I'm new to this site and this board, so I'm still trying to get a feel for everything here. Here's our story...
My 3-year-old daughter was recently given a provisional diagnosis of mild, high-functioning autism. The multi-disciplinary team that evaluated her at the Children's Hospital went back & forth about whether to diagnose PDD-NOS or autism. She has obvious communication issues (atypical speech patterns, language delays, limited pretend play) and she exhibits some restricted, repetitive behaviors. But the social part of it is atypical. On one hand, she is very engaging, makes eye contact, etc., but on the other hand she is very limited in her gesture use and she has difficulties with age-appropriate peer interactions. So in the end, they felt that those two things together was sufficient to indicate impairments in social interactions, meaning she does meet all three criteria for autism. The made sure to attach "provisional" to the diagnosis because they're hoping that with the right treatments, she could improve enough to be taken off the spectrum in a year or two. So now the goal is to get as much therapy as possible in the next year and then be reevaluated.
And so the past few months have been a whirlwind of meetings, appointments and evaluations. She started preschool in September. She went to an afternoon program for 3 days, and then we met with the Child Find people who decided to move her to a different school that was better suited to her needs. It's an autism site, meaning there are teachers who have specialized training in teaching autistic kids. Instead of being an afternoon program, it's a full school day (from 8am to 3:10pm.) There are 12 children in the class instead of 16, and 3 teachers instead of 2 (and one is an "autism coach.") Only 3 kids in the class have special needs, and my kiddo is the only one of them who goes the full day. She's also the only 3-year-old in the class. I was a bit apprehensive at first, but she is doing fantastic and she absolutely loves it! I see an improvement in her speech already, and last week she learned to write her name! She had already been reading small words at home, and her teachers say she is steadily improving with her reading skills.
We had her IEP meeting a few weeks ago, which wasn't nearly as painful as I'd been expecting. She is going to receive 30 minutes each per week of speech therapy, occupational therapy and physical therapy, plus an additional 30 minutes with the exceptional student services people.
We also put her in private speech therapy once a week, and she'll start weekly private OT on the 20th.
I have one other child, a 9-month-old baby boy who is just starting to walk and teething like crazy! I'm a stay-at-home mom, and I love it. I'm 30 years old (31 next month already -- EEK!) and I've been married to my wonderful hubby for almost 5 years.
So there's my intro. I look forward to getting to know you all, and reading up on your stories, struggles, and triumphs. I'm sure I'll have my share of questions in the near future. There's so much that my daughter does that I hadn't realized was all part of a bigger picture. For instance, she's never been a good sleeper & often wakes in the middle of the night just SO angry for no apparent reason. She has some texture issues with food. There's so much...I can't list it all now. I'm just glad to know that there are others out there who struggle with the same things and might be able to help us.
Peace & love!
Edited 10/4/2008 6:16 pm ET by scorpiomama77