I promised myself months ago that I wasn't going to read these things anymore. Because, really, what purpose does it serve except to bring me down? Seeing my son, whom I see every day as sweet and stubborn and clever and ornery and funny, reduced to numbers in a sterile report hurts my heart.
But having the thick brown envelope sitting in my hands makes it nearly impossible not to look at what's inside. And so I looked.
From his evaluation last month (chronological age: 19 months), here's where his skill levels fell:
GROSS MOTOR: 6 months
(Really? The notes say "Finn crawls as his primary means of locomotion. He pulls himself to a kneeling position onto furniture." How many typical 6-month-olds do this? Wouldn't this be rather advanced for a 6-month-old?)
FINE MOTOR: 6 months
(Notes: "Finnian will reach for objects with his hands." That's it. Gah! He does so much more than that!)
COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT: 7 months
COMMUNICATION/RECEPTIVE: 8 months
COMMUNICATION/EXPRESSIVE: 8 months
SOCIAL/EMOTIONAL: 8 months
ADAPTIVE/SELF-HELP: 8 months
It is interesting to note that he assessed at a younger skill level in every area this time than he did six months prior at his last eval. So, he regressed? No, he did not. He was evaluated by a different person, using a different assessment method this time. Which just goes to show, it's all so very subjective. And none of it - no assessment tool on the planet, nor any person performing the evaluation - can possibly show a true, complete picture of what Finn is actually capable of. None of these evaluations take into account that one of his favorite things to do is open the latch on the dog's crate (fine motor) and let the dog out. Or how he knows exactly where the drawer in the kitchen is with all the tupperware lids, and how he loves to empty that drawer out. Or how he puts a towel over his head and then whips it off, and cracks up, playing peek-a-boo. Or how he knows where to find his favorite toys. Or how he will transfer a toy from one hand to the other when I'm getting him dressed. Or a million other things.
I remember when Finn was a mere 3 and a half weeks old, and he rolled over for the first time . I was shocked and amazed - none of my "regular" kids had rolled over nearly that early. And it wasn't a one-time thing - he kept rolling from that day. And I remember thinking, "Maybe he'll make history and be the first person with Down syndrome on his karyotype, but not have any of the delays associated with Down syndrome. Maybe he'll have Down syndrome but be a genius!" Ahhh. It makes me sad now to think back on how desperately I wanted him to be okay. And back then, in my mind, okay meant as normal, and even advanced, as possible. I had not yet gained this knowledge that a full, happy life, and a life of value, is not tied to how smart one is, or how high one can jump or how early one walks. A full, happy life, a life of value, is tied to loving and being loved, to experiencing joy on any level.
So, yeah, Finn is delayed. How much? I have no idea. These evaluations aren't consistent and therefore can't seem to give an accurate assessment of where he's at. I am making a conscious effort not to take this all too much to heart. Finn is a whole person above and beyond any evaluation report or IFSP. He's delayed, yes. But he's progressing. He's happy and healthy and loved.