Autistic

He is.

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.”

“Pow, pow!”

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.

20 thoughts on “Autistic

  1. It’s so true about the compliance/non-compliance thing. You don’t have to give a lot to achieve compliance from Bub, but you have to give something. At the gym this week, Bub was opting out of most of the activities and engaging in some kind of game involving pretend applesauce (finding applesauce, eating applesauce, looking for applesauce). So when it was time to practice a front roll I said, “Hey, do you want to do a roll on the applesauce?” and he jumped up and did it. I don’t know if people are generally unwilling to engage him on his terms like that, or if they just don’t think of it.

    So glad you got your diagnosis from someone you trust.

  2. Sounds like you’ve been on a frustrating journey. Isn’t it wild how we moms can just know what’s going on – even when you’ve got many others telling you, “Nope. Not it.” Glad to hear you kept at it. Your little guy will thank you for that later too.

  3. I’m so glad you found a doctor who works well with your family – that sure makes things emotionally easier. Also glad what you knew was confirmed – knowing that your assessment of the situation is recognized by others goes a long way to freeing up energy to start working on what to do with the information.

  4. So glad you had a good diagnostic dude. The 1st time Moosie was diagnosed, the doctor told me he was autistic, but not to worry, he would be of the “quirky professor” type and not of the ” bagging grocery” type. I was like seriously dude, did you forget what you said about his older brother? Yeah, you indicated he would not be the quirky professor. Such a jerk pigeon-holing my kids. So we went somewhere else. Gave us the same diagnosis, better bedside manner.

    Moosie does really really well 1:1 with an adult. Prefers it. Craves it. Doesn’t like people so much otherwise (besides his brother). He is so much like me!

  5. Oh babe.

    Tears. happy tears.

    I love Dr Wonderful too.

    At Boo’s diagnosis there was a room full of people (well 10) all staring at me when I was given the final blow to the stomach.

    But I was not ready like you. I didn’t have to fight to get the diagnosis.

    I had to (and still am) fight for the services and supports.

    <3 babe. And give that gorgeous little guy a hug for me.

  6. Wow, sounds like a great evaluation! Isn’t it nice to have something more concrete to use with school now, too? This must be the week for good evaluations!

    Did you ever think you’d look forward to someone telling you your son is autistic? Me either, but the relief was incredible.

    I think nearly anyone does wellwhen you “meet them where they are” instead of trying to force something. Especially our kids…

  7. Gotta love good docs! And perhaps asking for competent therapists at school is now in order? (“Now we know this IS true, I would prefer therapists who can adequately recognize this to treat him, not you clowns…”)

  8. Bubandpie, exactly. I used to do a similar thing with Jack. At school he’d refuse to draw balls on a Christmas tree, but he would draw planets on it.

    Lisa, thank you. I’ve known for a long time really, but I’ve had a lot of different people tell me I’m crazy.

    Maddy, he was pretty cool.

    Anne, you’re absolutely right that finally getting a diagnosis will let me work on helping Jack, which is what really matters.

    Ange, bedside manner is so important. Jack’s pediatrician was really cool when he brought it up at first. I think it made a big difference in my reaction to the news. I’ve actually been pretty lucky with doctors so far. Knock on wood.

    Kelley, I’m so sorry. That sounds really rough. I think now starts my real fight: getting Jack what he needs. I have a whole lot to learn still.

    Niksmom, yes! I was not upset in the slightest when the doctor told me. I was actually happy, which I think surprised him. But, honestly, it’s just a word that can be used to describe him. He’s still the same guy he was yesterday. And that word gives me a tool.

    Joeymom, what do you think, should I use that exact terminology? I bet they’d bend over backwards to help me then. :)

  9. Wow! I’m so glad you got the diagnosis you – and Jack – NEED.

    I haven’t blogged about SB’s IEP/Re-eval meeting two weeks ago but the county FINALLY agreed he is Autistic (our previous experiences were remarkably similar to those you’ve described). I almost cheered when the psychologist went over her report finding that YES (DUH!!) he is most definitely on the spectrum. And NO it is not just emotional/behavioral/manipulative shit that’s causing his difficulties.

    Dr. Wonderful sounds fabulous …. too bad they all can’t be like him, huh?

    What you said about ‘now, the real work begins’ is so true but having that validation makes the ‘real work’ so much less daunting.

  10. Hi–came to you from whymommy…my closest friend went through two years of struggle when she knew her little boy had Tourette’s and the whole world wanted to fight her on it. He was finally dx, but I remember how exhausting and infuriating the wait and the judgment from other was. I’m glad to know that you got what you needed. Your little boy sounds wonderful ; )

  11. It is odd how when the diagnosis comes official it is more of a relief, isn’t it. I felt the same way with E’s. And the school, that I worked in no less, thought he was just manipulative, non-compliant and I was overreacting too.
    Moms just know.
    You sound like you have a great support system, but if you ever need advise on behavior stuff for the home, send me an email!

  12. What mixed feelings you must have, Jean — I’m sure mostly relief though that your instincts were right on even though you were given other diagnoses.

    Now the rest will all be easy-peasy, right? ;-)

  13. Wow, that is so awesome. I’m glad you had such a great experience, maybe we need to go check out that study. Dr. Wonderful sounds wonderful indeed. You get your suspicions validated from freakin’ NIMH, AND you get to take that to the school system and say “Phooey on you!” I’m glad it’s working out :)

  14. Your little one sounds just like the little ones with whom I wish to work. I hope I can be as cool as Dr. Wonderful, although I will not be qualified to give any official diagnoses about anything other than speech problems!

  15. Pingback: Autism Unexpected: Learning to Trust in Myself » Stimeyland

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