I met with the psychologist yesterday. She had been doing some testing to see whether Ben was capable of academic work -- at his own level -- as we try to find a better school placement for him.
She used multiple choice, picture-based tests. The first test showed a picture and four different spellings of the item (e.g. glass, glase, glas, glash). He scored at a Grade 3 level.
She then did a reading comprehension test where he had to read a sentence, then turn the page and identify the picture that best illustrated the sentence (e.g. "It is a surprise to see a bus bringing chickens to school."). He scored at a mid Grade 3 level.
His overall score for single-word vocabulary had fallen to a Grade 2, although he knew a number of more sophisticated words in certain areas (e.g. hatchet, mammal, constrained). This score had dropped from when he scored in the average range at age 9.
He did poorly on language tests where he had to follow concepts and multi-step directions because of his poor memory. He simply can't hold information in his head.
The psychologist was pleased that he's retained his ability to read since the school has put no focus on it for three years -- she thought he might have lost it.
She feels he has a mild developmental disability but that in certain areas he scores higher, in the slow learner range. She feels his multiple disabilities make it hard for him to access his potential.
She does think he should be focused on reading, writing and numeracy -- on academics at his level.
I managed to get to the end of the session before I cried, thinking that he is about to turn 17 next month. It was then that I asked: "Is there anything else we could have done to help him?"
I know there isn't. I know we did everything we could. The only thing I regret is not following his schooling more closely in the last three years.
To us, I said, he is precious and unique, with eclectic and quirky interests.
"He seems happy," she said.