I’ve been staring at my computer for a while now trying to figure out what to write about our meeting with the child psychologist. A few words come to mind. Acceptance is one of them. It’s time now. Time for me to accept this. Right now, today, Cooper has special needs. It may get better and it may not.
Honestly, the meeting probably had the best outcome that it could have. So, in that sense it was great. I’ll give you the facts first. Then I’ll give you the feelings. They vary greatly.
Cooper has significant delays in the five areas that make up the autism spectrum: communication, sensory, cognitive, behavior and social. His social skills with adults are at that of a 2 year old (Cooper just turned 3) and his social skills with other children are at that of an 18 month old. Another significant area of worry for the psychologist are Cooper’s fine and gross motor skills. She estimated that they are at that of an 18 month old.
Then, in the next breath, she said that Cooper’s skills are too advanced for her to put him on the spectrum right now. She is also hearing and seeing that Cooper is making improvements every day. And that is huge right now.
She sees quite a few signs of Apraxia but right now Cooper has too many other areas to work on before we can focus on speaking. Cooper needs to figure out his body first. He needs to figure out how to control his sensory issues. And then, we can focus on talking.
She kept saying over and over again, “Cooper is in there. He is bright and smart and social. Now, we just need to get him out.”
She recommended that we start OT right away, continue with speech therapy twice a week, and focus on getting him in a preschool in September.
So, on paper, the meeting was positive. She was positive. She said she will always tell the truth to parents. And she won’t sugar coat anything. And she thinks Cooper can improve and lead a normal life. But, her definition of a normal life differs from mine.
I asked her if she thinks Cooper will talk. She said that Cooper understands that communication gets him something. He understands that if he points or grunts or makes a sound he can get something. And that is huge. If he didn’t have that skill she would be really concerned. But, the scope of his communication may be with an ipad or a computer. Her quote was something like, “Apraxia is a tricky, tricky thing and you just never know.”
So, how am I feeling? Numb I guess.
At first I felt like a bomb had been dropped on me. How can he have delays in every single freaking area? And how can they be so significant? He is years behind in some areas? Why? Why the hell can’t it just be one or two areas? Why all of them? Why can’t he just be normal?
Then, I tried to process. The news could have been a lot worse. I can say with certainty that if we would have met with her 6 months ago the results would have been different. Cooper would have been diagnosed with autism. I have no doubt. Now, it’s 6 months later, and he is a different kid. Thank God.
So, as I previously said, it is what it is. Cooper has delays and special needs and all we can do is hope and pray for the best while continuing therapy.
It’s not going to be easy.
The appointments are going to be hard. The time management is going to kill my husband and I. Our jobs suffer. Our marriage suffers. The money we are going to spend on appointments is going to be sickening. But, there are no other options.
We have to find Cooper.