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11 July 2001
I spent the morning writing a six page letter to the folks we’ll be seeing at the IEP tomorrow. It’s an outline of our "talking points", as it were, our ammunition. I have a funny feeling I’ll forget everything I wrote the moment we walk into the room, but that’s okay. The act of writing it allows me to feel secure in what to say, not so much the exact phrases I chose.

We got two assessment reports today, from the child psychologist and the speech pathologist. They, like the occupational therapist, wrote remarkably fair portraits of Damian’s strengths and weaknesses. This is good, I think. Useful.

But somehow reading the words left me feeling unsettled. They captured the issues but not his personality. They’re not supposed to, that’s not their job. But after reading their reports, I find I’m looking at Damian in clinical terms: his joint attention deficit, his inability to recall words.

I hate that.

I want to see him as himself, a charming little boy whose eyes lit up when he got out of the car this morning and saw me walking toward him. Who found an old mother-of-pearl teether in a box this afternoon. When I said he chewed on it when he was a baby and he didn’t have any teeth, he touched his teeth with an exploratory finger, then bit down on the teether and made a "eh-eh-eh" sound, mimicking a baby’s cries.

That’s the portrait I want to remember, not how well he did on this test or that test. But these assessments and meetings and discussions with therapists are of necessity about his neurological gaps and deficits. How then do put aside the checklist of issues and see him once more as the boy he is, a child with joy and and love and imagination?

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