Friday, November 6, 2009

Out With October, In With November

October was a busy month. It seemed to come and go so fast. Here are some of the things that have kept us busy last month.

We started off the month with a trip to Utah for Clark's mission reunion. See a previous blog entry on that if you haven't gotten a chance yet.

I love to read. A couple of days, Laura gave me a chance to read while she played in her room quietly. They happened to cold and even one rainy day too. I thought I'd have uninterrupted reading time. But one of our cat's Al had other ideas.

October for us has meant a trip to PA's Pumpkin Patch in Long Beach for 4 years running now. We take our annual picture of the girls with the giant pumpkins. They ride their favorite rides. We take a few pics with the various cut outs. And we go home with at least 3 pumpkins.

Some of my friends and family know that we've been in the process of evaluating Katelyn for ADD and Autism. I was seeing lots of signs of ADD in Katelyn. Her IEP team felt she showed signs of autism during her triennial evals at the end of last year. We finally got the referral in late August through Kaiser and September and October meant various visits to one of Kaiser's psychologists who asked tons of questions and talked to her and looked at the IEP notes. Even up til the point that the psychologist said "autism", I still felt only ADD would be her diagnosis. I really didn't see her on the spectrum at all. Not that it would be a problem if she were, I have former ward members with kids on the spectrum, one of Katelyn's good friends has Asperger's, a good friend of mine has a son with Asperger's as well. But even though I know some things about it, I don't know alot and therefore just didn't see it. So you can imagine how shocked I was when the psychologist said "diagnosis.....autism spectrum."
It wasn't shock like "how horrible! not my child!" It was more of "how did we not see the signs sooner?!" type shock. Plus all the why's, if's, what now's running through my head. And that all spelled a day of emotions for me. I was at my breaking point of just needing to sit down and cry when there was a knock on the door. My good friend, the one whose son has Asperger's, was standing there with her son. We haven't talked in a while so she didn't know we were doing the evals. She said they were driving by and felt they needed to stop. She immediately knew something was wrong and I just melted. She totally set my mind at ease in the whole matter. She knows both my girls well enough and really helped me not to panic over the eval score (which said "severe autism"). Her son is 15 and he was able to set my mind at ease too. "Sister Raile, she's like me. Maybe not Asperger's. But she's high-functioning. And she has a mother for helping her through this as she gets older." Oh how I'm grateful for a Heavenly Father who was watching over me that day and sent these friends when I needed them the most.
Since then we've talked to the autism specialist who also explained a great deal to us and esp about where Katelyn lies on the spectrum and why nobody saw the signs sooner. She gave us some titles of books to read and a website to look at and signed us up for a monthly clinic that they have to help parents understand more about it.
The diagnosis doesn't change who Katelyn is. She's still the same child. The diagnosis will help us, her school teachers, her church teachers and family and close friends to understand her and help her be the best she can be throughout her life.

Amazingly the day after her diagnosis, while we were still in the whole why's, if, what now phase, her Girl Scout troop met with an older troop at the Cerritos City Hall. For their city hall meeting, which is televised for local residents, they got to say the Pledge of Allegience. The troop leader for the older girls asked if there was anyone who wanted to volunteer to say it. None of the other girls wanted to. Katelyn raised her hand and said "I'll do it!" I was outside with Laura so heard all this second hand. But her troop leader said she did great. Talk about one of those proud mommy moments. And a moment that made me see that she's going to go far even though she will have stumbling blocks along the way.

October also meant a trip to Disneyland for just Laura and I. She's been potty trained since April but suddenly started having accidents in September. Those lasted through October as well. Finally I had a heart-to-heart talk with her. I asked her what would help her stop having accidents. We talked about a sticker chart and what kind of reward she wanted. She liked none of my ideas. Finally she said "Disneyland, just you and me!" When I saw she'd gone 2 weeks with no accidents, I grabbed our passports. After taking Katelyn to school one morning we drove to Disneyland and spent a fun filled morning riding all her favorite rides, taking pictures with Mickey, and eating churros and ice cream for lunch before we had to head back home to pick up big sister from school.

Of course who can forget that Halloween is in October. All that yummy candy! Here's our pumpkins before and after carving and our two little princesses.

And now we are into November. It kind of started out with a bang.....literally. Aside from Laura and I both being sick right now, I had one of those "I told you so" moments with Clark. See he's a decent driver though he does tend to speed. But he never seems to pay attention when parking or turning into parking lots. He's scraped my van more times than I can count and grunts and groans like a man if I get uppity with him over it. I always tell him that one day he's going to do some real damage and I'm going to say "I told you so." Well he was too busy eating Laura's fries from McD's since she doesn't eat them and he went to pull into the burger place down the street from our house. I saw the curb but not enough time to say anything and BOOM he goes over it. I cringed and he parked and we both got out to check tires. Yep, he'd popped one. The front passenger side. So bad that it was coming off the rim. I turned to him to say what I've always wanted to say and his face was so angry that all I could do was laugh hysterically. Of course he didn't find it funny. He didn't get mad though. Just said "I'm glad you find it funny." I have a feeling if I did say the other thing he'd have gotten mad though. Oh and of course I had to take a picture. haha!

So that was our crazy month of October and our start of November. How was yours?


The Crazy Coxes said...

What a busy month! I think you have a great attitude. You are totally right. the diagnosis doesn't change the Katelyn you love, it will just help her get the most out of school and help you understand why she does what she does or thinks the way she does.

Allison said...

Hey! Crazy month! I, or should I say Mary Poppins, had a flat too on the way home from school on Oct 30th! Luckily a good samaritan helped me out so I didn't have to dirty my costume! :)

Grace Tolman said...

Wow I didn't even know that you guys were dealing with this. I think Katelyn's such a wonderful child and she shares a beautiful spirit with us in Primary. Best of luck to all of you.