As I mentioned in my last blog, I had my own shrink appointment and then had an appointment scheduled for Grace. I'm very lucky in the sense that my shrink is an EXCELLENT child psychiatrist. She has a few oddities about her, but she's really overall quite good. So today, we had an entire session devoted to Grace. Since I brought all three of the girls with me today, she had an opportunity to see how Grace responds to her sisters, and she spoke with Grace herself as well to see how Grace would respond. I also printed out all of the concerns I've had, as listed and explained in the blog titled OT Evaluation Meeting Today. We discussed what the OT team noticed when they evaluated her, and what I've seen on my own, and what matched up between us. She included her own observations from the past visits when Grace has been at appointments with me.
Climax of the story: Grace has Asperger's Syndrome, without any doubt. The doctor had no qualms about diagnosing her right there, and said that she has suspected for some time that Grace has Asperger's, based on what she had seen and complaints I'd had in past sessions. Things that I've been struggling with since Grace was about 18-24 months, when the triggers of moving and Anneliese being born made it obvious that there was something different. When she started to have some major behavioral and emotional issues that we had to feel out.
I feel immense relief having the words now to explain what's happening in Frou Frou's head. I feel relief that having a name for this disorder, we now have a whole new way of looking at what she's going through so that we can help her learn to cope. I feel relief that my instincts were right on target. I'm happy for Grace, because I can now learn to target how I learn to cope with her, as I teach her, with real, professional help now, to cope with the world socially and emotionally.
I also feel a bit sad, that one of my children is struggling with this disorder. Granted, it could be much worse, and it could have been severe autism, but IT'S NOT. She's functional, she just sees and learns things differently, and needs help learning to cope. I have a lot to be thankful for. Even on the Asperger's Disorder scale, she's very functional. I'm not sure how "severe" or "mild" it's considered to be in our case, but finally... a diagnosis.
We already have an appointment for a session just for Grace, for next week. We're going to jump right in with therapy for her, and finally, with an official diagnosis, we can get more help for her from the Early Learning Center in town. She should now be qualified for any special programs geared for children like her.