I feel like it's been autism all the time here for a while.
In the past two weeks, we have had multiple meetings: annual IEP, school psychologist, regular parent-teacher. Trillian and I are working through three different autism books--plus a fourth the psychologist loaned us. There's research on the internet, videos, the monthly autism meeting, possibly a conference.
My mind is oh-so full.
The information overflow is one part coincidence, one part design. The IEP, parent-teacher conference, and monthly meeting were going to happen within a short span of time by coincidence of the calendar. A couple of the books arrived from Amazon around this same time. The IEP meeting spawned the meeting with the school psychologist, which spawned some of the reading and research frenzy.
The meeting with the school psychologist was one of the single most illuminating hours Trillian and I have spent in discussion of autism. This woman became part of Scooter's education team when we received the child development clinic's evaluation; she is the head of our district's autism team, so it seemed like a good meeting for her to attend. She was, at our request, also at his annual IEP meeting. Even without an official diagnosis, she has been very giving of her time and knowledge. Taking her at her offer, we scheduled an appointment to go over the clinic's report in a little more detail and ask her some Scooter-specific questions.
One particularly interesting interpretation has led us to a tiny, but significant, shift in our thinking. The evaluation report puts Scooter's score on the ADOS right at the cut-off for an autism spectrum disorder (as opposed to a higher score which is classified as autism). The evaluators did not, however, assign him any diagnosis, saying that he did not qualify for either a PDD-NOS or Asperger's label at the time. But, as the school psychologist explained, it only says they can't give him a specific diagnosis, not that he isn't on the spectrum. In fact, he is on the spectrum.
Even before all of this, the psychologist had remarked that his ADOS scores (no points on the communication portion, high points on the social reciprocity portion) matched what she'd expect to see with an Asperger's profile. She also confirmed for us what we had heard second-hand, that Asperger's is simply not diagnosed before age 6.
At this point, I think we're headed to one of two outcomes when we go back for re-evaluation at the end of the summer. Either we're waiting until Scooter turns 6 (and a bit) to get the Asperger's diagnosis or they'll find that the additional services he will have received by then have removed the single point needed to push him off the spectrum.
Regardless of the final outcome, we're already relying on Asperger's information to help us work with Scooter on his coping mechanisms. It all rings true--and if it works, all the better.