Every so often Spina Bifida starts to get on my nerves a bit. (You might remember a similar post several months ago: Spina Bifida gets on my nerves!) It's not everyday, not even every week, but I do go through seasons where I find SB to be very annoying. I am having one of those seasons right now. It actually started early last week, Tuesday to be exact. I went to see the doctor who completed Caleb's neuropsych testing to get the results of the test. It was not lost on me that last Tuesday was March 22, which just happens to be the day (6 years before) that Glenn and I received the news that our baby boy had Spina Bifida. So, I think I was already expecting bad news from the neuro-psychologist. I know it's not exactly sunshine and rainbow thoughts but that was my mindset that day. Anywho, I won't get into all the details of the testing because they did 7 different tests and my mind couldn't even process all the information I was given. Here are some of the basics:
*Caleb's verbal memory is not great. Example: when given 4 or 5 different words and then asked to repeat the words he couldn't do it. Even with repetition. He could, however, remember pictures. So definitely a visual learner. This isn't a bad thing it just makes school a little difficult because the vast majority of instruction is given verbally.
*He gets overwhelmed easily so he will do better with short instructions with just a couple of steps at a time. It's also important to check for clarification to make sure he understood the instructions.
*If you read him a story and then ask him what the story is about, he can't answer that. But he can answer specific questions about the story, which shows that he comprehends the story but has trouble summarizing the story on his own. The doctor said that he will likely do better at multiple choice versus fill in the blank.
*He is a concrete learner. Has trouble with more abstract thinking. Example: the other night for homework he had to circle all the squares on the page. He knows what a square is. However, there was one square that was turned a little bit so it looked like a diamond. To him, that was a diamond, not a square.
*He is easily distracted (no surprise there) so he benefits from frequent breaks.
The doctor said that everything they saw in Caleb was very similar to what they see in kids with Spina Bifida. She wasn't overly concerned, just gave some recommendations for the school so that his needs can be met and he has the best opportunity for success.
Could he have these same issues even if he didn't have Spina Bifida? Of course, these aren't issues that are only found in kids with SB.
Do I blame Spina Bifida anyway?
Yes, I do.
Yes. I. Do.
When I came home from getting the results, I was beat down. Even though there aren't any serious issues, it's not that Caleb can't be successful in school. Caleb just needs some accommodations to help him learn and to help him succeed in school. I just hated that there was another thing that SB is affecting. It would just be nice if SB focused on one thing to mess with, but it doesn't, it affects everything. And it gets on my nerves.
Is it the end of the world?
Is it manageable?
Glenn and I have also been faced with the decision of whether or not Caleb should repeat Kindergarten. He had just turned 5 years old when school started, so he was a VERY young Kindergartener. I knew that this year could be a "trial run' for him and that repeating might be a good idea just to give him another year to mature and really solidify the basics learned in Kinder. But when faced with the actual decision, I was torn. I researched and read everything from "Having your child repeat Kindergarten will turn them into a serial killer" to "It's great to have kids repeat if they need it! No big deal!" In the end we have decided that repeating is the best thing for Caleb. I could place him in first grade but I don't think he is 100% ready. We want next year to feel like a brand new year to him even if he is getting a "redo" for Kindergarten so he will have a new teacher, new classroom, new friends. I hope we are making the right decision. I know it shouldn't seem like such a big deal but this has been a tough decision for me and has caused quite a bit of anxiety and worry. I'm a mom, I worry. It's what I do.
Anyway, all of this has made me a tad bit annoyed with SB. I just see how hard Caleb works for everything. Some days it seems like nothing comes easy for him.
But then we go to Open House at his school and I see this:
A super happy kid showing off all the work he has been doing at school.
His class has 2 ducks in attendance! I hear about these ducks from Caleb on a daily basis. The kids absolutely love them.
Caleb has been really interested in the Statue of Liberty lately and I wasn't sure where this new fascination came from...and then I saw this mural in the library. I got 3 books about the Statue of Liberty at the library and Caleb has had me read them over and over, I even read them to his class yesterday!
So Spina Bifida has been getting on my nerves again, and I'm sure it won't be the last time. It is what it is. And we have to climb whatever mountain we come to. Caleb is a smart kid, these tests do not change that. They don't define who he is or what he is capable of, anymore than SB defines who he is. Just like all of us, he has some areas that are harder for him but he is certainly no stranger to hard work. I'm glad we had the testing done because it gives me a better understanding of how his brain works and how he learns. This is vital information for a school/teacher to have, it allows us to set the right goals and put the right things in place to help him succeed.