Tuesday, November 13, 2012

seeking evaluation

when i finally realized our son's quirks amounted to more than just quirkiness i began searching for someone to evaluate what was going on inside him.  i started by contacting our friend rachel, an occupational therapist who lives in oklahoma.  she was a great resource for me back when harrison was 15 months old and he was being tested for autism.

sidenote (i have an awful lot of these, don't i?) -
all that testing resulted in confirmation of a speech delay.  he received speech therapy for 6 or 7 months and graduated with flying colors!  or so we thought.  if only i had known then what i know now.  BUT, guess what helped the language poor out of him all those years ago?  tons of proprioception - heavy lifting, running, jumping, crashing, smooshing, deep pressure squeezes, balance boards, swinging - gross motor activities harrison thought were so much fun!  activities that gave his body the SENSORY INPUT he needed so he could use actual words to communicate instead of grunts.  see.  if only i had known then...

moving on -
i asked rachel for suggestions about where to take harrison for evaluation for spd.  her immediate response was STAR, one of our nation's leading treatment facilities for spd.  that was her first choice, her best suggestion, and if that option didn't work out she could give me some other ideas. 

i contacted STAR and began their intake process.  it's a dosey.  loads of paperwork.  with questions like how was your pregnancy?  did you carry to term?  were you induced or go into labor naturally?  was delivery uneventful?  did you have an epidural?  vaginal birth or c-section?  did baby present face up or face down?  what were the apgar scores?  what pain medication was prescribed?  did baby latch on properly?

it just goes on and on through every itty bitty stage of pregnancy straight through to current life.  i have trouble remembering my own last name, people.  the minute details from 6 years ago are tough to excavate from the recesses of my brain.  but, alas, once the paperwork is complete an intake appointment is scheduled.  once you've completed the intake process an evaluation will be scheduled.  once you've had an evaluation you can begin treatment.  that is, if you can pay for it.

(we are actually, at this very moment, just beginning this intake process all over again as we have decided to pursue treatment at STAR.  i'll keep you posted on how it all goes down).

i also contacted our pediatrician who gave me a referral to the occupational therapy department at children's hospital.  i scheduled an appointment to have harrison evaluated and filled out all their dang paperwork too.  i was pleased at how things were moving along until i asked one very important question - "how much do you charge for the evaluation?" 

STAR's response was "$900".  children's hospital's response was "$1000 but since you are paying out of pocket we will give you a 30% discount, making it $700".

this is the part where you need to know i almost had a heart attack.  and i cried.  and i prayed.  and jeremy and i talked at length about the need - is this REALLY necessary?! - and we marinated on it for a couple weeks.  and we argued too.  and we backtracked - maybe harrison IS just a quirky kid.  maybe he will grow out of it.  maybe i am an overreacting and overprotecting and overworrying mom.  and SO WHAT if he doesn't like movies!  

you should also know that on top of my panic about cost i was having doubts about the short evaluation time.  how would someone, in just a one hour appointment, truly see what's going on with him?  how could that be enough time or interaction?  because, again, he is high functioning.  and he attended school with fantastic therapists who interacted with him daily.  and THEY didn't notice anything wrong.  how would a new therapist be able to see...to really see...

i was afraid we were going to spend a bunch of money and not find out anything more than we already knew.

but deeper than that, i was afraid they were going to tell me everything was fine. 

and my gut was telling me differently.

ultimately, we made a conscious decision to error on the side of caution (if i was overanalyzing my son's quirks) rather than do nothing and look back with regret (if my son really does have some issues).  we also made a conscious decision to go back and ask our friend rachel for other ideas.

i sent her a text that read "rach, i really wish you could come out and see him"

and that, my friends, is how rachel came to our rescue. 

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