It’s been awhile since I last posted & a lot has gone on. Lets bullet point the past few months to bring us up to date.
- We found a house in a valley in Mililani, very close to Ryan’s job.
- Had our first Tsunami scare, appropriately enough, Halloween weekend.
- Enrolled Aidan in a private school in nearby Wahiawa.
- Pulled Aidan out of the private school (long story that will have it’s own blog post).
- Celebrated our first Thanksgiving & Christmas in Hawaii, on our own, away from family.
- Abbey Dog arrived from the mainland.
- We began homeschooling Aidan.
- My parents came to visit, we hiked Diamond Head, ate Kahuku shrimp and then Aidan & I went with them to the Big Island for a few days where we saw a black sand beach, learned about growing & roasting Kona coffee, and we went to Volcanoes National Park, saw the lava fields and Aidan “woke” up Pele by yelling “Huka Pele!”, then we saw the caldera glow that night.
- We finished our first semester of homeschooling without killing one another & we’re pretty sure we’ll do it again this fall.
- Aidan started summer day camp where she is able to explore nearly everything Hawaii has to offer.
- We’ve seen a number of Hawaiian creatures lately, a Hawaiian Monk Seal came up on a beach where we were swimming/surfing. Another seal was beached down the shore, and this seal swam along the surf seemingly looking for his buddy. Later we saw a large number of Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles when we were learning to stand-up paddleboard up the Anahulu River. Aidan & some of her fellow campers found a baby octopus at Ala Moana beach which they promptly named “Ocho” (one of her counselors took it home).
And that pretty much brings us up to today…
Today we began the process of having Aidan assessed for Autism Spectrum Disorder. Since we’ve been on island, she’s been seeing a great child psychiatrist at Schofield, primarily to sort out her ADHD meds. Her weight/BMI more or less bottomed out not too long after we got here and her pediatrician was concerned that it was mostly due to her meds. During an appointment shortly after the beach excursion where we saw the seal (and had a meltdown of epic proportion), Ryan was able to come along and ask some questions of his own. He said something like, “…if it were something like autism, I could wrap my brain around that…” and Aidan’s doctor said “Oh yeah, I see a lot of things in her that might put her on the spectrum.” I had to do a double take. We’ve been seeing him monthly since November or December and this the FIRST he’s mentioned this?? You’ve GOT to be kidding me!! So, in typical Mama style, I went home & began to over-educate myself about ASD & Asperger’s Syndrome.
We’re very blessed in that Tricare covers as much autism care as it does. Just the assessment itself is over $3000. If it turns out that she is on the spectrum, we’ll enroll in Tricare ECHO (Extended Care Health Option) which will provide funding & services for private schools (if we so choose), skills trainers, therapy, more testing, etc. I know that it doesn’t cover everything & you can bet that I’ll be banging down the door to push for additional funding for the children of active duty servicemembers with autism.
PS. Like I said, I’ve over-educated myself on the topic & I hate the idea of my child being a “problem to be solved” thus, I hate the puzzle piece logo of most Autism Groups. However there is an alternative group that embraces the idea of “Neurodiversity” and, like me, shuns the idea of the puzzle piece representing them. I plan to write more about the idea of Neurodiversity in a later post. Just know, I don’t like the puzzle piece.