D has been waiting for an appointment with the occupational therapy department at the hospital since last June. At the end of year review at school, his dexterity problems were raised and it was advised we visited our GP to ask for a referral to OT. The GP thought he would be better seen by the school doctor service, and that came around in September of last year – https://jas2jar.wordpress.com/2013/10/01/d-and-the-doc/. The appoint was what ultimately led to his recent operation on his knees.
D was in the system to see OT, but we were told he could wait up to 18 months for an appointment as the service was spread very thinly. We received a letter saying we could go on the short notice list if we wanted, we opted for this. It means if for some reason there is a cancellation, then the appointment can be offered to someone else.
Anyway last week I got a phone call offering me two possible dates for an appointment, one was when we are away at Easter, so he is going to have to miss another half day from school to go to this appointment – it is only a matter of time before I get a letter about his poor attendance this term, but if he is ill or in hospital, there isn’t much to be done about it.
Yesterday I then received a pack to be completed as it is his first appointment with them. The kit consists of two checklists to be filled in, one by us, and one by the school. It will give them a better idea, of where they are starting at with his needs.
Last night Hubby and I sat down to fill in the form. I was instantly heart-broken. I really hate these things. I have always had the attitude of putting a positive spin on as much as possible for the kids. I think it is so important to boost a childs self-esteem, but not to a level that they think they are invincible! To focus on what your child can’t do is just an unpleasant task. For us, the boys are just the boys, and we do for them what they need to have done. Isnt that just part of being a parent? When though you have to tear apart every activity they do and look at it in such a way that compares them with their peers to see if they are attaining the same level of competence it is difficult – after all, should we really be comparing kids achievements? If it was about mental ability, D would be all happy thoughts as he is ridiculously intelligent – a post for another day I feel, about how upset I get that he would rather hide in the crowd than show his true potential but luckily his present teacher has engaged him to pull him out of himself a bit. However, it is his physical problems that we are talking about here, and after all, that is why we wanted to see OT in the first place.
In my head, my kids can do whatever they put their mind to – all be it with guts and determination a lot of the time. I think maybe one reason I don’t look at D’s problems so much is I was always the plodder. I got there in the end as long as I went at my speed and did it my way! He is a lot like me in this respect. He is not the fastest, but didn’t the tortoise teacher us an important life lesson?
So the forms looked at everything from dressing – the fact we don’t buy him things with buttons on because his finger have problems is just normal for him, but isn’t normal for your average 6 yo, to feeding himself – he often asks for help with cutting or resorts to picking food up because he doesn’t have the strength in his hands to cut his food for a full meal. Even the things like his clumsiness have been detailed – apparently walking into stationary items is not what “normal” kids do, and yet D runs into a tree in the school playground at least once a week, and falls over our coffee table every day!
It was a heart breaking hour filling this in. Then it asked what do you want your child to be able to do? There is only oner truthful answer to that for me, and that is whatever he wants to do! That however isn’t really a sensible answer to write down so we went for improve his writing as it is holding back everything else at school, but if holding a pencil hurts then its going to be hard for him. We actually purchased some wide bore pencils and pencil grips for him to try to help him. We asked D what he wants to achieve and he said he wanted to be just like the other boys in his class. Well, that’s never going to happen, for in my mind he is in a class of his own, but I know what he meant. He wants to be able to do things they do without feeling pain or discomfort.
I am preparing myself for another lecture about his weight. I know it’s a factor, but it’s not the only thing. The physio he worked with recently commented on more than one occasion about his flexibility being on the high-end of the scale, and you only have to feel his fingers to think you are holding hands with an elderly person riddle with arthritis, they are so nobly.
I will put the form in to his teacher, but I imagine their findings will show something different to ours. Not that there will be unfair judgement, but because D works so hard to be invisible in school. He doesn’t want to be thought of as different even though the truth is far from that. I can understand he doesn’t want to make a fuss but if he spoke out more when he was in pain or having physical hardship then he would get help more often. I know though his teacher will be as honest as possible in the way she fills it in, as in the long run, anything that helps D will make her life a little easier.
It’s now a case of returning to focus on the positive until the actual appointment, as the negative thinking last night turned me into a nightmare of a person. I need to think happy thoughts and while my kids row constantly and behave like total ratbags the majority of the time, I love them to bits and want above all else them to be happy and have happy memories of their childhood.