Friday, May 11, 2012

What IS Normal, Anyway?

It's almost mid-May already. Weird how time goes by! Mikelle had a big project at school focusing on the country of Romania. My friend Lara and her husband both served their LDS missions there, so they were helpful resources and I encouraged Mikelle to use them as some form of resource and not just "Google".

Mikelle had the "World's Fair" day today at school and brought corn bread she made and spoke to different peer groups about her country she was assigned. We had a little trouble putting together a Romanian outfit for her, but I think we pulled it off with a scarf in her hair, a flowy skirt and a T-shirt we painted with the Romanian flag. I'll add the picture to this blog entry when I have one.  This morning was a little chaotic when she ran out the door with her instrument, and 100 mini-muffins of cornbread, and her backpack, and a bag with the scarf for her hair and her dad's black cape (to also bring in the "Dracula" element of Romania to her presentation, as that is where Transylvania is - in the Carpathian Mountains). Therefore, no pictures were snapped.  I also wish she would have let me curl her hair a little, but don't even get me started on that ongoing battle.

Anyway, I think it was last week when Mikelle borrowed Christian's flash/thumb drive to put one of her Romanian reports on so she could print her report. 

When you open Christian's thumb drive, immediately you see a Word file called "WELCOME to CHRISTIAN'S THUMB DRIVE". 

Well, you have to open that file! This is what we found:

The fact that a then 7-year old would put so much detail into something like the above just amazes me. 

It's also hilarious and has so much of his personality all the way through it. 

I also want to cry. 

Why? Well, through communication with the Speech Pathologist, District Psychologist, Christian's teacher, etc, we thought it would be a good idea for Christian to have another thorough evaluation. Academics are not the concern. It's his lack of socializing and other behavioral issues and some regression in a few areas that became the concern. Sure, the ADHD is rather concrete and his medication helps a lot with that. And we (Chris, myself, teachers, etc) do acknowledge the progress he has made in the last several years. 

I remember Christian being such a social bee as a pre-schooler. However, in the last couple years he has become more "inward" if that makes sense. And a quick conversation I had with the district psychologist today made it clear that the "a" word will be brought up in the meeting on Monday that Chris and I will have with the team. My trepidation is my worry for him and I want Christian to have a normal life. Sure, what is normal? What I mean by that is friends, socializing, and later a family of his own. Will he have all of that?

One piece of good news the psychologist mentioned, is she is recommending him for the gifted program. He was tested for it a couple of months ago and didn't qualify. I didn't worry about it too much, as I know he's exceptional, but not all tests reflect certain abilities. However, the psychologist said that there was a disconnect between the test (or tester, can't remember exactly how she phrased it) and that may have impacted his test results. She said in the time she has spent with him, she said he is "very intelligent" and is going to make that recommendation. 

As I already stated, I am grateful for that, but I also want him to have friends and experience those "typical" life events that come with socializing.

I aired some of my worry and concerns for Christian on Facebook. I knew it would be a good outlet as many of my FB friends have experience with their own children with various issues, disabilities, experiences, etc.

I appreciated some of the responses. 

  • From Julie in Texas: ((hugs))) My mommy heart goes out to you. I know that worry. Just remember you are hand picked by God to be his mommy. "Highly Intelligent" sounds very encouraging! Just remember Bill Gates name is often brought up with the "a" word. 

Julie also provided me with some great links with Temple Gradin, a woman with autism who has become quite a well-known scientist and speaker. Another link to her speaking: Click here.

  • From Lara: Start doing some research on "twice exceptional" kids. Also called "2e." These are kids who are both gifted and learning disabled at the same time, and there is lots of info out there for you. We all know Christian is a genius who is going to discover time travel or something, so don't worry too much. Good luck!
  • From Danielle (who babysat him from when he was 2 until she moved out of state when he was 6): "normal" what the hell is "normal" any more??? yes he will have a normal life.. and if he doesn't have normal to your standards you will still love him!!!.....You have a son that is very gifted I knew that at 2 yrs of age!! stop stressing and enjoy!!
  • From Heidi: if you need to talk, I'm here. Some days will be harder than others but as has been previously discussed, what the heck is normal. And being different can be fabulous!
  • From Jody in Louisiana:  (((Hugs))) Jill. My Charlie has been diagnosed as being developmentally delayed with autistic features. I have the same worries about him. Prayers going up for your Christian, you, and the meeting!

That isn't the whole thread, but those are some key comments. It helps to know we're not alone and it's normal to be concerned. I also know Christian is one exceptional kid and I think back to what I went through in my pregnancy with him. Maybe that's why I had such a hard time - I was carrying some energy-ball genius and it was some kind of overload! 
Christian at 18 Months - September 2005
Anyway, I started this entry mentioning Mikelle, and I need to bring it back to her for a bit. 

She got a new pair of glasses. She really likes them, though it's hard to tell with these pictures. Let's just say it's rather difficult to get an 11 year old girl to cooperate with you for a nice smile when you just want to take one of her wearing her new glasses:

The last picture may look like a smile, and it is. I just wish I could have gotten one nice smile and not the "eyes bugged pyscho" shot. A normal smile is what I asked for.

 However, as mentioned above, what is normal? 

I'll take what I can get...and then post it on my blog for all to see.

1 comment:

  1. Ha ha! I think Bria's new glasses look almost identical to Mikelle's. Must be 11-year-old taste and style.

    I was glad to help Mikelle and hope all went well with her presentation.

    Still thinking of you regarding Christian. Everything will be okay. That thumb drive document kills me!