July 30, 2010
It's been a tough week. Power outages, Mamapop outages, booze outages, oh my.
And then there's Noah.
Noah...well. Noah has not been receiving any real occupational therapy since school ended, and it's showing. It's showing HARD.
He's a ball of tics, all of a sudden. A ball of walking, wiggling, finger-chewing, repetitive stimming behaviors. He speaks in scripts, he lives in rituals. He doesn't walk, he runs, while shaking his limbs and making vibrating-like noises with his mouth while every person in the area turns to stare because what the...? Ice cream is too cold, macaroni and cheese is too slimy, using a fork is too hard. He hums and squints and worries about everything. Last night he clapped his hands over his ears when I reached for the faucet because it was all too loud, TOO LOUD.
He doesn't look me in the eye, anymore. His eyes stare somewhere off in the distance, right above my head. I repeat requests and questions to him, over and over again, before finally shouting his name to get his attention. He snaps back from outer space and seems surprised that I'm even there.
"What?" he asks.
At camp, he's not participating as much as he used to, choosing instead to escape the group and spend his time doing laps of that strange wiggling-stim-run around the classroom over and over. Any emotional outburst from another child drives him up the wall. He begs to go to the OT room, a request the understaffed room can only occasionally grant, and even then, it's not the same without his therapist there pushing him, giving him what he needs in addition to want he wants. (Which is: Tire swing, all the damn time.) We sent him to the speech-focused camp simply because that's the one we had insurance approval for. Bad call, in retrospect, but...well, there's no rewind button on these things.
We're appealing our insurance's rejection of his OT sessions, of course. We have one more appeal -- this is our third, and we're doing it with help from Jason's company's insurance broker -- and then we get to file a complaint with the state and force yet another review and appeal.
A review and appeal for services Noah received in DECEMBER, by the way. If we're lucky, they'll approve our request for coverage through last...February? March, maybe? Then the process starts all over again, for the next approval of an extension of coverage for therapy that ALREADY HAPPENED. Now that it's obvious that Noah still desperately needs regular OT sessions, I'm guessing we'll be finishing up the appeals process sometime in 2032.
(Insert crazy back-of-the-throat GAAAHZZZPPPBBBTT sound and a good head-smash against the wall)
I realize, though, that we are lucky -- at least we know what the problem is. We know what's missing and we know how to help. We can pay out of pocket, since the school district program is mostly concerned with his fine-motor skills and not so much the other havoc that dyspraxia wreaks on the rest of his body. It's just...so tough to see some of that hard-fought, so-throughly-documented-just-a-few-months-ago progress go away, but at least we saw it in the first place. He can do it, and so can we. Even Noah knows. He begs me every day when I pick him up from camp: I want to go to OT. I WANT TO GO TO OT.
I know. And dammit, you're going to go to OT.