Since in such a short time after our move and after our son was placed in the multiply disabled class he became such a different child I began to wonder. It seemed as if his program was doing more harm then good for him. I set up an appointment with a neuro developmental pediatrician. It had been two years since we had seen one. We could not get in right away but by February of 2002 we had our appointment. The doctor asked for the teachers to fill out a form called the “Revised Conner’s Teacher Evaluation Form.” It was a check list of behaviors and the teacher would have to mark off the appropriate response. The choices were: “Not at all”, “Just a little”, “Pretty much”, “Very Much”. I read the forms. It seemed that all the teachers went down the “Very Much” column VERY MUCH! His distractibility and attention span was a problem VERY MUCH. He was restless in a squirmy sense VERY MUCH. He had temper outbursts and unpredictable behaviors VERY MUCH. The list went on and on.
Then there was a spot on the form that said, “In your own words, briefly describe the child’s main problem”.
His main teacher wrote, “Oppositional behaviors, which interfere with his ability to sit and attend. Also difficulty in learning letters and numbers which leads to frustration. Anger is also another issue.”
The Speech Language teacher wrote, “He is driven to severe mood swings, unpredictable behavior and temper outbursts. On two occasions he has gone into a rage that I have personally observed. He loves to learn when a moment is smooth. I have seen an intelligent gentle manner where he shows tenderness, enjoyment of the activity and excellent knowledge and questions of the core content.”
The classroom aid wrote, “He does not listen in the class, when work is being done or when any instructions are being given.”
The other classroom aide wrote, “He does not want to do what you want him to do – will do the exact opposite. He wants to be the boss at all times.”
The gym teacher wrote, “He has a difficult time remaining on tasks. He quickly becomes distracted and no longer follows directions given. When corrected, he usually pouts and sulks and no longer wants to continue.”
The occupational therapist wrote, “He presents with a low frustration tolerance, poor copying skills, poor anger management, and is resistant to adult re-direction and at times can become explosive.”
The health teacher wrote, “He has a hard time focusing and staying on topic for an extended period of time.”
The art teacher wrote, “He wants to do things his own way rather then follow instructions.”
There we had it, MY CHILD WAS DOOMED!
Then I read the music teacher’s response. She said, “He is very hyper and stubborn, so much that I have considered NOT having him mainstreamed with the kindergarten class. It is too unfair and disruptive to the other boys and girls. He does not listen or obey instructions.” And beside the check off mark VERY MUCH she wrote that his Distractibility and Attention Span was a problem “BECAUSE HE CHOOSES THAT.”
Oh my God, the music teacher said that at age five my son had made a conscious choice to not pay attention and be distracted. I was livid.
I returned the forms to the neuro developmental pediatrician and I made an appointment with a licensed child psychologist. They did more testing, reviewed the previous testing, and had several sessions with my son and I.
The neurodevelopmental pediatrician also referred that my son be seen by a pediatric occupational therapist with special expertise in sensory integration techniques. She wrote, “He has difficulty with planning and execution of appropriate behavioral responses and there are concerns of perceptual impairment. Appropriate occupational therapy with sensory integration techniques will help to resolve some of these issues. Early and timely initiation of appropriate interventions will help avoid long term complications.”
The psychologist wrote, “He demonstrates hypersensitivity to sound, particularly in situations where there are competing levels of sound.” She recommended that we look at other programs within the school and that he be removed from music until he had a better grasp of strategies for self control.
At the time I felt very alone and sad and it seemed that nobody at the school or elsewhere understood MUSIC was NOT MUSIC to my son’s ears!!!
Copyrighted 2011: danadogooder and DMT