Our little family has been busy lately, getting set up with new services, being sick, working, and being social. Simon in particular has made huge strides in his little social life. With the supportive encouragement from Bob, he has made 'friends' each time he's gone out into kid inhabited places. There was Zephyr and Elliot who he shared cars with at visits to Swap and Play, Scout at the Train table, and a girl he joined on the swings and played hide and seek with at the park.
His verbal contribution to the interactions have been brief, but they have been appropriate and real. I've sadly only heard about it second hand, but I did get to see him make friends with adults when he stopped by my office. He had a back and forth conversation of 5 or 6 exchanges. He said hi, acknowledged non-verbally that he had been told hi back, waited his turn, then asked how old my office mate was. She laughed and said you're not supposed to ask a lady that, and he laughed too. She asked how old he was, he responded, she commented on his height, he responded.
It's a small conversation even our 2 year old neighbor could have, but for Simon, it is a big step. It's advances like these that make me wonder if his somewhat autistic behavior is a normal delay, or a delay that's in response to sensory overload and anxiety about what sort of sensory onslaught might come with a new experience.
The autistic/not autistic question has been on and off our minds since Simon was very little, long before our evaluations and SPD diagnosis. If he has diagnosable autism, it's mild, or high-functioning, in the language of the spectrum. If has is autistic, his SPD is a part of it, and treating that as we are is still the proper course of action. The difference a spectrum diagnosis might make is how we handle the social/behavioral issues. If he doesn't interact only because of sensory issues, we continue to help him cope and habituate with sensory issues. If it's autism, we do that and do whatever therapy it is you do for socially challenged autistic kids. We may do those things anyway, at this time, because the school district has him in the moderately autistic category to receive services. We're meeting our interventionist, Mark the Teacher, at Swap this Monday to see what direction we might take. After some time with Simon, I think he'd be useful to ask his opinion about any benefit to seeking an official clinical diagnosis to add to our SPD, Fine Motor Delay, and Developmental Coordination Disorder diagnoses. If we're getting what we need, and will continue to get what we need, why bother? If there is more Simon needs, we'll seek it out.
For now, I'll just savor every minute of saying greeting and interacting with his darling little peers.