Sunday, September 14, 2014

Hurry up and wait

As a sequel to my earlier post I thought I'd write up a little more explanation of what's going on with T's evaluations.  It sounds like the DSM-V has advanced the formality of diagnostic decisions a great deal- either that or my personal experiences were rather primitive for some other reason.  For the initial interview Bonnie Jean had to answer and explain her answers to about 90 questions regarding T's abilities and behaviors, and each answer will eventually be assigned a score which then feeds back into a diagnostic formula which gives them the most likely diagnoses.  Then further testing can be performed to check for certain which of those is actually the case.  They won't be able to give the results of the initial assessment for several weeks and the next diagnostic appointment where more testing might be done won't be available it sounded like for probably at least a month after the initial visit.  This university clinic handles the official government caseload for the entire county and is therefore somewhat overloaded with work.

The speech pathologist who performed the interview said her first impression was that possibly we were looking at selective mutism since T appears to be able or unable to speak based on the social context and several other characteristic tendencies for autism spectrum disorder don't really show up prominently.  For example we've never noticed T to stim or show any particular sensory sensitivities.  But she also acknowledged that she isn't the psychologist so someone else entirely will be making the judgement call.  But it sounded like the speech pathologist was fairly certain we were seeing something unusual going on and that we were on the right track having him evaluated.

On the plus side, we are officially poor enough to get a reduced price on the diagnostic services the clinic offers and will only have to pay 15% of the actual cost.  Given that even the initial interview was supposed to originally cost $250, we're very happy about these savings.  But in the meantime it will be quite a wait till we know anything in particular for certain.  We're glad the specialists can put so much precise effort into figuring this out, especially since it is such a complicated area we've never been comfortable with arm chair diagnosing T as anything and its always possible to inherit just a few quirks without getting the full package.

Monday, September 1, 2014


Over the last few months I've worked myself into a massive knot of stress and nerves.  The thing about me is that I often can't tell when that is happening except by external physical indicators.  My ability to understand why emotionally that is happening is kind of slow- I've only started piecing it together over about the last week.  Now that I've started piecing together what was going on and finding ways to solve it, I'm also looking for new tools to supplement my existing emotional maintenance toolkit.  I think I'm going to add regular meditation exercises to the toolbox.  I've been interested in the idea off and on for several years now and even went so far as to buy a meditation manual that explained the framework.  I've just never felt like I had the time to do it regularly.  Tonight I tried just the basics of what I could remember from getting part way through the meditation manual for just 10 minutes- which I know is kind of on the short side for this kind of thing.  But even ten minutes of intentionally trying to make my mind hold still has just left me so soothed out I can't imagine not wanting to keep up with it.  This is only the second time in my life I've tried this exercise- and the first time left me profoundly moved as well.  I've read that it can take people a long time to get a taste for this.  I don't know if I'm just having a few lucky tries on the first attempts or if my mind is just well suited for enjoying meditation in bite sized pieces every once in a while- which I'm sure is different than enjoying it every day for longer periods of time.  But there is definitely a power in reaching for internal stillness that seems apparent even in just a few tries.  I wish I had done this years ago.