I'm back in the ski lodge this snowy Saturday, somehow managing to collect my thoughts over the sound of young femurs snapping. (It sounds like bamboo windchimes. Relaxing in its way.)
First, my thanks for the support and ideas you shared on my last post. It feels so good to be understood. And if I say much more than that about how grateful I am, about how much your kindness moves me, I'll start crying — again, as I did more than once as your comments came in — and there's already enough wailing going on in this one cement-floored room. I must not join the toddlers in it. Jesus, kids, it's only a hip cast.
I have to keep reminding myself that I don't tell you everything here, nor can I expect everyone to remember everything I do say, especially when I've made no more than the briefest mention of this or that. So the short scorecard version is this: Charlie has been assessed, not by the school but by outside evaluators, and was found to have combined-type ADHD — you know, inattentive and hyperactive/impulsive, also known as the completely sucky kind (as opposed to the...other also completely sucky kinds).
He was found not to have autism, either Asperger's or other, although his assessment scores in certain areas were close enough to the clinical cutoff to indicate that we should stay aware, as he grows, of the possibility. In other areas, the ones that spring immediately to mind when we broadly consider autism — repetitive motion, obsession with particular objects, a lack of interest in other people — his scores indicated no involvement whatsoever. (That last in particular is notable: Charlie is interested in other people, in forming relationships. He just doesn't know how to go about it, nor can he read faces or tones of voice and adjust his behavior responsively.) Reading the report from the evaluator reminded me of nothing so much as the Magic 8-Ball: Answer unclear. Ask again later.
Oh, and this is just an aside, but when I met the evaluator she said, at the end of our meeting, "I should tell you I've seen your blog."
What could I say? I just told her, "Ah. I Googled you, too."
Another aside: To determine whether a kid can read facial expressions, the evaluation includes — get this — Norman Rockwell paintings. Yes, Doctor, I agree that that picture of the boy discovering the Santa suit in his father's dresser drawer admirably shows the quintessence of disappointment, chagrin, and innocence lost. Aaaaaand thank you for ruining Christmas and shattering my son's childhood. I'd rather Rockwell painted that child finding porn, if you really want to know.
So to continue the scorecarding, Charlie attends a social skills group at lunch, is working through the Superflex social thinking curriculum, and has had his meds adjusted several times. Although we have concerns that it's not being fully implemented — a meeting about that is on the calendar — he has a 504 plan that includes accommodations like being allowed to chew gum in the classroom, getting frequent sensory breaks, OT and the opportunity to use a computer for his work to address his dysgraphia, and a...oh, I don't know what you'd call it, a smile chart to give him incremental feedback on his behavior during the day.
Whoa. I started to type this all out because I wanted to get us all on the same footing, so that no one need waste her keystrokes asking me if I'd considered talking to a lactation consultant, because although it doesn't bother me when you suggest things we're already trying, I don't know how to say, "Yeah, thanks, waaaay ahead of you on that," without feeling like an ungrateful asshole — like, if I'd only been more forthcoming, I needn't have caused you to waste your concern. But laying it out here turns out to have an additional benefit: I guess we are sort of doing a lot, and it helps some to see that objectively.
What helps even more, of course, are your stories and encouragement. One of you said it sounds lonely, and indeed that is true. I feel so much less so when I talk to you here. Thank you for helping me through.
I have to step outside now to see if I can get video of Charlie skiing. I have a new iPhone — welcome to 2007, Julie! — which Paul insisted on jovially calling my Jesus phone until I told him frostily that I'd thank him not to mock my belief system. And then I had him crushed between two large stones as the wages of his heresy. (He whispered, "More weight," at the end, and then Shazam kicked up The Band.) Will share some video later if my shiny new god wills it.