At the end of the last school year (08-09) , the IEP Team at Waverly (Colt) decided to close both of the twin’s IEP(s). I had a feeling they were leaning in that direction, especially for Zion. He hasn’t shown any signs of needing help in the classroom. Nor has he needed outside resources associated with his socialization and academic skills. He can read at grade level, but sometimes cannot always process what he reads. Also, I have noticed if you listen to Zion talks you can discern some (very) minor speech issues. Yet, on the other side of the coin Zion retains information like a library! There are still some OT concerns, and we’re still working on his writing skills.
Both twins have always been in a gray area. On the surface they can appear as normal functioning children. But when you really get to know them and contrast and compare them to typical children, you will start to see their quirks and differences. As a parent and mother I am pleased at seeing how far they have come. I am so glad that I pushed them and incorporated prevention services into their lives and education!
When the IEP meetings were over, I did not sign either IEP. I wanted to get more information before making my own decision concerning what would be the best course of action for my boys. At the meeting the team acknowledged that Ziah is still on the spectrum, but not with enough characteristics to be classified under the education definition of autism. Apparently there is a big difference from a medical diagnosis and an educational diagnosis when it comes to Autism.
So, it was time for me, their mom and advocate to take action. Thus began my quest to seek out the right resources. Ask the right questions. But above all not settle for any old answers, but in the end get the additional help for my twins!
I started calling places and talking to people, in search of resources. Some psychologists and neurologists offices that I called in order to get another assessment would not take my insurance. And for those that did, I had to pay an outrageous copay! I told myself it would be worth it, but that would be my last option. Eventually I was able to find get them into the MSU Psychology Clinic. The appointment and assessments didn’t happen until mid-summer. Their assessments matched what I thought, but I still needed more clarification. Their assessment on Ziah was mild-to high functioning on the spectrum, or medically labeling it as PDD-NOS. With Zion, their assessment was to consider PDD-NOS, but labeled him with an Anxiety/Depression Disorder with Sensory issues. I was a little stunned that a child could have a depression disorder at such a young age. It was recommended that Zion start on an anti-anxiety med, such as Prozac.
At that point in the game I was against my child taking meds and wanted to keep seeking for answers and continue with the play therapy. We were able to get another valuable resource by a mom in my autism support group. She referred me to a Pediatric Neurologist at Wayne State Hospital. This Dr. was able to get us in within two weeks of contacting him for an initial assessment. At the appointment we talked a lot about my observations with the boys and the last evaluation completed by the school district. Immediately by reading the scores, the Dr. stated that both boys were on the spectrum to be considered as high-functioning Autism. He set up appointments for their psych assessments and brain scans, then sent me off with a prescription for Zion.
I felt some relief. I felt that I was getting some of the answers that my gut was telling me all along. I felt some satisfaction in knowing I had not failed as a parent and would continue to take any necessary steps to get the twins the right help and prevention services. This will be continued……