Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Ok, so maybe I was a bit melodramatic the other day. Imagine that...

So, it appears that The Boy has (may have?) Asperger's syndrome (AS) or high functioning autism. (I've seen different opinions on whether AS and high functioning autism are essentially the same thing.) What was a bit shocking/interesting about all of this is that in the past every single doctor and therapist has said to us "well, at least it isn't autism...he certainly is not on the spectrum."

This came about due to the testing he has been receiving recently in preparation for his transition to kindergarten in the fall. Because he receives intermediate unit services and has an IEP through the school district they have to have a transition plan in place and an IEP. To do this he has been tested by the elementary schools psychologist, guidance counsellor, occupational therapist and the head of the special education department.

We met with all of them, including the principal of the school last week to talk about the results. I had been prepared ahead of that meeting that his testing was indicating he was on "the spectrum" as Asperger's/high functioning autism. I was very impressed with the testing they did and how well they seemed to "know" TB already.

The IEP still has to be prepared. Once it is we will all meet again to go over it and decide on the placement for TB. However, it sounds like he will be in an emotional support classroom. What is great about this is it is an all day program, while regular kindergarten is only half day. Amazing Daddy and I feel strongly that going from a full day program like he is in now, to a half day program would not be good for him.

I was concerned about the academic focus, since PA is clearly very intelligent. I didn't want the classroom to be so focused on the children's issues that academics are lost. The principal assured me that this would not be the case. She said that generally the kids coming out of this program are actually doing better academically than the regular kindergartner's because they are getting a full day program.

So, that's were we stand right now. I am of course researching AS when ever I have a chance now. I will be going to a conference on it next Friday. It is incredible timing that a local psychologist that specialises in AS is giving one just minutes away from where I work. Meant to be I think.

As for how we are feeling about this? Well, we are trying to look at it this way - It doesn't change who TB is, or his "issues." What it does do is give us a better idea of what direction to take with him. I'm finding myself a bit more patient with him, because now I understand he can't control a lot of his behavior. So often we get frustrated with him because we think he knows better but just doesn't care. Hopefully this will lead us to the right help for him. And, often having a "label" like this makes it easier to get the services we need.