Assertive Nathan

Nathan had his “comprehensive evaluation” yesterday, and it wasn’t anything like what I was wanting. I wanted everything, such as emotional, behavioral, intellectual, & physical developments to be checked in addition to a speech evaluation to see where he stands & where he needs work, but his pediatrician referred him to an occupational therapist. I had my doubts, but I took Nathan anyway. And somehow, they did not receive the referral for a speech evaluation so we couldn’t have that done. Nathan scored well on the physical stuff except he’s a little behind with fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination, so they recommended some physical therapy to help him get caught up.

So when we first got there, Nathan had a blast in the waiting room. It was very kid-friendly and he loved running around & playing with the other kids. When we were called back, he melted down. I enticed him to come with me by telling him there were toys back there for him to play with.

It worked.

So we get back to to the room and Nathan’s eyes widened with excitement. There was a large mat on the floor and quite a few toys throughout the room. He immediately made a beeline to a large purple truck that was sitting enticingly on the floor.

There were three therapists in the room. One was an actual employee who I’ll call Alice, one was a student who I’ll call Jess, and one, who I’ll call Mary, had an appointment cancel so she asked if she could sit in on this one. I assumed she was a student as well.

Alice, the employee, was super awesome. She was kind and very sweet. Mary, the student therapist whose appointment cancelled, was super sweet as well. She didn’t say anything the whole time, so I think she was just observing. But the other student therapist, Jess, was a whole other story.

She was the stereotypical sorority snob that we all despised in high school & college. I could tell by the way she looked at me that she thought she was better than most people, including myself. She kept interrupting me & was condescending. Gag.

Jess made it clear she didn’t like my kid from the start. In fact, she completely exuded disdain for him. She made it painfully clear that she didn’t like his strong-willed nature. For example, she told him to sit in a seat by the mat so he could use a buckle. Nathan, like all strong-willed children on the Earth, does not take well to being ordered around. So naturally, he balked at her command and told her no. Jess huffed a few times and told him to sit down again. He ignored her. She then commanded him to sit. He ignored her and ran to the other side of the room to play with more toys. I don’t blame him. He’s not some pet.

Alice, the employed therapist, asked Nathan if he would like to sit at the table instead and play with crayons & markers. He smiled, said okay, and happily ambled over to the table and plopped down. Jess sat down beside Nathan and proceeded to give him instructions on doing this or that. After a while, Nathan became bored, so he rose from the table & started playing with the truck again.

“No, Nathan,” Jess said as she exasperatedly banged her pen on the table. “Sit down so we can finish.”

“No,” Nathan replied matter-of-fact.

“Yes. You have to finish your work,” she retorted.

“No,” Nathan repeated in that sweet three-year-old voice. Sometimes its funny to observe him being assertive because he has that sweet, soft little voice. I chuckled a little on the inside.

“Sit down,” she said as she patted the empty seat beside her.


“You can’t play with the truck until you finish your work.”

“No. No sit in the chair. No truck.” When Nathan said that, Jess breathed out forcefully.

“Please sit in the chair or no truck.”

“No chair! No truck! No! No no no no!” Nathan asserted as he furrowed his eyebrows and took few steps back. He didn’t like her. In his own way, he was standing up for himself and giving her a big F You. He figured he’d just go without the truck instead of complying. No sweat off his back & a big fail on her part.

“Do you need me to step in?” I asked with a smile. It was almost funny. She was never going to get Nathan to comply by talking to him that way. You have to give Nathan an incentive; what’s in it for him. You have to convince him it’s something he wants to do, as opposed to barking orders to him. Strong-willed children require adults to think outside the box.

“No,” she said. “I’m just trying to see how well he follows directions.” Before I could tell her she was going about it the wrong way, Alice chimed in.

“Hey, Nathan! If you sit in your chair and do these fun activities, you can play with the truck when you’re done! How’s that sound?” Alice said cheerfully.

“Okay! Great!” Nathan said as he bounded over to the table and sat back down. I think Jess needs to find another occupation. She obviously isn’t cut out for dealing with children.

When the evaluation was over, Nathan cried. He said he wanted to “go play, have fun” and had an atomic meltdown in the parking lot as I tried to get him inside the car. He liked the activities & the play, regardless of Miss Sourpuss trying to rain on his little parade.

When I take Nathan back for his physical therapy, I hope that Jess isn’t there. I’m seriously considering having her sit out our sessions if she is there because she isn’t any good with my child at all. I do NOT appreciate a “professional” treating my child without kindness. I can’t help but wonder how she treats other children who actually have serious disabilities… just, wow.


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