A few weeks ago we finally had our 9 month long wait to meet with the Seattle Children's Autism center. This was a meeting that was talked about in October of last year when we first met with the complex care management team. The biggest fear I had with this meeting was that somehow the doctor/nurse practitioner we saw would look at Alvin's case and determine that he was not on the autism spectrum and we would begin a new fight to keep services that he gets during the school day.
First off the autism center itself is very nice. From the moment you walk in things are much different than any other doctor's offices we have visited. The lights are dimmed and the ambient noise was pretty low. All efforts are in hopes to make it a calm and inviting area for the kids. There is even a separate waiting room if needed with no noise and low light.
The meeting itself went well. We talked with a nurse practitioner for about an hour and a half going over everything from his initial diagnosis in Alabama to his eventual discovery of hydrocephalus. In the end after reviewing all the evaluations and reports he concluded that major additional testing wasn't needed. He said Alvin actually falls more on the higher functioning range of the autism spectrum and not really Asperger's at all.
The main recommendation that came out of this was for a new speech evaluation and further speech therapy. Since Alvin will be attending a mainstream 1st grade class in a few weeks it is important that he be able to communicate with his piers and teachers well.
Just this past week we met with the speech pathologist and once again Seattle Children's is on top of things. The speech pathologist was great with him and in just a few minutes discovered a motivating item for him (iPad) which helped him complete the test questions and on short breaks he got to play any game he wanted. She was very clear as to what the expectations were and he seemed to warm up quickly to her and completed the testing with no issues.
The end result was that she felt he needed a lot more assistance with his speech, which we basically already knew. He is age adjusted for speech about 3 to 3.5. He scored very well in answering what words were the opposite of others but when it came to answering questions about a story with no pictures he had a very hard time.
So the next step is to fight with our insurance to get them to cover the increased need for speech therapy. He is only allowed a certain number of visits before he has to be re-evaluated or they see no need in covering it.
Also this next week is his big oral surgery. On Wednesday we are headed back to Seattle Children's to have his baby top front 2 teeth removed and his first set of adult front teeth that are extra. They are going to do x-rays right before the procedure to be sure that is all that is going on and hopefully catch everything in one shot. We know already this is going to be a tough surgery and he will be pretty uncomfortable for a while. I've been pretty open with him about what is going on Wednesday and so far he is handling it well. I also have a good plan with the anesthesiologist to have him take a pre-medicine to relax him before he goes back to the operating room to go to sleep. This should help with his anxiety like it did last time and hopefully make it overall much easier on him to handle.
Right now we know what we are up against and have plans in place to do the best we can. From keeping his favorite bear and super hero cape close by to having plenty of scrambled eggs, pudding, yogurt and ice cream at home for his recovery I think we are as prepared as we can possibly be at this point.