Today Al and I had a meeting to go over the results of Carson's comprehensive developmental assessment that was completed throughout the month of May. This program was fantastic and very thorough, covering all aspects of Carson's life: social, behavioral, intellectual, medical, psychological, and adaptive. They tested him from one end to the other as well as interviewing us, gathering data from his teachers and doctors/psychiatrists, and observation. Carson did splendidly during the hours and hours of exams and even told his pediatrician on Monday that the tests were "fun and like playing". Al and I were relieved to to hear him voice those feelings because most kids would be bored to tears with the academic hoops they had Carson jumping through for four days.
Overall we weren't shocked by anything the assessment found. They are not going to change any of the diagnoses he currently has in his medical record because the assessment confirms each one of them. He will still be listed with anxiety, ADHD, mania, and OCD. The only label they feel could possibly change in the future out of these 4 would be the ADHD due to overlapping symptoms from the anxiety and OCD causing ADHD-like behaviors at a young age.
The IQ testing only gave official proof for all of us that Carson is one bright little man. Most people who know Carson could have told you that years ago but it is always wonderful to hear professionals praising your child's intelligence. He excelled in pre-academic, academic, and verbal areas over all others and his lowest area was non-verbal communication which was also not a huge surprise. They found that Carson should definitely be in kindergarten this year and not in a third year at his special needs preschool program. He mastered all the pre-academic skills and almost every one of the kindergarten skills. The psychologist felt that Carson's behavior would spiral downhill if left in preschool again due to severe boredom. Their recommendation is a typical (YAY!) kindergarten classroom for this year. They want a specially modified IEP with a custom fit behavior plan incorporated into the schedule that is followed strictly. An aide for classroom redirection when Carson's anxiety and OCD kicks into overdrive will also be instituted into the IEP recommendations (hopefully the school will provide since the multi-factored evaluation has found it medically and psychologically necessary). A new speech evaluation will also be requested due to Carson's problems with pronunciation and articulation. They feel that since his vocabulary is very advanced, he is verbalizing complex words and gets frustrated when the sounds don't come out quite right. Hopefully some speech therapy will be instituted this year at school.
Carson is overjoyed to be going to kindergarten this year!! We came home and told him the great news and he was grinning from ear to ear. He couldn't wait to call his grandparents and tell them about becoming a big, grown-up kid. Al and I loved seeing him excited over education and such a large step in life. What a unique and special kiddo we are blessed to have.
The team also is doing a direct referral to a great psychiatrist here that works with behavioral therapy. He will work one-on-one with Carson and with us as a family to develop a plan to direct Carson's OCD and anxiety compulsions through behavior modification. He will help Carson learn how to redirect his energy and try to break the chain of OCD when he is *stuck* in a cycle. They will also give us tools to work with when he gets into a manic phase to help bring order and calmness back into view. This therapy is not a quick fix and will take a lot of hard work for Carson and for our family but this doctor is well known for his work. The team knows that Carson's intelligence and verbal skills will help him learn and utilize the behavioral therapy at a younger age because he is able to verbalize his feelings and thoughts more than most 5/6/7 year olds. We can't wait to get started.
Al and I won't have the official written report from all of the testing for a couple of weeks but the whole experience has been more than beneficial for Carson and our family. The assessment didn't really give us a lot of additional information on top of what we already knew about Carson based on observation and current diagnoses. However, the plans and connections we've made on top of the confidence Carson, as well as Al and I as parents, gained was more than worth the time and effort. Time to go hug our bright, sweet, KINDERGARTNER!!! (and then battle the school district for all of the new IEP conditions and the aide!)