Monday, March 8, 2010

The Reevaluation - Part Deux

I didn't imagine the previous post to be a multi-part post but I should have.

As we inch closer to Friday's ARD (admission, review and dismissal - no, I don't why they've chose those words - I prefer using the words "A Real Downer") the weight of it feels much heavier. I don't expect to be surprised - especially since I just read the report - but I wasn't looking forward to be reminded. Maybe that's a lingering component of denial that just won't go away. Or maybe it's a result of being so close to the situation that you fail to allow yourself a properly objective view.

Or maybe it's normal not to want to read a nineteen page document about your child that's not glowing in every respect.

I don't recall getting a report prior to the evaluation in March 2007. I'm pretty sure they wanted to present us with the news live. It doesn't matter. I didn't read the report from March 2007 - ever. I couldn't bring myself to do it. I've already read this evaluation's report, so it's safe to conclude that both Robbie and I have made progress.

Robbie's progress is documented. I know because I just read about it. Maybe mine is too, I suppose, when you compare where I was three years ago (here's excerpt from the introduction of the memoir, Kicking and Screaming: A Father's Reluctant Journey into the World of Autism:

Robbie's screams echoed off the preschool's evaluation room walls, as he tried to escape the grasp of the special education assistant.

In a way, I envied Robbie. Overwhelmed, angry and scared, Robbie could kick and scream to his heart's content. It was a perfectly logical, if unpleasant way to express his feelings and no one could blame him under the circumstances. But the situation overwhelmed, angered and scared me, too. There were countless times I wanted to drop to the floor and throw a tantrum like that, but as an adult, I needed to be more subtle with my kicking and screaming. Ignorance, denial, and inaction were my weapons of choice and I employed them all with skill. The tantrum I threw in my mind that day was far more impressive than the one Robbie had thrown on the playroom floor. It's too bad nobody recognized it for what it was.

Most of the memoir was written in 2008, when the wounds from the diagnosis were still fresh. Reading it now, the document seems like it was written by someone else. This week is bringing some of those old emotions back to the surface but they are nothing like they were at the time. But as you can see from the post about last year's ARD, these are never any fun. This one won't be any different. They all serve as reminders about the loss of the dream we experienced three years ago.

Like Emily Perl Kingsley said in her 1987 essay titled, "Welcome to Holland", the pain...will never, ever, ever, go away...because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss."


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