October 24, 2011

Searching for Answers

When Moe was first diagnosed, our developmental pediatrician, Dr S, ordered some blood tests to look for genetic abnormalities. Moe had had a rough appointment already, and was ready to go, so we didn't want to do the tests that day. We asked Dr S if the tests did find anything, would our approach to intervention be any different. She said no, so we decided to wait. Eventually the order expired and we never had the tests done.

Last year, as part of one of the research studies at Stanford, Moe had to get a blood test. It ended up not being that big of a deal, so I thought about calling Dr S to re-order the tests. Finally, last week, I sent her an email. I also asked her if she thought an MRI could be helpful. She said the MRI isn't indicated, but ordered the genetic tests.

I'm not sure why I want these tests done now, over two years later, but I've been feeling quite frustrated with Moe's very slow, and not necessarily steady, progress. Every autism book I read, even the ones without the miraculous "my child no longer has autism" endings, show children who make pretty significant progress. Even though I can see small changes in him, Moe's deficits in the major areas of speech, attention, and impulsiveness, seem not very different (or perhaps even more severe simply because Moe is bigger) than when we first started.

So this weekend, we took Moe to the lab and had the blood tests done. Moe hated it and cried quite pathetically the whole time. Jeff took him in while Jelly and I stayed in the waiting room. We could hear him and Jelly kept saying "Moe's crying. Let's go help him." I knew he wasn't in pain. He just hates being restrained in any way. Moe barely flinches at shots, but can't stand when I try to cut his fingernails. When Jeff and Moe were finished, Jeff confirmed my suspicion. Moe was quite upset before the needle even made an appearance.

And now we wait for the results. I'm more anxious than I thought I'd be, though I suspect we won't find anything unusual. If we do, we'll have the answers as to "why" and we may have a better understanding of his likely progress. And even if the results don't change how we approach Moe's interventions now, new research is coming out all the time. Many parents have long suspected that there are a number of autism sub-types, and being able to classify each child's particular type of autism may help direct - and develop - the most helpful therapies in the future.


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