Thursday, May 7, 2009

Dr. Keck

Once we got past the morning, it was a big day for Nikko and me. We went to St. Alexius Medical Center in Hoffman Estates to see Dr. Nancy Keck, a doctor in Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics. We saw her upon referral from Dr. Santiago, one of Nikko's pediatricians. When I told her how the Behavioral Therapist who came to our house told us that Nikko didn't have behavior problems, that it was a discipline problem instead, she recommended we see Dr. Keck for a second opinion. Personally, I think the BT, who lived in Oak Park, didn't want to come see Nikko in Mount Prospect each week. We got ushered into a play room with three therapists who sat and started interacting with Nikko while they asked me questions. It was similar to the diagnostic test we did for his original diagnosis. This time we weren't there for a second opinion, which in the end they agreed that yes, Nikko has autism. Instead, I told them we were there to see if Dr. Keck could fill in any holes, to see if Nikko had progressed or if he needed things other than what he was doing.

Nikko started out ok, but he didn't like being confined and didn't really warm up to the women that much. They played some interactive ball with him, but it was short-lived. He never really got happy, and there was a point when he started melting down while we tried to focus his play in a corner. He actually gave up his struggling and fell asleep in my lap right in front of everyone. The therapists were really kind and listened to me ask all sorts of questions that I've been dying to ask. A big question was whether or not I should pursue ABA therapy for him, and they all agreed that I should give Nikko's preschool a try for at least two months before trying to add on outside therapies. I understand their point. They said that District 57 is a good one, see what they offer before trying to battle out any advocating issues. I agree. Nikko will need an adjustment period to preschool, so it's probably best not to barrage him with new stuff all at once. I think I get impatient and want to see results now now now!

Nikko and I went into an exam room and waited for Dr. Keck. She came in with some other guy observing, and she was very nice. Asked questions following our application, and I was surprised that I really didn't have many questions for her that the therapists didn't already answer, but I did bring up the ABA stuff, whether or not Nikko needs an advocate for his future, and were we headed in the right direction. From everything that I gathered, we have been headed toward preschool and may see a big improvement in Nikko after we start this. The school has routines to follow and Nikko may benefit from this. Also from what I gathered, he should continue with his therapies while I try to do picture therapy with him and continue to socialize him and build a good relationship with him. They will send me copies of the tests and evaluation, so when they arrive I'll make sure to type all about it. I do remember generally that they were comparing his evaluation in October to today and he has made good improvement, especially in the motor skills department where he went from 18 months to 28 months. YEAAAAHHHH! As to be expected, he didn't make many gains in the verbal communication department. He went from 6 months to 9 months. BOOOOOOO.

I took Nikko to Costco afterward to squeeze in an errand. Mom was at the house helping us out, but I didn't want to take longer by going to Jewel. I'll go there tomorrow after Audrey's doctor appointment. After getting a few items and checking out, I stopped at the Costco food court because I hadn't eaten lunch and Nikko needed a snack. I got a slice of pizza, a cinnamon/sugar-coated churro and a Coke for us. I set the churro on the table in a sleeve and told Nikko it was for him. He looked at it curiously so I took a nibble first. After he tasted it, he bent down and started eating it as it rested on the table. Nikko made some kind of sing-song sound of content, almost saying, "Man, I'm happy!" It made me feel really good to see him happy, and I felt such a nice, calm bond with just Nikko and me sitting at the table. It's been a long time since he and I went alone anywhere. Back at Casa Umali, things were pretty calm with Mom and Denis around. Audrey was tired but awake, and Ronin was excited to see us. He and Nikko started running circles around each other in the living room. Even Nikko seemed happy to run after Ronin, and waited for Ronin when he paused and fell. Awww.

Tomorrow we have DT at noon, but Shelly is on vacation so there's no OT. Audrey has a doctor appointment so I'll leave the boys and take her tomorrow.

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