Oh and yes, I'm looking for another therapist.
This horrible Friday was actually the 19th, but I couldn't bring myself to blog about it until now. He is starting outpatient therapy at the ***** Psychiatric Center in **** tomorrow, at 8:00 am. Which means that I have to roust him at 7:00, which wouldn't sound bad, except for the fact that this is SUMMER (!!!) and we have no bedtime.
So, we went in for a meeting with this therapist at noon on the 19th, and ... I'm confounded - How could a mental healthcare professional be so visibly disturbed by a child who is obviously mentally ill? She triggered one of his "usual" tantrums, and the next thing I know, she's on the phone to the psych unit, arranging an evaluation for admission to their pediatric psychiatric unit. She didn't even consult with our psychiatrist. She picked up the phone and started yakking. And she expressed her lack of understanding of ADHD/Bipolar to the person on the phone. Let me tell you, I felt as if I had to go along with her: I called Xander's psych. and of course she's out on Fridays and her receptionist tells me that if this therapist recommends the evaluation, I should REALLY take him in.
SO. I spent the rest of the afternoon at the intake center, getting Xander eval'ed. Of course, by now, the fit was over and he was quite congenial with the p-nurse, or whoever she was, and she told us that we could wait and make a more clear-headed decision.
Upon consulting with his psychiatrist, we decided to start tomorrow, because we had a vacation planned for last week and we weren't gonna let that go.
So, I thought I'd blog this here, for those of you who can commiserate ...

P.S. I edited out the name of the hosp. and town I live in, no offense to anybody but this website getting kinda big and we don't know who reads all of this stuff ...

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It finally happened. Someone actually had the gall to physically correct my kid right in front of me.

We were at a class field trip to the science museum in Sacramento and I thought I was doing a pretty good job of keeping him out of trouble, but for about 90 seconds (no, I'm not exaggerating) I took my eyes off of him to listen to the instructor talk to us as we waited in lines outside the facility. She had made a comment about how the kids were standing in line; I glanced at Xander and he seemed to be doing O.K. even if he wasn't standing stock still. So I just let him go out of focus to listen to what the instructor was saying. All of the sudden she stopped talking in mid sentence, stomped over to my son, who had fallen out of line and was laying over a bench nearby (like a foot-and-a-half away) with his feet still on the line, grappled him, jerked him to his feet and shoved him back into the line with the other kids and snarled at him to stay in the line. Then she gave me a very challenging glare that I just had to tolerate because I was so shocked and embarrassed that I didn't know what to do.

I really don't think that she had the right to lay a hand on my son. I just didn't see him and would have straightened him out if I had. I have decided to file a complaint about her with whoever at the museum.
Honestly, this really is good news:

He got a diagnosis of "High-Functioning Autism" today. This acutally makes a dual diagnosis, along with a mood disorder, which will probably evolve to become cyclothymia or bipolar-1 when he matures.

As with all mothers who sit there with the psychologist and review the results of all the different tests that they administer, I became visibly upset as result after result came back in the deficient or troubled category (sorry, can't remember exact terms) and the poor girl, who looked like she was hardly in her 30's, began to look a little uncomfortable. So I told her that it really is all good, even if it's upsetting at the moment. I know that she does this for a living and she's probably well-trained to deal with distraught parents, but I felt like things would progress faster if I just put in a few reassuring words for her.

It really is all good. The autism diagnosis opens a lot of new doors for him. I can get the IEP that he was denied solely on the basis of his IQ. I can search for other tests to help identify the other disabilities that have become apparent over the last few years, especially this "processing disorder" that shows in some very low scores in some of his tests.

We can move forward now.
You are right: the diagnosis and list of specific deficits is a good thing because it facilitates the provision of appropriate services and allowances.

In my experience as a mental health professional, it is always difficult giving parents and patients what appears to be negative feedback about their relative abilities. Depth of experience helps as the context of that information becomes easier to grasp and easier to communicate to the client/victim/patient/parent.

Thank you for widening the experience of your somewhat inexperienced clinician. I have no doubt that she will remember that gratefully in the course of her career.



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