Day 29: Getting Answers: The Child Study, The Decision

Want to read Benji’s Story from the beginning? Click here!

“Do you want my opinion?”

I glanced up at the honest abruptness of her question. We were standing in the shade by a large field. She was filling small paper cups with water for sweaty, smiling children.

It was Field Day.

“Yes, please,” I told the principal. BiggerButton

“I think you should move him to 2nd grade. Academics? We can work on that.” She paused to give a kindergartner a high five. “But holding him back? Living in the shadow of your twin brother who will always be ahead of you in school? That’s not something you recover from.”

I nodded, taking it all in. She was echoing everything Aaron and I had been discussing for weeks.

On one hand, I didn’t know if Benji was academically ready for 2nd grade. He could not read. He struggled with handwriting, spelling, and math. I didn’t want his already broken confidence to be shattered even more by the demands of 2nd grade.

But my heart was broken by the alternative when I looked into the future. What about when Micah went to middle school and Benji was still in Elementary school? Or graduation day…I imagined Benji standing in the audience as Micah crossed the stage to receive his diploma.

The image was enough to bring tears to my eyes.

They already felt the pressure of comparison. We didn’t want to create more of a wedge in their special twin relationship.

No, academics aside, it was essential to preserve their relationship as brothers, as twins.

That was sacred.

So we knew which way we were leaning, but we held off making a decision until the Child Study results meeting on June 24.

Have I mentioned that the waiting almost killed me during this process? It bears repeating.
The waiting was horrible. Honestly, I can’t think of a strong enough word.
It was really bad.

I needed to know the results of the Child Study NOW.

Surprisingly, a few days before our Eligibility Meeting, the special education teacher called and said she had his results: Would I like her to bring them by the house?

Yes, yes please.

And then I had it–a fat manila envelop full of papers: The test results.

Ironically, I had to wait until nap time that day to tear into it. #ThatsMotherhood

I read, paper after paper, test after test.
I devoured each word.

I was ready for the Eligibility Meeting.
The results were pretty clear: His abilities (average to above average) did not match with his school performance (below average).

At the meeting, we learned that his official diagnosis was Language Processing Learning Disability.
He would qualify for Special Education Services.

We spent the next 2 hours discussing the details of the tests.

It was such a relief.
And it made our second decision so much easier.

Since Benji would get services that addressed his unique learning needs in the coming year, we officially made the decision to move him to 2nd grade.

IMG_4419Do you know what was the most interesting part of finally finding out the results of all those months of testing?

Those results, the ones I was so anxious about? They didn’t tell me anything I didn’t already know (minus 1-2 interesting things he said on a particular test).

The contents of that manila envelope and the whole Eligibility Meeting simply confirmed everything I already knew about my son.

I already knew every facet, every quirk, every struggle, every learning challenge, every self-esteem issue that the tests revealed.

I knew…because I know my child.
I was right: He needed help.
I did that.
And I felt like a damn fine mother in that moment.


  1. […] Day 1: You’re here! Welcome. Day 2: When your “normal is not Normal Day 3: Writing the Letter: Pressing for Testing Day 4: How I’m doing Write31Days + My Crazy Life Day 5: Yeah, it didn’t happen Day 6: The Pieces of SPD or How I learned to Hug my Son Day 7: The Day People Stared and I didn’t Care Day 8: The [un]Predictability of SPD: How we’ve learned to Plan for the Crash Day 9: Celebrate Benji and Micah! Day 10: Letting him hide in tiny spaces: Meeting the needs of your SPD child Day 11: Mom, I don’t have any friends: Social Challenges of SPD Day 12: What Getting an IEP really looks like Day 13: [Not] Handling Stress: The emotional toll of the IEP process Day 14: Mental Health Break Day 15: “If you think you’re going through something hard, it’s because you are” Day 16: Celebrate Benji the Bard! Day 17: The Twin Factor: A Special Relationship Day 18: [Not] Benji’s Story…BUT MENG MENU! Day 19: The Twin Factor: Why We Chose Separate Classes Day 20: The Twin Factor: Smarter, Better, and other Ugly Words Day 21: My Insane Week Day 22: The Twin Factor: An Impossible Decision Day 23: Failure, Comparison, and Choosing Joy Day 24: Just give us a label already! Day 25: One Week Left Day 26: Rooting out Expectations Day 27: When you want to walk away…and how to come back Day 28: The way to his heart is through his stomach Day 29: Getting Answers […]

  2. Wow. I relate to SO many parts of this. This line in particular resonated as we’re going through similar things with my boys: “The contents of that manila envelope and the whole Eligibility Meeting simply confirmed everything I already knew about my son.”

    Good for you for advocating. It’s something that’s never comfortable for me, but it IS getting easier, and it’s so necessary. All the best to you and Benji on this journey.

    • Jenni, thanks for reading! Yeah, I feel like advocating has not come naturally to me, but it is getting easier, like you said too. Best to you and your boys as well! 🙂

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