if they just got mixed up. Or did they just not remember Dino's name. The boy they just said had serious problems.
I left and scheduled an appointment with a neurologist.
Fast forward to today I have cried enough tears to fill a small lake. I have thrown up. I have balled up on the sofa. I did not sleep.
I always thought I was there for my kids. Could it really be possible that my gut feeling that Dino is really OK but just needs a bit more, well a lot more pushing is wrong. Did I make a big mistake not demanding more tests when he was little? What have I done?
And then I think back to those teachers. Maybe it is just my defenses but I did not feel they truly cared for Dino. I have been around a lot of teachers and I know when there is compassion. I did not feel that from this school. I have never felt that from this school. Am I allowing this school to label him and do him more harm than good?
Regardless, he will see the neurologist and if that comes out OK, we will go to Shriners to see what could be happening. I do not want to feel like I have not done everything. But one thing I won't do, I won't label Dino. Even if something is very wrong, I will not label my wonderful, sweet, caring son. In my mind, he is and always will be perfect.