Thursday, May 24, 2007

The power of definition

Sensory Processing Disorder. SPD.

It's not an official diagnosis at this point, but that would require a developmental evaluation, and the wait list for that is over a year. So it's our working diagnosis.

We have now consulted with two occupational therapists, the one from the private clinic and the one from the province. Both have said that Scooter's problems are a result of his problems in integrating and filtering sensory information. This is not 100% rock-solid and the second OT conceded to Trillian that there is a chance that we are looking at autism. It's the first time we've had a professional not outright dismiss our concerns (though, to be fair, we didn't specifically ask the first OT). But she told us to go through several months of speech and occupational therapy first to see what improvements there are. She also mentioned that the private clinic we're using is probably the best set-up we can find, especially when one considers that the wait for the provincial help is at least a year--and even then it still wouldn't be covered by insurance for Scooter's situation.

I will write more about sensory processing disorder soon, but right now I am comforted by our ability to put a name to what we're facing and by the knowledge that we've made good choices in the support we're putting together for Scooter. In the few weeks he's been going to therapy, we've already noticed improvements in his mood, confidence, and social interactions. I'd be lying if I said it was all rosy--he's also taken to chewing on his clothing as a method of calming himself. But the combination of defining the problem and seeing small improvements gives me a new sense of hope and direction. And that, I'm discovering, is huge.

8 comments:

bubandpie said...

It's such a strange hinterland our sons inhabit, on the very outskirts of autism. I've long since given up trying to figure out whether Bub is autistic or not - now it's all about figuring out whether a PDD-NOS diagnosis will help him or hinder him in life. Do the services offer benefits that outweigh the disadvantages of the label? I've got no clue about that one, really.

It sounds like OT has been going well for Scooter, though. I'm glad.

metro mama said...

I'm glad you can put a name to it. He's a lucky boy, with the parents he has.

crazymumma said...

Metro said exactley what I was going to write. He is truly lucky to have such proactive and aware parents.

Lisa b said...

It sounds like you are on the right track. It is sad that parents have to work and fight so hard to get support for their children.

Aliki2006 said...

I struggled, too, with trying to decide whether a label helps or hinders...it is clear to me though that once a child starts school the label helps him/her because having a label is the ONLY way the school will help make the learning environment work for your kid. Much as I rebel against the label I know that if my son is to spend 6 1/2 hours/day at school everything just better be as close to right for him as possible.

Mouse said...

We're at a point where we still don't have an official enough definition to use it in the public school system, but enough so we can figure out what we should be doing. We're debating how much we should pursue the label. School really is the point towards which we're working--and I'm kind of hopeful that by the time he's there he'll have made enough progress that he won't need special accommodations or that we can work those out with the teacher (I'm thinking things like sitting around the edge of the class so he has fewer distractions right next to him).

The big relief for me right now is feeling like we're at a point where I can let up for a little bit and let things run as they will, sort of a status quo for the next 6-9 months. Now that things are set up, it removes a stressor from my life!

cinnamon gurl said...

I'm glad you're able to get Scooter the help he needs, and I guess the tentative diagnosis helps provide some structure around priorities... I will echo Metro with Scooter's luck. He's lucky to have such great advocates for parents.

Naomi (Urban Mummy) said...

That must be a relief in many ways. At least now you can find a path to help Scooter succeed.