Yes, no, yes, no. I’ve probably completed a handful of these things. I’ve had to go through them on my own, but generally with a professional. The assessments were always at least 5 pages long. They covered various things from speaking, to fine motor skills, and eating habits. The first of these assessments was done because my son was not speaking words at a certain age level. Evaluations were highly recommended.
“Some of these are things he shouldn’t be able to do yet, and that’s ok. We’re just trying to get a feel for where he’s at.”
Yes, no. Yes, no. Sometimes. What toddler does that already?
In the beginning, the questions felt intrusive. Other times, they made me feel bad. While there were obvious things that weren’t supposed to apply, there were tasks that I just didn’t give him the opportunity to try. Thus, my answers to those were no. Guilt ensued. Was I suppose to do that already ? Is it bad that he doesn’t do that? Did I do something wrong?
After each assessment, I would either receive a brief review or a report days later. I’d hear the same things – great on some, not so great on others, concerns on speaking and meeting others. After the first few times, I always felt saddened and stressed. We try so very hard. Not all children are the same, and yet, we’re behind. Aside from his issues with speaking and meeting others, I never thought our son had issues with anything else. He was so active, and seemed to be doing well when compared with his friends.
After the third time, my skin had toughened. My son had been going to a play gym and doing well in speech therapy. He was making a lot of progress. Why he may be a shy kid in some situations, he can be a happy, active one in others. He presents some skills and behaviors that are the right for his age. In some cases, he’s a little advanced. He’s just like any other kid. He still has some delays with speaking, but I’ve come to terms with that. We’re doing everything we can, and he can say a few words, and uses sign language as well. He’s making progress!
The specialists even say that there are tasks on the list that likely won’t apply due to their age. Each child puts focuses on their own things. My son excels at fine motor skills and play related activities. Another child in his playgroup is really great at speaking.
We’re far from being removed from the evaluations. There are milestones to verify and tests to see if his therapy is working. The questions will continue, but hopefully, I will look at all the progress that we’ve made. When it comes to your children, I feel like you always have approach things with a lot of positivity, and just a bit of caution.
Parenthood is hard enough; why should we give ourselves more grief because our children don’t check off every box on an impossible list? This experience, while difficult and harrowing, taught me yet another lesson about parenthood. Raising children isn’t a race. We’re all going at our own pace, and there isn’t anything wrong with that. Guidelines are just that – guidelines. Sometimes, they feel like deadlines – but it doesn’t always mean that missing them is detrimental. They will get there on their own time. Our job is just support and teach them as best that we can.