"So Frequently we mistakenly believe that our children need more things, when in reality their silent pleadings are simply for more of our time."
***President Thomas S. Monson (Ensign May 1994)

Monday, April 28, 2008

Mother's Intuition.....

(This actually was several months ago, but I'm just now getting around to posting about it)

Noah's school teachers suggested that I get him an Occupational Therapy evaluation. I was rather confused at why, but they said there were several things in class that he just would refuse to do. That didn't surprise me, I mean we are talking about Noah. He could do something for you one day and absolutely refuse it the next. He's very strong willed and isn't afraid to stand up for his choice or opinion. Not that he isn't the sweetest, most lovable little guy ever (no bias, here!), but he can be difficult, there's no denying that.

Anyway, so his teachers told me that he wouldn't do many of the activities that the other kids would, like, laying on his stomach on scooter boards and rolling across the floor, walking a small balance beam, dancing, etc. Now, I know that Noah would do all the things that they listed to me at home, but wasn't surprised at all that he wouldn't do them at school. Noah doesn't like to feel like he's on display to anyone.

The teachers also told me that he wouldn't finger paint or get glue on his hands, he didn't like wearing his gloves outside and didn't like having his coat zipped all the way up. I'm thinking...... so??????? They're thinking that he is extra sensitive about touching certain textures, etc. They think it would be a good idea to have him evaluated. I respect these teachers, I happen to know that they are the best in this area, and I know that they're looking out for his best interests, so I agree to have him evaluated. They ask me if I want to be there when they do it and I said, no. They'd have better luck without me there.

Several weeks after the evaluation was finished and I'd been sent my copy of it, we had a "sit down" to discuss it. They told me several things about my son.

1- His fine motor skills are way above his age level
2-His Gross motor skills they couldn't accurately evaluate because he wouldn't do half of what they asked
3-His sensory processing shows he's somewhat sensitive about touch

All of which, I already knew. They told me that they could put him in occupational therapy for his gross motor skills, because technically, he didn't "pass", but they left it up to me. I told them, no. I wasn't worried about his gross motor skills. I've seen him, he can do everything they think he should.

So, we discussed the sensory processing. They told us that after observing him, teachers comments, my comments, etc, that it is obvious that he is sensitive to others touching him, that he has a larger personal space than most kids his age and that large groups or crowds, or lots of noise or commotion seems to overwhelm him. Again, this is nothing that I didn't already know. I was rather frustrated with it all, because they were talking to me as if this were all new to me. I am his mother, I've been with him for 5 years, I've noticed a thing or two during that time........ And my thought about it all, so what?!?!?

I think all of those things make up Noah. They are who he is. It's his personality and it's perfectly ok. I'm not worried about any of it, really. I'm not saying that there aren't kids who really need help in those areas, but Noah isn't one of them and it was a little frustrating to listen to. It was almost as if they needed to put a "label" on his behavior because it didn't fit perfectly with all the other kids. I don't like that attitude. I don't want Noah to think that there's something wrong with him, just because he doesn't like people in his "space". Heck, I don't like people getting in my personal space all the time either. I think he should be the little boy that he is, without having to worry about what others think. Ok, so now that I've ranted a little........

They did tell me something that made sense, not that it makes any difference now that I know, but it does help explains things a little. They were talking about how crowds and lots of noise is overwhelming to him and they said that he's starting to learn to handle it. For instance, when he first started school and things would get a little loud and crazy, Noah would just shut down. He wouldn't do anything. Now, he'll move away from "it" to a quieter area and kind of collect himself until he can handle it all. That's a good thing. But, what I found interesting is that they told me that when he was younger that those sort of situations were probably completely overwhelming to him and he didn't know how to handle it at all and so his only reaction would be to cry or have a meltdown (for lack of a better word). In other words, when I would try and take him to nursery at church, which had about 20 kids in it and was complete chaos, loud, rowdy, and insane. It was too much for his little system to manage, so his only way to deal with it was to cry and try to get out of the situation. It was too much for him to process and he couldn't do it, not that he wouldn't, he couldn't.

So, all those years in Virginia when I wouldn't force him to go to nursery or primary and just let him cry it out is now justified! I had lots of people telling me that I should just make him go and he'd be fine and he could just cry, etc, but I just didn't feel comfortable about it. And, I couldn't explain why either. I'd let my other kids cry in nursery, but for whatever reason, I just couldn't leave Noah in there like that. I know that there were women who thought I was a pathetic mom, being willing to take Noah with me until he was 4 instead of putting him in his own class. But now I know why he would cry so much and had such a hard time. And I wasn't being ridiculous; I was listening to my own instincts as Noah's mom.

I'm just extremely grateful that I didn't make him "cry it out". I think of the harm that that could have done his little spirit, and emotional well being if he had been forced to stay in a situation that his little mind couldn't process at the time. That just breaks my heart to think of it. I think the Lord helped me to know what Noah needed at the time and I am so glad that I listened to my own heart and not the people around me! (Since we've moved, Noah has had a wonderful primary president and teacher who helped him to feel comfortable and do things at his own pace. He loves primary now! yeah!)

So, the evaluation wasn't a total loss, although technically, it didn't tell me anything I didn't already know as Noah's mom.


marie said...

Our nursery wasn't crazy...what are you talking about? You know I didn't mind if you didn't take him to class because then I could sit and talk with you!

But seriously, good for you for sticking to your guns. Being a mom is tough!

PJ said...

"And my thought about it all, so what?!?!?

I think all of those things make up Noah."

I loved that! Good Mom points:)

Maine Mom said...

This is a great post. I'm glad you went with what you felt was best for Noah with Nursery and Primary. And even though the evaluation was revealing what you already knew about Noah, you did get an understanding of why Noah would cry when you tried to leave him in Nursery. Even though it's in the past, what a blessing for the peace of mind that you did what was best for Noah...even though others didn't approve. What a great Mom!

Mom2My6Kids said...

Sometimes I wish that Mom's were given a little more credit in the professional world. Whether it's teachers, doctors, or the service man who's in your home for 10 minutes and watches your child throw a fit and has to chip in his professional opinion on how to handle those types of outbursts better(yes, that happened on Monday!). It always feels good to know that you did it right in the end. Good job! And you are the perfect mom for your kids!

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