I have mentioned before that I am the mother of a very beautiful, smart, wonderful child that has PDD-NOS, or basically is on the autism spectrum. My son is very high functioning which is why he didn’t get diagnosed until he was going into third grade. We have been very blessed in our journey with him. I have always felt that God has been in control with him. God has put people in our lives that have really helped shape and mold my son into this amazing person that he is today.
Well I have posted about why I was taking my son to an OT (occupational therapist). Yesterday was our first evaluation. At the beginning the OT explained to me that my concerns about large motor are really a Physical Therapists area, but since I listed on the form that he has some writing issues and such she would like to go ahead and evaluate him. I let her, and of course we made another appointment for the physical therapist. Although I don’t have the final results she was able to tell me that his hand strength and development was 3-4 years behind his peers. We will start therapy next week. As a teacher my first question is “Since he is going into 5th grade is it too late to do much about this?” The answer wasn’t far from what I expected. I know that if kids are having handwriting issues by third grade if it isn’t fixed it probably won’t be. Yet she told me that she thought we could improve the strength which would definitely help.
Thinking about it I know we should have went to a PT instead of an OT, and certainly the doctor should have corrected my mistake. I am thankful that we both made mistakes. He will now get some of the help he needs.
Now there is some serious mama guilt going on here. I should have taken him in first grade to an outside OT, but I let the school OT evaluate him. The school OT said it was an ADHD issue, not an OT issue. I disagreed, but didn’t argue loudly enough. His teachers and I continued working with him (He has always been blessed with wonderful teachers.) At his evaluation for PDD the doctors did recommend OT services, but when I took it back to the school the OT disagreed. At that point I should have taken him to an outside service, but I didn’t (inject mama guilt here.)
Now there are two lessons I am learning from this. The first is ALWAYS advocate for what your child needs, and I don’t care if your child has a diagnosis or not. Most teachers want what is best for their students and are willing to do it. If you know your child needs something that he/she is not getting, then speak up! As a teacher I can only really advocate for a student while I am that child’s teacher, usually 1 year. As a parent, I am the life long expert on this child. God has entrusted this person to me, and I have to do my best. (Now I am saying what the child “needs” not “wants”. There is sometimes over-parenting happening and you need to evaluate what is going on. This is really another blog entry for a different day. 🙂 )
The second thing that I am learning is forgiveness and trust. True guilt can be a good thing if it is forces an evaluation and brings change, realizing a mistake and trying to correct it. As mom’s we often suffer from “false” guilt. Guilt from trying to have perfect children, perfect mothering, and having our own agendas. Our children learn from watching us make mistakes. They learn and imitate our coping skills from watching us in different situations. I have done a lot of things right with my son, and God has led us in situations where I didn’t know what to do. Forgiving myself for what I don’t know or didn’t do, and trusting that God will put the people in place to help us in this journey is not easy. Yet it is something I am learning.