Hey guys! Time for an update from me. (I can feel your excitement. Just hang on to your britches!) I’ve had a lot going on recently what with trying to settle in to our new house, helping my close friend plan her wedding (which is code for getting bossed around a lot, bless her), and scheduling curriculum for homeschooling this coming year. Instead of boring you with a list of stuff I did, I decided to just talk about what is at the forefront of my mind as of late: Cheerio Champ.
|Cheerio Champ at age 3|
We knew that Cheerio Champ was on the spectrum by age three. We caught it long before his pediatrician did, and she wouldn’t have caught it at all if we hadn’t insisted that certain aspects of his development were abnormal and that he had picked up strange tendencies. After discussing options, we took a watch-and-see approach, which I don’t regret and I think was the best option. His talking had recently picked up considerably, and he was beginning to form sentences. He responded well to hugs and affection, there was no sign of hand flapping, and he made eye contact often.
Things changed late last year. Our pediatrician retired. Cheerio Champ had been handed a label (autism), but since we never had testing completed to be “sure”, the diagnoses was unconfirmed. It wasn’t until we went to our new pediatrician for the first time this past month (Cheerio Champ is now 6) that we discovered our conundrum: our new doc doesn’t agree with the diagnoses, which means that the resources to help Cheerio Champ are out of our reach. He doesn't think he is on the spectrum. Though he didn't say it, I got the feeling he didn't believe in spectrum disorders at all. Talk about a clash! (outside of that, we got on quite well) We were hoping to pursue behavioral therapy for Cheerio Champ based on some habits we thought might be wise to break, but the doctor wasn’t agreeing and wouldn’t write the referral. He did, however, agree that he had ADHD, which was no surprise and frankly obvious (even though assessments were still necessary). He agreed to write a referral to a behavioral therapist for the ADHD since we didn’t want to use medications (because I am devious like this, but I also legit wish to not medicate my child if possible). I figured that I could talk with this behavioral therapist and hopefully get if not a diagnoses, than the help my boy deserves.
Yesterday was our first appointment with the behavioral therapist. Cheerio Champ just adores her. He has talked about her several times since we left, saying that she is super nice. She whole-heartedly agreed with the ADHD diagnoses, and even went one step further, suggesting that I might have it as well. I would buy that, though I do a fairly good job of self-management what with caffeine and exercise.
After interacting with Cheerio Champ and watching him play, she then suggests that perhaps he is on the spectrum. I could have kissed her square on the mouth. “YES!!! But his doctor didn’t agree, even though his previous pediatrician thought so as well.” She told me she was leaning heavily towards Asperger’s (my thoughts exactly) or autism, and immediately wrote us a referral for testing at Easter Seals. I didn’t realize how much anxiety and sadness I had tied up with getting him the resources he needs until I practically broke down right there. I felt so stupid, and it was made worse by the fact that she is trained to be all understanding and what not. Ugh. Just quit talking so I don’t have to snot all over myself, okay?!
Our next step is to get him tested. I guess the first appointment is two hours due to his seeing two specialists on the same day, and the next is a meeting just with the parents to discuss plans from there. I have to wait to hear from them before I know when his appointment will be. I’m happy we’re that much closer to aid, but I feel frustrated that there are so many hoops to jump through. It pains me that to seek treatment for kiddos, most spectrum parents have to go through this kind of thing.
I'll be back next week. Bye!