Thursday, September 27, 2007

Another non-diagnosis

I have spent the past couple days trying to analyze, synthesize, and otherwise make sense of this week's appointment with the developmental pediatrician.

The pessimist in me wants to pick up our AmEx bill and proclaim dramatically, "How much did we spend to learn nothing new?"

The realist (because there just isn't much optimist left in me, it seems) is able to look at this in a more balanced manner. The short version of what I learned in the hour plus of talking with the doctor is that we're doing what we need to for Scooter and our parenting instincts have been spot on. So while I didn't come away with any grand revelation or definite diagnosis, the whole appointment was extremely affirming.

Trillian and I have heard that we're doing everything Scooter needs so many times now that it tends to ring hollow. But it did help to have the doctor lay out the two things he feels are most important for Scooter's continued development: occupational therapy and a structured peer environment. So now we know the two things to concentrate on lining up for our move to Springfield.

The part that I keep turning over in my head is the sum of what he said: Scooter's in a gray area. But close enough to one side of it that it's unlikely he will be diagnosed with autism or even with a significant enough developmental delay that he'll qualify for services through the school.

"This is a good thing," the doctor said several times. And I know he's right. And it doesn't change what we will do for Scooter (just who's paying for it).

There's one other thing the doctor said, something I realized I really needed to hear. He remarked on how the pattern of issues facing Scooter is a profile he's seen many times "with bright boys." And he understood that one of my biggest frustrations is that, because Scooter technically falls within the range of "normal" for all evaluations, most people have been willing to leave it at that and not make anything of the discrepancy between the tests and his intelligence.
In the end, the doctor's sense about what we're looking at with Scooter matches what has been my gut feeling for a while now. The biggest challenges facing Scooter are his sensory integration issues. If we can address those and help him get them under control, all of the other stuff, will sort itself out. He'll always be a little odd, always look at the world from a different perspective. But truthfully, I wouldn't want him any other way.


bubandpie said...

Are you still waiting for a fuller assessment, and this is just the doctor's opinion at this point? Or does this mean you're off the list for further screening? If autism is off the radar, what about SPD/SID? Do you qualify for paid-for OT here with this non-diagnosis, or are you paying out of pocket for it?

That gray area - I know it well.

kittenpie said...

WEll, from here it does sound like good news, and a bit of a relief, though I am sure it's frustrating to not get to pin it down further, with instructions.

Mouse said...

My understanding is that we wouldn't qualify for insurance-paid OT in Ontario, regardless of what diagnosis came back, because he's not bad enough off (even with an autism diagnosis). In the States, we were looking at potential school-provided OT as part of the school day. SPD is almost certain; we don't have an official diagnosis, but he's being treated under that umbrella right now.

There's pretty much no chance we'll get through a full assessment while we're in Ontario. Back in the States, we've decided to focus on going through the school system's evaluation, because they do that independent of other evaluations and base services on that. There is still a chance he'll qualify for something, especially the preschool program or maybe for kindergarten, because they do have a sensory category, along with "developmental delay" and "other health impairment." Some of it will depend on the evaluators' personality.

The developmental pediatrician said to me a few times that he personally finds it frustrating that kids like Scooter, the ones who will show the most improvement with OT and related services, are the least likely to get it paid for.

crazymumma said...

I like 'odd'. Whatever the hell that is.

I am odd. And I like it. Odd is good. Different is good.

Scooter has awesome parents. Oddsome parents.

In the good way.

Lisa b said...

I'm with Crazy.
It just kind of sucks you have to pay for the OT.