so today was the big one – Jovie’s assessment at the Children’s Hospital. this is the appointment that has given me nightmares each night for the past week, probably why my migraine last week hung around longer than usual. this assessment should finally give us something to start with, rather than another line of tests to complete.
the assessment itself took almost 2 hours. lots of talking and repeating what we had already outlined in the bazillion questionnaires we’ve filled in this year, but this time they also had Jovie in the room and it was apparent to them that there are issues and that they were real. we had the paediatrician, the occupational therapist and social worker attend with my mum, Jovie and i. the OT took Jovie and my mum into another room and went through some little tests to check her skills while i finished the q&a with the doctor.
after a short break for some lunch (westmead kid’s has some great spaces and playgrounds for kids!) and to fill in yet another questionnaire about Jo, we’re upstairs for the official breakdown and diagnosis.
the doctor is sitting closer to me this time around, and i’m noticing she’s talking slower and with a lower tone of voice. in my head, i’m bracing for what she’s about to say, sort of half knowing what she’s about to tell us.
she speaks about the 5 things they look at while assessing kids – i really wish i could remember what she was saying but it was basically motor skills, fine motor skills, social, speech and cognitive. Jovie is better at motor skills (she can walk, she can sit up and get up) though is she delayed. but unfortunately all the other 4 skills, she’s much further behind and on par with a 5 month old baby. a 5 month old – that’s 23 months behind usual development. and so, she finally concludes –
Jovie meets the DSM-IV criteria for autistic disorder. Jovie is autistic.