…aaaaand now we’re back to the freezing lake full of water that makes me realize just how difficult Dar’s situation really is. Today’s, and next week’s, cold water is brought to you by the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales, who make a so-called Rating Form that parents like me fill out so that their kids can qualify for state-sponsored services.

Anyone who wishes services for their kid or thinks their kid SHOULD qualify for more services, keep reading. Srsly. I would think that a common takeaway would be: oh, wow, yeah, I’m lucky to have a kid that would ace this. Which happens to be what I think about our other kid.

I consider a form like this a Valyrian double-edged sword. I absolutely hate seeing just how far behind is Dar. But I also like these metrics, because they give me something to present to certain therapists who give me this kind of “well, what do you WANT him to do differently?” as though I had brought a brand-new BMW into the shop and was complaining about a tinted sunroof. People, Dar’s problems are a little past tinted-sunroof-level. And this compilation of data, as terrible as it is to see in black and white, has a way of pointing toward better days for Dar.

So, this Rating Form is a lot of multiple choice questions, kind of like the SAT, but with only three options: USUALLY, SOMETIMES, and NEVER. I was instructed that after four NEVERs in a row, I should move to the next section. So you’re not seeing all the questions that come after these. Because Dar is now 6 years old, I was also instructed to skip questions that the form targets to kids under his age, so in some cases you’re not seeing all the questions that come before these. I’m presenting to you only and exactly the questions I answered (that’s long enough, taking me two blog posts) along with my answers in CAPITALS.

Listening and Understanding (skipping questions that use start ages 0-4; starting with start ages 5+)

  1. Points to common objects in a book or magazine as they are named (for example, dog, car, cup, key) SOMETIMES
  2. Listens to instructions SOMETIMES
  3. Follows instructions with one action and one object (for example “Bring me the book”; “Close the door”; etc.) NEVER
  4. Points to at least five minor body parts when asked (for example, fingers, elbows, teeth, toes, etc) SOMETIMES
  5. Follows instructions with two actions or an action and two objects (for example, “Bring me the crayons and the paper”; “Sit down and eat your lunch”; etc.) NEVER
  6. Follows instructions in “if-then” form (for example, “If you want to play outside, then put your things away”; etc.) NEVER
  7. Listens to a story for at least 15 minutes NEVER
  8. Listens to a story for at least 30 minutes NEVER


Talking (skipping questions that use start ages 0-4; starting with start ages 5-13)

  1. Says correct age when asked SOMETIMES
  2. Says at least 100 recognizable words NEVER
  3. Uses in, on, or under in phrases or sentences (for example, “Ball go under chair”; “Put it on the table”; etc.) NEVER
  4. Uses and in phrases or sentences (for example, “Mom and Dad”; “I want ice cream and cake”; etc.) NEVER
  5. Says first and last name when asked NEVER


Reading and Writing (start ages 3-13)

  1. Identifies one or more alphabet letters as letters and distinguishes them from numbers SOMETIMES
  2. Recognizes own name in printed form NEVER
  3. Identifies at least 10 printed letters of the alphabet SOMETIMES
  4. Prints or writes using correct orientation (for example, in English from left to right; in some languages from right to left or top to bottom) NEVER
  5. Copies own first name NEVER
  6. Identifies all printed letters of the alphabet, upper- and lowercase NEVER
  7. Prints at least three simple words from example (for example, cat, see, bee, etc.) NEVER


Caring for Self (start ages 0-8)

  1. Opens mouth when food is offered USUALLY
  2. Eats solid foods (for example, cooked vegetables, chopped meats, etc.) USUALLY
  3. Sucks or chews on finger foods (for example, crackers, cookies, toast, etc.) USUALLY
  4. Drinks from a cup or glass; may spill USUALLY
  5. Lets someone know when he or she has wet or soiled diaper or pants (for example, points, vocalizes, pulls at diaper, etc.) NEVER
  6. Feeds self with spoon; may spill USUALLY
  7. Sucks from straw USUALLY
  8. Takes off clothing that opens in the front (for example, a coat or sweater); does not have to unbutton or unzip the clothing SOMETIMES
  9. Pulls up clothing with elastic waistbands (for example, underwear or sweatpants) NEVER
  10. Feeds self with fork; may spill USUALLY
  11. Drinks from a cup or glass without spilling SOMETIMES
  12. Feeds self with spoon without spilling SOMETIMES
  13. Urinates in toilet or potty chair NEVER
  14. Puts on clothing that opens in the front (for example, a coat or sweater); does not have to zip or button the clothing NEVER
  15. Asks to use toilet NEVER
  16. Defecates in toilet or potty chair NEVER


Caring for Home (start ages 1-13)

  1. Is careful around hot objects (for example, the stove or oven, an open fire, etc.) SOMETIMES
  2. Helps with simple household chores (for example, dusts, picks up clothes or toys, feeds pet, etc.) NEVER
  3. Clears unbreakable items from own place at table NEVER
  4. Cleans up play or work area at end of an activity (for example, finger painting, model building, etc.) NEVER
  5. Puts away personal possessions (for example, toys, book, magazines, etc.) NEVER


Living in the Community (start ages 1-9)

  1. Demonstrates understanding of function of telephone (for example, pretends to talk on phone, etc.) NEVER
  2. Talks to familiar person on telephone NEVER
  3. Uses TV or radio without help (for example, turns equipment on, accesses channel or station, selects program, etc.) NEVER
  4. Counts at least 10 objects, one by one NEVER


Relating to Others (skipping questions that use start ages 0-4; starting with start ages 5-15)

  1. Imitates simple movements (for example, claps hands, waves good-bye, etc.) SOMETIMES
  2. Uses actions to show happiness or concern for others (for example, hugs, pats arm, holds hands, etc.) NEVER
  3. Shows desire to please others (for example, shares a snack or toy, tries to help even if not capable, etc.) NEVER
  4. Demonstrates friendship-seeking behavior with others the same age (for example, says, “Do you want to play?” or takes another child by the hand, etc.) NEVER
  5. Imitates relatively complex actions as they are being performed by another person (for example, shaving, putting on makeup, hammering nails, etc.) NEVER


Playing and Using Leisure Time (start ages 0-7)

  1. Responds when parent or caregiver is playful (for example, smiles, laughs, claps hands, etc.) USUALLY
  2. Shows interest in where he or she is (for example, looks or moves around, touches objects or people, etc.) USUALLY
  3. Plays simple interaction games with others (for example, peekaboo, patty-cake, etc.) SOMETIMES
  4. Plays near another child, each doing different things SOMETIMES
  5. Chooses to play with other children (for example, does not stay on the edge of a group or avoid others) SOMETIMES
  6. Plays cooperatively with one or more children for up to 5 minutes NEVER
  7. Plays cooperatively with more than one child for more than 5 minutes NEVER
  8. Continues playing with another child with little fussing when parent or caregiver leaves SOMETIMES
  9. Shares toys or possessions when asked SOMETIMES

(start ages 8-15)

  1. Plays with others with minimal supervision NEVER
  2. Uses common household objects or other objects for make-believe activities (for example, pretends a block is a car, a box is a house, etc.) NEVER
  3. Protects self by moving away from those who destroy things or cause injury (for example, those who bite, hit, throw things, pull hair, etc.) SOMETIMES
  4. Plays simple make-believe activities with others (for example, plays dress-up, pretends to be superheroes, etc.) NEVER
  5. Seeks out others for play or companionship (for example, invites others home, goes to another’s home, plays with others on the playground, etc.) NEVER
  6. Takes turns when asked while playing games or sports NEVER
  7. Plays informal, outdoor group games (for example, tag, jump rope, catch, etc.) NEVER

Dar got pretty far on that one before we had to bail out!

To be concluded in in next week’s blog post.