What a relief to meet with Cheri again! She’s an Early Childhood Educator who has a gifted son with Asperger’s Syndrome. Last fall, I called her for a consult when I was having problems with our speech therapist. Cheri was a breath of fresh air and a burst of positive energy. She observed Tyoma, connected with him (and me!) and declared that he while might be “different” he was still “okay.”

She gave me a ton of useful advice and tips, since he does have some autistic traits. Two weeks later he was talking. Hmmmm? Because of her? I suspect he followed his own internal schedule, but her attitude and encouragement helped me feel more relaxed and confident. Those two weeks felt like the blink of an eye.

Anyway, we had a long and fruitful meeting. She spent two hours with us in the morning, filling out the Hawaii Early Learning Profile used by her center. Tyoma was not only on his best behavior, but he brought out his reserve of extra cuteness to boot. We noshed on cinnamon rolls and sipped tea while the questions rolled on. At 11:30 she took off for another appointment and came back at 1:15 to finish up and generate a treatment plan. What dedication!

At the end of our marathon meeting she told me that Tyoma has very scattered skills and abilities that don’t fit any particular profile in the autism spectrum.  Much of his behavior is age-appropriate. Certain cognitive abilities are exceptionally advanced. And, of course he has little islands of strangeness. She said that nothing screams autism, but he is different enough to benefit from services—in particular she said that early help with socialization might help him avoid being the sort of nerdy kid that others will single out. He’s on the fence and whether or not he receives services is largely up to me.

So I say, sure! And we worked out a plan where she visits once every 4-6 weeks. Cool! I feel supported, less stressed and confident that our family is following the right path. Yay!!!

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