First off, let me start by saying that I am SO PROUD of Zach, my 11 year old 6th grader. At the beginning of the year, his first year in middle school, he came to us and said he wanted to play the cello in the orchestra. Reluctantly, we agreed. (He has wanted to do MANY things over the years that we've paid a lot of money for and he ends up being apathetic about them. But musical training is supposed to help the brain, so......) I am constantly reminding him to practice and it frustrates me. However, Tuesday night he had his very first orchestra concert. AND HE DID GREAT! I could tell he was nervous. (He was taking deep breaths in his chair right before.) But he did it. It sounded wonderful! I am hoping that the feeling of the concert will encourage him to practice more. But I'm not holding my breath.
Decisions by parents are always necessary for their kids. Right now Steven and I are faced with a medical decision for Elijah. I keep going back and forth on what I want to do so I'm going to put it out there to see if writing about it helps and also to see if there are other opinions out there as well.
Elijah has SPD, sensory processing disorder. He's had OT for that and, though he still has issued with certain things, he is better and continues to learn to cope with various things as he matures. However, all along I have felt that there was something more going on with him. I brought it up to his pediatrician many times. "Does SPD affect maturity, intelligence, brain development, etc?" I kept getting a "I'm not that familiar with SPD" and "probably not". So I accepted that and we went on about our business. This year, Elijah is in 3rd grade and really struggling in school. He failed reading last semester (can't pass a cold reading test) and is now struggling with math as well. Through many SST meeting with the school and several evaluations by several teachers and the school psychologist, it has been determined that Elijah is "educationally eligible" for speech, language, and......autism services.
He doesn't have trouble with speech; however, he struggles with expressing himself. He can't answer "why" questions and has trouble organizing his thoughts and getting them out, either verbally or in writing. The autism one took me a little by surprise, but I had some inkling. He has some repetitive behaviors that made me think about it, but it was a fleeting thought. (He rocks, wrings his hands, shakes out his hands when he get nervous or frustrated. He also has a clothing rotation, right down to his underwear and pj's. He wears the same clothes every Monday, Tuesday, etc. He missed school one Tuesday and stayed in his pajamas. The next day he went to school wearing Tuesday's clothes and changed to Wednesday's clothes when he got home.)
Anyway, my question is whether or not I should take Elijah to a developmental pediatrician or some other specialist to test him to see if he is, in fact, autistic. The pediatrician was on the fence. It might be autism, which there is no real test for, or it might be a learning disability (reading comprehension, etc.) I would be inclined to agree with the latter if it wasn't for the repetitive behaviors. So this is my dilemma.
Right now I am inclined to NOT have him tested and just see if what the school does for him, whenever that starts, actually helps him. His only trouble is in school. He seems fine in everyday life, with the exception of whenever I ask him a thought provoking question.
I continue to pray that God would show me how to best parents my kids. I always feel like I'm not doing so well.