Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Transitions in Elijahland

Pretty much everything is changing in Elijahland these days.  I know I've been kind of ambiguous about it all, but sometimes it's hard to know how to put things into words. (Yes, even for me!)

Early Intervention (i.e. Birth to Three) is over.  Done. No more home visits from the school district.  It's weird to have a part of your life that been such a regular thing just end.  I learned a lot from Elijah's therapists.  They cheered along with us, they cried with me during hard times, encouraged me often, and gave us priceless knowledge on how to help our son. Thanks for everything ladies! :) I so appreciate everything you've done for us.

The next step is Preschool. Elijah will be attending two days a week for two and a half hours (a total of five hours a week). Sending our kiddo to preschool is a hard one for me, mostly because I don't think I would have sent him to preschool sans-special-needs. I had always thought I'd homeschool until it was time for kindergarten, but who knows what we would've done if our life was different. I simply need a change in my preconceived notions and expectations (something I'm working on!).

The bottom line is that I think preschool will be good for Elijah. He loves kids. He'll be in the special needs class and he'll continue to get speech, OT, and PT during school. I'm going to miss him, of course, but I think that it'll be a good thing for both of us.

He starts school next Tuesday, which is seemingly really late compared to all of our blogging friends. I am glad we still have a week for me to become accustomed to this notion.  Let's face it, I'm really attached to this kid.  I have no idea what I'm going to do with myself after I drop him off at his class next Tuesday.

The biggest change in Elijahland is that we've started a therapy called Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). I wrote about Elijah possibly having another diagnosis called PDD-NOS back in October 2009. I can't believe it's been that long already.  Elijah now officially has the PDD diagnosis, which puts him on the autism spectrum. Essentially it means that Elijah has some autistic characteristics, but not all of them.  This'd be why I wrote this post about Elijah's diagnosis collection. It can be overwhelming at times.

Now, to be clear, we've been told his PDD is a result of his brain injury. The way we understand it is this - because of his impairments, Elijah has found things to do with his time that he can do.  He has impaired vision and very impaired fine motor skills, so there isn't much he can do to play on his own. He's figured out what he can do to fill his time, which most often means banging on things, spinning, and mouthing nonfood items, etc.

Elijah's developmental pediatrician recommended we try ABA for Elijah, which honestly kind of threw me for a loop.  I thought our lives were calming down some and now a doctor was recommending a therapy that would mean at minimum a commitment of 25 hours a week.  But when I clarified, "So you think ABA would help Elijah?" He said, "ABA WILL help Elijah."  That was it.  We would try it.

So trying it, we are.  (Oooh, that makes me sound all yoda-like). It's been quite the road to get here, but I'm glad we've made the decision to give it a chance.  We haven't been doing it for long, but we've already been noticing some positive changes.  I will be sharing more about our experiences with ABA in the near future.

So, yeah...no more Early Intervention, Preschool starting soon, and getting ABA underfoot. It's been a crazy life lately with a lot of changes in our household. I have such mixed emotions about it all, but mostly I'm excited to see where these new paths will direct us.


Kathy said...

Ooooh! So many changes. So many learning experiences. So many emotions. Life is full of them. But how rewarding they can be. Elijah is moving on. :) Lisa, you are a wonderful Mom and Andy a wonderful Father. Elijah will grow and amaze you. You will be proud of his accomplishments. I am proud of yours. Love, MomKat

Dad said...


You are already on a path which was not of your choosing.

All of these fingers (ABA, pre-school etc.) off of this path lead somewhere. My prayer is that they will lead you closer to that path that you originally started on.

Think of all the flowers that you have seen and will see because of this journey.

I expect this path will not always be straight, but side trips are OK.

Love Dad

Mo said...

I can relate right now; no EI and preschool underway. But, for what's it worth, preschool has been REALLY good for both Oia and I. She loves it now and I (call it selfish) love having time get something done on my own. I refresh while she's in school.

I bet that the start of preschool for Elijah combined with the new therapy will help this sweet boy of yours to grow in ways you could have never imagined! I really hope you share about preschool and the new therapy...anxious to hear about it.

Good luck!!

kate hopper said...

These are wonderful steps! I'll keep fingers crossed that the transitions are smooth!

Beth said...

Thanks for the post Lisa. It was great to hear an update on all the changes. I am excited for your family, it seems many good things await for all of you! Sometimes it is the most scary changes that bring about the greatest rewards. Take Care- I am always thinking of you guys (: Beth

Anonymous said...

I bet...what Mo said.

I believe you are anxious, but really, your written voice sounds very strong. Barbara

Christy said...

I cried everyday during the last week of EI. I know we're ready, because we've been running out of things to do, but it was still sad! These people have been our supporters, our cheerleaders, for 3 years (we continued until school started).

Kristine said...

Katie has PDD-NOS resulting from her brain injury. I'm terrified of pre-school and we're putting it off until next September. I think. I struggle with the same issues all the time.

Shannon said...

Do you mind me asking if it has been hard to get ABA covered by insurance? Our neuro wanted ABA for my son but we cannot afford it on our own and we cannot get insurance to cover it. Your son is so precious. I am so glad to have found your blog.

Lisa said...

Shannon- Insurance has covered ABA for Elijah so far. The only way he's been covered is because of the PDD-NOS diagnosis, which is probably true for most insurance companies. It might be a good idea to get your son evaluated for being on the autism spectrum. If he has some of the characteristics of autism, maybe he could get a diagnosis which might make it easier to get coverage by insurance (yes, in this case another diagnosis is actually a good thing). It might also help to contact an ABA provider to see if they can help you out. I know we had to meet with a few psychologists (each ABA provider typically has a different person they work with) to have Elijah evaluated. They gave him a five point diagnostic assessment, which I think was where his official diagnosis came from. I hope this helps! I know all insurance is different as to what they are willing to cover. I don't think most people could afford ABA on their own; it's expensive! I hope you can figure something out.

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