Warning... this is long ...difficult child will be 16 tomorrow. This brings a time of serious reflection for husband and me. difficult child has struggled through his early years and has been a mystery to us all, maybe even to himself - most of all. Because we live in such a small, supportive community his differences were easily accomodated in elementary school. Middle school, of course, marked a big change. And, then, the single most defining moment of his life and ours happened on February 13, 2003. He was running from school to the nearby track for track practice and he was hit by a huge utility truck whose driver was making a right turn at a red light . difficult child was able to mostly jump back away from the truck (according to witnesses to the accident), but the truck ran over his left foot. He had a serious, severe, life threating injury and he was in the hospital for two months following the accident. Doctors there tried to save his foot, but he ended up losing part of it and he developed a life threating infection in the hospital due to an epidural that was left in for too long a period of time. He developed sepsis, was in intensive care fighting for his life, and recovered after treatment with massive doses of antibiotics. Believe me, you just don't know just how dear your baby is to you until there are in intensive care and numerous doctors tell you that they don't know if he will survive. But difficult child is one strong guy and he did survive! He had nine reconstructive surgeries while he was first in the hospital and suffered severe pain with his treatment. He came home for months of in home physical and occupational therapy - and orthopedic surgeons, plastic surgeons, prosthetic experts, and pain doctors became a prominent feature of all of our lives. difficult child has been rehospitalized for a special muscle flap surgery and he has had four more reconstructive surgeries - two of which were this summer, and the poor guy has been flat on his back all summer. School just has not really worked out since his accident. Things were marginal to begin with, but this accident really pushed things in another direction. We have been sad to discover that the schools really haven't wanted to deal with us or difficult child ,and accomodations have been minimal and hard fought for. We had contacted a local Autism Center at Emory University for an evaluation for difficult child in order to gain entry into further services. difficult child has a 504 plan , but no IEP. (Throughout the years, before his accident, difficult child has had numerous evaluations - private and with the schools - and years of therapy - never a diagnosis of autism). After waiting way too long, we found a local neuropsycholgist who specializes in school advocacy and we are in the middle of an evaluation for difficult child. We've completed two appointments, will return for a third at the end of the month. The neuropsychologist tells us that he cannot get a valid WAIS score for difficult child because his subtest scores are incredibly scattered. He does speculate that difficult child may possibly have residual brain damage from the sepsis he had in the hospital, but he believes that further testing will clarify. We are so proud of difficult child, he really is a wonderful guy. He is without a doubt misunderstood by all teachers, doctors, and other professionals who encounter him. But we see the real strengths and talents that he possesses, and we've been through it every step of the way with him. He is just awesome, and I tear up thinking about this and recounting his story. Thanks for being the audience for this long story. It's the first time in four years that I've really been able to publicly articulate the entire experience. We don't know what the future holds , but we know we will be there for difficult child for as long as he needs us . . .