Adoption Interview

Adoption Bloggers Interview Project 2012

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Diagnosing Girls with Aspergers

As some of you know from reading this blog, Hannah will be going to the Riley Developmental clinic in February for an appointment. What you may not know is exactly why. So many people see Hannah and think (and often say) there's no way she has any developmental delays, she's so smart. BUT from a very young age we knew that there was something different about Hannah and it wasn't just her intelligence. From before she was a year old I suspected autism based on my work in special education and therapeutic horseback riding, but of course no one really wants to believe their child has autism so I was always searching for things to prove to me that there was nothing really wrong. After all, Hannah is extremely verbal, makes eye contact, and doesn't do obvious self stimming activities like hand flapping. Still, it lingered in the back of my mind every day. At her 18 month well baby appointment Hannah was put on an autism watch list. When she hadn't made satisfactory improvement in the areas of concern by her 2 yr check-up we were referred to the early intervention agency. That's where we learned about Hannah's SPD and I pretty much put autism out of my mind, or at least I tried to until the doctor referred her to the Riley clinic. The more research I did on the Internet and through reading books I learned that although Hannah doesn't fit the typical profile I've come to expect for Asperger's Syndrome (a type of high functioning autism) she does seem to fit the profile being developed for girls' with Asperger's Syndrome. Apparently girls with Aspergers often present with different indicators than boys and so it is often left undiagnosed and therefore those girls are denied services that could significantly impact their life for the better. I came across a very interesting video done by ABC News back in January 2008 about diagnosing girls with autism. To watch the story click on the link below and then click on the corresponding link on the blog I have linked to. For some reason I can't make the direct link work.

Blog with link to a video of diagnosing girls with aspergers syndrome

While Hannah is much younger than the little girl in this video, so much of her reminds me of Hannah. I am so anxious for February to get here so that we can talk to the developmental pediatrician to see what her take is on our observations. Speaking of reminding me of this little girl. Here's a picture taken of Hannah at a Christmas party we attended that really captures how Hannah reacts to stressful social situations. Notice the other kids playing together while Hannah stands off to the side with her hand in her mouth looking dazed.


Angela - Life w/ Two Busy Boys said...

I continue to think of you and pray that you will get the diagnosis and guidance that you need to help Hannah be as successful as possible in all she does! She is an amazing little girl with amazing parents!

Erika said...

Hi Natalie, I just thought I would let you know that I am praying for you all and hoping that they can provide some answers and tools for Hannah at her appointment in Feb. You are such a great advocate for your little girl and that really does make a huge difference as you know. In the meantime I wish you peace and many hugs all the way around :)

Lanny said...

One of my favorite students had been diagnosed with Aspergers a few years earlier. I loved to see things through his eyes!

I hope the February appointment goes well!

Lora said...

Hey Nat. This is a lot for you to deal with, and I think you're doing a great job. Hannah is sweet and smart, and you are going to get her all the help she needs. She is going to be a great success in life.

Have you decided on a new name for your blog yet? You could play on alliteration, something like Happenings at Hannah's House...just an idea.

Mama said...

Thanks for all the thoughts and prayers. All that praying has already done some good! :)

Anonymous said...

That was a great video. Really informative. Paints a very different picture than the typical Asperger's videos, and provides coverage where there's currently a terrible gap in the literature. Thank you for the link.

Autistic Blogger said...

I own AspieWebI just wanted to thank you for linking to my website. I enjoy reading your blog from a parents perspective and was hoping to start a dialog with you regarding a post I made a while back. Is lying as a parent ok>?

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Sarah S. said...

I live in Lafayette and was given a link to your blog by Whitney D. We are about to go down this road with my son (I believe) and she thought I might find comfort in your posts. I can't read them all right now but for the ones I have read, she is right. I totally get it! Thanks. By the way, who did you see in Lafayette? I have been getting nowhere with the pediatrician. "Well Mommy, you have to choose your battles..." does me NO good. I don't choose these battles, he does. Anyway, thanks. Sarah S.

Mama said...

Sarah, I sent you a message via facebook asking for you email address. I have way too much to say to put it all in a comment here. I'd love to get in touch.

PS. I had no idea Whitney read my blog!