Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Another Assessment

We've finished Joseph's assessment at Nationwide Children's Hospital Autism Center. Back in the spring, we got on their waiting list, as well as a list to participate in a study at the Nisonger Center at OSU. The Nisonger Center called us fist and brought us in to evaluate Joseph. They diagnosed him with autism, but he would not cooperate with their intelligence tests so he could not participate in their study so they did not complete the assessment. It was a startling experience, even though we'd expected it for months. We told them we were waiting to get into Children's Hospital, and they recommended we stay on the waiting list for a more comprehensive assessment when they got to us.

Anyway, skipping a bunch of bureaucratic crap, Joseph's assessment at Children's took place in two parts. Last Tuesday, we went in with him and Kristy answered questions about him while two psychologists and a speech pathologist observed him while playing. They told us that they agreed with the diagnosis of autism.

During the ADOS, Joseph did something that surprised me. The psychologist brought out a doll, a tub of clay, plates, forks, and candles. He told Joseph that it was the baby's birthday. Joseph opened the clay, made a birthday cake, put the candles in it. He didn't sing 'Happy Birthday' but he waited while the doctor did. Then the doctor asked him what happened next, and he blew out the candles. This demonstrated a level of understanding that I was unaware of. Next, Joseph took the candles out and cut pieces of cake. At first, the doll had the smaller piece and Joseph a larger one, then Joseph switched them, giving himself the smaller and the doll the larger piece. This is pretty amazing, I think.

Yesterday, we went back for more assessments. He was sleepy, the night before he had trouble getting to sleep so we gave him 1.5 mg of melatonin. The psychologist worked through puzzles with Joseph, I think they were to test his intelligence, and this time he did very well (based on the time between the prompting and 'Good job!'). Only a couple he did not complete, and I suspect that was more because he was unwilling rather than unable. She tried asking him to do things verbally, without any physical prompting, asking him to name objects, etc. It was not easy going, we had to experiment with a variety of motivators. The most effective seemed to be bribing him with little bits of broken up candy cane. Toward the end though, he was not interested in anything we could offer him. He was exhausted and was done working.

In three weeks, I'll be meeting with them again to hear the results of their assessments, then with an autism resource coordinator who will help me make sure Joseph is getting all the services he needs.

None of this is huge news, more of the same. Of course, I'll update with the results of the assessment when we get them.


  1. I'd be curious how he would have done if he wasn't so tired. Hopefully they keep that fact in mind.

  2. We went there and their assessment and their ability to work w/ Duncan's pediatrician has sure helped Duncan make huge leaps this past year!
    Good Luck & I hope they can help you like they helped us!

  3. Thanks for sharing this story, Joe. I'm encouraged that 'testing' is moving in a more, ah, intelligent direction. ;)

    I agree with you that Joseph's actions were amazing.