I went back and forth on this therapy for so long, but after both Austin’s pediatrician and doctor for autism suggested it, I figured we should at least look into it. It took several months for me to even be able to set up an evaluation, as there is such a high demand for ABA right now, but thankfully we were able to have it done yesterday.
The evaluation was done by a team of two; the BCBA (Board certified behavior analyst) who will oversee Austin’s case, and the therapist who will actually be coming to the house every day. The evaluation was pretty straightforward. Questions for me and some play time with Austin. At first they wanted to see him 20 hours a week, but with him already being in speech and OT, I told them we can’t possibly fit that many hours into our schedule. So we came up with 11 hours a week and a schedule that looks like this:
Monday- ABA 8:30-12
Tuesday-ABA 8:30-10, Speech 10:30-11, Early Steps 3:45-4:45
Wednesday-ABA 8:30-11, OT 11:30-12
There is so much I am happy about as far as adding this therapy. The main thing is it’s completely FREE. It’s 100% covered by our insurance!! For another, with this kind of therapy schedule, I’m very hopeful we will see more improvement more quickly. Another plus is that this specific company works with the autism school that we are hoping to get Austin in this coming November (he is already on the waiting list there). The therapist said the school is very flexible and works with them. So that is great!
I think once everything starts and I adjust to constantly having people in my house (wait, I may never adjust to that I’m a total introvert! 🙂 I’ll feel better about things. Right now I’m just overwhelmed. My schedule was hectic before; now the girls will be out of school in another week and we will more than double the therapies we had before. ABA will be at the house, so at least (in theory) I might be able to get a few things done in between the girls fighting and crying and calling mommy 90000 times in an hour. Haha 🙂
And hopefully between Mike and all our family nearby I will be able to get out some with girls. I don’t want their summer to be spent cooped up in the house. They need my time and attention too and I feel like they’re not getting near enough of it.
Come November and Austin’s 3rd birthday everything will slow way down. He will be starting preschool and ABA therapy will happen while he’s there. I’m thinking at that point we will have to drop OT and probably just keep speech twice a week after school. I don’t want to wish the time away till November though, because I know sending my baby off to school will be a difficult transition for both of us.
I try not to dwell on the things I can’t change, but one of the hardest things of this past year has been being isolated. Instead of play dates we had therapy, instead of fun mornings with friends, we struggled with stress, grief, loneliness and fear. Instead of an extra year at home with me (due to his late fall Birthday) Austin will be starting school years earlier than I ever would’ve wanted.
I am overwhelmed and sad and anxious. I wonder if I can handle everything, if I can be the wife, the mother, and all the things I need to be. I feel like I’m barely keeping my head above water.
And yet what choice do I have? I wouldn’t change anything we’re doing to help Austin. Even if we don’t get the results we hope for, it’s still worth it. He is worth all of it.
Our families have been such a help and encouragement through these trying last several months. My sweet mom, who works such long hours at a demanding job and has a long commute, has taken it upon herself to grocery shop for me weekly. She picks up the list, shops, and delivers everything back to me. Half the time she helps me put it away too. My mother in law is always willing to drop everything, rearrange her schedule, and babysit or drop off/pick up kids as needed; my father in law helps us too much with all the extra expenses we have; my sister in law has picked up my kids every Wed afternoon and kept them all evening (despite being pregnant & sick) to give me a break. My sister has brought us meals just because, and babysits for me as well. Mike works long hours and never complains about all the overtime he takes on to help with expenses.
I am so thankful. Having both of our families nearby is a blessing, and they have been a bright spot in a challenging year.