On February 2nd 2007, I sat at a meeting with all these professionals. Besides the principal and a special education teacher, eveyone else had some type of initial behind their names.
I listened to them speak and my life as I knew it on that day stopped. It was Lauren's first IEP meeting and they were going over the results of her MFE. I fully expected to hear about her speech and language delays as that is what I had called about it. The big problem was they kept going. I heard gross motor delay scattered scores mostly in the 20 month range (she was 47 months old) with some scattered up to 27 months. Deficits in social development. Significant fine motor delays. Seriously, it was the end of my world.
Yesterday, my husband relayed a conversation he had with our neighbor. Her son is about 6 weeks younger than Ellie so almost 4 1/2. She has started having signficant concerns about her son's development and she afraid almost terrified that he may have that dreaded disorder, the one that starts with an A, Autism.
There is so much I would love to tell my neighbor. So much that goes beyond the practical what to expect at an evluation and what the letters in MFE and IEP. But I don't know if she would believe me. I know I wouldn't believe me.
First of all, high functioning Autism is not the end of the world. I can't speak for classic Autism but high functioning Autism can make your world a lot harder but it does need to be life ending or defining. It takes advance planning to live your life but it can be done.
Second, there is relief in finding that professionals agree with you. I can't recall how many times I looked at Lauren and thought "There is just something wrong with this kid" but nobody listened. As difficult as that MFE meeting was, there was a relief in knowing someone else saw it to and that I was not crazy.
Third, the people you meet on this journey are amazing. I've met doctors that would give the world for my child. I've met doctors whose deisire to help different kids shine through their words. I've met therapists who shout with joy when Lauren cut a straight line.
Fourth, it gives you perspective about the world around you. I used to think that everyone was like me. I never realized the how much some struggle to do what comes so easily for me. I've learned that there are special hearts in minds and bodys that don't work exactly like they are supposed.
So, Neighbor, welcome to the journey. I hope you are ready for it.