Sunday, October 30, 2016

Ok, I am seriously back...

Life has changed a bit since I was here last.

Things are still pretty great, despite everything. I am using the blog as a cathartic exercise, because things can just get overwhelming.

A few positive things - we are all in fairly good health (I have some nonsense going on - surprise surprise - but that got put on the back burner due to everything else).

In July, we had a discussion with our daycare provider about Nadia, and we were referred to a group with the school district for some observation. Her language is significantly delayed; she has not interacted with other students; she shows compassion and emotion, followed by moments of being "flat"; when we call her name, she snaps "What", like we are breaking her out of a trance; and some of her play isn't "imaginative" in the traditional sense - she tinkers, lines up toys, focuses on blocks and puzzles.

Halfway through the observation, the school psychologist pulled me aside and had me fill out additional assessments testing for Autism. I had an inkling that this is the direction we were headed; however, I didn't go there until I had to.

Now, I had to. I was by myself, and fought tears. I failed at moments, only to be encouraged by the other parents. The staff was amazing, knowing what we were going through. We met with the Special Education team in charge of her observation two weeks later, received an IEP, and agreed to send her to the school district for a contained-classroom pre-k. She will have multiple teachers; we will work on her skills at home. She will still be in daycare (which is thankfully next door) in the morning and afternoon until we can pick her up. She will need to ride the bus still (by law), and that is a source of anxiety for us.

The whole thing is a a point of stress, anxiety, and complete unknown. Research has been done; everything is changing. We are working on a new diet; we are going to go to the Pediatrician so we can test for allergies or other medical issues that we are unaware of; and we are looking to get her into the new Autism Center through my employer to get her the medical care that she may need. She will have a Speech Therapist at her pre-k, and we will determine if she needs additional outside Speech Therapy.

The things that are keeping me sane are work and my PhD classes. It allows me to focus on the things I can control versus the things I cannot. It gives me an escape. Am I burying feelings? Absolutely. I can't face it right now. I am moving forward full speed ahead so I can deal with it on my own terms. I want a staycation with Michael, away from the normal everyday life, so I can melt down a little.

I struggled today. I am nervous for her, yet I know she will see it as an adventure. I worry because I am afraid she is not going to understand. I worry that she won't make friends (though I really don't think she cares right now).

Despite the lack of communicative language, I can tell that she is remarkable. In some areas, she excels. We are working on focusing on that when she has a meltdown in the middle of a pumpkin patch, restaurant, mall, or store. I am working on finding a way to move to her level and help her through it.

And truthfully, those who give dirty looks or throw judgement my way during her difficult moments can go to hell. I don't have time for negativity, and she sure as hell doesn't have to answer to anyone.

I am overwhelmed, but relieved. We are beyond blessed to live in a country that there are services for her. I hope, beyond hope, that she receives the attention and resources she needs. I will be her advocate, no matter what.

I am not perfect, but I will be there for her, no matter what.