So, a few weeks ago we got confirmation from both our pediatrician and speech pathologist that Monkey showed signs of being on the spectrum. In order to get a conclusive diagnosis though, you either need to see a developmental pediatrician or a psychologist. We live in Ontario, Canada which means that our health system fortunately covers this service, however the wait-list for the assessment and diagnosis is substantial. We were officially referred at the end of September and were told that it would likely be at least a year before the assessment could actually start. ONE. YEAR.
Given that Monkey is supposed to start school next September, that did not sit well with me. Thankfully, both J an I have good jobs with amazing health benefits, and I found out that we can get a private assessment with a psychologist which would be fully covered. A private assessment is almost $3000 – so certainly not a small sum of money. But, it is imperative to us that we get a clearer picture of where Monkey is on the spectrum and how to best support her.
The hardest thing for me is the unknown. Anyone that knows me knows that I am a planner. So not knowing how she will do over the next year and weather she will even be ready to start school worries me. All we can do is take it one day at a time.
Last night, J and I met with a psychologist to get the process started. She wanted to know everything about Monkey’s behaviour and things we have noticed that she does. Based on what we have told her, she told us it is likely that she is on the spectrum, but high-functioning. When people hear the work Autism…often they only think of those with significant developmental delays and flapping arms or non-verbal. The reality is that there is a huge spectrum and some people may be quite advanced in some areas, but lacking in others. The main thing to remember is that Autism is different in every person. In the community, there is one quote which I have seen countless times:
“When you have met one person with autism…you have met one person with autism”.
Some will require assistance for the rest of their lives, others will be able to function with support, and finally other people on the spectrum will go on to have careers and families. I am now realizing how much I have to learn about Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and the community.
Monkey has her first assessment appointment in late November, and the entire process should be completed before the year is out. I am feeling a bit better knowing that we are moving forward with this.