Helana met with a pediatric neurologist last week. After our insurance gives the okay, he is going to issue a series of tests including hearing/vision, as well as scans to see if there are any visible defects to her brain as well as making sure everything "fires" correctly. He did say that he would NOT diagnose Helana as autistic, though she does have some autistic tendancies. He would catergorize her as having a "developmental delay, not otherwise-specified". A fancy way of saying, "I don't know", if you ask me. Ha ha.
Seriously, though, we are thrilled she has been "cleared" of autism. I knew in my gut that wasn't the answer. We have developed an unofficial diagnosis, with the help of a child's psychologist/social worker and lots of reading on my part. Helana is right-brained, a visual-spatial thinker and has a sensory-integration dysfunction. She is a sensory seeker. This basically means her nervous system is out of balance and requires stimulation to help her feel in-sync. This explains her compulsion to run her hands through my hair, and occaisionally kick or smack for no apparent reason and without a mean-spirited attitude. Being a visual-spatial learner explains why she only says select words instead of speaking in sentences. She thinks in pictures, not words, and as a result many of these children are delayed in language. I might point out that Einstein was one of these kids and didn't speak until he was five and continued to struggle making himself understood by others. They just THINK differently, and thus they LEARN differently. Drills and desk work do not mesh well with these kids.
We will wait and see what the test results show, she may have a hearing problem or possibly even a visual-tracking problem, but it looks like Occupational Therapy and Speech Therapy are in our future. Of course, the point of these is to provide me with direction on how to do these at home. More on that later.