Monday, February 25, 2008

Back From the Neurologist

On Tuesday, a car from the Jervis Clinic picked us up and brought us to Staten Island for Theo's neurological examination. The purpose of this exam was to update his "label," which is necessary for kindergarten and the government and obviously doesn't change Theo one bit.

This doctor was the nicest neurologist we've been to yet. He's the only one who didn't rush. He spent a good few hours with Theo and got to know him and us. In fact, everyone at the clinic is super friendly and efficient; this is a great place.

The doctor always asked if we agreed with what he said and wanted our opinions. He very much involved us in the process of evaluating Theo. Theo did great with things like identifying letters and numbers and answering questions like "what color is grass"? He couldn't answer questions like "Can you name some animals?" Interesting, since he knows the name of many animals. He just didn't understand the question. The doctor quickly caught on that Theo is a visual learner and has difficulty with abstract concepts.

The doc went over the criteria for autism and Theo met almost all of them. He classified him with PDD (so basically, no change from his last classification) and wants Theo to come back for a specific autism evaluation that determines his level of autism - mild, moderate, severe, etc.

He left us on a very encouraging note when he saw Theo plunking out "do re mi" on a little piano and singing. He also saw how Theo makes eye contact and is personable. He stressed bringing Theo back to earth when he gets into his own little world, and socializing him as much as possible. When Theo gets into a routine, break it. He thinks Theo has a great chance at functioning well and it's possible he can have an independent adult life. Obviously it's too early for promises. He also said he was encouraged by me and Joe and the work we're doing and the care we're giving him. That was nice of him since I was in tears and pretty emotional. Even though the day didn't really bring any surprises and everything that happened, I expected, it's still puts a mommy (and daddy) through the wringer.

But I'm glad we went. In a way, the autism label is a relief. The doc could tell that Theo is smart. Theo is smart and autistic as opposed to just being normal and dumb :)

I've never been more proud of my boy!

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