Wednesday, July 18, 2012

ASD Evaluation

Monday was the big day - Amelia's Autism Spectrum Disorders full evaluation at Fraser.

Playing in the waiting room

It went spectacular!

We received the greatest news we could have hoped for - they no longer believe she is on the spectrum!

Long story short - she has the cognitive capabilities of a 4-year-old with the speech and language skills of around an 18-month old.  This gap is causing her a great deal of frustration which is bringing out certain behaviors and characteristics in her that are classic "signs" of autism. 

We are relieved.  Life just got a little bit easier.  We still have a child we cannot communicate with but we don't have the uncertainties that would have accompanied the official autism diagnosis.  Her organization and "bossiness" is likely an attempt, by her, to control something in her world.  She has little to no control over anything around her because she is unable to communicate her needs to anyone which I'm sure only adds to her frustration - and ours.  

Our next step will be to have her evaluated by a speech pathologist to determine exactly which type of disorder we are dealing with so we can move forward.  The suspicion is that she will continue with the school district's pre-K speech program as well as having intense, individual speech therapy with someone at least once a week.

We will also need to continue practicing extra patience with her.  Getting angry with her will do no good.  Currently she is not able to communicate much of anything and instead of getting frustrated and raising our voices we need to take a step back, relax and try to work through tantrums with her.  Most are likely a result of her not being able to communicate something.  She doesn't deserve to be punished over that.  She needs patience.  It's hard but I know I have been getting better with it.  It takes practice and believe me, I get a ton of it between work and home!

I have been thinking about all that we have learned about autism these past few months and I remembered the differences between a medical and educational diagnosis.  For educators to label a child as having autism they need to be delayed 25% in two or more areas of learning.  Amelia falls into that category.  I am positive that the school would have eventually labeled her as having autism, therefore, limiting her.

We went to medical professionals who really dug into things with us, worked with us and saw more than just the delays in our child and autism has been ruled out.  They had several reasons that they do not believe it is autism, despite the fact that she fits a lot of the tell-tale "signs".

I feel like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders.  We still have a lot of work ahead of us but it feels more manageable now that we are merely looking at a speech disorder vs her living with autism the rest of her life.  I am very thankful that this path we have been on has changed directions! 


  1. WoW! What a great post! Congrats (a little late, I know!). Did sign language help y'all to bridge the gap?

    1. We were hesitant to work on sign because there was a fear that she would use that as a replacement for spoken words. She is now learning sign at school because there are several hearing impaired kids in her class (she is in special services for speech currently.)

      We keep autism in the back of our minds because we know that it is hard to diagnose. While we are relieved that is not on the table currently I keep it in my mind *just in case.* It's hard to forget it once you've been down that path - even just the few steps we took.