5.03.2012

Morgan's Assessment


We’ve been working with Kids on the Move for about a year now. We took Morgan in for a well-baby visit when he was 18ish months old. His pediatrician gave us a questionnaire to fill out, which Morgan “failed.” They recommended we call Kids on the Move, which we did. He got evaluated and qualified for sensory and speech and development services. I blogged about finding out Morgan is a sensory seeker here. For the past year Morgan has had an occupational therapist, a development specialist, and speech therapist each visit us once a month. 

Now that Morgan is turning 3, he is aging out of Kids on the Move. So we needed to meet with the school district for a formal assessment. We just did this assessment this week. I’m glad that they prepared us for what to expect and that the environment would be difficult for Morgan. It was a small room (very small) and Morgan was expected to do adult-directed tasks in a very specific way. Morgan is more of an “I’ll do it on my own time, in my own way” type of guy. So this stressed him out. Major meltdowns galore. Poor kid. They also had us fill out a zillion screening tests, including ones for autism and ADHD. 

Morgan did okay on the cognitive tasks, but definitely showed delays in speech (especially receptive, aka the amount he understands) and social/emotional stuff. We already knew this. On the autism screening, he warranted concern. The screenings were not diagnostic, but they showed that he scored as possibly being on the autism spectrum. He demonstrates red flags that will be carefully watched. For ADHD it is highly likely. Again, we already knew both of these things.

The good news is he qualifies for services! Yay! So in the fall Morgan will start preschool. I don’t know exactly how frequently he’ll attend. We still need to meet with a bunch of people to write his IEP (Individualized Education Plan). This is where we’ll set up his goals for the next year. Every year we’ll write new goals. He won’t have another formal assessment until he’s 6. (They do them every 3 years.) At the IEP meeting we’ll figure out how often Morgan will attend.

The good news is the preschool will be free (in the same way that public education is free…it’s not really free, it’s just that we pay for with taxes instead of out-of-pocket). He’ll also be picked up and taken to school on a bus that has harnesses. They’ll pick him up at our door and walk him home to our door. So this will be really helpful for me.

The preschool class will have the same type of therapists he’s been seeing: occupational, speech, development, etc. The class will have children with special needs as well as children who are developing “normally” to act as peer models. The class will also have an autism specialist that will watch Morgan. If it is determined that he displays continuous signs of being on the autism spectrum, they have an early intervention full-day classroom that is specially designed for children with autism. I’m hoping that Morgan won’t need this, but if he does, I’m glad he’ll be able to get help. I know that early intervention can make a huge difference.

I’m excited for Morgan, and for me. This transition will be very difficult for him as he is not used to a classroom environment and will be difficult with his sensory and hyperactive needs. But this will work out so well for all of us. If it’s not helping, we can always decide we don’t want services. They aren’t being forced on us. But I think that Morgan will benefit from this. I think going to this preschool with trained specialists will help Morgan to develop his attending, communication, social/emotional and regulating skills.

Even though we knew all these things about Morgan, it was still hard to hear. It’s really hard to hear that your child is not typical. It’s really hard to see his peers pass him up and to know that he isn’t like them.  And then to worry that he may never “catch up." We worry that he may start regressing. We constantly worry about being judged for not being better parents or worry that people will not love or want to spend time with our son. We know he can be difficult. It’s difficult to communicate with him, he’s constantly on the go, and it can be exhausting being around him. But we love him, and I know that we are the best parents for him. Morgan has taught me more about patience and love in his three short years than I ever learned in the years before him. Please be patient with us and with Morgan. We’re doing our best, and sometimes it’s really, really hard. Probably more than we’ve ever shared with most of you. Thank you everyone for being in our lives and supporting us.  We’ll keep you posted on how things are going. :)

5.02.2012

Status Update


I don’t blog as much as I used to. (Paging Captain Obvious!) The reasons for this are many. Lack of time. Lack of motivation. Feeling unable to talk about the things that matter to me. Anyway, I’m making a new goal to blog once a month just to chronicle what is happening in our lives. If I don’t write this stuff down, I’ll forget it.

So here is the status of the members of the Austin & Tracie family:

Austin: still in school. I honestly don’t know when he’ll graduate at this point. I keep having my hopes dashed, so I’m not even going to set a date. It’ll most likely be sometime next year though. This summer he’s taking a computer programming class. For funsies. Hopefully it’ll teach him something. He’s working on a few graphic design side projects and has goals to work on stuff throughout the summer. This summer he’ll be home at 5ish so that will be great to have him home earlier.

Tracie: still working. I honestly don’t know when I’ll stop working at this point. This is directly tied to Austin being in school. I really like where I work and what I do, but it’s getting increasingly difficult to find a work/life balance. I feel torn in a million directions. I don’t talk about how I feel about work that much because I’ve learned it’s not a good idea to talk about your work on the Internet. So that’s all I’ll say about that for now. I’ve lost my babysitter AGAIN. So angry and frustrated about this. I’ll have to start the interviewing process all over again. Don’t know when I’ll find another one. Why are people so flaky?!
I’m still working on my doula certification. I’m taking a breastfeeding class next Saturday and a birth class sometime this summer. These are my last two requirements I need to finish. Then I need to gather all my paperwork, write up a bunch of stuff, and mail it in. I’ll submit my application in the summer and will probably be certified by the fall. (It takes months for applications to be processed.) Then hopefully I’ll start getting more clients. I have had a couple of potential clients, but nothing happened. So I’ve still only attended births of friends so far. If you know anyone who is pregnant and is interested in a doula, please give them my number. (And they don’t have to be interested in an unmedicated birth. I attend all types of births.) 

Morgan: He’s making progress though he still isn’t where I hoped he would be by now. With progress being as slow as it is, I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to have a real conversation with him. Though I hope I will someday. Who knows what will happen in a year? We just had his assessment with the school district. I’ll write another post about that and where he is. In short, he still has significant delays and qualifies for services. He’ll be starting preschool in the fall. He’s currently obsessed with superheroes, his favorite TV shows, drawing, blankets, buses, and bubbles. He loves his grandparents, being active (understatement of the year), and eating treats. He’s got a major sweet tooth that one, something he definitely inherited from me. Keep tabs on the Morgan blog. I’m going to write an in-depth post on his development soon. 

That’s the basics for us right now. I’ll elaborate more later, but I thought I’d just get in the habit of blogging again by keeping it simple. Hope all my family and friends are doing well.