Thursday, October 9, 2014

Why Wasn't He Identified Earlier?

After my son was identified with Low Vision in August of this year, I had a lot of mom guilt swirling in my head.  I wrote it down to get it out of my brain.  I wasn’t sure if I would post it or not. However, in honor of World Sight Day, here it is.

S was recently identified as having Low Vision and referred to the Virginia Department of Blind and Vision Impaired (DBVI).  This did not catch us off guard.  It didn't shock us. When a child has a medical resume like S has and sees the number of specialists he sees, it is going to take a lot to rile us as parents.  The biggest surprise with all of this came from how quickly DBVI contacted us and started the initial process (24 business hours).

While talking to the intake person at DBVI and the Education Specialist and answering their questions, there was surprise on their end that he had not been identified as having Low Vision earlier.  We never felt like it was a judgment on their part - just concern that a child had not been identified in a timely manner.

That brings up questions that don't really matter at this point, but I'm going to throw them out there anyway.
1.  Why didn't I/we ask for a referral?  I'm a trained teacher of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing - no experience with Vision Impairment.  Yet, I wonder why didn't it cross my mind to ask for a referral knowing that I would have been all over it with any type of hearing loss.
2.  Why wasn't he identified earlier by the schools and referred to a Teacher of the Vision Impaired?  
3.  What would the reasoning have been to refer him earlier?  
4.  Why didn't my husband and I learn more about vision issues so we would have known when to push for a referral or ask more questions at the ophthalmologist?  
5.  Why didn't any of the eye professionals S saw (Alabama, California, and Virginia) tell us what he was dealing with and recommend having him referred at school while he was still in public school?
6.  Would it have made a difference if S had received this referral earlier?

I don't really expect answers to any of these questions.  I'm not beating myself up about anything. This is more of a brain dump on my part than anything else.  As my husband and I have talked, S has been successful in school.  The public schools made accommodations for him, so it wasn't an issue.  We have worked with his strengths while he has been homeschooled.

The current ophthalmologist that S sees is a friend of ours from church.  He is the one who referred S to DBVI.  He knows S outside of the office.  As he likes to tell S, "You are functional. Your body has adapted."

It might be that simple.  He has the label and referral to a serving agency.  The people there are very nice and have a lot of information.  We are going to educate ourselves and move forward.  

As I am learning more about all of this, you will find me on the couch with chocolate.

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