Thursday, May 17, 2007

Some Results!

Over the past several months now, I have made mention that my little Princess - Miss Maya - has some problems. She was evaluated two years ago this coming June by a team of therapists who determined, at that time and with their training, that Maya had developmental delays. They also acknowledged then that she could possibly be autistic but evaluating her for that was out of their training and domain.

After a year of therapy with two different therapists (one for behavior/play and the other for speech) in which each therapist would come into our home once a week and work with Maya for approximately an hour each week, their recommendation was, along with our family doctor, that Maya be evaluated specifically for autism. This requires the child been seen by either a psychologist (clinical type, with a doctorate degree) or a psychiatrist.

It took us almost a year to get the evaluation set up with a psychologist but he came last Wednesday, spoke to Mandy and me about Maya, observed Maya somewhat as she interacted with us and then, stayed to observe her interaction with the behavior therapist. When he left, he had given Mandy a bunch of papers - questionnaires - to be filled out of our observations of Maya in various settings, when she learned some things, behavior skills, etc.

Today, he came back and spent roughly 90 minutes or so observing Maya and then working with her, one-on-one. When he finished, he told us something that had Mandy been given this diagnosis two years ago, maybe even a year ago, I am not sure she would have handled it as well as she did today.

His determination - Maya is definitely autistic. The term he used is the umbrella term - PDD-NOS - Pervasive developmental disorder - not otherwise specified. He also added that she is very high functioning and it is his opinion that if we keep on having the therapists work with her weekly, she most likely will be able to begin a preschool class room setting as early as this fall with other children who have similar issues. He feels too that when the time comes for her to start regular school, she should be adequately prepared, socially adjusted and he doesn't anticipate she will have problems with the base learning in school.

Her main issues right now are more behavioral with respect to socialization skills, interacting better or appropriately with other children, with adults too.

As I said above, two years ago, even a year ago, Mandy did not want any of us to even mention the possibility that her baby was autistic. Since then though, she has come to the realization that yes, she does have some issues, does learn things differently than the "norm" and does have problems in certain settings that can cause not very pleasant reactions at times for all of us and for others too at times.

But, she has also learned that these things can all be worked on, worked through and for the most part, Maya is still the beautiful little girl, inside and outside, that we love and cherish dearly. She just has her own particular little idiosyncranciatic behaviors here and there that we -and she - will need to learn to work out or learn to live with in some instances too.

It is not an illness, per se - nothing that is life-threatening to her. But, without proper therapy, could make her life, her ability to adapt to various things now and throughout her life, much more difficult for her as well as for others around her too at times.

In the past year, Mandy has come to accept this not as a bad thing, not as a vile, evil, dirty word and not something to be feared either. She's been, for the better part of the past year now, trying to learn as much as she can, to absorb many things that are often part of the "norm" for kids with this disorder and how to work with her to lessen the effects of those things on Maya, on the rest of the family and to try to show others too what a wonderful little girl Maya is in the process.

And all of this makes me really proud of my daughter as well as making me feel additionally blessed to have Maya for my special little princess that she really and truly is.

Now, with the evaluation basically completed, knowing that this is what the professionals see is present there, we all can take the necessary steps to help her continue to grow - not just physically but mentally, emotionally and eventually be able to teach her how to grow spiritually as well - and she will be fine, able to function with any other kids her own age then and have a very normal life - whatever "normal" may be.

And now that I've shared the news -probably the most important news our family will receive for now -here's the Bushism for two days - Wednesday and THursday, May 16 and 17, 2007 - cause I was late doing a post for Wednesday and am trying to get myself organized (yeah, right), back on track to get things accomplished here now too. I hope!

May 16, 2007
"One reason I like to highlight reading is, readin g is the beginnings of the ability to be a good student. And if you can't read, it's going to be hard to realize dreams; it's going to be hard to go to college. So when your teachers say, read --you ought to listen to her." --To students at J.C. Nalle Elementary School; Washington, D.C.; February 9, 2001.

and for May 17, 2007
"I'm going to spend a lot of time on Social Security. I enjoy it. I enjoy taking on the issue. I guess it's the mother in me." - Washington, D.C.; April 14, 2005.

Ah, as usual - such wonderful points there, DUBYA!


lattégirl said...

I am sorry for your final diagnosis. Autism is a weird thing.

I made a friend with an autistic boy when he was about 7. This was, perhaps, my finest moment in my life.

Verne was a beautiful, tall blonde boy, his thing was sticks and wood. He preferred playing with sticks rather than interacting with people.

I was working at the camp for disabled kids when I met him. I was 18.

I had a very strong attraction to Verne, I sat with him for hours, talking to him.

One day, I guess I got through to him. I convinced him to come swimming with me.

The camp excecs were agog. (There's another old word for ya...)

All I remember is Vern's smile as we splashed in the water.

I wish I knew what happened to him later, he was institutionalized, I heard he was well over six feet tall and "scary" in the end.... my sweet little boy.

And that is my story about autism.

I heart you for being so loving with the princess... she needs it. As Verne did.

Paula said...

Getting the diagnosis after all this time is a relief in alot of ways I'm sure. My sister is a special-ed preschool teacher and works with alot of autistic kids. They are, for the most part, sweet and highly intelligent.
Good luck to all of you and my thoughts are with you...

TomCat said...

I guess it's better to know than to keep waiting and wondering. On a positive note, it sounds like it could be worse, and that she has the capacity to develop sufficiently to have a full life.