Fast forward to today. I got a call saying they had gotten the referral from Korban's dr and asked if I could bring him in this afternoon to get the ball rolling. So I said yes and rearranged my whole afternoon to be able to do this.
They took us straight back as soon as we got there and Korban sat down and started playing on his iPad. The lady looked at him, then looked at me and said "Does he have autism?" I said "Yes ma'm he does," and she said "Oh we don't deal with autism." I very nearly blurted out "The heck you do all day?!?" Ha! A behavioral therapy group that does not see people with autism? I was floored. She could tell, because I was sitting across from her looking like this:
so she offered to go get the number to a group in Tupelo that provides therapy for people with autism. She came back and handed me a sticky note with the info for the Autism Center of Tupelo. Which is fine, and he went there for a long time when he was little, but they only provide services up until age 8, and he's 11 so there's that. I explained that and she was shocked. Another lady came in and told me about a group with Delta State that does therapy. Again, good information, but Cleveland is 3.5 hours from my house (one way) and that would be pretty torturous every week. At this point, I'm wondering if they've ever MET anybody with autism.
I asked if his referral form mentioned that he had autism and she said it didn't. She said "I wish I had asked you on the phone." So did I, but at at this point I was really more tickled than angry, even though it was a wasted trip. I really wanted to ask what kinds of clients they DID see, but I didn't. I know there's a lot out there besides autism, but I really had not come across any therapeutic groups that just "didn't deal with autism." The next time Korban has a meltdown out in public I think I'm just gonna yell "I don't deal with autism!" and walk away.
I'm not trying to be negative because the ladies I met were very sweet and apologetic but it was a perplexing experience. I did call his neurologist office when we left just to let them know that it was not an appropriate referral for their autism families. Hopefully I saved some other family from a wasted trip like we had today.
Our little trip was good though. Korban was pretty calm. He's just been having some really tough behaviors lately that we need to get a handle on. Just within the past few weeks he has decided he doesn't want any of us (except for Selah and Jet) to touch him. He's always been affectionate and all of a sudden no hugs, no kisses, I can't even rest my hand on his back without him freaking out. That makes being in public challenging because if I try to guide him at all he starts yelling and running into people trying to get away from me. We are very thankful we can tether him to Jet because that helps a lot. Selah has also been a huge help. She will hold his hand when we are out in places and she is so good with him. She also picked up on how sad I was that Korban wouldn't even give me a hug, so she went and hugged him and then came and hugged me. She said "See, Mama, I brought you a hug from Korban!" Bless her sweet heart. What would we have done without our Selah?
In addition to the sudden sensitivity to touch, he is also going through another spell of breaking glass. Sometimes because he's angry and sometimes just because he likes to watch it shatter. Very scary! We are in the process of replacing the windows in his room with Plexiglass--they've been broken more times than I could count. Also we are still dealing with all the things we've been dealing with for years, like his skin picking, screaming fits, etc. This time last year he was SO aggressive towards me (that was when I got the black eye) so I'm thankful he hasn't been aggressive like that this year, although we still deal with it infrequently. Oddly enough, even though Selah is the only one he will currently show affection towards, she's also the only one he's been aggressive towards. He's pulled her hair and scratched her within the past couple of weeks. I hate it so bad. I would rather it be me than her. We've got a lot to work on, and I'm hoping we can get it under control better soon.
His behavior tends to cycle, and like I mentioned earlier the spring is just a hard time of year for us. Thankfully Brad will be out for the summer soon. Last year was his first summer to be off and we spent the first part of it just staying home and working on behavior. Things got better and I could breathe easier. To say I am excited about him being home would be an understatement! Here's to "dealing with autism," y'all. :)