For the past several months Brady has undergone extensive evaluations carried out by the various educators in his classroom and at the district level in an effort to place him in the most appropriate kindergarten classroom later this year. The result was numerous pages of information documenting his abilities in all areas of development. The verdict? I couldn't tell you. Please see below.
There was an age-equivalent score of 11 months somewhere in the report. I forget the category of development to which this score pertained because I can not and will not dwell on that number.
Brady's expressive language skills were placed in the 4th percentile of the disabled population. I doubt he can even be placed on the chart for the general population. His almost complete lack of speech has disqualified him from every single speech therapy camp I tried to enroll him in for the summer. We are willing to pay thousands of dollars for these camps with adult to child ratios ranging from 3:4 to 2:10. They wouldn't take him. They said he is too disabled for those caregiver ratios. They said he has to be able to speak to go to speech therapy camp. Irony is a cruel bitch.
With respect to most other areas of development, Brady scored somewhere in the middle. I guess I would call it "pretty delayed."
I'm not trying to paint a bleak picture or evoke sympathy. These are the specifics of Brady's development. And we feel they are accurate for the most part. Troy and I filled out a questionnaire which yielded almost identical results.
And now things get confusing. Brady scored within the range of average for his age group in pre-academic skills. He knows his letters, numbers, shapes and colors. This qualifies him for a higher-functioning special education kindergarten classroom. We visited these classrooms and all of the children can talk. All of the children are toilet-trained. All of the children can navigate stairs and other hazards to which Brady pays little attention. None of the children wear helmets, as Brady does, so he doesn't injure his head or come home from school with any more black eyes. (This is starting to sound highly similar to a fretful post about Brady staring pre-school!)
He can learn. He is an exceptional memorizer of things, labels, pictures, landmarks. He can navigate my cell phone and his talker like nobody's business. He does silly things, purposefully, because he knows they are funny. He has found a way to tease me, to poke fun at things I do without using words. He is smart and resourceful. He is in there, even if he can't always communicate it. Other people see it too. I have been accused of exaggerating his condition because "he doesn't seem disabled." I have been excluded from discussions by other parents because he's not as disabled as their child. Yet it is becoming increasingly difficult for Brady to relate to his typically-developing peers, even those several years younger than him.
I guess all of this lands him somewhere in the middle. So we continue to carve out our support network, our family, friends and caregivers who get it, or compassionately try to understand. We continue to consult with other parents of the differently-abled and have been shown tremendous resources and support. We continue to hope for the best for Brady and are consistently reminded to be grateful for the middle.