Sunday, May 31, 2009

Validation! (Or how I sighed for the first time in four and a half years.)

I haven't talked about it a ton on here, but when you are a Mother and you fear something is wrong with your child, or that your parenting is faulty, it can really be emotionally eroding. For years now, from day one of Noah's life, things have been just a little more "intense" . He's always been "quirky", sometimes a good thing, but more often not, a not- so- good thing. I've suspected ADD and sensory problems, and other disorders. We've talked to pediatricians and put him in therapy, spending countless hours trying to get to the bottom of all of this. I was exhausted, and most of all, as a Mom, very sad, sad that my little guy was not enjoying life to the fullest.

Then a miracle happened. Within weeks of each other, Noah's teacher and therapist, both unknowingly recommend that we look into a near by school for the gifted. A school for the "gifted", what a cliche' , yes, but any parent would do whatever it takes to help their child. And so we did check it out, and he was accepted into the program, and his life has changed. His WHOLE BEING has changed! In the past year, Jon and I have watched Noah go from a constantly frustrated, anxious child, to a beaming, happy, excited little boy. I can't tell you what an amazingly positive impact this school has had on our entire family.

As Noah prepares to enter kindergarten next year, I've had to over come my own mental hurdles. What if he's too young? What if he isn't ready? What if he doesn't get accepted? The acceptance process into elementary school is a little different from their preschool admissions process. This year, Noah had to take an IQ test to be allowed further entrance . The thought of Noah being rejected, of us having to leave this wonderful school that has helped him so much, it was more than scary to say the least. I was really dreading the IQ testing and held my breath, waiting for the appointed psychologist/tester to send us our results.

Late Friday afternoon, the report was in. Not only did Noah make the school's required IQ number cut-off for "giftedness", but he exceeded that number by twenty-five points! I was shocked and elated to say the least, but more than that, I was incredibly thankful because now, IT ALL MAKES SENSE . I'm not crazy, he is a little intense, I'm not a wimp, I'm not parenting incorrectly, he doesn't have a sensory problem, he isn't ADD or ODD. This wasn't all in my head. The doctor's and therapist's and teacher's hunches were all right, and now, finally we have solid proof. Nothing is wrong with Noah, he's just a smart kid. VALIDATION AT LAST!!!!!

*SIGH*......I can sigh now. Now I truly know what is going on, know what we have to work with. I know why he was such a difficult baby and toddler and preschooler. I know why he doesn't seem to need much sleep. I know why his emotions often run so high. I understand his energy.
It's such a relief to finally begin to understand your own child.

The icing on the cake to a wonder year of growth and happiness. Noah is turning into the most wonderful kid. He's insightful and caring and hilarious. We can talk as friends and enjoy experiences as never before. I suppose all this comes off as "Oh, big whoop.", but really, when you're in the midst of so much exhaustive worry for so many years, just getting an answer, and the right type of help, that makes all the difference in the world.

So here's to new understanding, less frustration, and most of all, more happiness! BRAVO!!!


Laura said...

I can totally relate (though in different ways) to what you're saying. I'm so glad that Noah is so very happy at his new school and that he's blossoming into such of a wonderful little guy. What a relief to know that he is just brilliant and nothing more. I imagine though, that you will continue to have your hands full throughout the years as you work at keeping him content and challenged.

Laura said...

Oh, I wanted to add...we thought about looking into a G&T program for Caitlin as she's way ahead of her peers according to several standardized tests and teacher reports. The admissions process was grueling and we decided not to pursue it for next fall but...I'm always going to wonder if we did the right thing. I would love to talk with you sometime about the testing and all that. Would be great to get a first-hand account of the process.

Judy said...

That is TERRIFIC news, Lauren! That is a lot of the issues I have with Travis - he is almost too smart for me (and his own good sometimes)!

Lauren said...

Hi Laura!!!

First, I need to apologize for being a total "lurker" and not commenting as I should. I was thrilled and relieved to hear that Cara's cardio tests came out perfect a few weeks ago. I'm so happy, she's amazing. I loved hearing about Caitlin's graduation and now Cara's big adventure to come with preschool! Such exciting stuff! :)

Thank you for your kind words. I'm sure you understand waiting to figure things out, our journey was mild compared to many though, and I feel thankful. It is a relief to have it all explained and now I can just go forward with more info under my belt!

I'm worried, like you said, about having my hands full throughout the years. I'm trying to anticipate the best though. Luckily, knock on wood, we've entered into a seemingly less complicated year emotionally, so maybe this is a new phase! Yeah!

As for Caitlin, amazing Caitlin. Oh yes, I've seen exactly what you mean about her over the years. Here's my two cents on seeking out GT schools.
If you have a child that this having problems in a traditional school. If your child is frustrated or sad most of the time, the looking into a specialized school, I HIGHLY recommend. If a person has a child that is thriving in their current school, or if that child has a positive opinion of their school experiences, then I think leaving the child there makes a lot of sense. No upheaval, etc....
Caitlin's school does sound extraordinary though. It seems like she is almost really in a "GT" type of school/program. Is she loving it as much as I thought?
Also, teachers can be an amazing resource, they know our children so well.
I feel like the benefit of Noah's new school has been immeasurable, but also the cost, commute and testing/admissions has been stressful. So, I really think it's a case by case decision. Good luck, both Caitlin and Cara are so amazing!!! :) xo

Hi Judy!!! Oh yeah, Travis can be my slightly older guinea pig. You'll have to keep us posted at each stage along the way. I'm really interested! Please give the boys a big hug from us!!! xoxoxo :)

Kendra Lynn said...

Yay! I am so happy to hear about Noah's newfound joy. :) I am sure that you are proud/relieved/delighted to figure all this out and see what a special child you have. :)

WE love you...keep us posted, and let's figure out how we can get together.