Update on Eric

Here is the original email blast that I sent with some names altered so I can't be accused of slander.

Interesting enough I looked up OCPD and it doesn't describe Eric or Terry, but fits me almost to a T! Ha ha!

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Jennifer P Higgins;
Date: Jun 29, 2007 9:00 PM
Subject: Update on Eric
To: Terry Higgins;

Hey! I know that each of you have gotten bits and pieces of the "saga" we've gone through this past year, and I'm happy to say that we finally are at a point where we can move forward!

Background on psychologists: Dr A is the most well respected child psych in East Tenn, so much that he is very difficult to get in to see (and his office is over an hour's drive away). When we found out that Eric may have an Autistic Spectrum Disorder in January, we call his office to get on the waiting list in February (we waited because we were in denial that Eric's quirkiness could be anything less than 3 year old quirkies). At that time they gave us a time frame (not an appointment) of "June-ish" - that they would call us then when his schedule opened up. Geez! So we waited and waited and waited and then Eric's therapist suggested another psych Dr. L who used to work with the KCS for like 11 or 12 years and had access to the ADOS testing which is the "official" test for Autistic Spectrum Disorder. We got into her office almost immediately. She saw Eric for a total of 3 hours of testing and finally came to the conclusion of nothing really. The GADS testing scales are specifically for Aspergers testing. On that he scored "High/Probable" and "Borderline." But she confidently ruled out Aspergers because the ADOS said so (no real explanation), she ruled out ADD, ADHD, and ODD (oppositional Defiant disorder). She did say that based on his intelligence testing, his Verbal and Non Verbal reasoning was above and well above average and his Spatial reasoning was on the low end of average which would contribute to frustration and therefore behavioral issues. We were probably looking at a personality disorder like OCPD, but that cannot be diagnosed until he was an adult. She referred Terry and me to other psychs for parenting help and marriage counseling.

Meanwhile, Dr A's office called us and we decided to go ahead and go see him as a second opinion since we finally got "in" and he was so reputable. After that appointment, we really liked him as a doctor, he made us feel validated in our concerns and he didn't make me feel like I was an inadequate parent. As for Eric, he immediately didn't suspect Aspergers based on observation of interactions and did all the testing that Dr L did except for the GADS and ADOS. He didn't have any background information from Dr L or the therapist when evaluating him so completely unbiased of previous evaluations. Today we went for the follow up (after all the test scores were compiled) and he was positive and optimistic about Eric. He went into a little more detail about his IQ, in nonverbal he scored 98th percentile (7 years and 4 months age equivalent) and IQ of 130 (127 is the cut off for giftedness). However one category (which I can't remember the name of it) he scored in the 68th percentile but what Dr A showed us was that is a composite score of basically his listening skills and his speaking skills which had a very wide margin, so the composite score was misleading. Basically his listening skills were low and speaking skill were high. In other words he could clearly tell us about an event (if it originated in his own mind to tell us) but if we asked him to tell us about an event, he couldn't process that to be able to tell us. Dr. A pointed out that that was an unusual pattern that usually people have stronger listening and comprehension than speaking (for example when we learn a foreign language, we tend to understand it better than we can speak it at first). So in combination of that, some sensory observations he made in his first evaluation, his high intelligence, some quirkiness he observed (hand flapping, for example), and Eric's intense focus on Letters, Numbers, and Trains, he concluded that he does indeed have Aspergers. Fortunately Eric's social dysfunction is very mild and he believes that with occupational and speech therapy that by kindergarten Eric will be totally integrated (for most it takes until 2nd-3rd grade). By that time, the only thing that Dr A predicts will be obviously aspergers will be his IQ.

So we are pleased to have a solution and a next step. I'm personally pleased that I don't have to feel like the bad parent who let's her children run wild. We know things could be worse so overall this is a good thing and I feel like we can close this chapter and move on with therapy and feel positive about our son instead of frustrated knowing that SOMETHING is going on but not know what it is nor how to handle it. We have already seen improvement since he began therapy in January and again in the last month (i think as he is "maturing" as next weekend he will be 4 - sniff). Gratefully Eric doesn't have a clue, he thinks therapy is "school" and with his speech improvements he did wonderfully in VBS and getting along in the classrooms! Who knows - he may fully integrate this year instead! =o)

Thanks for prayers!
Jen & Terry

For more information on Aspergers, Dr. A recommended the book by Tony Attwood.

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