December 20th 2006

After 3 days of evaluation and testing we gathered with a social worker and a few of the pediatric physicians that worked with Alexis during our 3 day stay. We connected using a conference call to Alexis’ private Speech and private OT (Occupational Therapist) including her school OT. In this final meeting we discussed the findings from her evaluations and received a diagnoses, we also discussed a treatment plan for Alexis. We received definite diagnosis of Autism. It’s probable that Alexis also has Apraxia of speech. Children with apraxia of speech generally can understand language much better than they are able to use language to express themselves. The doctors tell us that Alexis is not 1 of the 70% of children with ASD to suffer from Mental Retardation. This was a huge relief. With the recommendation from the physicians at the Mayo Clinic, Keith and I have decided that it is in the best interest for Alexis to be in 20 hours + of ABA therapy.

ABA = Applied Behavioral Analysis.

ABA is based on careful studies of each behavior.

Breaking down each behavior into even smaller behaviors and then gradually teaching each small behavior one at a time, using verbal and edible rewards. It is uniquely adapted to each child an is the most highly structured, rigorous, systematic and consistent teaching approach for children with ASD.

We plan to get in touch with a county social worker to get things in gear right away.

We are at the start of a long journey Thankfully with this solid diagnosis we are very hopeful that we will be able to start with the building blocks that are already in place and start working our way up from there.

As far as the Christmas shopping went… we are pretty much hoping for a miracle. This whole experience was really emotionally draining and stressful. I am glad to be home and don’t even want to think about the Holiday right now.

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