What Tests Can’t Measure

As Noah threw his arms around my neck today and hugged me the way only he can, laughing his hearty laugh, it struck me that there are certain things that will never show up on a standardized assessment.

Things like how it feels to Noah to be a part of a Sunday School class, an AWANA group.  Things like his unique ability to change the mood in a room simply by entering it.  Things like his way of making love tangible just by his smile and his touch.  Things like being used by God to touch the hearts of those he feels inclined to throw his arms around or even give a high five to.

I have seen more than one burly grown man get down on one knee in order to look into Noah’s eyes and experience his joy – as if connecting even for a moment will feed something in their soul – and it does, because the next time they see him, they do it again.

So many people struggle their entire lives to learn how to bless others, how to love wholeheartedly, how to show affection, how to look on the bright side, how to let go and let God, how to live in the moment, how to embrace the blessings all around them.  Noah’s got it down – and he’s 6.

Nope, no earthly test will measure all that, but if it did, he’d be off the charts.

Assessments for Noah

It’s time for another progress report evaluation from Noah’s speech therapist, so she worked on assessments with him on Wednesday.

She knows him well enough that when he didn’t do his best, she prompted him until he did; so I was happy the results were reasonably accurate.  Well, except for the part that no matter how many times she asked the questions, he refused to identify colors, which he SO knows how to do.

The little stinker.

At first I was encouraged – she said he was doing skills on par with a typical 4 to 4-1/2-year-old, according to the assessment.  But when she started figuring his scores, due to the skills gaps in certain areas, he came out at 2 years 9 months or so.

That would be great except that he is 6.

And we’ve been investing so heavily in language-rich activities, speech therapy, mommy speech therapy time.

Talk about taking the wind right out of my sails!

But I came home and dug up the first SLP evaluation Noah had at private practice.  First I was shocked to see it was only a year and a half ago – it seems like we’ve been doing speech therapy for at least 2-3 years.

Next I saw that 18 months ago his scores were not even measurable; therefore the only information the therapist could gather was on the age equivalent skills Noah was able to accomplish.  So at age 4-1/2 he was functioning at a 1 to 1-11/12-year-old level in terms of speech and language.

And now at just barely 6, he is functioning at a 4 to 4-1/2-year level.  So that’s about 3 years worth of development in a little over 18 months.

On top of that, it took him  4-1/2 years to reach the 1-2-year level, and then an additional 18 months to gain 3 more years – he is picking up the pace at an incredible speed, don’t you think?

It’s amazing how downhearted I was leaving the speech therapist’s office thinking about that 2-years 9 months score.  But looking back over his prior assessments completely changed my perspective.  I don’t have the formal report yet, but  I’ll  share it when  I do.

Tonight I’ll just be thanking God for Noah’s wonderful speech therapist – We love you, Miss Lindsey – the friends who have helped along the way  – We love you Michelle and Kristen, and a husband and lifestyle that allow me to spend pretty much day and night with my courageous little man – Thank you, Andrew – seizing  opportunity after opportunity to  discover the Words of His Heart.

Noah’s Last Ride

Not last as in he’s not going to ride again, last as in the most recent ride.

Noah’s entourage that surround the horse when he rides for hippotherapy brought him into the arena after his trail ride on Tuesday.  I could tell something was up, and they confirmed it when they said, “Okay, Mom, get ready.”  They gave the command and the horse broke into a run – with Noah (6 -DS) on his back.  Totally hilarious – Noah was bouncing up and down like a — gosh, there’s no word I can think of to describe it – the boy was looking pretty airborne, but he kept landing right back on the horse, laughing and signing stop all at the same time.  Then he was helped down and they let him take the reins and lead the horse.  Oh, he was so proud!  And then he insisted on helping to scoop horse poop – okay, sorry if that’s way too much information.  Oh, how the boy loves to work!  And then to finish it all off, under his own volition, he jumped over each of the three pipes that are in the arena for the horses to jump over, the same pipes that his physical therapist, Miss Laurie is always trying to get Noah to jump over.  She models jumping over them every week, and every week, Noah laughs as she jumps and he steps over them – he simply refuses to jump them, even know we know he can. 

Funny kid.  Funny, amazing, heartwarming, stubborn, sweet, lovable kid.