Dr. M. did the I.Q. test and initial assessment of Therin to see if he would qualify for VMRC to do an official PhD Psychiatrist assessment/diagnosis when he was in Kindergarten. He spent about 1.5 hours with Therin and when he was done Dr. M told me that if the Psychiatrist saw Therin on a good day his autism might go undiagnosed. So 4 months later durning the 2 hour drive to San Jose for the appointment to get an official diagnosis I was trying to analyze all of the triggers that Therin might encounter. We did what we would normally do for any drive with Therin. We made him comfortable, brought toys, games, snacks, and music to keep him occupied. He had both parents on the trip so that if Therin needed a break and we had to take a walk one of us could be talking to Dr. J. We didn't do anything to "aggrivate" or push his buttons so that his autism would be obvious. I wanted a diagnosis but what I wanted more than anything was somebody else to see what I saw. I wanted Dr. M to be wrong. I figured that Therin would get a diagnosis of PDD-NOS or Aspergers and then he'd get help at school. Yet, when we got there Therin was in his element. Three adults paying attention to him. He was extremely compliant and time constraints didn't bug him at all. Therin was on his best behavior and I hadn't seen him act so well, ever! I figured we were going home without a diagnosis and I'd have to find a way to pay for a second opinion. To my surprise Dr. J gave him the diagnosis "High Functioning Autism" He meets 10 of the 12 criteria for an autism diagnosis. Many of the difficulties on the list are very mild. A few are moderate and 1 or 2 cause him great difficulty. Most times he does well handling his minor sensory issues but if it's a bad day you can tell because noise or shoe problems will be triggers for tantrums.
I was warned at the beginning by Dr. M that an Autism Specialist may miss Therin's autism diffuclties why is does it continue to surprise me EVERY IEP that the people observing Therin miss his problems when they don't have a background in autism. The school psycholigist likes to point out to me "that we ALL observed him and we ALL came to the same conclusion. How could ALL of us be wrong." "If he's on task 85% of the time what do you really thing an aide would do to help him?" He's "on task" for the 1/2 hour that they are observing him and when they leave he melts down or becomes defiant. Doesn't that say something? They probably think that Mrs. L is lying. Who knows. Just because his difficulties aren't always apparant doesn't mean that they are addressing the issues he needs help with. Just because (compared to other children on the autism spectrum) his issues are less intense doesn't mean his teacher doesn't need an extra person to help her when his issues do become more intense. There are 2 other children on the autism spectrum in Therin's class. I would be happy with a whole class aide but there isn't a classification in our school district for this kind of thing.
If you haven't figured it out already this IEP was pretty much just to tell me that Therin isn't severe enough to qualify for an individual aide. It only took 2 weeks of observation for them to come to this conclusion. Whatever. I told them what I thought and I wrote on the IEP that I still feel strongly that Therin needs an aide. There is someone who will spend more time in the classroom with him to help get his behavior plan together. We will see how this works. I'm tired. I don't want to fight them anymore. So for right now I'll wait and see and save my energy for future fights.