Today was part one of KayTar's autism evaluation through the district. I think I feel a bit differently about these little evaluations than a lot of other parents. Generally, people seem to be uncomfortable with the idea of their child be judged or graded for defects or deficits. Many parents shy away from labels and limits, they don't like to watch their children be scrutinized. But me? I love it, in a strange way. I love watching KayTar and the evaluators interact. I love listening to her answer questions (in sometimes hilarious ways, "Where do you sleep?" "IN A BOX!") or throw out her little quotes and watch the evaluators react ("This bowling ball is CHEAP!"). I love the way she always, always gets them to smile and laugh (The SLP told me that if she had her at home she'd never stop smiling). I love the way she charms them. And honestly, I love having my suspicions confirmed.
KayTar is one hot mess of a puzzle, not only medically, but also behaviorally. She is not a neat and tidy package of anything. As her mother, I observe a great many things that the general public misses, even trained professionals miss these things if they don't interact with her for adequate periods of time. I'm constantly dissecting things, researching things, wondering about behaviors and patterns...my brain is always processing some little tidbit of information I've gleaned from her. It can be tiring and a little maddening, too, especially when so many other people miss it at first glance. But to sit in these meetings (which I am an observer for, not a participant) and see her do the same things for them and to watch them catch on to it, without me saying a word, is like one 4 hour long sigh of relief. They get it. They get her. They see the problem areas, the lack of understanding and comprehension, the inability to tell stories or join in socially, the way she tricks people with her speech, and so on. They know how she covers her deficits and they know how to get her to expose the problems. It is an amazing process to witness.
She did a great job today, she was exactly herself. She did well at the things she does well at (above age level for quite a bit of stuff) and she showed deficits where deficits are. I never felt like she behaved out of character or failed to do something she really can do, which means it was successful. I won't know anything solid for quite a while. We go back on Friday for a "play test". Today was formal evaluation testing, the next session is more play based. Then there is the home visit, then the Big Meeting, which is when we should know. I did ask the SLP, "So, did you see what you expected to see?" and she said "Yes." So, I suppose that is a good thing. I'm anxious to get the results, not because I'm afraid of what they might say, labels tell you nothing you don't already know, but because I am so curious about what they'll categorize it as. I'm pretty sure they won't call it KayTarosis, but I think it has a nice ring to it.