As Mary said, next Tuesday begins a three-part, private evaluation to see whether J-Man has something on the autism spectrum.
After reading endless books on the subject, he doesn’t seem to fit any of the categories for ASDs, but he does fit some of the characteristics of some of them. The DSM-IV (the Gospel According to Mental Medicine) requires kids to meet some number of criteria within a particular diagnosis in order for that diagnosis to be, um, diagnosed. As best we can tell, he doesn’t cross that threshold for any of them. I suppose if it’s any of them, PDD-NOS (a.k.a. “um, we don’t know”) is the most likely one, but who knows.
In case you’re wondering why we’re having this evaluation done – and paying for it out of our own pockets no less – even though we don’t think he is on the spectrum, the truth is that we want to either rule it out or keep it in play based on a thorough evaluation, not the drive-by evals we’ve gotten through Early Intervention (EI). We might as well shake a Magic 8-Ball for all the good those evals have done us.
Don’t get me wrong. We have plenty of good things to say about EI; this just isn’t one of them.
The evaluation will take place over three sessions over a four-week period. The first is just for the parents to be interviewed, listened to, and go over the very long, and pretty depressing, questionnaire we’re filling out. Thank God an evaluator is finally listening to what we think! The second – two weeks later – will be us and Mister Man. The third one I guess is to go over the results.
He absolutely hates evaluations. He doesn’t “test well” apparently. Of course, the Dart Throwing Diagnostic Indicator tests we’ve had so far probably account for a lot of that. If he had the fine motor planning control to flip them off, he probably would have. In the end, it felt like an episode of Dance Fever (“Your moves were sluggish and off the beat. I give it a 42.”) with about as much statistical relevance.
Anyway, this private practice comes highly recommended. We’re finding J-Man’s diagnoses by process of elimination as much as confirmation, so we hope this gives us something definitive one way or the other. In many ways, this won’t change his therapies, but it will give us something more to work with when he graduates into the school system’s programs in a few months.
We’ll keep you posted.