continued from part 1
It took a couple of months to finish and the final report itself is 21 pages long. The school psychologist had Alexander self report, she had his teacher, OT and ST therapists complete evaluations, she conducted classroom observations, and Mark and I complete questionnaire after questionnaire. The tests bore out what we already knew. His IQ is 111 or above average. He has a superior vocabulary but delayed processing speed. Areas of significance include emotional control, initiation, working memory, planning/organizing, organizing materials, and monitoring. ADHD was ruled out but attention problems were highlighted as well as adaptability, functional communication, attitude towards school, and activities of daily living.
Perplexed by his speech pattern, his ST called a stuttering expert at CHOP who indicated he has seen the same pattern in people with Autism. This was about the same time that the latest series of parent questionnaires started to scare me. His pediatrician did not think it was ADHD and began asking questions that scared me. We were headed in a direction that I was desperate to stop.
That’s when we got a phone call from the school psychologist and speech therapist. They didn’t want to send home the parent questionnaire for Asperger’s without giving us a heads up, which was a good move. Three days later the reports were completed and we were told that “results of the social-emotional and behavioral assessments along with the testing results, the data from the questionnaires, as well as the observations indicates that Alexander demonstrates behaviors that are consistent with the characteristics of children with Asperger’s Syndrome.”
I spent the weekend alternating between crying, raging, drinking wine, cursing God, painting my kitchen blue, researching Asperger’s, bargaining with God, searching for ways to blame myself, and then landed firmly in denial. Mark was unfazed and that fazed me.
How could this possibly go unnoticed for so long? Taken separately each of the traits that I now suspect are tied to Asperger’s could be explained away. Much of them were exactly how Mark was as a child. The trains obsession, the picky eater, the meltdowns and on and on. I became depressed and felt like such a failure. Still I dragged my butt to work and commiserated with my colleagues who also work in the disability field.
It was a miserable few days and I was so disappointed in myself that I couldn’t stop looking at my son differently. Not negatively per se, but with eyes that know too well the struggles that go along with disabilities and the immense load of work that had just landed on my shoulders to ensure he will have everything he will need.