Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Outside the lines

Dylan's pediatrician gave us a referral for a neuropsychologist in Missoula to do further evaluations, and thanks to a fortuitous cancellation, we got in almost immediately.  So we did an initial interview with the three of us (me, Doug, and Dylan) a few weeks ago, and then we took Dylan back for a full day of evaluation a week later.

Today Doug and I went back to meet with the doctor about the results.  The short version is "Your kid doesn't fit neatly into the classic box.  He also doesn't fit neatly into any of the alternative boxes we've developed for the kids who don't fit into the traditional box".    When Dylan was six weeks old, Doug gave him a name and a blessing, and one of the things our little guy was blessed with was that he would have the fortitude to face his challenges, because he would have some that were very unique to him.  As this doctor checked off the challenges that they saw in their evaluations, I felt better because they were all exactly the things I thought I was seeing as his mom.  And I felt a little apprehensive about finding the right combination of tools to help him, because there are little pieces of a lot of different things going on in his unique little brain.  But the doctor was unflinchingly optimistic about the future, stating succinctly, "Its complex, but not difficult".

Something that was reassuring was that, despite having many of the other challenges that usually go along with it, Dylan's emotional reciprocity and attentiveness is not my imagination, or a mom's overly rosy view: he really is in tune with the emotions of others;  all that sweetness is really there.  Despite the fact that he hyper focuses on his interests to sometimes the exclusion of everything else, when he is tuned in, he sees what people need, he sees when they hurt or struggle, and it matters to him. It make him happy when they're happy.  I've always loved that about him.  The doctor also said that, with his combination of challenges, Dylan could be doing very differently without a lot of conscious, intentional engagement at home, and told us that we were doing great for him so far.  I'm not someone who seeks or needs a lot of external validation, but with all the frustrations and disappointments we've had the last couple of years, I admit that it was comforting to hear that from someone who has helped a lot of kids with a wide variety of challenges.

So now we get everyone at school on our team, and start making some more specific accommodations for our little guy, who, as I've always believed, is going to be just fine.