Thursday, November 3, 2011

The problems with language

Over the past 2 days, Ms. Maya has been evaluated for possible developmental delays. This has made Naomi testy as there is always some element of blame when ones child isn't performing as they should. She feels that there is extra scrutiny since she is so young and has little income. She devotes herself full time to Maya and wants what is best for her.Maya is her pride.

I do understand how she feels as all of my children over the years though for different issues have been found deficient and I could feel and hear It's all HER fault! even though I was NOT a young mother and probably considered 'high income'. I bristled when someone tried to have Josh pronounce a given word correctly as if I never considered to do this myself. Further waves of irritation when a list of much younger kids was given that could pronounce that word. Whispers of it is no wonder......because she's a working mom, she's got the wrong priorities, she's got the kids in athletics, she had a flawed childhood herself, she didn't set the right limits, she didn't say No, she's an enabler..on and on. And the kids all have their own lists of my shortcomings which they are too happy sometimes to recite. Blessed as we all are with 20-20 hindsight, I have my own lists of shouldas.

On Tuesday, a specialist showed up at Naomi's. Although tired, Maya was thrilled to perform for a potential adoring fan and did all her tricks. Aside from the language issues (she knows only a few words and really does not associated them properly with what they are to represent), they are looking for imitative behavior as this is the first step for learning assuming one is healthy otherwise (she needed a hearing test first). She clapped when shown, she pretended to use a phone, she waves when you wave. For extra credit, she points remote controller shaped objects at the TV. For the second evaluation, Naomi was to fill out a lengthy questionnaire. This was painful as it exposed some of her own difficulties in language. She was to distinguish between what Maya sees, looks at and watches. To Naomi, these seemed like the same word. One question was whether Maya used utensils. Naomi answered yes because Naomi feeds Maya with a spoon.

That's not what they asked.

While it is true that Maya will put a spoon to her own mouth (as she puts almost everything), one can't trust her to skillfully use a spoon to put applesauce in her own mouth.

The second stage of the evaluation was yesterday with 4 different specialists at the district's preschool. It was delayed due to a fire drill and Maya was missing her nap. Maya was very crabby and did not want to focus on the tasks. Her lack of speech right off the bat gives her the needed 20% delay to qualify for services. Much of the tests were trying to see if she imitated certain new behaviors and how good was she at solving problems. But the compliance issue kept coming up. They wanted her to put objects into a container and she wanted to throw them on the floor. She was able to imitate some things like coloring with a crayon and banging on a drum to reproduce a certain sound so she didn't completely flunk. For starters, she'll receive 2 therapy session a month and  can go to an enrichment class weekly.

How would my kids and I do on their tests at this age? Shanna and Naomi would have done just fine; Josh and I would have flunked. Naomi's difficulties were not obvious until much, much later obscured by her unusual memory tricks and her early fluency which is mistaken for mastery.

Here are three concepts that I would like the reader to consider and use appropriately in the following situations: IRONY, CO-INCIDENCE, AND MAGICAL THINKING.
  1. A runner brags that for years she has been relatively injury free. The very next week, she trips while running and breaks her arm.
  2. One week, a woman spends comforting her close friend dealing with a breast cancer diagnosis and the very next week discovers her own breast cancer.
  3. A woman berates a stranger for letting his dog poop on her friend's yard. The next week it is discovered that the man is her SIL's co-worker.
  4. A woman is thinking that everything is going fine for at least one of her children and the very next day finds out how untrue that really is.
  5. A woman's co-worker turns out to have been a brother's co-worker in a  distant state for all involved.
  6. A woman who has many talents, has also many shortcomings, one of which is the inability to see things in three dimensions (spatial reasoning?) yet her main source of income relies on this ability.
  7. A man diagnosed as a child as having a  speech defect and possible other cognitive disorders routinely gives presentations to large audiences and is considered gifted in many respects in a very difficult field.
  8. Two of a woman's children have ultrasounds independently scheduled on the same day but the scans show  very different results.
Nota bene: Magical thinking as I see it covers both the positive and negative aspects as in If I think it, it will happen. ( a  variant of  the Laws of Attraction). Situation #2 describes someone else's experience, which was IMHO wrongly described as irony.#8 is a co-incidence but also very much an irony.

1 comment:

Teri Bernstein said...

Uh...duh...I am baffled regarding the nuances in this test, and in many cases would say BOTH irony and coincidence were applicable. Oh well.


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