I’d like to introduce you to my oldest daughter, Islay. She’s 3. She loves painting, music, and playing outside. She’s super smart and already reading. She knew her ABCs & could count to 40 by 2 years old. She likes superheros and playing dress up. She can work the iPad better than her Opa. She loves the beach and playing in the sand. She loves swimming in the pool. She’s energetic and can be a total sweetie when she wants.
And, as we recently discovered, she’s also autistic. Islay has been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). There’s a whole slew of terms on her evaluations that I haven’t managed to sort through and make sense of yet. Asperger’s. Echoalia. Impaired Expressive Speech. Communication Disorder. ADHD. I’ll sort all that out at some point. It’s been a bit overwhelming.
We had some idea that she wasn’t quite “normal” – yes, yes, whatever normal means. Her preschool has been mentioning problems all year long – social development issues, behavioral issues. But it’s one thing to think your child is autistic and another to have people telling you she’s autistic. It’s good to have the diagnosis – to put a name to the behavior we didn’t really understand. By herself, she just comes across as a little odd. Around other children, you can really see the differences.
The good news in the midst of all this is she qualifies for the Preschool Program for Children with Disabilities (PPCD) through our school district. She’s been evaluated by them and will start with the new school year. It sounds like a good program. She’ll get therapy during school. She goes all week long for half days. She even gets to ride the bus like the big kids. The program is a free program through the district so we have no out of p0cket costs. We’ll know more after her first ARD meeting in August.