it's not always IQ

It's funny (not as in haha...more like sad funny) how my mind always goes there.

If it appears like Trevy can't figure something out I always blame it on his brain.  I go straight to IQ.  Or lack thereof.   

He just doesn't understand...

I must think that thought a thousand times a week.  A day, maybe.    

I get negative pretty quickly.  It's not healthy.  But I'm being honest.  And that's exactly where I was during last week's PT evaluation wrap up.  The therapist had Trev start out by sitting on a mat.  Legs out front.  Shoes and sock off.  Exposing yummy little hobbit toes.  It's not just the hair that's Frodo Baggins.


She was working with his weak side.  The Right.  Blowing bubbles and asking him to pop pop pop them with his toes.  He was SO everywhere but there.  Cognitively...I mean.  He's looking at the lights.  Reaching for other things.  Mostly the door to go bye-bye.  Pulling his hair.  Saying "sigh" (slide).  We'd passed one in the hallway.  He's blowing raspberries.  Intermittently shouting random words (we heard NO a lot) and protesting being held down.  Just totally not getting it.   

I found myself not just holding back his legs.  But my salty tears too.  Every time she asked him to pop those stupid bubbles with his toes and he didn't even try...  It was a knife in the heart.  He should know this!  I raged inside.  Along with a whole slew of other sad and fatalistic thoughts. It shocked even me just how depressing five minutes of bubble popping let down can be. 

She finally gave up on that side and moved to the other.  His strong side.  He's a Lefty. 

And that's when I got hit upside the head by my own cynicism.  My very own (special needs mommy) Teachable Moment.   

Because do you know for all my gloomy "He just doesn't get it" thoughts...

...those strong little Left-Sided Frodo toes popped those stupid bubbles with ease!  Cognitive and isolated muscle ease.

And that's when I realized my mistake.  I blame things on his IQ all the bloody time.  Even though I tell myself and him what a smart boy he is.  If I'm being completely transparent (and risking comment criticism) I don't always believe it.  Way down deep. 

"What a smart boy"

My lips might say...while my heart chases it with something like...

"In his own way..."  

When I say it outloud I realize just how many shades of sad that sounds.  How utterly UNhopeful.  And all my negativity bricks came crashing down on my head with every Left Toed bursting bubble.  Because in that moment I realized something profound.  For me.  For Trevy.  Because this is our story. 

It's not always IQ. 


Sometimes he really can't.  I am convinced now that he knew exactly what to do the whole time.  But his little broken muscles betrayed him.  His mobility deficits are so subtle that it takes very special eyes to see them.  I've always thought I had those special eyes.  Ha!  Shows what I know!  And he couldn't tell me.  Or maybe he was trying to.  With his raspberries and hair pulling.  Maybe I missed the cues.  Maybe I'm not as fluent in Trevy-ese as I've convinced myself.  I mean really?  Just how many times have I given up on trying to teach him this or that because I was blaming his cognition?  If someone were keeping score I'm sure it would be too many.  Again.  Transparent.  I'm an easy give-upper.  We're not spending hours in the therapy room working on skill building.  I can only handle a few minutes at a time.  So can he.  But now at least I'll be more prone to blame it on ADHD than IQ!   

Which is probably why that whole darn deal hit me so hard.

The entire time I sat there thinking he didn't understand.  Five minutes of spewing unadulterated negative vomit into my heart.  And to think.  He did understand.


Lesson learned.

At least until the next time I need an unexpected attitude adjustment!  


Anonymous said...

As an inexperienced Mom of any sort, what I got out of this post was that the strong side should be "played" with first so you know if it is cognitive or otherwise. If I may be so stupid to ask, is it because there is virtually no left side of the brain to direct the right side? Is the therapy trying to strengthen the right side to compensate?

Seems like everyone would feel better if you started on a small positive note, did the 'tough' session in the middle and ended on a positive side at the end. I think Trevy would feel better starting with success rather than with frustration and inability. And everyone would better access cognitive, or otherwise.

Sometimes when I use my dominant hand first, my other hand learns from what the dominant one can do. Think of it as learning to be ambidexterous. Try using your non-dominant hand to write (OK, just grocery lists at first) and cooking (be careful with your knives). It may give you some more insight and creative ways to help Trevy with one of his many challenges.

Best wishes, CB

MrsFought said...

I find myself doing the same thing, and am grateful for your honesty. Sometimes the hardest things to learn is to continue to hope. I too, get negative very easily! Here's to more left toe bubble popping :)

Sophie's Story by Elaine said...

Sophie's attention span is ZILCH when it is something that she struggles with. It's so frustrating because how is she suppose to make up all this ground if she can't sit still long enough to learn. And as you know...I know EXACTLY what you went through with that therapy session. Hugs.