A rant: Must everything be related to our kids’ special needs?


Max’s school physical therapist left a voicemail last Tuesday on my cellphone saying that he seemed sluggish, not like himself and a little uncoordinated. I’m not good about checking my cell voicemails, and so I didn’t even know she’d phoned till I got an email on Friday from his occupational therapist recapping that he had been out of sorts and sluggish.

I immediately called the school vice principal, and asked to know just what the underlying concern was. Back in the spring, the nurse at his school kept telling us that Max was prone to staring; we finally did an ambulatory EEG to make sure he wasn’t having absence seizures. The EEG came back clean. Max, our neurologist decided, occasionally stares as he collects his thoughts.

The vice principal called back, with the nurse there. I again asked to know what they were concerned about—was it that they were worried he was having seizures again? What? I could not get a clear answer; once again, they seemed vaguely concerned about a neurological issue. I left a message with Max’s neurologist. I felt anxious. And then later that day, we noticed Max was swatting his left ear. We took him to the doctor, and, bingo—he had an infection in his left ear.

Hmmm, let’s see: Sluggish child. Out of sorts. A little off-balance. Why is it that the school nurse did not think of an ear infection? Why is it that whenever Max acts a bit differently, it’s pinned to a neurological issue?

This is so, so frustrating.

Ellen blogs daily at To The Max.

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