Monday, July 7, 2014

And another diagnosis

Which comes courtesy of the psychiatrist who evaluated kiddo as part of the IEP evaluation process. Kiddo currently has a 504 plan, which would be fine if the accommodations got him to the point where he could perform well academically, but his grades were starting to slip. Hiding under your desk instead of doing your math classwork will do that. The hope here is that he'll get approved for the IEP and an in-class aide, because I'm not sure how he'll stay on task otherwise -- and the work is only going to get harder. 

The school suggested another evaluation just to make sure we had the right diagnosis, and that we hadn't missed anything. So kiddo and I hauled out to the psychiatrist's office, where I spent the next three hours filling out forms. No, sorry, it just felt that way. Actually it was just over an hour. So much better, right?

Those social history forms depress me. "Does the child live with his/her biological parents? Are there any custody disputes? Has DYFS gotten involved? Is there a history of drug or alcohol abuse in the family?" Etc. You get the feeling that a lot of kids who go through these evaluations have bigger issues to deal with. 

The psychiatrist was nice enough, though she had that dripping-with-sympathy look on her face that I've gotten from other medical types. Like she was waiting for me to freak out when she said "social communication disorder." No time for freak-outs, lady. I've been through this whole diagnosis thing before. He's a lovely kid, yeah yeah I know. Now what is it he has again, and what do I do about it?

What he has -- well, that's seemingly a debatable point. This particular diagnosis is new to the latest edition of the DSM, aka the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. If this were a few years ago, he might have gotten an Asperger's diagnosis, or else PDD-NOS, aka "pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified." Since it is not a few years ago, we get to be a bit of a diagnostic guinea pig, I suppose. The basic point being, he shows some signs of autism, such as the inability to maintain eye contact, but not all of them, such as the hand flapping or spinning in circles.

Social skills are definitely an issue for him. Reading facial expressions. Getting too hyped up and thus overreacting to things. Respecting personal space. This just puts a name to it, I guess? I mean aside from the ADHD, which he most definitely has, in case there were any doubts. 

Among the recommended treatments -- and this does not appear to be set in stone, because the diagnosis is so new -- is behavioral therapy, which coincidentally we were looking for anyway, so that sort of worked out. We haven't gone to a behavioral therapist since the last one quit taking our insurance, and then we spent a year fighting with the occupational therapy facility about their inability to file insurance invoices properly, so we never found a new practitioner. We have an appointment set with a new one in a couple weeks, so we'll see what happens. 

In the meantime, we're hoping to get kiddo through day care all summer with a minimum of meltdowns and/or other incidents. More information on this whole SCD thing as soon as I have some.

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