Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Evaluation part 1, behavioral/social

Alright, deep breath.

Today was my son's first part of his evaluation. Yesterday he turned 5, it's been a big week.

I was surprised as soon as walked into the little office and shut the door to be told I was leaving my son there, alone. He seemed cool with it, so I reminded him where I would be, and went back out to waiting room. Then I broke into a full on panic. I don't leave my son alone with people I don't know, like, ever. This is based on my personal history, not my sons feelings about it. I texted a friend of mine who reassured me that he was fine, safe, and yes it would be disruptive to go back and ask they leave the door open. I was told it would be 40 minutes, it seemed to go by faster. When I walked into the room, I shut the door, and went to sit at the desk. I was quickly told, "Oh don't sit, we aren't talking now." So stunned I stood back up, and continued to stand for the 10 minutes of talking that followed. (I'm sorry I just thought that was weird)

He holds up a picture he had Will draw of his family, and he had labeled. It showed my husband, very tall center of page, Will to left almost as big as his dad, my father in law to the right, smaller than both of them, then another person, I forgot who, then Ben, his little brother very small up near the right corner, and finally me, tiny, in the very corner, furthest away from Will. I was told that this showed the bond between Will and my husband-yeah, I knew that! He thinks his dad is the best. man. ever. He told me that Will's fine motor skills were behind, but he doesn't spend much time drawing, and when he does its a quick scribble before he runs of to something else. So, again not a surprise.

He told me that Will has problems with memory, that unless its about trucks or toys, or something that he likes, he doesn't retain it. Also not following directions, again things I knew. He said we were going to have to watch him closely in kindergarten and first grade, because he was not going to be thinking about what he was supposed to be. I have been worried about this.

He touched on some behavioral things, not following directions, knowing he should not be doing something, but doing it anyway, then being mad when he got in trouble-or specifically "when daddy yells at me" then sad when he knew why he wasn't supposed to do it. He said that was all normal, he was concerned about the memory stuff and lack of attention. They also discussed how we as a family are annoying but he likes us anyway-a typical will statement, also that school is boring, and he gets mad when he has to go, again, not new-I have to fight that kid into his clothes every day and out the door.

Next week we go back for the cognitive part. So after all of this, I'm bummed. The only thing I was told today that was new was the fine motor piece, but that makes perfect sense to me. I guess on some level I was hoping he would charm them like he does with everyone else, they would tell me he was a good kid, but there were things to be fixed. Instead all the things I have been worried about were confirmed and said back to me, by someone who spent 40 minutes with my child. That is hard to swallow, and then even more fun to explain over and over and over again.

When I spoke to my husband about all of it, he was at work, so I gave him the facts and he said "ok gotta go,"' I stopped him from hanging up, and told him what was bothering me, how everything I said was confirmed, when I kind of didn't want it to be. He said, "well, you wanted to do this!" I went off. I gave him all the reasons I did this. First, how could I set my kid up to fail, by not addressing it, and then sending him to school, so he could fail, and then hate school. Second, I did not want my husbands and sons relationship to deteriorate any further, that Will was getting in trouble, Dave was yelling, I told him that he wasn't doing anything I had not done a million times but it didn't work, and if we did not know what to do that did work, than it was our job as his parents to get help and figure it out. He agreed.

I really just want to skip ahead to the counseling part. This all felt so negative, I'm so used to being told how cute, how smart, how funny, how imaginative he is, how well he talks. I really just want to use all those positives to work on this, it sucks to have to put out all the negatives and stare them in the face. We go back in a week.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Gathering information.

I feel like since we went to that interview appointment. I have been fixated on ADHD.

I've done a lot of reading, which alone is a stressful experience. Try googling ADHD...and get inundated with links to all kinds of things that may or may not be anything more than someones opinion. I have found a few links that seem to be reputable... CHADD, parents of children with adhd both have forums. The thing is when I go into these forums, I do not find support so much as they scare the heck out of me.

I'm reading people referring to their child as "my ADHD" in all fairness, maybe that is shorthand forum speak, but my mind rejects that and screams-you mean your child! How do you refer to your child as a bunch of initials?  I'm reading about kids on meds to treat ADHD, and then more meds to treat the side effects. About kids with poor appetites, who aren't able to sleep without help.  I'm a nurse. I understand that while meds are extremely helpful to people, all have side effects. I just cannot imagine my son dealing with that. I want to help make managing his life easier for him, not add things that make him physically feel worse.

One thing that I found that was very helpful was this free suite 101 course parenting ADHD children, so far I have read about half of it, but that took three hours, while I took notes and cut and paste some worksheets into my email for easy locating. The opening paragraph described my life so directly I knew I had finally found something helpful.

Parenting ADHD Children


You are going to be late for work - again! You have already spent 20 minutes cajoling, yelling, and threatening your son to get out of bed, get dressed and eat breakfast so he won't miss the school bus - again! He has dawdled, gotten distracted with toys, can't find his clothes, or his schoolbooks. He is moody, grumpy, and belligerent. You are angry, frustrated and wonder how long you will be able to continue the reminding, threatening, and punishing before your child finally "learns" what he is supposed to do! You've tried every parenting technique you can think of. Your friends and family have a ready list of new options for you to try. "If only you would do this!" or "You must be doing something wrong!" It doesn't help. You're tired, frustrated and have a sinking feeling that there are no solutions, that it will only get worse, and that you are trapped! What's worse, nobody seems to understand. Everybody thinks you're a bad parent. But you know you are working hard at being a good parent. Even your parents don't understand how hard you work at this. There are days you hate your child, then immediately feel guilty and remorseful. "How can I hate him? He was my baby who I cuddled and loved. How can this be happening? What am I doing wrong? Maybe, I just need to try harder..."

This is my life, with the exception of my William is a poor sleeper and beats us out of bed every morning of his life, he wakes up between 4 and 5 am.

I have been doing lots and lots of talking with family, with my husband. Kind of prepping them for what I think (what I know) is coming. I know my husbands entire parenting style, is wrong. Or wrong for dealing with a child with these particular issues. I also know I can't tell him that, so I'm waiting for him to hear from people who are "professionals".  I spoke to my mother in law, and as luck would have it, she has seen Will acting up twice this week. It is hard to have anything to say when you see how out of control this kid can be sometimes. She was wonderful, and open and ready to see what the evaluations say, and that is all I can ask for at this stage of the game. 

At the interview we were given forms to fill out, and have his teachers fill out. I explained to his preschool teacher that I was bringing in forms. She told me that she didn't think so, "NOT WILL!"  Ummmm, yeah Will, my son? The child I have been raising for 5 years?  The one both me and my mom have spoken to you about his behavior at home, asking how he behaved at school?  I again described things that he does that are concerning to me. She said, "I would never believe it if I saw it." How am I supposed to handle that? Maybe I'm wrong? Maybe I don't know my kid? Maybe I'm doing it wrong? I suck at parenting? Then I re-read the introduction above, and I remember that I do know my kid, and because I am his mom I have to do what my gut is telling me. So I am, but part of me wishes I had never asked the question.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Our journey into ADHD begins.

I set up this blog, excited to have a new space. One that my family, my husband, my friends do not know about. I wanted a place to put things that I would not have to worry about writing.

When I did this I had no idea my first post on my pretty new blog would be so difficult for me to write.

I have two boys, they are both smart, funny, cuddly, goofy, and cute as hell. They are very different boys with very different temperament's. My oldest though, something was different.

I knew what it was, I suspected for a while, but hoped it was just immaturity, that he would grow out of it, boys will be boys and all that. It has not gone away. I'm watching the most charismatic, charming, smart little boy, turn into the "bad kid". The kid who just does not go along, the kid who is not happy when everyone else is happy, the kid whose name is always being yelled in my house, who sometimes tantrums. He is always getting into things, he does not follow the rules. I suspected he had ADHD. I spoke to my pede about it, he said he was too young to be evaluated, that the age was 6. He was 4 1/2, we had a long way to go.

This week the word that kept popping into my head was Disruptive. He is disruptive. To his environment, to our home life. My husband was beyond frustrated with him, and had resorted to a stance of either yelling at him or cuddling with him. When he yelled "Will, you don't listen!" again, my heart started to break a little bit-I have yelled those same words over and over, but I was starting to understand that it may not be his fault.

I'm familiar with ADHD, my brother who is 14 months younger than me was diagnosed officially as an adult. He is taking meds now and has told me "Ali, this is amazing, I've never felt like this, it's all just gone, and I can do what I want to do. " Our house when we were children though sounded like no one liked him, with his name being yelled every 35 seconds for some other destructive or annoying thing he was doing. I don't want that for my son.

I don't want him to go to school and decide it's a bad thing. I'm afraid of him starting kindergarten and having a hard time doing what he is supposed to, of being as disruptive there as he is here.

I'm afraid of a really close relationship between my son and his father turning into a negative one. I have been watching it happen. While my husband did not respond well to the initial news, today I already see a change in the way he is handling Will, it makes a big difference when someone tells you that your kid is not just a bratty kid who does not listen, but a kid who CAN'T listen.

So far all we have done is the initial interview, which was me answering a ton of questions about my kid, how he behaves, how he eats, how he sleeps, how he handles stress, how he tantrums. Based on my answer I was told "ADHD is there" they want to check him for other mood disorders. That sent me into a panic. I'm still trying to wrap my mind around ADHD, what that means for my kid, my family and my parenting, and you want add new stuff to the mix?

I do not want to medicate my kid, says my gut. The Doctor we met with said that we can try behavioral stuff, but it usually does not work, even if you have a great plan, these kids do not have the impulse control to follow it. You need the meds to follow the plan. At this point I'm trying to keep an open mind, but I feel a little sick. My head is screaming 'He's not even 5 for another two weeks!!! NO,NO, NO!!!! '

I don't want my son to labeled-ADHD carries such a bad kid connotation-oh he will be the kid the teachers hate. The kid other parents don't want their children to be friends with.

So yeah I'm struggling. I know this came from me. It is genetic, my brother has it, my mom recently was diagnosed. I'm being told that I have it, and although never assessed, I can see it. I also know that there are a whole lot of worse things in the world to be told about your child. This one is doable, please forgive me if a panic a little while I figure out how to do it.