Diagnosis: just another brick in the wall

On Saturday morning we arrived bright and early at Action in Autism for our scheduled screening. We decided to try to be first in line (and succeeded), as we didn’t know what to expect. Last time we were there, the girls were overwhelmed by all the other children, and I thought if our visit was fairly quick we could avoid a lot of stress.

Even the trip was not without its … ahem … intrigues, with us running out of petrol just a few km from our house (and the nearest petrol station!). Thankfully, we managed to time our incident perfectly and found ourselves right outside the door of one of my best friends, who graciously gave us her lawnmower fuel to get us to the petrol station. Ha ha! Life is full of surprises.

We made it to the petrol station! While we were there, to fortify the girls against whatever lay ahead, I bought them sneaky bribery-material (crisps and chocolates!) and then we were on our way once more!

When we arrived at our destination we were, indeed, first in line. It wasn’t long, however, before others began arriving. There was a wealthy couple with fashionably-dressed son who looked about as autistic as our children (so, not very). There was also a whole delegation of children, many of whom appeared to be orphans, from the Deaf and Blind Society of South Africa. What made this group even more interesting was their deaf-and-blind social worked and her adorable guide dog, who kept us all entertained with a series of questions (the social worker) and a lot of tail wagging (the dog).

We finally had our assessment. A paediatric neurologist asked the girls a string of questions, then told us she needs to see us at her practice in KZN Children’s Hospital. And then we left, lollipops in hand.

So we’re really not much closer to having a handle on our family’s challenges. Apparently Goldilocks has an anxiety disorder (as well as everything else), and the neurologist was very interested in the Tourette’s, low muscle tone, cardiac arrhythmia and various other aspects of our lives. She seems to think there’s “something there”, but what that something is we don’t yet know. Maybe next month. We’ll see.

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