I thought I’d start this post with a picture of the inside of the creepy dollhouse that lives lurks at the neuro-pscyhe office where my daughter was recently tested. Specifically, this is a close up of four dead dolls and a lion that live in the house. (Unknown whether the lion was the cause of the four deaths. It’s also unknown whether the office used to be occupied by a dentist.)

Four dead and a lion
This weirdly sums up my feelings of exhaustion and confusion.

What I initially thought was simple Asperger’s testing turned out to be a full neurological psychological evaluation for my daughter and we returned to the office this week for the results.

Her diagnosis is “autism spectrum disorder, without intellectual impairment, with language impairment” and a “learning disability, mild, with impairment in reading and written expression.” Apparently the “DSM” (I assume it’s some sacred text for PhDs written in Latin on pharmaceutical script pads) doesn’t use the term Asperger’s Syndrome anymore, but that’s basically what it is, with the addition the listed impairments.

Or, you could word it as my daughter did when we got in the car, “That sounded about right.”

What she said first though, before the car doors were even closed, was a resounding, “I am not depressed!”  The doctor had also thrown “depressive disorder, mild, unspecified” in the mix. I was glad that she had volunteered she wasn’t depressed without me prying and I said as much.

Then I proceeded to pry anyway, because, naturally.

I inwardly panicked and I tried to think of everything that would be a sign of depression (followed by wondering how I was going to find time to write my acceptance speech for worst parent of the decade.) I went through a standard discussion about depression and symptoms, asked her to please come to me or someone else if she ever thinks she needs help, inquired about thoughts and habits that I thought I had known pretty well…

“Mom. I’m NOT depressed. Or crazy. THEY’RE crazy.”

Not yet convinced, it occurred to me to search through the lengthy documents they had handed us. I relaxed a little when I saw what they had come up with: “sleep disturbances, reduced appetite or weight, pyschomotor slowing and reduced sexual interest as well as low energy level.”

HOLY SHIT!  WE ARE ALL “depressed, mild, unspecified.”

Most people probably have 4 out of 5 of these symptoms and wished they had reduced weight, which probably means everyone has low self-esteem on top of the mildly non-specific depression they weren’t aware of. 

I was relieved and slightly annoyed that this was their basis. My daughter snorted at the reduced sexual interest, especially. I seized the opportunity, however, to go through their list of remaining accusations and reprimanded her for the zillionth time about her eating habits.

She looked at me and rolled her eyes. “But that’s not depression.”

I agree. I personally think all these symptoms are related to nutrition, which may ultimately be related to the autism. She will compulsively eat the same food for a week or two then switch to something else, and the list of choices is short to begin with. One week there’s pancake mix everywhere, the next week we can’t get the smell of tuna out of our clothes.

Did I mention she doesn’t like taking any kind of vitamins? I received a glare and an arm folding gesture with a mention of THAT subject again. But, then I think she began to feel a little sorry for me and offered a shrug and an eyebrow raise, which meant that the subject could be put back on the table for discussion.

Language skills impairment, indeed. Sigh.

I’m too overstimulated to talk about the suggested treatments and still have to mull over the depression nutrition(?) issue some more, so here are more dollhouse pictures.

Amityville for Kids
Amityville to keep the kids entertained.
No one home.
Voodoo therapy rags.

She started to absentmindedly organize the dollhouse while we were waiting, which was odd, because her room at home looks like a B-movie horror cat made of rainbows projectile vomited strange artwork and weird dolls everywhere.

I wonder what the PhDs would say about THAT.