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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

"Popping"

A couple of years ago, one of the local agencies that is involved with our older son needed an independent psychological evaluation on him. Don't ask. It's just something that, from time to time, all of us living this life need to do. So, I took him.

I had never been to the agency that was chosen for us. The waiting room was small. There were no toys. Nothing in that room indicated that this agency was accustomed to dealing with the special pediatric population.

Our son was as good as he could be, but nothing there held his attention, and, soon, he wanted to leave. The problem was that we couldn't leave. So I spent a good fifteen minutes working up a sweat trying to keep him from bolting out the exits.

"Please don't run for the door," I said to him. "We simply can't leave."

Scolded for his running, he next tried to sit, but his energy would get the best of him. Soon, he'd start to squirm, becoming physically uncomfortable in his skin. Next, he would pace. Back and forth. Back and forth. He'd crack his knuckles. Pull at his fingers.

Then came that thing that I hated. He could pull his scapula out of joint. He's yank it and make this terrible popping sound that would make me cringe every time. He loved that. He loved that it got under my skin.

"Stop popping," I told him.

"Popping!" he'd say with a grin. It was maddening.

After an eternity, I heard his name called by a rather stiff, middle-aged man. I stood to greet him, but he had already turned around and started walking down the hall.

Huh. I guess we were to follow him.

At least we would finally be in a clinical room where he would have toys and space to play while he was tested. I put my arm around our son's shoulder and dutifully followed the ani-social, nameless man down the hall. Yes, the worst was over.

Around the corner we went and into a room that wasn't a child-friendly examining room at all but, rather, a very adult office. It was an office with a desk full of papers(that I envisioned being knocked to the floor any moment). There were two upright chairs and a small loveseat on the far wall. Did this man expect our son to sit there like a little adult?

"I'M GOING TO GIVE YOU A TEST," he began.

Oh my gosh, was this man actually yelling at our son? He's not hard of hearing. And, what was this person's name, anyway? He hadn't even introduced himself.

I was feeling offended.

"CAN YOU DO THIS?" Mr. Nameless asked as he stacked a few colored blocks. Our son looked at the blocks on the desk. Child's play. Yes, he could do it. No, he didn't choose to do it. He turned his back and started pacing.

"He can't do it," the man said.

Yes he can, I thought. And, while not engaging could be part of his autism, I'm also not sure so sure I'd want to engage with you if I were him, either.

"For the record," I chimed in casually, "he can understand everything that we say to him, so..."

The man stared at me. If I were to read his mind-- which I told myself that I shouldn't do --it said that it didn't matter if our son heard, that our words would not compute, anyway.

"LET'S READ THIS SENTENCE," he next yelled to our son. This felt relentless. C'mon, mister, couldn't you work with me, here? I just stared at him in disbelief, shaken back to the moment by the shifting of our son in the seat next to me.

"Popping," he said as he looked up at me with a grin. I couldn't help myself. I snorted.

"What?" Mr. Nameless asked. "What did he say?"

"It's just something that he does," I offered.

"Oh," he said knowingly. "That's a behavior, you know."

"I'm sorry?" I quizzed.

"To say things in a conversation that are completely out of context. It shows social unawareness," he explained.

Oh, poor soul, I thought. I believe it is you who is misreading the context.

For, in that moment, and in his deliciously humorous way, our son was saying that this guy could go jump in a lake.

"Popping! Popping!" our son continued.

I got the giggles. I couldn't help it. And, so did he. Very clearly, we were two nuts sitting across the table from an examiner who had all but written his report. He could save the effort. I had a feeling we weren't going to use that report, anyway.



This entry was written in response to the letter prompt "P" in the Blogging A to Z Challenge 2012.

10 comments:

  1. That is hilarious and that guy sounded like a real jerk. I may have not been able to stay silent. I would have had to scream right back at him. "He has special needs, but he is not deaf." Then I would have had to ask him what his name was and told him just how rude I thought he was. I am afraid in this situation I would have blown a complete gasket. He sounds like he was just so incredibly rude!! Bless your son's heart! Popping!! LOL I would have wanted to pop that guy one and probably would have ended up in the giggles too. I love the honesty of your posts. ♥

    Kathy
    http://gigglingtruckerswife.blogspot.com

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    1. I hope parents read this and, if they don't already, at least start to think that not everyone evaluating their child is an expert. We are so programmed to be deferential to our medical care providers--and I agree with respecting this notion--that we have lost our say in the process. More times than not, we accept what is said about our kids. However, there are times when we walk away and say, "No thank you."

      :) Thanks for reading--and ignoring the typos! Just caught them!

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  2. How horrible! I hope he's not still in the field, giving tests. It's hard enough to get the diagnosis and deal with the child. We always had to warn places ahead of time to NOT have us wait for very long, because our son would get into everything - drawer, door, etc., no matter how hard we would try to prevent it. Our defining moment was when the school district he was in had to change his ESY location, after he sent several teachers to the ER (throwing chairs at them, I think), and chose an office with file cabinets filling the room. Talk about visual overload! This was their "expert" in autism's idea! Next stop was a basically empty room with a child's table and 2 chairs, which lasted for the rest of the summer. I think he was 9 at the time.

    It sounds like your son has a good sense of humor, which is a good thing for both of you!

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    1. I did get his report. I've never used it. lol.

      I absolutely understand what you are describing. Have gone in and out of stages--maybe not exactly the same but similar.

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  3. wonderful post---you are such an advocate---everyone with special needs kids tries to be--but you are succeeding

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    1. I don't win every time. But thank you. Am getting ready to go now to a second CSE for our younger son because I didn't properly advocate for him two weeks ago. Ugh. I can't erase it. I just have to reset the course.

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  4. I have only one thing to say "PoPping!" hehehhehehhe... oh that was a fun read Amy!

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  5. Amazing. You like to think that people go into a field that has interest for them - one that they understand and have compassion for, but clearly this "evaluator" was way out of his league. Your son showed him but good and I would have been proud of him too for dismissing him also. Who knew that "popping" could translate to "you can go jump in the lake!" Good for him!

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  6. Trey's brilliance shows in so many of his stories and the ignorance of the 'expert world' also shows.
    Poping...kinda wish I could do that, a little. In case you hadn't figured this out, I so love the heart and desire you have either given or nourished in those boys and the ability to touch you without language skills or social graces or even the basic communication I take so for granted, makes me so happy.
    Oh, I know you don't believe it, but you are such a devine human that I cannot help but adore you! ♥

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