I need a weekend.
Hubby and I had our follow-up, or feedback, visit with Dr. Mike, the neuropsychologist who evaluated Mae two weeks ago. His finding is that Mae shows enough characteristics of Asperger’s syndrome to be diagnosed as such. The strongest characteristics she exhibits are (1) difficulty in recognizing and responding appropriately to social cues, (2) lack of flexibility and (3) difficulty inhibiting herself verbally and behaviorally. In addition, Dr. Mike told us that, during the testing, Mae had trouble with planning and organizing, which has not been a major issue in real life. At six years old, she has not had much planning and organizing to do.
Dr. Mike asked how Hubby and I felt about the Asperger’s label. We told him that we were not surprised, and at the same time, we had noticed that there are many occasions when Mae does so well socially that it didn’t seem the characteristics were pervasive enough to fit the Asperger’s or any other label. Dr. Mike responded, yes, she is borderline. He advised, however, that the label can be useful in making Mae eligible for certain interventions and support, and helping teachers and educators understand she is not simply being oppositional. As I see it, it’s a matter of using the label with wisdom.
Dr. Mike recommended that we continue with social skills training and work with a behavioral therapist to help Mae learn to better recognize and control her feelings. For example, a behavioral therapist can help her develop strategies for what to do when she feels herself becoming upset or frustrated. We also discussed educational placement, such as public vs. private school; balancing academic environment and availability of resources to assist with the Asperger’s characteristics; and summer camp with like vs. typical peers. Dr. Mike was well-prepared. He had researched and had ready information about therapy services and legal entitlements, and he had particularly looked for resources close to our address. Once again, I felt confident in his knowledge and abilities and grateful that we will have him as a resource.
Dr. Mike described Mae as gifted and motivated, and said that he is confident she can improve her social skills and learn better self-regulation, perhaps to the point where none of the Asperger’s characteristics will apply to her. The written report that we’ll receive in another two weeks will have more detailed recommendations, and we’ll give due diligence to following up.
On a brighter note (not that I consider the Asperger’s diagnosis bad, just a lot to process), when I arrived home from work, there was a letter informing us that Mae meets the eligibility requirements for the county’s Talented and Gifted (TAG) program. This is good . . . I think. We will not know until after March 18 whether she has been selected through the lottery system for a space in one of the county’s TAG centers. Meanwhile, I could start researching other options for gifted programs (what’s funny is that Dr. Mike handed us a page about the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth, the $34,000-per-year program that is an hour away).
Whew. It’s been a week of Mondays and there is still one more day before the weekend. Both Mae and Jay have been fighting colds. Hubby just came in from an urgent care facility, and says he needs a nebulizer. I have been getting to know our car insurance company intimately since I had a minor four-car accident yesterday morning. Oh, and then there was the breast surgeon visit, which I actually did twice on Wednesday because I had been scheduled for the wrong doctor in the morning and had to return in the afternoon to see the correct doctor after I picked up my own films from my last mammogram because the doctor’s office forgot to request the films in advance, and scheduling the next mammogram visit for next week. And, one of my co-workers didn’t come back to work this week because her baby decided to be born a whole month early over the weekend, and although we had agreed that I would cover some of her responsibilities, I have been afraid to go into her office because I am not quite ready to stretch my brain, and even if I were ready, I do not think I would be able to do it this week.
I am sure I will have an opportunity over the weekend to clear my head. Maybe I will bake this weekend; baking makes everything better.