Background info: we’ve pulled out lots of the J-man’s old toys for Little E to play with/watch lately. (Little E won’t be little for much longer. Maybe we should just call him Dale Jr.)
When the J-man was about 21 months old, we had a “full evaluation” from the county. They came to our house – a doctor, a developmental therapist, and one other therapist person. It still rates in my mind as one of the hardest days we’ve ever had, and I’m including when we all had the Norovirus and the J-man was hospitalized.
The things that stood out were this:
1) the doctor YELLING at the J-man when he wouldn’t comply with the tests. Hey, I wouldn’t want to pick up your stupid dolly either if there is a cool car with spinning wheels available. (We heard through the county grapevine that the doctor was eventually reprimanded because of his behavior during that evaluation, to give you perspective.)
2) the J-man wowing them with some of his skills
3) the J-man NOT wowing them with skills it wouldn’t have occurred to me he should have been able to do at that point.
4) the way everyone danced around the word “autism” until I flat out asked them if that was what we were dealing with. (“We don’t really know at this point, but don’t think that’s it.”)
5) the way the evaluators made us feel like the world’s worst parents for allowing the J-man to play with the toys we had out in the living room. No kidding! They told us that the reason he was testing behind in several areas was because his toys weren’t advanced enough. We were holding him back! It was our fault! If we had just gotten him better toys, he would be fine! (All of those toys were in fact made for kids up to age 3, but I digress.)
That night (after I cried), we packed up most of the J-man’s toys and put them in the attic. No more “World of Learning;” no more “Mr. Star” (just a fabric star that plays music); no more thingie where you put the ball into the tunnel and it made music play. In their place, we put out other things, but those were toys that the J-man loved, and he looked for them for a long time afterward.
And now that some of them are back out (World of Learning and Mr. Star), he plays with them again. He’s SO happy to see them. He actually plays with them quite differently than he did back then. Huh… could it have been the kid’s developmental stage and not the toy?
And when I see his excitement over shaking Mr. Star to make him play for Little E, I get teary eyed… and I get angry. Oh yeah, the Mama Guilt from listening to “experts” will get you every time.