Autism is a Pervasive Developmental Delay. Pervasive being the word that I get hung up on a lot. Trying to figure out how to address Oliver's needs when they are so all-encompassing can be overwhelming. Where do you start? Especially because the clock is ticking. I am constantly aware of the days passing that bring us closer to kindergarten. But I lean heavily on the advice of Oliver's teacher and his lead therapist who both have a lot of experience and are very caring. I also ask a lot of questions of all his therapists. And I constantly scan the internet for reviews, reports, studies and documentation. As much as possible I think we are on top of things and just the other day Nik and I were talking about how we managed to hit the ground running and that things don't seem as hard as we initially envisioned they would be.
Then I got a call from the Occupational Therapist who works at the school. She was very nice, sounding both professional and compassionate at once. She had been observing Oliver for the past several weeks and she wanted to add an OT addendum to the IEP. She told me that her evaluation of Oliver put him at about 24 months for fine motor skills, that he was about a year behind and that she would really like to work with him. I participated in the conversation after that but my mind really got stuck on that last part.
About a year behind.
I had been thinking that all things physical were among Oliver's strengths. But apparently not. Further conversation with her informed me that OT is about more than fine motor skills. She will address issues of play and sensory stimulation and all that is well and good; I knew it was part of the autism package. But hearing that there is yet another area where he has fallen behind was depressing as hell.
Add another member to Team Oliver. And some new words to the vocabulary.
Don't people get degrees in this sort of thing? I feel like I should go back to school. But there is no time for that so Oliver and I will have to learn as we go.
Luckily we are both fast and motivated learners.