And I’ve finally gotten a professional to commit to such a diagnosis. Hip, hip, hoo-fucking-ray!
Remember a couple of weeks ago when Alex and I went to have our NIMH interview about Jack? Well, Jack had his appointment and tests today.
Alex and I were a little concerned that he would put on his “normal boy” face and trick the doctor. But it turns out that if you are really paying attention, that even that attentive, I’ll-do-what-you-want-and-show-you-how-smart-I-am- because-you’re-an-adult-giving-me-one-on-one-attention thing that he does won’t camouflage his autism.
Plus, he was satisfactorily quirky.
Jack charmed the pants off of the doctor and his assistant. All the cute, weird stuff he does that makes me laugh made them laugh too. And when Jack went off on a tangent like he is wont to do, the doctor let him do so, and even played along.
I’m sorry, Alex, but I think I have a little bit of a crush on this wonderful doctor. Incidentally, this is the same doctor that made me—as I wrote in a comment on that last post—wish that the memory center of my brain was larger than a peanut.
Jack really liked the doctor too. So much so that at one point Jack licked him.
Jack was engaged in giving Dr. Wonderful a giant hug when he stuck out his tongue and gave him a big ol’ lick on his cheek. “Did he just lick me?” the doctor asked. Apparently though the lick served a diagnostic purpose because it showed that Jack is not aware that things such as licking a nearly complete stranger are not socially appropriate.
The lick came later in the morning though. The first thing Jack did that made Dr. Wonderful and his assistant drop their jaws was when they were conducting a test and the doctor was marking his scores on the test sheet.
“Why did you write a zero?” Jack asked.
My jaw was also dropped, because to my knowledge, Jack has never asked a “why” question before. During a bathroom break the assistant told me that she’d never seen a kid notice the marking before. Suffice it to say, the doctor gave the marking job to the assistant out of Jack’s attention zone after that.
We’ve had these assessments done before, but it was really amazing to see someone work with Jack the way Dr. Wonderful did. He was so patient. Whereas, when the county tested him and Jack did something slightly different than he was supposed to, they would just not give him credit for it. When Dr. Wonderful saw that same behavior, he made a notation about it.
When the county tested him and Jack’s behavior was resistant and quirky, they just called him non-compliant and didn’t consider that behavior when they were looking at the larger picture. When Dr. Wonderful saw Jack being resistant and quirky, he paid attention to the behavior and made more notes on it.
When the county tested him and they were done with a particular part of the test and were ready to move on but Jack wasn’t, they put the stuff away anyway. When Dr. Wonderful was ready to move on and Jack wasn’t, Dr. Wonderful allowed Jack a little latitude to finish what he wanted to do. And he interacted with him while he did it. And he made more notes on it. Hmmmmm. I wonder if this could be why Jack exhibited way less non-compliance with Dr. Wonderful than with the county.
One of my favorite parts of the assessment was when the doctor was using a gun-shaped bubble blower to blow bubbles. Jack badly wanted the gun and eventually the doctor let him have it for a minute. Dr. Wonderful wanted it back after a couple minutes. Jack had no intention of giving it back.
Thus ensued a game of tiny hostage negotiation:
“Give me the gun, Jack.”
“No. Pow, pow, pow!”
“Jack, last time. I need you to give me the gun.”
All this while Jack was brandishing the bubble-blower at Dr. Wonderful who had his hand extended in classic let’s-stay-calm-and-put-the-gun-down mode. I really almost killed myself trying not to laugh loudly.
When it was all done and after Dr. Wonderful and the other doctor that observed part of the testing had a powwow and did some thinking, he called me into another room to tell me that, yes, Jack is definitely on the spectrum.
There will apparently be some sort of committee meeting to determine exactly what they want to diagnose him as. But all of his cognitive scores were at high average or above average levels, which is fantastic, and Dr. Wonderful had nothing but positive, encouraging things to say about my little man.
Dr. Wonderful wanted to make sure I was okay after he’d told me Jack was autistic, but, you know what? I already knew that. I’m just so happy that someone is finally agreeing with me. Take that, “does not present as autistic” therapists at Jack’s school.
Because frankly, not only do I trust my instinct more than I trust theirs, but I also trust the National Damn Institute of Mental Health to have some smarties on staff.