I managed this week to conduct not only the “transition to junior high” IEP for Captain Oblivious, but also the first negotiating session with the new managed health care people. Let me say, either meeting was seriously worth several glasses of wine and maybe a Valium.
The IEP meant meeting the responsible people at the junior high, and realizing with more of a pang than I expected, that these professionals who have seen the boy through five years will no longer be a part of his life. A new autism support teacher–fortunately a young lady I’ve known since she was a child– means everything will be different. Everyone is well aware of his issues now, and the repetitive nature of the listing of needed supports for success hammered home how difficult he can be.
We joked about how he thinks he knows everything, and I said he should hurry up and get to be 18 while he still was smarter than everyone else, so he could get his own place and be right ALL the time. The school psychologist, who’s been a real support, wondered how I could be sure C.O. would be out on his own when he was 18.
“Because his father said so,” I assured her, and there was a big laugh.
But at the same time there was a little poignant pause when I really wondered.
The day before, I’d spent several hours with the new managed care team for mental health, where they analyzed the results of the two-hour evaluation the children had a month ago with a local psychologist’s intern. I didn’t get to see the report, “because of HIPPA,” they said, but I was aware the recommendation had been exactly along the lines of my request, 30 hours of mobile therapy and TSS a week all summer for Little Miss and C.O. for an inclusion summer camp to work on social skills. The director of the wraparound agency we used before was there, and she backed me up 100 percent as they went over the recommendations they had advised me we needed to have.
The county person kept popping up with useful statements like, “Oh, have you heard of Autism Speaks? They have an awesome website.” Yeah, no kidding. I’ve been at this seven years, pal. What’s your excuse? The rep from managed care seemed to understand everything we wanted as we went through the children’s strengths (relatively few) and areas of concern (how much time do you have?) and came up with a beautiful recommendation. We all left smiling but weary.
Then Michelle from my agency says, “Oh, by the way, you may not get it.”
“What? No! Everyone was happy. They wrote it all down!”
“They always do. Then they take it back and decide whether they’ll approve it or not. If it goes to Peer Review, even less chance.”
So I headed back to my car with a sigh, wondering if that whole six or more hours had been a total waste. And now, after a week of reviewing just how bad the situation is so we can get help, I’m looking for my rosy-colored glasses so I can get a positive outlook again. Bottom line is, every problem we overcome means we’re moving forward. And besides, C.O. came home from track and field day with his first blue ribbon ever today–and Little Miss got a blue, a 3rd and three 4ths. Just have to keep those blinders trained on the bright side.