Barney and I had such a laugh when we realised he was saying ‘Ass Burglars’ instead of Asperger’s. We rolled around on my bed in fits of laughter.
Today Barney had his Ass Burglars appointment. Another one that we’ve been waiting months for. He and I went to the children’s hospital in Lurgan where he played with a lovely lady who assessed his social and communication skills whilst I talked grown-up stuff with the doctor. Once again I answered the same questions, for an hour and a half; whilst Barney played Guess Who and Jenga, and looked at cards of peoples emotional expressions.
Then they asked Barney and I to wait outside whilst they discussed their findings. 15 minutes later we were called back in, where the doctor explained that there is no question what-so-ever that Barney does have Asperger Syndrome. He said it was blatantly obvious to him. The speech therapist said that Barney had talked one on one to her about things he was interested in and that his eye contact wasn’t too bad once he got relaxed, and that his sentence formation was very advanced for his age. But his social understanding was lacking. He was able to distinguish emotions in pictures, such as anger or uspet, but wasn’t able to give reasons as to why someone might feel angry or upset, etc.
They had already had discussions with his teachers at school via the phone. Now that he has been diagnosed the school can receive extra funding to provide additional help for him. The doctor said that his anxiety is typical of a highly intelligent Asperger. He said that the world is confusing to him, but that because he is so intelligent he is constantly trying to work everything out and make sense of things. Which means that his wee brain never gets to relax, so he is in a constant state of anxiety and exhaustion.
The doctor also advised me to get a prescription for Melatonin. I will have to look into this some more. But he suggested that it is helpful for children with autistic spectrum disorders and ADHD type conditions. They don’t produce enough of the hormone melatonin to get to sleep at night and this is the reason why he is still trying to get to sleep at 11pm. And whilst he is lying in bed all he can do is think. So he thinks anxious thoughts and gets upset and then still can’t sleep. The melatonin is supposed to regulate the bodies inner time clock or something. I shall have to read up on it.
So what now? More of the waiting game. In about 9 weeks time two different autism bodies will contact us; one via the education authority and one via the health service. They will liaise with us and the school to provide assistance and help where needed. When Barney is 8 he will attend some social courses to help him interact better with other people. People will be coming out to our house to help teach us how to deal with panic attacks and anxiety, and to show us how to prepare timetables for Barney, and various different methods to help him. And that’s about all I know for now. They gave me a list of books to buy, but they are all rather costly at this time of year!
Edit - the doctor also said that he will be sending me a copy of his diagnosis letter. So that should be some interesting reading.