I spent some of the weekend creating a book out of the blog I maintained before this one. It covered most of 2005 and into 2006. Because it was in an outdated format, I had to copy and paste every entry into the book software (Blurb, if you're looking to do the same; it will "slurp" most current blog formats automatically). I finished the 2005 entries late last night and it was an interesting walk down memory lane. Some of it was silly, there weren't nearly enough photos, and, frankly, there wasn't much of any substance. But it helped me remember a few things, got me to look at photos I haven't thought of in years, and made me laugh at my optimism. (Not that I'm a pessimist, but that early blog was like reading a yearlong Christmas newsletter; not exactly real life.)
2005 was the year that George began speech therapy through the school district (we had to wait until he was two before they would work with him). It was also the year before he received his formal Autism diagnosis. I say "formal" because I had known from the time he was 18 months old that we were probably headed somewhere in that general direction, but it took until October of '06 to get into the specialist's office. (In Virginia, where we lived at the time, you had to have a medical diagnosis to receive special education services.) I read this piece of an entry from September 2005 and laaauuuggghhhheeedddd:
George had some testing with the school district speech therapist on Wednesday. He didn't make much noise, but apparently enough for her to make a determination. What is that determination, you ask? I have no idea. She has to "report her findings" to the school board officials, they will mail me a letter asking me to call them to schedule another meeting. At which time George and I will again report to the therapist (but this time the board official in charge of this kind of thing will be there), and only then will I get to know what she thinks and where we'll go from there. Fun! Couldn't possibly let the worried parents know anything right away. Oh no, it makes much more sense to go through three other steps first. I guess we're well into the system now and have to play by their rules.
If I knew then what I know now, oh lordy. The paperwork, the back and forth between dozens of "officials", the rules, the system! We are so lucky to live where we do now, the available services are excellent, but every year there are so many hoops to jump through. Just today I spent several hours filling out insurance paperwork that required me to sift through George's medical file and make copies of his IEP. The shear amount of paper involved is staggering. And there are at least three people from whom I need signatures to verify the diagnosis he's had for more than three years.
But we do it. We get the signatures, fill out the forms, call dozens of officials. And eventually our once non-verbal children look at us and tell us we look goofy. It's totally worth it.