It’s Official

It’s been awhile, huh?

It’ll take me awhile to account for the three weeks, but in brief: we went to visit my sister Kate for a week, and then had some intense times here for a week, and then Mr. Book came for a week.

It was lovely to see Kate; she’s a warm and dedicated godmother to the boys, and flew us out in part because she wanted to build her relationship with them. They warmed up to her quite a bit over the course of the week, which was lovely to see. She also bought them overalls, so they’re extra snazzy little dudes this fall. Of course, it was over 90 yesterday, so it doesn’t feel much like fall yet. But in a couple of weeks, I’m sure we’ll be there.

My brother lives with Kate in the Midwest; he’s still on the kidney transplant list, and my mother has almost completed the process to become a donor for him. In the meantime, he’s doing dialysis every night. He loves his little nephews, but he’s obviously uncomfortable with little kids—he holds Kit as though he might at any moment explode. Kit has responded to his discomfort with a major charm offensive, going out of his way to grin at and flirt with his uncle.

The morning after our return to California, Joey was assessed by a psychologist and diagnosed with autism. That felt pretty terrible, although it means that Joey will continue to get behavioral therapy (ABA) through the state—the effects are good, even if the news is lousy. In the meantime, Joey is supposed to start going to a special education program at a local school when he turns three . . . but I haven’t heard anything from the school district. I asked Joey’s caseworker, and she said that I shouldn’t worry, that sometimes it just takes time. I have a meeting with that caseworker, Mariposa, on Wednesday, and will try more forcefully to get a phone number of someone in the school district whom I can call to get things moving. Joey will turn three in six weeks, and while on one level I wouldn’t mind if he didn’t actually start school until January, that would mean his going without speech or occupational therapies for more than a month.

When I found out that Joey would be transitioning to school, I asked his ABA supervisor, Jennifer, whether he might be able to join a group they run for kids up to 36 months that is sort of like two hours of preschool twice a week; it’s called the Buddies Program. Joey had his first day of Buddies on Thursday, and he cried and cried—Jennifer and the woman running Buddies each separately pulled me aside to tell me that it’s like this for all kids at first, and don’t worry. Joey calmed down once I was out of sight (in a waiting room, listening), but when I heard them practicing trick-or-treating I stuck my head out to see, got spotted—and started Joey weeping again. Poor little dude.

I want to talk more about this, but ABA is about to start. Wednesday, I’ll write again.

5 thoughts on “It’s Official

  1. I am sorry for the dx, but it’s great that services are starting! Google your district’s website and look for something like “Central Office,” and “Special Services.” Call and ask them to send you paperwork, or make an appt.
    your county will also have an ISD (independent school district) or ESD (educational service district) that you can google. They oversee and work with the school districts. They can also overlap or offer their own services.

  2. It is really good to read an update. I’m thinking of you during this difficult time. In my impression, Joey and you have a tremendous bond, which he’ll be able to draw upon in all kinds of ways as he grows.
    I look forward to hearing more about Buddies and seeing the boys in their adorable new overalls. Those are a personal favorite of mine–I love that sweet Aunt Kate! I’ll keep your brother in my thoughts and prayers…

  3. I’ve been wondering how you all are….hoping the diagnosis, the services, the new programs all settle into to get wonderful Joey the support he needs right now. And overalls! Nothing cuter than kids in overalls.

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