[This unintended blog hiatus has been brought to you by a dead Western Digital hard drive. Thank you… Now on with the show via the second-string computer.]
Well, we got the autism evaluation report back yesterday, and while the official-ness of it is still hard, the report contained no surprises.
As we’ve said before, the evaluation was done in two parts: an interview with just Mary and me, and then an evaluation with both J-Man and us. In the final report, he scored above the autism threshold in every area.
There are two things worth noting here.
1) Since J-Man’s only 2 1/2, the doctor said he doesn’t assign degrees to evaluations at that age. So no “mild”, “moderate”, etc. in this report. I think that’s fair. It’s just too early to get something like that. We understand that.
2) This doctor doesn’t give out PDD-NOS as a diagnosis. I respect that. Especially at this age, PDD-NOS is like saying, “hell if I know?” In his opinion, either you’re above the threshold or you’re not. There’s no “kinda” in this case. I appreciate his willingness to take a firm position and not leave it hanging in the air.
For people hedging on shelling out the money for a private autism evaluation, here are some of my brief thoughts after a day’s worth of hindsight.
- I feel like we got our money’s worth. We paid $1,400 for five hours of evaluation, feedback, and question time, so at that level of money, that should tell you that I was satisfied with the quality of the expertise we got.
- I feel like the report is an accurate assessment of where J-Man is right now. I also believe the report was well-written and will be just what we need when his IEP time rolls around.
- The doctor was straight up with us, and I appreciate that. I didn’t want to hear the outcome, but he was direct and honest with us. As we make our peace with it, that will help J-Man get what he needs. In the end, that’s what matters.
- Getting an impartial, outside opinion was essential – something we understand much better now than when we started this part of the process. Mary and I, our families, his therapists, our friends, and everyone else we know are just too close to him and us to give that kind of honest, impartial evaluation and opinion. Going completely outside that to get an unbiased, straight up opinion was completely the right decision.
- The report doesn’t change a damn thing about how we feel about him or look at him. Instead, we love him even more – how is that possible? – for how bravely he has faced his challenges so far. And that makes us more determined than ever to do everything we can to help him be the best person he can be.
Final verdict – if you think something is going on with your child, do what we did and get an evaluation. What you get out of it is an investment in both the short-term and long-term future for your child and your family.
I’m still working through a LOT of emotions about all this, but I feel strangely calm at the moment. This has been a rough few weeks, and sometimes I feel so tired I can’t focus my eyes. I’ve spent a few nights in bed staring at the ceiling, feeling panic coming on. I’ve been all over the place with it. I may feel determined, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have enough anxiety to kill an elephant sometimes.
That’s the news for now. More in the coming days and weeks, especially after I get my real computer back…