Yesterday, Kara and I met with Dr. Swierc, Luken's therapist. Dr. Swierc is a child psychologist. We've been seeing her to help us learn to more effectively parent our dear child. Anyway, yesterday we met with her to go over the results of some neuro/psych testing she did on Luken coupla weeks ago. Turns out, Luken has a significant weakness in verbal processing.
To quote, ". . . it appears that he has a specific receptive language disability which would benefit from educational services." Luken scored average on tests of intellectual ability and achievement. He's plenty smart. We know that. More quoting, "Luken demonstrated a significant weakness in verbal processing abilities, with a receptive language comprehension score that fell over 2 standard deviations below his other scores to the Very Low Range at the 1st percentile. In contrast to his specific difficulty comprehending verbal directions, he is able to produce language with a naming vocabulary in the average range compared to same aged peers. No significant weakness was observed in his attention and recall, on either visual or auditory tasks, both of which were in the average range." She goes on to recommend that Luken receive Speech Therapy.
Dr. Swierc gave us an example of what Luken hears when we talk to him. She said that he is able to hear, take in, process and appropriately respond to only 2 to 3 words of any given sentence or request we give him. If we were to say, "Luken, please don't chew on the Christmas tree. The lights on it could hurt you." he might only hear, "Luken, blah blah blah chew blah blah blah you." No wonder we think he is defiant. He really truly isn't understand what we say. I feel sad that I've been harsh with him for disobeying when he can't.
I sort of know what he's going through. I don't read text or print. I can read. Sometimes. When I can, I can only make sense of a few of the words on the page. I guess at the rest. I sometimes guess wrong. Sometimes the responses I give to written directions don't at all match what the text was asking of me. I get frustrated. I get mad. It makes me not want to even try. It's a lot of work to make sense of things in a world that widely relies on text. But I've done it. Sometimes. I earned a Master's degree with a 4.o GPA. I did it without reading. I sat in the front of class where I could easily see the instructor. I tried to take notes. Sometimes. I guessed at a LOT of things. And I wrote. I wrote what I thought they wanted to read. Anyway . . .
I hope that, with early intervention, Luken learns how to process the information that the world throws at him. I don't want him to go through his life having to guess at what people mean when they talk to him. It's hard enough to know what people mean, even for those of us that are able to hear, process and respond to the spoken word.
He's a smart spunky little kid. I know he's gonna make the best of whatever comes his way. He has lots of support. And I'm sad for him. I don't want him to have to work so hard just to understand. It's not fair.