Monday, September 12, 2011

Counselor Follow Up

In my tutoring recap a few weeks ago I didn't address the counselors feedback and concerns.  There were a few reasons for this, I didn't like the feedback she gave me, I didn't think they dealt with what I thought was important, and lastly I just wanted to chew on it a little.  Realizing that you won't break your newborn infant is a step in our development as parents, accepting that you are making a heady decision and your kid most likely won't need therapy for it later is another development. I am still on the fence about whether I will be paying a therapy bill later for all this, this blog included; but I keep reminding myself we are doing the best we can with the information we have today.

Lets chat about what the counselor actually talked about first, this one is the easy part. I had said specifically I wanted the counselor to talk to Bean about her learning issues, to help her identify when she is stuck because of a learning problem and when she just doesnt' want to do the work. Motivation vs learning problem seems like a really tough nut to crack. Bean is almost 9 and for her the difference between my brain isn't doing what I want and I just don't want to do it is really difficult to sort out.  My hope was that with some conversations with a counselor there would be a greater understanding of self and hence a more honest assessment of, this is junk I don't want to do it and my brain is jammed up. This did not happen. Instead of a conversation of self the counselor decided Bean was too inward focused, so her focus became learning how to make friends and be social the expected way. On top of this she felt like some of her answers were 'unexpected' and that she needed more normative responses to people, normative is my word.  Every time I followed up during the summer with what was being talked about it seemed they were talking about her anxiety or concerns so I was ok with it. At the end of the summer when I went into the final meeting, I got quite a surprise. I was informed that further counseling was warranted because there were socialization concerns. I stopped her there, 'Is there concern Bean is on the spectrum?', no just that she is a little too inwardly focused. At this point though I kept my cool, I think my head exploded but no one saw it. Apparently there was no conversation what so ever about learning issues and Bean ALL SUMMER, it was all about how to be socially accepted and make friends. THUD....

After listen for about 10 minutes to what was discussed that summer, the final wrap up was bound to be interesting.  The counselor went on to explain that because Bean liked South Korea and 'violent' (wrong word for sure) music there were enough social quirks that continued counseling would be good. She likes South Korea because she loves TaeKwonDo and the music isn't violent, it just isn't music everyone listens too and someone probably told her that it was violent. There are a few kids at daycare that can be a little dramatic about anything that isn't kids bop squeaky clean.  This is my first hint, the counselor go her answers asked no follow up and made incorrect assumptions.  The conversation continues, and I continue to ask questions. The final wrap up from the counselor is that there is a concern that because Bean said she doesn't care what her friends think of her or things she likes or dislikes, that there is something wrong with her. At this point I was in total shock and did not have a good response, it was silence and to sign Nan up for more counseling.  I later cancelled the counseling. Her tutor responded when we got back into her room that one of the great things about Bean is her quirkiness, and she is totally right. Bean is quirky and unique and I don't want anyone stepping on that or trying to make it more 'normal'.

Next steps then? What to do knowing that your kid is a bit quirky and you want to make sure they get it, but aren't told they are wrong for being them?  Let me start with what I love about Bean, she doesn't care what people think. I like that peer pressure won't be an issue most likely, she will put herself out there, take chances and be who she wants, hopefully. I do think she needs to know what is expected and what the norms are, not that she needs to follow them. We are going to put her in etiquette classes, this way she will learn the norms, but will be able to choose when she wants to use them. We will continue to explain things to her in a detailed manner and we will continue to encourage her to nurture the friendships she has. I'll let you know how big the therapy bill will be when she's 30.

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