Monday, November 7, 2011

The good news and my whining

So we got to meet with the psychologist to see if my son has autism or Aspergers or what; he observed my son last week.  Well, it wasn't really like I expected, but that's not a bad thing. He said my son definitely is not autistic, and explained why.  He said he didn't seem to have Aspergers... we at least not definitively- yellow flags not red ones.  So maybe at some future date that would be diagnosed, but there wasn't enough evidence now, and there were things that suggested he did not have it.  So, although he used the term "eccentric", I like the more common term, "quirky", to describe my son.   So this is excellent news to me- what it says to me is that my son won't need to continuously work around his basic wiring to deal with people.

But he did suggest there might be some problems we should address...

and this is what I totally didn't expect about it- he asked why when I left last time it took us like 15-20 minutes to get into the car.  I was like, "what???"  Now I can't really remember it much except that I may have let my little start play around with something before he got into his seat because we weren't exactly in a hurry and I don't mind him exploring stuff if we have time, but it couldn't have taken more than about five minutes- he'd drunk a lot of water and I did want to get him home before he had an accident.  Now admittedly, it does often take my son longer to respond to commands than is ideal, but I am quite sure that if it had been important that we leave quickly, I would have got him to leave in a reasonable amount of time.

The Dr. thinks that he has to learn to respond faster to commands (which is true- but I hardly think him getting into the seat in that particular instance has anything to do with it), and its not that he never does.  The Dr. kept saying these things implying that I just don't expect enough out of my son (my interpretation), that I'm one of these parents that allows him to get away with murder, make too many choices, and explains too much (my exaggeration).  Frankly, that I take it too intellectually and am not direct enough.

The Dr. kept giving these examples of other parents that were doing things I don't do (at least not more than once, when I 'm not tired, when I realize they are ineffectual- what I mean is, they are not parenting behaviors that I find useful even if I do slip into them sometimes- I KNOW they are not effectual, I don't need to be told)  And then he'd say what the thing the "good" parent did with an emphasis on giving consequence that I really don't think would be effective or nice- they were based on fear, which he then said he wouldn't advocate a fear based thing- so I wasn't sure he really understood what that meant or that he wasn't advocating these particular methods; he was just suggesting I didn't give consequences.  I do give consequences, they just aren't draconian, and they are meant to teach, not punish.  That is, if you don't do x I'll have to help you with it, or we won't have time for y, you'll have to get down if you can't x because its not safe, or we'll have to put this away because its distracting you.  And he does respond to these.

The Dr. implied with an example that if we went about our bedtime ritual- that is if we had one, it could be done in fifteen minute rather than an hour.  Sure it could (and yes we DO have a ritual and yes it does take a while- he kind of implied we didn't as if he's even asked us!), but then I wouldn't get to spend half an hour reading books to my child or spend fifteen minutes singing to him every night.  I like reading and singing to him and I think its good for him.  We don't, as consequence put him to bed too late, we just start earlier, and if he's stalling too much we read less stories- but I didn't tell Dr. any of this.  The Dr. did not give ONE example of a way of going about any particular thing that would in fact be helpful and be any different than what we have done- and he doesn't know what we do anyway.    And the meeting really wasnt' about specifics, I was just really annoyed by the tone of his thoughts, assumptions, and examples.

Basically, all I took out of it was that I am not assertive enough (he pretty much ignored my husband- who agrees)- and this part is true, but its actually something we are both working on and I think have actually made some positive changes lately.  He said my son was going to be difficult to parent and the usual strategies might not work as well.  Thanks for validating that.  I actually kind of thought that while he wasn't the easiest kid, I've certainly heard of worse problems, so I was counting my blessings that we don't have problems with aggression and lots of other evil things I've heard of.

Although the Dr. claimed he was not attacking my parenting, I sure felt it.  I felt like the parenting he wanted is kind of a crushing of spirit.  He said something like, it looks like your son is waiting to decide if he wants to do what he's asked... rather than just doing it.  Well, why shouldn't he decide, why should an adults request always trump his interests and needs?  I think the doctor assumes that my little one automatically should do what authorities ask him to do- that I should train him to do so- and he has a point- the kid does need to do what his teachers tell him to do whether he likes it or not or he'll get in trouble and not be offered opportunities- that is he has to learn the game.  I kind of thought he had learned just fine to respond to his teacher... until a few days ago.  The doctor suggested that peers don't want to deal with him because they are not skilled in doing it and they won't make that special one on one effort he responds to.  Probably true- a concern.

I kind of think I missed something... like is that all it comes down to- he doesn't respond properly to requests?  The Dr seemed to think that my little one behaved differently with him because he was more assertive and knew how to do it better- that our concerns didn't mirror what he saw, but I don't really know what he was referring to- it looked to me that my son stalled with him the same way he does with me.  He said the boy did multiple step tasks with him... as if he doesn't at home when he's not tired?  Of course he does, and he does at school too.  And that was not a concern of ours.   He didn't try potty training with the kid, and he didn't try face recognition, so he can't speak to these- our main concerns.

We talked a bit about him not recognizing people- the doctor seems to think its a just a matter of not remembering names- that not being salient and interesting to him- he thinks my little star probably really does recognize people just doesn't respond with a name.  I'm not too sure about that, but he suggested a way of testing it.  In any case it doesn't seem to be an indicator of autism, so I guess I should be happy.  Dr. doesn't seem concerned.

The doctor seemed to think other people were concerned about my son's social progress- ie there is a problem, and I tried to say that no, nobody was concerned, I asked for screening, I asked for observation, but it was like I had said nothing- after-all everyone had something to say and filled out the reports.

Well anyway, I really was glad to find that my little star doesn't have autism, probably not aspergers, and school is good for him.  And that maybe I was right that some early intervention would be good for him.

I just felt really crappy during/after the meeting.  The Dr. occasionally would sprinkle in things in the conversation that I'd never heard of, and I had to ask him what he meant.  I'm pretty educated, I've looked into this, took child development, pyschology, but I'm not an expert- that's why we went to him, so I don't expect to be talked down to, but I also don't expect him to throw in this jargon that I have to ask about.  I don't expect too many of his patients know more about it than I do, so I would think he'd know how to talk to us better.  I could have just sat there and listened knowingly, rather than asked what he meant and feel stupid that I don't.  That would have been easier, but I was feeling pretty ornery and I do what to know exactly what I'm supposed to know about my son.

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