I have written and rewritten this post so many times, I hardly know where to start anymore. But it’s time for everyone to know what we have been dealing with.
Some of you know all the details. You know who you are – thank you for supporting us and praying for us.
Some of you know some of the details – I hope this post will fill in the parts you may not know.
As for the rest of you – I promise to try to condense this as much as possible, since it’s a long story and probably only interesting to us.
The long and the short of it is that Matthew has been identified as having special needs and as of yesterday, is officially going to have help from the special education department at school. The real diagnosis is yet to be found, but the school psychologist strongly believes he has Aspergers, which is a very mild form of Autism. Actually, that may not be the correct terminology. I’m still learning all of this, so please forgive my ignorance. I think a better way to say it is that Aspergers is on the Autism spectrum.
Just to be clear, Matthew is what they call “high functioning” – in other words, it’s hard to spot in him. The only reason he was even evaluated by the school psychologist was because of his aggressive behavior (i.e., he hits kids and doesn’t obey his teachers consistently). His case was brought before a student success team and the school psychologist immediately took interest and asked our permission to evaluate him.
What we have learned through this process is that Matthew is brilliant. He scored 154 on a part of his cognitive testing where 85-115 is the normal range and 125 is gifted. He is ahead of or equal with his grade level in every area of academics. But his social skills fall into the extreme category – as in, extremely low. He does not interact with the other kids in a normal way, and as a result, has almost no friends.
I could go into great detail about what makes Matthew “special”, but I think that would best be handled over the course of weeks and months and not all in this one post. I will say that yesterday the principal of his elementary school said they have only ever seen 3 kids like Matthew in the history of this school.
We are adjusting to all of this slowly – some days with a better attitude than others. It’s been an emotional roller coaster ride since we got the call over Christmas break suggesting it was Aspergers. But truth be told, the ride began when he was old enough to start being defiant. Every day with Matthew is a challenge, and we are still trying to sort through it all and figure out where we go from here.
On a practical note, besides the Autism team evaluation, we are having our own psychologist evaluate Matthew, someone suggested to us by his current therapist. So by next month, we should know better what is going on. As our therapist told us last week, we don’t have a diagnosis yet, and shouldn’t start acting like we do. But so far, the school psychologist has brought in two other “experts” who have all agreed that if it isn’t Aspergers, they will be shocked.
I will try to keep you updated on it as we walk through this, but please be patient with us as we are still working through it. Your questions are welcome, but if I forget to call or if I don’t get the blog updated as often, it’s just because I’ve been pretty overwhelmed with it all lately.
In the midst of this, God has revealed Himself so faithfully to us – through an unexpected email, through a friend with a child on the spectrum, through a phone call that came at just the right time – so many things that I can’t even begin to put them all into words. Believe me, I’ve tried! And I will perhaps be able to write more about that in future posts but this one is already way too long. And with that, I will end.