Today was Les’ Developmental Evaluation. I handicapped him pretty good prior to the test. Not intentionally, but it just happened that the two prior nights he went to bed way past his normal bedtime and then both mornings had to be awakened earlier than normal. On top of that, he didn’t choose to eat breakfast this morning, so he was a bit hungry by 9:00am.
Warning: Mommy brag moment :). Les’ overall score was not “average”, not “above average”, not even “high above average”, but “SUPERIOR”. This wasn’t news to us, of course, but it is nice to have it documented by an unbiased third party. Just think of what the results would have been if he were well fed and well rested (not to mention if he hadn’t had brain surgery three weeks ago too). OK, I’ll stop. But it does a mother good to brag occasionally.
The tests were interesting to watch. There was a series of 6 “table games” they played. Each one was answering questions by either matching patterns using blocks or pictures, pointing to pictures to answer questions or just verbalizing answers to strictly auditory questions (no pictures at all). I was sitting behind Les, so he couldn’t see my reactions at all. I was amazed at some of the answers that Les got right. I was even challenged a bit on the more difficult problems.
It’s interesting how they get them to continue to try to answer the questions. After every answer that Les gave, the evaluator praised him for such a great answer (even if it was wrong). They continued to press forward with more difficult questions/problems until Les missed about 3 in a row. Then that particular test was complete and they moved on.
Here’s my recollection of the tests (my apologies to Rene, our evaluator, if I messed up the descriptions). I added the comments regarding Les’ need to verbalize or not, because Rene told me later that she noticed a slight delay when he was required to verbalize the answer as opposed to being able to point to the answer. He still verbalized often during all the tests, it was just on the mandatory verbalization tests that the delay was noticed.
Test 1: Using colored blocks (solid red and white and then ½ red and ½ white combination with a diagonal line down two sides), Les had to match the pattern made by the evaluator. This could be accomplished without verbalizations from Les.
Test 2: Using pictures, Les had to choose from a selection of 3 to 5 choices the best picture to complete the pattern. Les was able to answer in a non-verbal way by pointing, if he wanted to.
Test 3: Les was given a series of verbal questions (no pictures) and had to answer (verbally or by pointing if he wanted to). Examples were: “Where is your nose?” “Where is your knee?” “What is up in the sky that keeps us warm?” etc.
Test 4: Les was shown two groups of pictures and he had to choose one picture from each group that went together. At the beginning there were two pictures in each group, and then after awhile it went to three pictures in each group. Examples of matches in the beginning were a dog and a cat, and then it progressed to a skateboard and a tricycle, and finally up to a toaster and the sun (or something like that – I guess they both warm things). Les didn’t have to talk during this one if he didn’t want to.
Test 5: Les was asked to just talk about topics. This was the most difficult for Les for two reasons I think. One, he had been testing for about an hour by this time and was pretty tired of it all. Two, there weren’t necessarily “right answers”. What are you supposed to say when asked, “Tell me about a bicycle.”? Do they want a description of what it looks like? Do they want to know that it can be ridden and where? Anyway, if he thinks like his parents, then we can understand why this was the most difficult test. Oh, by the way, he still scored above average on this one :).
Test 6: Les was given some verbal riddles with clues (no pictures). He had to say what the riddle was referring to. This one impressed me the most. I wish I could remember more exactly some examples, but one of the more difficult ones that he got correct was something to the affect of "it has a front. it has a back; it can be long. it can be short; it can be read. it can be said." The answer was a “book”.
I must add that Les acted like a normal 4 year old during the test period. The toys he saw up on the shelf distracted him, so we took some breaks to play with those, eat a snack, take a drink, etc. At one point (beginning of test 5) we even left the office, got in the car and drove to the beach. A walk near the ocean with the sound of waves crashing nearby can rejuvenate even a 4 year old. We were only gone about 30 minutes, but it was enough to get us through the last two tests successfully.
I took Les to McDonald’s for more chicken nuggets after our long appointment (over 3 hours, minus the beach break). I know McDonald’s isn’t the most nutritious choice, but it makes him happy and I value that right now. The rest of our day was spent at Grandma’s playing computer games and board games and just hanging out.
Tonight’s our last night at Grandma’s this week. We have our Physical Therapy evaluation tomorrow at 8:00am (another early start) and then we get to go home J. We’ll be home for 4 whole nights before we come back on Memorial Day to stay the night so we can get to a 7:15am appointment for his radiation simulation. Les will need anesthesia for that and so with the early start time he won’t be affected as much by the fasting. That is also why our radiation treatments will be so early in the morning on account of the anesthesia/fasting requirements.
Well, this turned into another long entry. I’m sorry, but I’m writing this so that in the future when I look back on this experience, I’ll remember what happened. Hopefully, it also answers many of your questions.