Genea has delays. She has delays in her development, in her speech, in her learning, in her physical abilities. We knew this when we met her, before we met her actually. So, not only did we expect it we have watched for it. Genea however, has had different ideas and has spent the past 3 years busting her ass to catch up as quickly and as thoroughly as possible. Regardless she has been sort of "on the fence". She has just enough sensory integration issues to be a problem. Just enough speech and language issues that she fit in with the kindergartners last year, but at the bottom of the range of acceptability. Fine motor deficits to make her handwriting atrocious but she always gets her letters in the lines. She is clumsy and knocks into things. She falls standing still, those sorts of things. Socially, about a year behind her friends. But always just toeing the line which cut off a delay from being an addressable problem. Never quite making it over the edge into an issue that might interfere with her academic learning.
So I knew and accepted, that Genea's issues separately were not going to raise any flags, although I always brought up my concerns at the conferences. Despite the fact that everything together presented a significant compounded problem, I was fairly sure the schools would not be lending us a hand. And the truth is I could have gone out and gotten her Speech Therapy myself. And Occupational Therapy, and a few social skills classes, and the rest of it. We didn't do it. We chose to focus on our bit instead. Our relationship as a family, our emotional bonds and attachments without racing back and around to therapists. It was a choice, a decision and a roll of the dice, to provide as much as we could for her at home.
I have gone into Genea's conferences with my fighting pants on, ready to insist on IEP (Individualized Educational Plan, generally for children who need special help) services and with threats all set to whip out, only to find she has been within the range of normal with her class. That she had room to improve but the gap between her and the rest of her class is not nearly what I would have thought. Part of it is I think, that she does the Miss Perfectly Perfect Girl shtick at school and I get the compressed result of 12 hours of fits that waited to happen at home in my 6 hours. With no major behavioral concerns, she does not stand out. Anyway, her speech and language is one of the concerns and I suggested a speech evaluation when school started this year. About three months in, the teacher noted a possible problem in her fluency. After the holidays the Speech Pathologist sat in on our conference to gently and delicately tell me about the "minor lags that sometimes maybe happen and sort of can hold things a bit to where we could benefit from some you know, extra time spent addressing it" (not an exact quote but you get the idea).
By the way, I realized that while I have a degree in Communication Disorders and can spot an articulation disorder underwater and from 4 miles away in another kid, when it comes to mine I don't hear it anymore. I can't, even if I try. I only picked up on some of Genea's speech hesitancies because it takes her so long to finish a sentence and she talks so much.
So the Speech Pathologist called last week to set up a meeting (May! It's May and I brought this up in September! Whatever!) to go over the results and discuss the findings and whether we will move into an IEP with Genea.
I did not feel happy about it. I discovered something.
I CAN INTELLECTUALIZE THE CRAP OUT OF EVERY NUANCE BUT WHEN YOU TELL ME SOMETHING IS NOT RIGHT WITH MY BABY GIRL IT FEELS LIKE YOU JUST KICKED ME IN THE GUT!!!!!
It was weird! Not only have I been expecting this, I have been waiting for it. In fact, I thought it would all come much earlier. I want her to get extra help in school and an IEP will help her to access it. So why did my stomach contract like I had just eaten a ball of styrofoam? I'm not even sure. I had a moment on the phone of, don't YOU tell me anything is wrong with her, there is nothing wrong with her, maybe there is something wrong with YOU, as I sit typing on my blog that I spent the past two years with writing about Genea's issues. Go figure. It hit me quick, and then the abrupt brick- to -the- gut feeling was gone. I'm left with a lingering sort of unease, a discord. I can't define it any better than this.