Yesterday I took Louisa to be evaluated at a special preschool for spectrum kids. I meant to write about it beforehand but have been living in a crazy house for a few days because of a sick Simon (I am only able to write this now by typing as q u i e t l y as possible because the planets have somehow aligned and both of my children are sleeping at the same time. Shhhh…). I have no idea where he caught this mysterious cold because we don’t really take the kids many places because it’s winter and nobody else in the house is sick. Yes, I know, knock wood because as soon as I say that the rest of us will be feverish and coughing. He either picked it up from the grocery store or from the early intervention lady. But she wasn’t sick when she was here and she didn’t sound sick when I canceled our Monday appointment because I had to take sick Simon to the doctor so that she could tell me it is just a cold (I figured as much but what if I was the mom who didn’t take her kid in only to find out that it was whooping cough or croup?). Just a cold. No big. Except that for sick babies you can’t really do much. By which I mean you can’t dose them with NyQuil and let them sleep for three days. Which is a pity, really, because SICK BABIES DO NOT SLEEP. And thus, neither do their mothers. He finally seems to be on the mend (aside from a horrible lingering cough, poor little dude) and actually slept last night which is good because I think one more sleepless night may have brought on some sort of psychosis on my part.
But anyway. The evaluation. The school. Such a wonderful place. We were there for about two and a half hours, most of which Louisa was in a classroom. Without me. I had thought that I would be scared shitless by that prospect but oddly I wasn’t. And neither was she. No stranger danger from that one. After I talked to the social worker for an hour I got to sit behind a two-way mirror and observe the classroom. Louisa fit right in. I think it was good for me to see other spectrum kids, because I haven’t seen many, and realize that she is not alone. We are not alone. And if anybody can help her, these people can. The teacher to kid ratio is 1:2 in every classroom. Everybody is trained in ABA therapy which is the gold standard for autism therapy. They work with the kids on speech therapy, sensory issues, developing social awareness, food/feeding problems (which Louisa doesn’t have), motor skills (again, not one of her problems), safety awareness (glory hallelujah! Louisa has absolutely NO safety awareness. So glad this issue will be addressed), toileting (meaning helping us parents out with potty training because spectrum kids are notoriously difficult to train), behavioral problems (i.e. the epic effing tantrums) and probably other things that I am forgetting. In other words, rather than us piecemealing a plan together by finding an occupational therapist and a speech therapist, somehow figuring out how to get her potty trained, hoping that we can figure how to teach her that running from us in a crowd or a parking lot is dangerous, and sending her to the Early Intervention preschool for 4 hours per week, hoping that any of it will make a difference, we send her to this place where she will get ALL OF THOSE THINGS, for 27 hours a week. Needless to say i am on pins and needles waiting to hear back from them in the next couple of days.
I am very hopeful that they will decide she is a good fit. She meets all 12 of the DSM diagnostic criteria for autism (not a surprise to me). She fit in well in the classroom and seemed to respond to the staff and their teaching efforts. Plus, they were all in love with her. Every single person we came in contact with gushed about how cute she is, how pretty her eyes are, how magical her golden ringlets are. I know looks aren’t everything, but they can’t hurt, right?