When Alyssa was born, I knew there would be a day where she would surpass Courtney in a lot of developmental areas. I also knew this day would come early on. That day came a couple of months ago. When I started to notice her skills were zooming past Courtney’s, it was bitter sweet. I was able to see the positive side of it. It meant Alyssa was reaching all the developmental milestones. It meant there’s a strong chance Alyssa won’t have autism. It also means that Alyssa is already becoming the “big” sister, Courtney’s “keeper”, mommy’s helper and so on.
Like I said, the day came a couple of months ago so I’ve had the time to swallow this and for the most part I have come to terms with the fact that Alyssa, who is 2 years younger than Courtney, is way ahead of her developmentally. In fact, I have learned to be grateful. Though it’s been bothering me this past week. I attended a two day conference last week and this week about an assessment/teaching tool that is quite often used with children with Autism. In fact, it is a tool used with Courtney at school and in therapy sessions. When school and therapists shared this with me, they showed me how she scored in the lowest level. At this conference, I got to see what the age equivalence was for the levels. Level 1 is 0-18 months. No, I am not surprised by this. Like I said, I can tell Alyssa has passed her up developmentally and Alyssa is almost 24 months old. Yet this still stung, and has been on my mind since.
This made me think of a meeting I had during one of my first years of teaching. I had this little boy whose mom was pretty educated when it came to child development. I remember the team being surprised by how surprised mom seemed by the results of an assessment. It dawned on my back then, that it wasn’t that she was surprised, it was the sting of actually hearing it.
I’ve been in the field of Autism for a while now. None of Courtney’s behaviors or characteristics surprise me. Nor does the fact that she is scoring so low on an assessment. However, that does not mean it doesn’t sting some times.