Noah is just a few weeks away from turning 3. We recently had him evaluated for the Metro Nashville Public School preschool program. Talk about overwhelming…in the evaluation there was a Special Education teacher, a speech therapist, an occupational therapist, a developmental therapist and a child psychologist. They all had questions for me about Noah, his behaviors and development thus far. There was also lots of paper work and questionnaires I had to fill out about him. At first they just observed Noah playing alone. In typical Noah fashion he hummed a tune while lining up the cars, the people, the trucks, and then the pizza. Eventually they took him over to a table and asked him to do different tasks. The process took 2 hours but it felt like we were there all day. At the follow up appointment a couple weeks later we went over their findings and Noah was officially diagnosed with Autism.
This is something that I knew was a possibility but hearing the official diagnosis is still overwhelming. When I first saw the diagnosis on paper my eyes welled up with tears and it was all I could do not to start sobbing right there in front of these ladies. I’m terrified of he unknown. What does the future look like for him. Will he be able to be in a “normal” class later. Will he catch up and ever be on track with other kiddos his own age. I try so hard not to compare him to others but it always creeps in the back of my mind.
The plan is for him to start school when he turns 3. He will go 5 days a week from 8-12. They stressed to me how good the structure of school will be for him. He will continue to receive therapy twice a week while at school in a small group. He will be placed into what they call a blended class. A blended class is made up of some children like Noah with special needs and a diagnosis like autism and the other half of the children will have no special needs or delays. This type of class will help Noah catch up developmentally and socially.
I know that we are doing all we can to help him. They keep telling us how early intervention is key and I don’t know how much earlier we could have caught it. Of course this doesn’t change how much we love him. He’s still our precious little boy that we adore. Just trying to lay aside all of our worries and fears. I know that we are very lucky that he is happy and healthy. It could be much worse so I am thankful for all we do have. Just taking a moment to let it all sink in.