Everyone's kinda jumping on the poor SLP for saying N's not on the spectrum. So I feel like I should stand up for her--and for me--a bit. What she was saying, in essence, was that he qualifies for and deserves major services, period. For a variety of issues.
She did say, as several of you did, that yes, if I keep looking and asking and pushing, I might get someone to give him a PDD label. But she also implied (and gosh I wish I had a tape recorder so I could put it the very gentle and diplomatic way she did) that anyone who did give him such a label would be doing it because they were either not very good at their job or would be turning a blind eye to the truth in order to help me get what I want. The truth is that, yes, on paper, he's spectrummy, what with the social issues (though they are becoming more and more invisible outside the classroom), the communication issues, the sensory issues. But in person, he simply is not. He's something else...in so many senses of the word. (She mentioned another, possibly more fitting, umbrella label that of course went in and out of my head...something along the lines of Multisomething Developmental Delays maybe?)
[I'm putting aside the 'it's a spectrum' argument for now, because, yes, semantically, everyone is on the spectrum. But 'everyone' doesn't qualify for a label, and 'everyone' doesn't qualify for services. So there's clearly a line over which you're considered to really be 'on' the spectrum rather than off it. Em is way way way off it. N is too, just less so.]
I really do agree with her. As, to be honest, has every single professional who has ever looked at him. I have a folder full of reports from Pediatricians and Developmental Pediatricians and Occupational Therapists and Speech Therapists and Special Education Teams...and on every single one, it says that there is this concern and that concern and the other concern, but they also all say in one way or another that he doesn't meet the criteria. Not even close. This isn't about getting a second opinion. I've had, conservatively, five opinions--and, in reality, closer to eight or ten. And they all say no.
That sounds negative, but she wasn't being negative. She thinks that I have a very strong case to get him an IEP and accommodations WITHOUT a spectrum diagnosis, and she was almost flat-out begging me to go that route. She warned that I would likely need an advocate to help me down the road (which, thanks to my buddy Valle's constant reiteration of the same refrain will be easy to do, since I have a great, huge list of people to contact when the time comes), because she thinks they may balk at it, but also because she thinks we may end up having to ask them to pay for more appropriate speech therapy than they can provide, or for private OT, etc. She also thinks there's a real case to be made for him needing an at-least-part-time one-on-one aide to help him regulate in class.
But before we go there...to advocates, etc...she said she thinks I should start by going in with the simple and straightforward attitude that it is illegal for them to refuse to help him if he qualifies for help--regardless of his label or lack thereof. He has problems that are interfering with his ability to learn...period. Doesn't matter what he's called. He need help, he deserves help, they need to help. FAPE, baby!
And that is something I can fight for without feeling at all like I'm fudging. We'll see how it goes.