I've been wanting to write about this for about a week now. Originally, I wanted to frame it in terms of Kittenpie's recent post on parental bragging. But my mind isn't that organized right now, so I'll just come at the topic head on.
Scooter is smart.
We don't have the official results from his cognitive evaluation, so I don't have numbers or percentiles or anything like that--nor would I want to be that specific even if I did. But it was quite obvious during the evaluation that there are some amazing things going on in his mind, and the evaluator said as much.
Between my experiences as an educator and as a subject of these sorts of tests, I had a pretty good idea throughout of the purpose of each test and the sort of performance my son was turning in. I knew going in that such tests progress in difficulty and that evaluators are making note of how the subject approaches the task as much as their degree of accuracy.
The first two tests included a writing component, and so Scooter gave up before time was up due to his fine motor issues--which is what the evaluator noted to us later: he understood the exercise, but couldn't follow through.
On spatial reasoning and pattern recognition, he did very well and was happy to continue for quite some time. With the patterns, even his wrong choices made some sort of sense. And when he got to the section in which he had to pick out the things that went together, he made clear several times that while his choice might not have been the intended answer, he had a logical reason.
When I took him for an emergency bathroom break, the evaluator explained to Trillian that she has continued several of the tests past the point where he was getting "correct" answers in order to test his attention span. Which is apparently quite remarkable. His spatial reasoning is also well developed.
Of course, one of the most interesting parts of these evaluations has been realizing just how much he knows and can do. The little bit of the written tests were one part; even though he didn't do very much of either one, he demonstrated the ability to apply logical rules. In another section, the evaluator asked Scooter to define words. My favorite was his definition of "hero": "someone who saves and flies and lands."
On the other hand, his approach to several of the tests confirmed for me the suspicion that his thought processes are a bit... different. In the definition section, he described every word with three qualities. When asked to pick out things that go together, one from each of two rows, nonetheless he insisted that two items from the same row went together; when the evaluator tried to rephrase it along the lines, "But what if you picked one from this row and one from the other, what would you pick then?" he refused to play along and stubbornly insisted on his previous answer.
We're lucky to be in a school district where each tested area is considered separately. I've read of people who have to deal with districts where a high cognitive score "balances out" a low motor skill score, making the kid "normal" on paper. Because Scooter has already qualified for OT services (and probably speech too), other results will not disqualify him. In fact, they will use the results from his cognitive testing to make sure that he is provided enough of a mental challenge.
I think that this last bit will be very important. On two or three questions, Scooter started to give smart ass answers, with a gleam in his eye and that special smile, but when the evaluator would ask him again or change the question slightly, he would immediately give his real answer. This was very different from his eye test. I think that the key was the nature of the questions, the fact that they weren't overly easy, even at the beginning, and they required him to really think. He was engaged and interested and ready for more.
There's been one other very positive aspect of this process for Trillian and me. Scooter has been utterly charming at all of his evaluations--agreeable, polite, friendly, excited. We've been swimming in remarks about what a pleasant and fun kid he is. It is such a nice change from the times that we felt like all anyone saw in him in Toronto was a sad, shy, weepy child. I have been so happy that they get to see the kid we know he is from the very start.