We spent an hour to an hour and a half with Elle, the evaluators, and our service coordinator. We continued to field questions while watching the evaluators play with Elle. They were giving her instructions to see if she followed them, asking her questions such as “Where is Mommy? Where is Daddy? Where is the chair?” to see if she indicated that she understood either by pointing, answering, looking at the object/person. They also tested her reaction to a firm “No!” when she reached for a toy on the table. Poor thing, she actually handled it much better than I would have expected, but she did make a sad face. They quickly allowed her to play with the toy the next time. One of the evaluators even said she didn’t like to do that but it is a necessary part of the evaluation. Elle also got to climb a short flight of stairs that were sitting outside the door, which she loved. We don’t let her climb the stairs here because there are so many and it’s a straight shot down to the bottom if she falls, so she enjoyed it while she could!
We had been told by phone that before leaving that day we would have the results of her ‘tests’. We had to wait just a few short minutes before the evaluator was ready to go over the results with us. They had already been making positive comments about how social she is and how she had very good eye contact (both commonly absent in those with autism, but not always). Her problem areas were communication skills……she had a delayed response to questions. Sometimes no response at all. She also had issues with things such as feeding, dressing, etc. The ‘diagnosis’ was that she has a developmental delay and their recommendation was to give her special instruction, which means having someone come to our home once per week to work with her and me (or Karl, Hailey, whoever we want), to increase her speaking skills.
We left the office feeling good. Even though there were problems, we had an answer and we had a plan to begin working through the issues. One thing did still weigh heavy on my mind:
Though the evaluators both said they are not really concerned, Elle had failed the M-CHAT.