My son, Buki, turned three in August, so he aged out of the Early Intervention program. Back in February, the school district in Georgia evaluated him. The results were not acceptable : They told us he didn’t qualify for services. We tried to fight them, but we moved to Chicago in August, so we eventually gave up the fight in Georgia.
Here in Chicago, we finally had his school evaluation through the district on Friday. It was an overwhelming, interesting, and good experience. The evaluation was very thorough. We had filled out a very detailed questionnaire before arriving, and they asked many clarifying questions about it. They spent an hour and ½ observing my boy, and they even brought another little boy in to observe how he did with a peer.
On the parent questionnaire, I had mentioned that autism was a potential concern. That word has been in my thoughts off and on since Buki turned 18 months, but we’ve never had a definitive yes or no. In fact, most people lately had given us the idea that autism was off the table – we knew that SPD was probably a diagnosis (though we didn’t even know that for sure), but autism seemed unlikely.
The evaluators gave us a detailed checklist for Asperger’s. And to my surprise, almost every answer was, “Yes.” At the end of the checklist and after observing our boy, the psychologist stated, “He falls somewhere on the spectrum.”
I was shocked, to say the least. I wasn’t prepared to hear it. Even though I’d been wondering for almost 2 years if it was the case. Even though back in the summer of 2010, I cried and cried for days because I was sure my son had autism. It still didn’t make it easy to hear it out loud from a psychologist.
But the silver lining is that the school sees the same concerns we do, and I’m hoping they will offer some good services and interventions. He really needs the help. I’ve already turned into my obsessed mom mode and have gotten tons of books and videos from the library to help me learn as much as possible.
And now that a couple of days have passed since the evaluation, I’m still feeling so many emotions. I feel validated, finally, that my concerns for the past two years weren’t just me being a helicopter mom who freaks out about issues that aren’t really there.
I feel sad and worried about my boy’s future. Will he make friends? Will other kids make fun of him? My school experience was horrible enough without a disability (well, unless you include social anxiety disorder as a disability, which should be one!), so I just can’t imagine what it’s all going to be like. I’m a worrier.
My husband, on the other hand, was great. After the eval, he just said calmly to me, “We already came to terms with the fact that our boy is different. So this doesn’t change anything.” Which is technically true. But hearing the label…just kind of shocks you.
We do wonder who we should tell about this, though. Do we keep it to ourselves? Do we tell the people who may benefit from knowing (babysitters, parents of his friends, etc.)? I just don’t know.
Anyway, in two weeks we’ll have a full report on their evaluation and what services they recommend. I’m praying for good news.