01 May 2008

Testing & the ABCs

Happy May! We could walk around in sweaters or sweat shirts today nnd that felt great. Julia played in the sand and climbed playground equipment and played on swings.

Julia didn't go to school to day because we had our almost final evaluation and round up meeting. There is a physical therapy evaluation coming next week which will be added to our final report. We started this intense evaluation process to find out where Julia is in terms of development and to get some direction as to what we can be doing for her.

Julia and I went to the Waisman Clinic this morning at 9:45 and she had two teams of evaluators working with her until noon. I sat behind a one way mirror and answered questions and made comments to the evaluators who were not working with Julia at that moment. What was so amazing to me was that Julia actually worked successfully at the testing. During the fall and into the early winter, different people at school tried to test her for cognitive levels and language acquisition. It was just not possible to get any read on her, any substantial result of the testing because Julia just could not sit still, would not answer questions at all, could not focus, and did not follow directions.

I had no idea if she had changed at all, but yesterday during OT, Annie, Julia's therapist, tried a bit of testing – following directions to draw, color, cut, circle, and cross out. Julia sat through almost 15 minutes of this, engaged and interested. Annie was as amazed as I was. This was followed by today's performance at the evaluations. I am so impressed at how far Julia has come since the fall. She worked very hard yesterday and today.

Of course, I am the one exhausted. Last week, I came home from Julia's first evaluation exhausted. I did the tough work of watching through a one way mirror! I did the same today and came home at 2 feeling like I was ready for quiet supper and bed.

Am I old or what?

At the end of our testing, David and I got together with the team of evaluators and helping grad students to talk about Julia. They said nothing that we didn't know, enphasizing her need for socialization and social training, her need to understand and empathize with others, and her need to learn to be outwardly motivated. These are all her autism markers. Their report should help our school EIP team and offer us many hints on what to do over the summer.

Learning the alphabet is a bid deal at our house right now. I think she will probably get her Littlest Pet Shop Town in another week or two. She is working every night and getting better all the time. It is amazing what this kid can do when she puts her mind to it.

Cheshire handed in her senior thesis today. She has worked hard and steadily on her project, and it is a good one. She has another two weeks of college and then my girl is done. I can't wait to see her and spend a bit of time with her before she starts her NYC adventure. We are so proud.

Oh, and about the election. We lived in Indiana for such a long time and voted in every election. Yet, never, ever, ever was anyone interested in the Democratic primary in Indiana. In fact, Indiana was usually the first state to be given to the Republicans in every national election. (I used to think that we knew ALL Hoosier Democrats.) This week major news networks have sent reported to Indiana to judge the pulse the the Hoosier electoric. I have to say that I HATE to miss it. Not fair at all.

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