I think I'm ready to blog about this now.
We had another meeting with the special education department at Elanor's school last Friday. They've been testing her for the last few weeks, and the meeting was to go over the results of their tests. The final diagnosis, given her global delays and other signs, was autism (mild to moderate).
I have to admit, I got weepy. It wasn't exactly a shock, as they'd mentioned the possibility at our previous meeting, but it was sort of hard to swallow.
The good news is that they said she was very bright and lovable, and kept reiterating what a joy she was to work with. They're confident that she will make excellent progress once she starts special ed classes (she will be pulled from her regular classroom for 90 min/day for academic assistance and speech therapy, and she'll also be getting some physical and occupational therapy, about 30 min/week).
Now, a request: I know next to nothing about autism and I'm looking for resources. Specifically, if there are any Catholic resources, I'd love to know about them. I feel much more in control of a situation if I've educated myself about it. I've scoured our library's digital catalog and have a list to take with me to the library this weekend, but I'd appreciate recommendations as I don't really know what's reliable and what's not at this point.
For the record, I've already decided to disregard pretty much everything Jenny McCarthy has written. There may be a link between vaccines and autism, but I tend toward thinking the link is due to aborted fetal stem cells and not thimerosal. On the other hand, we have refused all vaccines made with aborted fetal stem cells since the day Elanor was born. I think she might have gotten one by accident at some point, but by and large she hasn't received any. She's never had the MMR, for instance, since Rubella is one of the unethical vaccines. Yet, she has autism.
I'm sure there's a genetic component. I know next to nothing about genetics, but I wonder if a history of mental illness in the family (which we have, in spades -- Collin has bipolar disorder, for example) predisposes someone to autism. As far as I know there aren't any other cases of autism in either of our families, but, as Collin pointed out, there are a lot of autistic tendencies -- and who knows about relatives who may have had it back when it was infrequently diagnosed?
I have to admit I'm rather grateful we're not homeschooling because I simply would not feel equipped to help Elanor in the way that she needs. I'm thankful that she goes to a good school with a very competent special education staff.
At any rate, please pray for us as we embark on this new journey with apprehension but with faith and trust in God. I know He will be with us every step of the way.
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