Since the diagnosis roulette wheel has finally slowed to a stop, I have gradually begun to feel a bit more comfortable with Edward’s Asperger’s diagnosis.
I even told my mother about it this week without crying or hyperventilating.
Still, it’s always a bit nerve-wracking to go into developmental assessment and psychological testing type situations even though I am now armed with a hefty binder of reports.
I find that Edward, too, has began to thrill to these types of meetings and assessments.
(Wait a minute, he always thrilled to them…)
We found out about a university-run social skills summer camp a few months ago and decided to apply. Of course Edward had his sites set on a “survival skills” camp, but since social skills are so closely tied to survival I didn’t feel like I was being too terribly deceptive in telling him he was “trying out” for a survival camp.
He did decide to wear some camouflage pants.
We arrived early where Edward asks the receptionist about thirty thousand questions about a small desk water feature. One question involved whether or not the plastic ball that spun about in the milky water was made from extruded plastic. The poor woman was just trying to type. Just trying to answer the phone.
Interestingly enough, although we were 45 minutes early, we were soon called back for our interview. We are greeted by two bright-eyed child psychologists who look like grad students.
Edward settles himself comfortably at the interview table and addresses the camp psychologist:
“So I see you are a convict…”
The poor youthful psychologist looks at me quizzically. I point to the stripes on his shirt and nod.
Next Edward is required to describe what is happening in a variety of photographs depicting various childhood social situations. A child who has clearly fallen and skinned his knee is described as “demoralized” and “gravely wounded.”
Naturally he devises a complicated system of checking off the questions as he completes them. This involves creating an icon for each item based on a team that his soccer team, the Slimers, have played and supposedly defeated. It’s terribly complicated and time-consuming but the psychologist handles this patiently and E completes the interview after soundly beating the fellow in three games of Connect Four.
At this point, a reward-treat is offered and Edward trots off to procure it with the psychologist while I meet with the other camp counselor who assures me that E is a wonderful fit for their camp and that he will probably enjoy the drama and acting the most. I assured her she was correct about that, and that I was potentially planning on selling plasma to pay for the insanely expensive camp.
A few minutes later the other youthful psychologist enters the room and looks around nervously. Then she whispers to me, “I left all the treats at the other office.”
She begins to scramble about bags of coffee creamer while Edward eyes her expectantly. “I’m sure you’ll find a suitable treat for me,” he assures her, and continues to grill the other psychologist about whether or not the camp will involve squeezing water out of animal dung.
All of a sudden I eye a bag of mint Life Savers. “Here, this will work perfectly! He never gets any ‘normal’ candy so he’ll be so excited about this,” I assure her. She looks skeptically at me and hands me several mints. “No, just one is enough. There is probably some sort of artificial color in there somewhere and we can’t have much of that…”
She presents the mint to Edward who beams like she’s handed him a gold bar: “Thank you, thank you, thank you, Dr. Kelly! This is just what I wanted. Just perfect!”
And with that we are off to collect the van in the free valet parking area.
You have to love a children’s medical facility that provides free valet parking.