Completing the Spectrum.

A post I wrote in May, but never published.  It's unfinished, but I left it that way, since how I feel now is different and cannot be truthful to my thoughts in May.  Isaac was 6.5 years at this evaluation.

Isaac was diagnosed with 'pretty classical' Asperger's yesterday. And I felt pretty good about the diagnosis. Unlike the first kid, whose diagnosis was like a kick to the head. Or the second when we were just like 'get it over so he can get the frigging services we need.'

He demonstrated just why he was on spectrum during the interview. The evaluation was by a very kind speech pathologist, Beth Nottingham. I felt the Robin Hood connection was a good one. She first interviewed me about my concerns. And frankly, I was glad that it had taken us 6 months to get to this part of the evaluation (although I was very frustrated during the wait) because it allowed me to get my thoughts together about where we saw problems.

And then, the ADOS. A very interesting test. I had never seen it before, since my other two are just too autistic to even have done it. So what is ADOS?I copied the following, and added my own comments, from this page.  "This semi-structured assessment can be used to evaluate almost anyone suspected of having autism--from toddlers to adults, from children with no speech to adults who are verbally fluent."

Semi-structured is true. They say it is standardized, but because it is observational, it could be subject to a great deal of observer bias. However, it allowed Isaac to demonstrate his skills (and deficits) in a pretty laid back, fun way. I disagree with the 'almost anyone' statement. Nathan would make a mess out of their little baggies of toys, and Sam at 3 would have completely ignored them. Perhaps that would have told them everything they needed to know, but not what couldn't have been found out through less formal observation.

The test involved a number of 'tasks' with baggies of toys or pictures. Isaac was asked to make up stories using the toys, a series of cartoon pictures. She also asked him "what makes a good friend" and "why do people get married?" He had a very limited definition of what a friend is, very immature for his age. People get married 'so the lady can wear a dress.' Perhaps the Kardashians, but hopefully not the rest of us. When asked what 'raining cats and dogs' meant, he said there were lots of cats and dogs running around. His play with the GI Joe, Batman and the girl involved driving the car over the other toys. No interaction or socialization in the story line at all.So. His stories were not very coherent, very concrete and no social interaction between the dolls. Very concrete, with limited social understanding. Poor understanding for social rules, how to play tag, etc. Very poor eye contact.

Yepper, Asperger's.

So I am glad to have the diagnosis, because it will allow us to get the supports he needs. More speech therapy, more social learning opportunites.

And I didn't have the emotional bomb that I got with the other two: Sam when he was diagnosed or Nathan when we realized he was autistic also.

But today, I feel overwhelmed. Not that he has autism. But how I address three kids with fairly intense needs, but all very different.

Sam, who has moderate autism. Is entering puberty and changing schools. Is pretty frustrated by his brothers.

Nathan who has severe autism. Who is also entering puberty but is very debilitated by his combination diagnosis of bipolar. He has emerging language and everything is very exciting, but very time-intensive. We homeschool him and it is just very, very intense.

Isaac, who has Asperger's. Who is just realizing that he is different. Who, when I told him he might have a 'little autism' screamed at me in negation. Who is having a hard time coping with the frustrations of school, of having a very involved brother, of his view of the world as being black or white, and thus calls Nathan 'bad.'


  1. I remember Kaden's diagnosis like it was yesterday. Even though I knew for at least a year, hearing it from someone behind a clipboard wearing a white lab coat seemed to take my breath away.
    Since his diagnosis I see a little Autism tendencies in all my kids. We are trying to get pregnant now, so the thought has crossed my mind about this next child having more classic Autism. But we are all a little crazy, so we our new addition will fit right in no matter what. :)


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