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I feel so deflated and tearful after receiving a professional's report about my son

(11 Posts)
BoogleMcGroogle Sat 17-Oct-15 21:49:42

Apologies for the pity party, but I'm (rarely) posting on here because I think that you lot might get it. My friends children are, on the whole, precocious and unproblematic (and genuinely lovely). I don't think they would understand.

DS is 4. He has been poorly with multiple infections ( especially ENT) from 6 months. We've had multiple hospital admissions ( once with septicemia), grommets, tonsils out etc. because of historic hearing loss he has severe verbal dyspraxia. He sees several speech therapists (NHS and private) who are lovely. His school is also such a positive environment for him. Last month he went to see the physiotherapist and occupational therapist as his motor skills are behind and he's very hyper mobile. He was super shy at first (he avoids talking with strangers for obvious reasons) and then got quite silly (to distract from the fact that he couldn't do what they wanted him to, I assume). They were nice enough women but didn't make much of an effort to engage him, I felt like I had to do all the praise and encouragement. Therefore, he wasn't exactly a model child to assess, but I could see that he was trying really hard, despite his nerves around strangers and being ( I imagine) sick to the back teeth of spending his childhood being poked and prodded.

Anyway, we received their report today. As well as detailing all the delays and the things that he can't do for his age, they also detail his non-compliance with the assessment. Especially that his shyness meant that they couldn't carry out a formal assessment and that it was not clear if he could not do some things or just didn't want to. Everything they have said is factually correct but I wish they could have just said one positive thing about him, even just that he tried hard or had a nice smile. I know that I'm overprotective and over sensitive because of what he's been through but it just seems so unfair. Every time I think about the report I cry and the idea of doing the ( fun) activities and games they mentioned seems overwhelming- just another thing for him to struggle through.

I don't even know how to end this post but thanks for reading. I feel better just for writing it down.

WhoKnowsWhereTheTimeG0es Sat 17-Oct-15 22:02:45

Oh, you poor thing, that's so hard. My DS (11) has been under SALT since he was 2 and I remember getting reports that said similar, that they couldn't fully assess because he couldn't engage with the process and how heartbreaking it was (he has AS and dyspraxia). If it's any consolation it all went in my big file and ultimately went towards getting him the statement that he needs for his educational needs, but it is so depressing at the time. Perhaps put it away for a few weeks and cone back to it when you've had time to regroup a bit? It's hard to take, but it really is good evidence in the process of getting the right support.

knittingwithnettles Sat 17-Oct-15 23:24:13

gosh, I was feeling like this yesterday when I read ds2's Ed Pysch report, the latest in long line where I felt, that is not really my child, is it? and breathe..

anyway, I remember the SALT from when he was three putting the bit about him not listening and focusing and feeling, just "ticked off" by the comment in the report, and thinking why would he sit down and keep still he is only 3 after all, he behaves perfectly in nursery but he doesn't know you..

But now I know their job is not to make moral evaluations - how good or kind or sweet your child is but just to list his deficits. In ds's latest report she mentioned how he laughed at all his own jokes. So cold and deflating, like no-one else would ever laugh at his jokes sad I find him really good company because he tells great jokes. And how he picked his nose and that was very inappropriate and he would have to learn not to do that in social situations. Aren't all 13 year olds gawky and awkward? The final straw was when she said X likes the company of five - seven year olds and has no friends (he is 13) He is nice to younger children, it is not a criminal association and he does have some friends, just not bosom buddies; not everyone that age has a best friend.

So yes, I understand your feelings. But we press on.

knittingwithnettles Sat 17-Oct-15 23:40:29

I forgot to say, you are already being a brilliant mother to him, before you do any of the latest therapies they suggest. Have you read the Out of Sync Child and Out of Sync Child has Fun; they put a lot of therapeutic activities in a context of everyday life, and you begin to realise that the right sort of play is what you might have been doing anyway - like blowing bubbles or playing with playdough or drinking from a straw or saying nursery rhymes with clapping hands..I'm so sorry your son has had all these horrible infections too, that must have been a very traumatic time. thanks

QueenStreaky Sun 18-Oct-15 14:01:24

Oh, I remember that feeling sad.

BUT...

It might surprise you to know how many people get professional reports for their children that are woefully inaccurate, and consequently they don't get the interventions their children need. In that respect you are in a fortunate position because, unpleasant reading though it is, you have a report that gives an accurate reflection of your son's needs and that will stand you (and him) in good stead in the future. A lot of mums on here have fought for years to have accurate content written about their kids, and that's an awful struggle to go through.

I do understand how you are feeling because like many others I've had the same deflating feeling the first time I read reports about my son. But one day I think you will look back and see this as a positive thing. You have early recognition of his needs and hopefully this will mean help will follow.

Also, time does improve things, it really does. Your son may not be the same as your friends' children but you will have other ways of enjoying time together, and he will learn, and the future won't be as bleak as it seems right now. flowers.

anya1985 Sun 18-Oct-15 20:37:21

OP I really feel for you I had the same the feeling. I would read through his reports almost obsessively that I swear I think I almost memorised them!! This was all before he was diagnosed with autism it's like I was looking for meanings behind what was written about his difficulties and search online obsessively about medical terms etc... Like what the previous mumsnetter has written, though upsetting it is definitely good to get his difficulties down on paper if for anything for proof of his difficulties so he will get the best out of life and the help he needs...

Youarentkiddingme Sun 18-Oct-15 20:56:41

It's hard. So very hard. It feels like someone has picked up on all the things about your precious child that they can't do - ignoring the child as a whole.
But in the long run that will help - your boy will always be your lovely boy, and you'll always be his caring mum - but with the reports and recommendations he can be that boy and be supported to reach his full potential.

It's hard the other way round too. I'm currently fighting with my son's school because they've set him according to cognitive tests. Overall he's performed amazingly. They've ignored however the massive decrepancy in his verbal and non verbal reasoning.
So the school are being positive and I'm being Miss negative pants about his abilities. It's just as hard.

Saracen Mon 19-Oct-15 01:01:46

I have a slightly different POV from other posters.

My dd's original assessment from a neuropsychologist was very like what you describe. She didn't comply. It frustrated him. That showed in his report. He said very negative things, and nothing nice at all. This surprised and dismayed me.

In the run-up to her scheduled re-assessment I was inclined not to go ahead with it. Last time, dd had remained oblivious to it all but as she became older and a bit more attuned to other people's judgements about her, I didn't want to risk her self-esteem at his hands. What if this time she noticed that he was annoyed by her lack of interest in the tasks he presented to her and shocked by her total inability to read? What if SHE emerged from the assessment feeling as down as I had on the previous occasion?

But the more I thought about it, the more I felt that the problem wasn't with having to see all the things she couldn't do written down in black and white. It was my overall impression that this particular person didn't actually "get" her. Most of what he said about her was factually true. But it was like the fabled blind men describing the elephant. It didn't hang together. It didn't make sense. It wasn't a good picture of her.

So I went ahead with the reassessment, but asked for someone else to assess her this time. The new neuropsych seemed to be interested in trying to understand dd. She chatted more with her, found strategies to engage her, and drew conclusions from observing what dd WAS doing rather than simply getting into a state over dd's refusal to do the specified tasks. As a result, the report looked very different. She didn't disguise the fact that dd was unable to do many things which other children her age could do. But her better engagement with dd was reflected in a better understanding of her. It was a more useful report.

It was only after seeing that second report that my thinking became clearer. The relentless negativity of the first report wasn't really the problem. It was a symptom, a symptom which showed that the chap who undertook the assessment didn't have the skills or inclination to engage with my dd in such a way as to understand her despite her noncompliance. If he had been able to engage with her, he would have understood her better AND (as a side effect) would have seen some of her talents. He might even have found something to like about her.

I'm sure it isn't an easy job. I know I couldn't do it! But it IS their job, and they surely must assess many kids who are quite noncompliant. If that is all they can see in a child, then they must not be very good at their job.

QueenStarlight Mon 19-Oct-15 10:43:41

Only read the OP but in all honesty, the people doing the assessment sound shite!

I would not pay to much attention to an assessment from people who blame the child for them not being able to do a thorough assessment.

Another important thing to remember is that no diagnosis is a prognosis.

BoogleMcGroogle Mon 19-Oct-15 21:38:01

Thanks so much for all your thoughtful comments. It means a great deal that you have taken the time to reply and share your experiences.

I do understand that it would be no good to receive a report that only identified his strengths and not his needs, but previous professionals who have seen him (speech therapists galore and a fantastic paediatrician) have been able to strike a balance. Therefore, I can see on reflection that there are lots of good things to say about my son and the report is more a reflection on them than him. Saracen put it far more eloquently than I can at the moment, her post makes sense of what I felt.

In the interests of honesty (and hopefully not completely outing myself!) I should say that I do a job which involves assessing and making judgements on children's development. I'm quite senior and, although I don't use my work surname at home, they may have worked out who I was and could have been a bit nervous (not as nervous as I was!). I'm not saying I'm perfect at my job, but I do think that presenting a balanced view of a child's needs is about engaging with them on their level and it is respectful and fair to present the positives as well as the problems. I really hope no report I've written has made a parent feel the way I did.

Still, onwards and upwards! On the plus side, DS has been offered a block of speech therapy with a very enthusiastic SALT who specialises in verbal dyspraxia, and she's happy to fit us in on a Friday afternoon, as it's my only time off at the moment.

And QueenStarlight is quite right. They might have checklists, but they don't have a crystal ball ;)

WhoKnowsWhereTheTimeG0es Mon 19-Oct-15 22:01:30

Well, coming back to this, when I posted the other day I was thinking about assessments made by SALT and EP when DS was pre-school age, but more recently I did have one experience where I was so unhappy with an assessment that I had another one done (they were private assessments). So I would agree, listen to your instincts.

I have read many, many reports on DS over the years, and heartbreaking as most of them have been, they have all rung true with me apart from this one. Upon reading it my jaw hit the floor as the therapist had just not engaged with him (I got this impression just from speaking to her afterwards, before I'd even seen the report) and the results simply didn't reflect what he was capable of at all. He told me afterwards she had been scary. My second assessment confirmed that the first was not in any way a good assessment of him, the tests chosen hadn't been appropriate for his specific SNs etc. A similar experience to Saracen in fact.

Anyway, that's good news about the SALT, and as you say, onwards and upwards smile.

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