Wednesday, April 4, 2012
Wow, where has the time gone? Seems like forever since a blog post. I have many of them swimming around in my head but no time to get them to keyboard. Let's see, March has been a whirlwind for sure, trip to Las Vegas to work the TACA and MAPS event for New Beginnings, then my bday, 1st anniversary of my Dad's death 2 days later. Following week my best friend of 30+ years had to have open heart surgery (her 3rd) so I was on hand to see her through that, as I was 30 years ago after her 1st. Let me tell you, it sure was scarier THIS time around, funny how growing up and knowing about "what ifs" will do to you. Then I came home but hubby was gone all week and in between it all, our new house to get ready to move into. Yes, big things, septic being installed, cistern getting up and running, painting almost every room, packing and unpacking yet again.
And also in the midst, 3 year retest for Mr. M. My (not so) little guy, more testing for him. Every 3 years the school system looks at retesting to see what supports are needed for him. Hard to believe 3 years ago we were preparing him for kindergarten. For that was my own personal time limit of sorts. I knew the clock was ticking and I wanted to do as much in the way of what I call "roadblock removal" as I could prior to kindergarten. I don't know why I set that limit but I did. Just shy of 1 year prior we began seeing Dr. Kurt Woeller and our path to recovery began to skyrocket. So 3 years later, I was quite excited to see, on paper, the changes I know I have seen in my son both cognitively and communicatively. And here we are in a new school to boot so yes, testing was really needed to get a clear idea of what he needs.
Testing round 1, the Psychologist. A little trepidation. Our last eval with the school psychologist (Apr 2009) resulted in a paper being slid towards me, eyes averted. Well yes, he fell on "THAT" end of the bell curve.....hmmmm, you know, the one on the left.....far left. That's OK I said to myself, trying not to let the tears form. These tests are all bullshit anyways! (I know my Alma Mater is threatening to revoke my degree in Psychology right this moment for such blasphemy!?) Maybe he will be a child who tests differently. And in the end I said "Screw you!" to the tests and we kept plodding on. But yes, that day is still back there in my memory banks. I felt like somehow that test was counting him out, and I was determined never to let that happen! So here we are, another year (or 3), another (different) psychologist. Imagine my excitement when on their first break the psychologist comes out and says that M knows vocab words that a child in 5th grade would be beginning to learn! Hey hey! Not to shabby. So I was excited to hear the full results. He had strengths in the areas of reading and writing. Math was more challenging. His recall was better on verbal things vs. visual. His perception of his body in space was a challenge. That was certainly nothing new. So we have some strategies to help him as the curriculum changes in the next few years. All in all, I took it as a very positive thing.
Testing round 2, the SLP. Our last round (Apr. 2009), CELF-2P was done. Core language - 8%, Receptive - 4%, Expressive - 8%, Language content - 5%, Language structure - 5%. "The results indicate that M has a significant receptive and expressive language delay". Yes, no surprise there. But this time around was very, very, VERY different. Our school speech therapist approaches me one day at pick up (her son and my son are in the same class). She says "Will you be disappointed if I really don't find anything?". Are you kidding me?? This is what we have been working towards!! Yesterday we get the results, besides a little articulation with "s", that's it! Zip, zero, nada! And she was specifically watching him for social issues. And what's more she said that if she had not read Autism in his file she would never have thought of that in regards to him. Say what?!?!
I must say, it did make me feel a bit odd. The Psychologist said that this was just astounding and how he's never heard of this ever happening before. That makes me squirm a little. I talk about Autism and Autism recovery all the time, I mean alllllll the time, to anyone, anywhere. And I know many parents who are doing biomed and see fabulous things so to me, this is (or should be) the norm. I try and avoid the "cure" debates because to me, my son had some serious underlying medical issues that impacted his language and cognitive functioning. Do I think my son is amazing and has wonderful gifts for the world? Yes! Would I want to "cure" him and take those gifts away? No. But, what is significantly impairing his ability to interact, love, feel and express emotion and connect with other souls in this world has got to go! I put that on notice years ago and no one can tell me a child filled with yeast, clostridia, inflammation, auto-immunity, untreated food intolerances, etc. wants to live that way! The child could hardly sleep, screamed most of the day and night, did not interact with us and certainly had to have a hard time learning with all of that going on. So, that had to stop. And I know many parents out there doing all the same stuff without as many gains. I am humbled by this journey. My son has taught me so much and although I wish he never had to go through this we are all healthier for it now.
And part of me wonders at whether his new school contributed to the gains we saw this time around. I believe that the way he is being taught now is the absolute BEST way for him (and every other child by the way, ASD or not! And he has phenomenal teachers. I have never seen him so open and receptive and each day is filled with sensory experiences and meaningful ways to use his body to help him learn. If you don't know about Waldorf inspired charter schools, you really should. Click HERE to learn more. It is a little bit of "What came first, the chicken or the egg?". I have seen him blossom and grow (literally as well as figuratively) before my eyes in the almost 6 months that we have been here. His desire to learn is there more than ever. The environment is loving yet has clear boundaries and all children (as I see it) are supported in the way that they need. I went into this meeting with no issues. And I know that if an issue arises, the teacher will seek me out. We decided that the plan will be set in place but really we will implement when HE needs it. What a novel concept huh?
Right now he is doing very, very well. And what else could I ask for?? I know the future is not certain, regression happens, puberty happens and we'll cross that bridge when it comes. But right now I have a happy, HEALTHY, vibrant young man who keeps me laughing each and every day. What a blessing to be called his mother. And tonight, after a very long, rough month for me and an even more not so great day, I walk in to kiss him goodnight. He is reading "Love you Forever" by Robert Munsch. It is a book I cannot read without crying. He is nearing the end, reading it by himself. He looks up at me just as the part of story goes where the son is singing that song to his elderly mother. He gets tears in HIS eyes. He says "This story makes me teary eyed Mom, can you read the rest?". But he continues on to read the last page, then looks up at me and says "I love you Mom".
Autism - 0, M - INFINITY!!!!!!!