Thursday, September 13, 2007

Mommy's alright, Daddy's alright, they just seem a little weird...

With much thanks to Cheap Trick for the lyric...

It was serendipity yesterday for me when, after a behavioural evaluation from the pediatrician I stumbled across this article at Newsweek/MSNBC online.

It's all about the recent rush to diagnose quirky kids with Pervasive Developmental Disorders or Autism Spectrum Disorders.

We had a long talk with TFYO's doctor yesterday, who I want to say again is the best pediatrician we've ever had. Dr. R is a star in every sense of the word. She's a little tiny woman who puts my child at ease, and I am ever so grateful for her. We talked about what the school psychologist said, how she felt that maybe TFYO needed an hour of "off site special ed class" away from the pre-K she's in now. We also talked about my new discovery that the school psychologist hadn't discussed her belief that TFYO had Asperger's with either of her teachers. I found that out this past week. Dr. R. looked at me like the psychologist was nuts.

The current consensus among TFYO's teachers and her pediatrician: she might, might, have some kind of developmental disorder, but that it doesn't really seem to be a problem. Her teachers all say that she's settled down remarkably, and that there was NO hitting, despite what psychologist woman said after seeing my child for a grand total of seven hours. TFYO doesn't like people in her personal space, and pushes other kids away when they get too close. However, she's four, so it might be tough for her to say "Um, excuse me, get the hell out of my face." Although, when she finally does, I imagine I'll be having another talk with the school psychologist. I can't help it if my child is like me.

The other consensus: TFYO is gifted, possibly a genius. That makes me happy and a little scared at the same time. They all seemed to be salivating at seeing her I.Q. test results.

Dr. R. suggested a local child psychologist who specializes in kids with developmental disorders, but also specializes in highly intelligent children. She said if anyone could tell us what exactly was going on, it was this woman. And that it could help put all of this to rest once and for all.

So, now we're just trying to get in to see herand her battery of tests. And, no, I haven't given my consent for the school psychologist to do an evaluation, yet. I'm just a little ticked off that she didn't discuss any of this with TFYO's teachers, one of whom actually taught special education for seven years, and doesn't think there seems to be too much wrong with my child.

I want to see what's going on in my child's mind, for sure, and if she needs help, that's fine. But, now that I've settled down a bit, I'm wondering if the sudden jump in numbers for kids with Autism is more about an increase in labelling, and less about there being more kids. I can't help but wonder if some kids who are generally fine are being told they have an Autism Spectrum Disorder just because they meet a few of the criteria.

I guess we'll see. Wish us luck.


Jo Beaufoix said...

Wishing you all the luck in the world hon.

As for K being a genius, I'm hardly surprised, I mean look at her parents.:-)

Hope K copes well with all these tests and I'm sure you're right about the labelling.
Sometimes it seems easier to label than just wait and see.
She's four for Christ's sake.
How many four year olds have well honed social skills?

Hope you're feeling ok sweetie and not too queasy.

Big hugs for you and Ray and K.

Jo Beaufoix said...

Ooo forgot to say.

I would also be ticked off at the psychologist not talking to K's teachers.

It seems ridiculous and extremely dismissive of him/her.

7 hours in one day is not enough to make a judgment this important on.

Keep your chin up and follow your instincts. You know K better than anyone.

The Rotten Correspondent said...

I'm going to make a huge effort not to write a book here, but I may end up emailing you anyway. These are just my observations with three kids in the school system and only one of them never really having any issues.

There is absolutely no room allowed anymore for individuality, either in the school system or in a "kid's" society. It's ironic that as parents have gotten more freedom to be themselves (gay, tattooed, dredlocked, any kind of counterculture) kids have gotten more and more pigeonholed. We encourage them to be creative and individual and develop their own strengths and then they get to school and are docked if they don't fit in perfectly immediately.

I have several friends who had someone in authority in pre-school tell them their kid had some form of autism. And it wasn't true once. I'm not saying it couldn't have been true, but it wasn't. Such a rush to label, such a need to define something that may be as indefinable as a strong personality.

I'll stop now. This whole situation really fires me up. You know your child better than anyone. Follow your gut. Do the testing you feel comfortable with and don't let them make you crazy. Hang in there.

auntie barbie said...

In my experience with school psychologists, and trust me I've delt with quite a few. I could go on and on about different diagnosis I've been given regarding my child, from ADD to bi polar. When they can't come up with a reason your child does not fit the "cookie cutter" mold they must label them.
Labels can be debilitating, especially to children, just ask Kari.
You are doing the right thing by getting the advise from different professionals and having her independently tested. Just remember that you & Ray have the final decision on how TFYO gets handled. Do not let anyone bully you into anything you feel uncomfortable with. Which by the way I'm pretty sure you won't.
As you can tell this is a very sore subject with me. Hang in there kid. TFYO is a brilliant and gifted person who will only get more brilliant with the support of her wonderful parents. said...

SOunds like your visit to the doc was filled with hope. Let's hope that continues!

bellevelma said...

Computer ate my comment again. Anyway, what RC said. I second that.

I wonder what label that school psychologist would give a two year old that doesn't share her toys?

I don't believe there's been a rise in ASD. I think people are just too quick to label.

Mya said...

I wish you all the luck in the world. I agree with all the above. She's only four. She's an individual. She's unique. And she's lucky to have you and Ray protecting her right to be who she is.

Mya x

jillian said...

BTW - I LOVE Gary Larson comics. That's one of my personal favorites.

my two cents said...

Great song lyrics--I am sure this is what my kids think of their parents. It is certainly what I have thought of mine from time to time! Of course I now have them stuck in my head, but I was getting a little tired of "The Night the Lights went out in Georgia" so I guess it is ok!

RC is wise, it is true how in our society, you have to all be the same. Take standardized tests these days. The government seriously thinks that if you teach every kid the same thing on the same day, all students should have the same scores at the end of the year. Thing is that there is a lot of blame placed on the teachers if they don't. They shouldn't really. It is like saying that if you feed everyone the same amount of the identical food we would all be the same shape and size. (I guess I would buy into it if I could have all the ice cream I wanted and still be 125 lbs.)

There is a really funny high school football analogy to the NCLB that floated around e-mail a while back, don't know if you have seen it as it might not be relevant if you don't have kids in school or a spouse who is a teacher.

I think you should do all you can for your daughter, because you love her, but if there is any one thing I have learned, as a mom, along the way it is to ALWAYS trust your instincts--go with your gut--your heart will always lead you in the right direction. You'll know the right thing to do for TYFO simply because you are her mother. It may be cliche, but I believe it is true.