Alyssa had her followup to her well child visit yesterday. We saw a pediatrician from Ukiah at Tribal Health. She took notes of Alyssa’s behaviors and asked questions. She told me that I would need to call the local school district and ask for an autism assessment. She believes that Alyssa is on the “autism spectrum”, but obviously not autistic because of her social skills and interaction. She said that she will probably need occupational therapy and speech therapy because her speech seems to be behind. The dr. said she could only understand about 75% of what Alyssa said (whereas, I can understand everything of course!) and Alyssa speaks in the 3rd person and uses the wrong pronouns sometimes. She said that the school district may try to put me off because they are not very responsive and gave me information to contact UCSF and have her assessed there if I didn’t get anywhere with the school district. She also said she’d provide any referrals, etc. that we needed. She said that Alyssa’s issues are very minor and are probably barely on the charts – but that she needs to be fully assessed to find out where she is.
Today a nurse called and said that Dr. Whelan did some research and decided that I should contact a local organization instead of starting with the school district. The group is called Redwood Coast Regional Center and they will perform all of the assessments and order any necessary therapy through the school district. I called and spoke with a very nice woman who took all of my information for the intake form over the phone (and it wasn’t even her job!) She said that we are definitely starting in the right place. They are a non-profit with a contract with the state, so it won’t cost us anything. And I won’t have to fight with the school district. YAY.
Apparently people think I should be upset over this. My mom and Earl both freaked at first. But really – it is just a way to try to help Alyssa drop these weird behaviors that she has and improve her speech. Nothing else. She’s just “Alyssa”. She’s not autistic. She obviously has sensory issues, but that can be addressed very easily. I’m not worrying about it. In fact, I am relieved to have a course of action! Alyssa has been improving some on her own (and with our urging), so I’m sure with therapy she’ll work through these things quickly. I’m looking forward to the day that I don’t have to worry about a waitress wiping down a table across from us in a restaurant and being able to vacuum my rugs without my child flipping out. YAY!