Today we received the papers in the mail… the papers in the mail that made it official… the papers stating Carter has autism. I have been waiting on the papers so I can have another IEP meeting with school… every day I would go to the mailbox, open the box and there were no papers from Vandy. Today… they were there.
As I sat and read the 6 pages of observations, test results, impressions, recommendations and diagnosis… I had that same overwhelming feeling come over me like I had when I first heard the words come out of the doctor’s mouth “He has autism.”
I will share a few exerts from his report:
This report indicates that his intellectual abilities are in the Superior Intelligence (Stanford-Binet-5, full scale IQ=113), his adaptive behavior functioning is in the adequate range (Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales, ABC = 88), and clinically significant problems identified on the Vine land’s Manipulative Behavior Index. The BASC-2 showed a-typicality and problems with social skills across settings.
During formal testing, he resisted engaging in some of the tasks. For example, when asked to demonstrate how to brush his teeth, Carter sat without saying or doing anything for an extended period. When prompted to begin, he put his head on the table and refused. After it was explained that he would not have to stay as long if he cooperated, Carter’s behavior improved. Carter exhibited significant frustration when he was asked questions about his feelings. He laid on his chair, on the floor, and banged his head on the table. Carter’s gaze was focused on the psychologist’s beaded necklace for a significant amount of time. At one point, he walked up to her and touched it without asking. Carter’s expressive language had both immature constructions (e.g., “I sawed her”) and sound substitutions (e.g., “wabes” for waves and “nufing” for nothing). At times, he used repetitive phrase structure without varying his tone (“Tennis is my favorite,” “Golf is my favorite,” Skateboarding is my favorite”). Carter exhibited enthusiasm and positive affect during several of the tasks, but did not direct it at any of the adults in the room. His eye contact throughout the testing was very inconsistent.
During the feedback portion of the session, while the psychologist spoke with the parents, Carter entertained himself by playing with toy cars. He put the identical cars into pairs and lined them up. He was intensely focused on the toys and did not attend to the other people in the room. He spoke to the cars and made noises for them at an inappropriately loud volume.
The ADOS-2 Module-3 was administered by presenting him with a variety of play scenarios and interaction opportunities and observing his responses. ADOS testing is combined with history, clinical observation, and other test results when forming a diagnosis. Carter’s scores, his observed behaviors, and his developmental history indicate that a diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder is appropriate at this time. Carter has significant difficulties with reciprocal communication. He had difficulty reporting about an event, conversed primarily by answering questions, and was very concrete in this thinking. He was unable to answer questions about abstract topics like emotions and thoughts and also had difficulty making inferences about information contained in a story that was not directly presented to him. In addition Carter’s reciprocal social interaction skills are impaired. He did not use consistent eye contact, did not seem to know how to react to the social give and take that was offered, did not express interest in the examiner’s thought or experiences, and did not exhibit shared enjoyment while interacting with the examiner. When he was given the chance to play with toys designed to pull for imaginative play, Carter spent several minutes attempting to attach a toy wrench to the man and laughing to himself. He allowed the psychologist to join the play, but did not involve her even after she attempted to initiate interaction several times.
There is so much more in this report with recommendations and educational suggestions. Again, overwhelming.
All In All… It Is What It Is… and we (specially me) has to move on and help him in every way possible. But it doesn’t mean my heart doesn’t break.
ON TO THE BRIGHTEST PART OF MY DAY!
A few days after we found out that Carter had autism… I reached out to one of my creative friends. I asked her to make a piece of jewelry for me. A piece that I wanted to help me heal my heart. Today I received that piece in the mail and it TRULY brightened my day. Leslie Curtis Jewelry Designs absolutely made me smile inside and out when I opened the envelope and pulled out this beautiful leather cuff. It was exactly what I wanted… it says it all. I am a “PROUD MOM”…