As many of you know, Hamslice had a rather disappointing K1 year in school. We took him home in April full time after his school determined he was Autistic.
Since then we have been going to multiple specialists, trying to get a handle on the truth. Hambone and I were pretty certain the Autism suspicion was not the actual issue but we were really confused at Hamslice's behavior and effect on adults.
The school referred us to one of the top autism specialists in Maryland, who tested him extensively and concluded that no, he is not autistic. We also had his IQ and cognitive function tested to see if there was indeed a screw loose somewhere.
His tests came back like this: IQ score puts him in the 95th percentile for intelligence in general, with 'Very superior' ability in Verbal (99th percentile) and some gaps in processing speed and performance IQ. This means he has a little trouble getting his thoughts into writing and processing them into communication for the rest of us.
However, Hamslice was tested under the assumption that he had already had a kindergarten curriculum, and he had not. We suspect his scores would be a little higher had he been tested under the correct educational level. He was also diagnosed with a touch of ADHD combination type with impulsive behaviors.
So... good news right? It's definitely better news than we were expecting. The Autism spectrum disorders did sound a little like our guy so we had been concerned.
However, we still have a little guy who has a hard time behaving himself. He is smart enough to know how to get out of tasks through throwing tantrums, and he is stubborn enough to stick with it to the bitter end. For example, I have been teaching him to play the piano, which addresses a lot of his coding and processing gaps. When he has to learn a new song (decode notes, encode into fingerings, get reward through sound) he simply refuses to do it. And the longer I make him sit, the more he amps up his resistance with creative tantrums. So far we have one chair through the wall, one wall decorated with finger scrapes, and one ivory torn off the piano. The harder the task, the worse the tantrum.
If he goes somewhere that includes an activity he doesn't find stimulating, he does the damnedest things. One time he drooled on a kid, the next time he walked over and felt the boobs of the instructor, once he just started saying "beep" so loud we got kicked out.
What do we do with this genius.
We are absolutely at a loss about where to send him to school. We wound up opting for the local public school because at least then it won't be a hassle to pick him up every day. And it will probably be EVERY DAY.
Some friends of ours said we need to get in touch with the special ed teacher to build an enhanced curriculum for him. And I have to smile a bit because ... really? We will try it, but if he starts beeping and drooling in the regular class, he'll never make it to the enhanced curriculum part.
We have been doing some reading of our own, and the best book so far is "Children: The Challenge" by Rudolf Dreikurs. This at least trained Hambone and me how to manage the tantrums and to encourage Hamslice in a way that focuses on what he does well so he doesn't worry so much about performing in his gaps. It has been really helpful.
But probably the biggest turnaround for us since leaving school is what happened when we started making Hambone TRY things. He would have a tantrum, but we stuck with it and made him try things. Finish things. And for him to learn about the pride of accomplishment and the joy of achieving what he thought was not possible has helped him understand that maybe tantrums aren't the answer.
So... one day at a time. At least today it isn't Autism. Maybe tomorrow we will make it through a full day of cooperation and happiness.