G had a check up with Dr. F, his developmental pediatrician a few weeks ago, and overall it went well. It wasn’t the intense testing he went through last time, but she did feel he is working at about a 12 month level now, which reflects progress which is awesome. A key outcome was to encourage him to play with toys appropriately – for example, he LOVES cars, but flips them over to turn the wheels, instead of rolling them on a surface. He “reads” books, but just likes to flip the pages without paying attention to the orientation of the book.
Most notable however, was the education I received on autism. We have recently changed benefit plans, and basically nothing is covered (more on that in another post), unless you have an autism diagnosis. When we left the NICU 2.5 years ago, we were told G would most likely be autistic, but didn’t really know what that meant. A provider at some point along the way said if he doesn’t talk, he is automatically designated as autistic. We of course didn’t (and probably still don’t!) have a good understanding of the spectrum and what it means anyway, but he shows obvious affection, babbles incessantly on occasion, and loves to be around people and play, which doesn’t seem stereotypical autism in alot of ways.
Where we are now is that Dr. F has said that she cannot diagnose him as autistic unless she can differentiate his behavior from just being “delayed.” So, basically, he might just be delayed in his behaviors, and we have to give him extra time to get there. She is actually working with his school right now to observe him there and have a better idea of his full social scale, rather than for an hour at her office.
With G’s full range of diagnoses as they stand today, I am not sure adding one more makes that much of a difference in the grand scheme of things. The things we were worried about, such as not connecting with his family or not showing affection, he does, so that has been a weight lifted off our shoulders. As parents, we of course don’t want to add autism to the list. However, thanks to the healthcare system in the US today, we are now hoping and pushing for it, as that will open up doors to therapy he is no longer able to access under our new health insurance, specifically, speech therapy. That is for a whole different post….but the fact that G’s future successes are now limited by an autism diagnosis is a huge failure of the system today. All kids (and adults for that matter) should be able to access the care that they need and have shown success with! Erg, now I am getting on my soapbox…must end this now, and am sure it will continue in another post for another day…. 😉
I will end this with a few pics of the most recent sibling love…big sis hugging on her brother, and he beating her up thereafter… I LOVE this stuff..typical sibling strife! 😉