Every three years Colin has to be re-evaluated in the special education department. This is done with a battery of tests in all departments and a pile of forms to be filled out at home. These tests have names like this:
Adaptive Behavior Assessment System II (ABAS-II): “This assessment tool is designed to rate functional skills int he area of social development, communication, motor and others.”
The Woodcock-Johnson III Test of Academic Achievement: “Used to determine reading, math and writing skills.”
Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency, Second Edition (BOT-2): “Used to test motor proficiency.” I love that one because the explanation of the test is shorter than the name of the test.
. . . and so many more.
One of the forms we filled out at home was the Enderle-Severson Transition Rating Scale: “Used to see where Colin is in the area of home living, secondary education, employment, community participation and recreation/leisure.”
Does your son understand the need for insurance? No. Should an eighth grader?
Can your son prepare food using a variety of preparation methods? He can unwrap his own cheesestick.
Does your child help others who cannot shop for themselves? . . . no. . . maybe. . . it’s never come up.
Can your child find and use a payphone? What????? It’s 2012.
These forms don’t allow for the distinctions between Colin with Autism, Colin the Teenager, and Colin — Colin. Here’s an example of that:
ME: Colin, I have to answer a question about whether you know our address. What’s our address?
COLIN: (Names street)
ME: Do you know the house number?
COLIN: No. Should I look outside?
So what’s the answer to whether he know the address? Technically no. But . . . he knew the street, and he knew where to find the house number. He could not send himself a piece of mail. Colin isn’t ordering cabs or filling out employment forms. He hasn’t actually needed to use his address. Sure he should know it, but he hasn’t needed it and in Colin’s economy — why bother keeping track. I’m sure if I said, “Colin, you need to commit this number to memory,” he would.
So in a few days, we will go to the meeting where they will tell us all the answers to who Colin is. We will sign the papers. Then we will press on as usual.