I remember. I remember on December 9th, 2016 I had so many mixed emotions. We had waited about four months for this appointment. I feared it would be another wasted trip. More time thrown away. More energy expelled, that I barely had the strength to muster up to begin with. My husband was with me, so I knew I would have a rock to carry me if I broke down. We were in this together no matter what.
We were on our way to a developmental pediatrician with Chloe. This would determine whether or not I would hear the dreadful words, “contact me next year if nothing improves”. I heard that the prior year. . what a year it had been. A year with days full of predictable unpredictability added to the ticking time bombs, miscommunication (if any existed), misunderstanding, strife, heartbreak and tears. Daily broken hearts.
I took a deep breath as we walked in those doors. My shoulders are heavy. I feel like I’ve carried more than I should the past four years. I take a deep breath again, and pray. Pray for strength because my own has diminished. We meet with the pediatrician whom we had seen during the fall prior to this visit. The minute I heard that door open, my heart burst with so much anxiety. God, please be with us.
He did a physical checkup on her and said everything looks good. After this, we headed down the hallway to his office. My husband and I sat down at a table, while Chloe made her self at home on the floor with the toys with the pediatrician. He did different types of play with her, observed her, and took notes. After a few different scenarios he set up and different questions he asked her, he came up to the table with us. He went over his observations and concerns. He said he is wary of diagnosing her with autism, even though there are some areas where she may get a firm diagnosis around the age of six. He was confident, however, to diagnose her with Social Communication Disorder. “I’m going to go ahead and diagnose…..”
Those words. Hearing those words, I can’t really put into words my sense of relief. What did this accomplish? Within the next week or two of that diagnosis – her school contacted us . . and they started putting an IEP () in the works. I still couldn’t believe it. On January 30th, we had a meeting in regards to the IEP. On February 20th, we had another meeting about each goal and what observations they had. The team we met with consisted of Chloe’s teacher, a speech therapist, and an OT (occupational therapist) with an intern. When the OT had evaluated her, Chloe scored “definite dysfunction” in some sensory processing areas. This did not surprise me. One of my favorite parts on her report was “she indirectly asks to have the lights turned off.” This means she is always turning the lights off in her class because she says it’s too bright. It’s funny because I can picture this scenario each time in my head.
She will be working with each therapist 30 minutes a day. This is huge. My goal was to get a diagnosis for her to help her get an IEP, gaining the support she needs before she starts Kindergarten when she has school Monday-Friday in for a few hours each day. That goal was met. I don’t only feel validated, but feel so happy for my girl. She won’t be struggling alone. She’s going to have help when I can’t be there to help her! This will be so good for her. She also rides the bus now which she absolutely loves. She will be going to “summer school” Monday-Thursday for a month to help her transition into the new Kindergarten classroom setting.
I have so much more to catch up on, but I wanted to do a quick update. This is a major breakthrough, although I have a feeling this is only the beginning of learning about what Chloe deals with on a daily basis. We have all come this far together, we aren’t stopping here and I will continue to research and advocate for our daughter until no end.
To learn a little more about Chloe’s struggle, go to: