Warning: This is a long one.
Yesterday was the preschool screening & Kindergarten readiness testing at our elementary school. The preschool screening & Kindergarten testing is exactly the same test but I suppose they are looking for a little less from the 3 year olds.
Eric went first, under the bribe of french fries and chicken nuggets if he behaved & did everything he was asked to do. Well, he must have really wanted the bribe, because he was nearly an angel the entire time! He participated in the hearing screening – passed!! and then waited (a looooong time) for his turn with the Speech-Language pathologist. Actually, the coordinator commented on how good he was at waiting! (Yay Eric!) He knew all the pictures, vocalized good sounds and demonstrated the few letters he is still struggling with. (he says B for V and W for L) He didn’t know his letters at all, but that was not a surprise. Then it was off for Concepts testing. He knows all his colours, shapes, and concept of big, little, in, out, under, over, around etc. He only missed one concept – which one is the “least”. The teacher indicated she has Kindergarten kids (right now) that can’t quite master “least”. Finally, we did fine motor with the OT. He’s a teensy bit behind where he should be, very immature pencil grip, not a lot of control, possibly lacking some hand strength.
So, clearly, overall, Eric is developing & growing normally. He is average in most cases, a little above in some, a little below in others. Just plain normal. (And he got his fries & chicken. Although we did have to get it “to go”!!)
Then it was Nathan’s turn. I was trying to prepare myself, mentally, for this test day. After seeing Eric breeze through tests that Nathan couldn’t even attempt at 3, knowing they would be hard for him at 5, I was struggling to keep the smile on. But, we bravely went in & Nathan did some of his best work. He knew just as many words as Eric, even though he was very hard to hear or understand (he whispers when he is anxious). He showed the SLP that he knew some of his letters & tried hard to understand what she wanted him to do. His concepts testing was harder. He knows his colours, but has trouble vocalizing this. He understands as many concepts as Eric, but didn’t attend the task long enough to really prove it. He scored missing about 3 or 4. He demonstrated understanding of shapes and sizes, which I was sure he could do. The OT doing the testing is Nathan’s regular OT, so it was great to have her doing the last test. He still cannot make one complete circle, copy a cross & has an immature pencil grip. But he did throw a bean bag to her (perfect aim) 3 times & demonstrated his NEW JUMP!
So, now I feel exhausted. On the one hand, Nathan did very well in the testing. He is scoring about 3.5 – 4.0. That is positive. On the other hand, so is Eric.
I try so hard not to compare them. I don’t want Nathan to feel like he isn’t as smart or as good as Eric. I don’t want Eric to think is smarter or better than Nathan. I keep a smile on my face, cheering each of them on, hoping, hoping that this time, Nathan will get just one more step forward.
It is so impossibly hard to see Nathan compared to Eric, compared to the other kids his age. To watch them effortlessly copy a circle, sing their ABCs just about breaks my heart. The most positive thing that has come out of the day is that Nathan’s teacher got to meet him & get a handle on where his development is. I hope that this will allow his school transition planning meeting to progress more easily.
I need to get a grip on my emotions before this meeting. I know how hard it is going to be. Maybe this test day was a good chance to get it all out ahead of time. In the meantime, I intend to brood, fuss & cry a bit. And then, I’m going to bake a cake & celebrate the fact that my son CAN.