Friday, February 10, 2012

Adventures with ADHD!

So I'm dusting off the old blogaroo, because I'm finding I desperately need a space to ruminate on what's happening in our lives right now.  I have ADD (like, I was all officially diagnosed, by a doctor, even, and not just by Teh Internets) and now it is looking more and more and MORE like the little monkey ALSO has ADD, or ADHD, or SOMETHING. God. The road to a diagnosis is rocky and long and full of comments like "You do realize all kids do that to some extent, right?" and "We don't like to diagnose at this age because they change so fast." But here's the skinny. I will never say something is WRONG with my child, because I truly don't believe that it is wrong to be wired the way we are. But my kid, my precious, smart, funny, loving, adorable child, is very very VERY clearly on a different wavelength than most of his peers. I see it. I feel it in my bones. And let me tell you, feeling that your child is different in some way than the rest of his peers is not something you make up. I adore Sam (obviously). I wouldn't change him even if I could. I LOVE the way his mind works. But I think he's in for a long, hard road through childhood, and that breaks my heart. My only solace is that all these qualities that are so difficult in childhood will make for a freaking amazing adulthood. AND that we are doing everything, EVERYTHING we can to get him help, to make his childhood smoother and easier and more fun.

Like SO many kids with special needs, Sam started off with speech therapy. I think Amy called speech therapy the gateway drug to early intervention. WOOT. And things were going pretty smoothly. Sam made rapid progress, and although he still has issues with connected speech (probably not helped by the fact that he has a sick giant vocabulary), he still met the goals on his first IEP (individualized education plan) in under 6 months. But as he started getting older, there were some definite hints that Sam, like his parents before him, marches to the beat of his own drummer. And his drummer, while certainly not aggressive or defiant, doesn't particularly give a fuck what your drummer is doing. Your drummer can play your rhythm and his drummer will play his rhythm, and can't we all just play different rhythms and get along? This is Sucky Fact about ADHD #1: No, we can't. Our school system isn't set up that way. The most you can hope for is to be able to experiment around with subdivisions, but you must stay on the beat. Sorry my piglet. It sucks, and it shouldn't be like that, but that is the way the world works.

So right now we are going through the public schools to get Sam evaluated so we can formalize his need for services. I'll be getting him appointments with some specialists to rule out other disorders and try to get a diagnosis so we can get access to services. We're documenting like crazy so that when we finally do get in to a medical doctor I can show that he's had these behaviors observed at both home and school for well over six months.

People, I put together a list of traits my kid has that are "very unique" and it was two-and-a-half pages. I've had outside people confirm it is an accurate list. That shit is NOT neurotypical.

Before I get any hater comments, I do NOT plan on using meds with Sam, at least not in the near future. Although I believe that there are occasions when all other options have been exhausted and meds are needed, we are not even CLOSE to that point. Also, research is coming out that is pointing to meds being a short-term fix. And I get, I really, totally, get that there are times when you need that short-term fix. School is not something you can afford to fail at. Having a semblance of a normal social life in childhood is not something you can afford to fail at. But I think learning behavior modification is a long-term fix, and that's where I want to focus with Sam. Right now, he needs his environment to do the majority of the modifying. As he gets older and more self-aware, we'll transition that responsibility on to him.

So I'm going to use this blog to record our journey. At some point, with Sam's permission and way in the future, when our journey of raising him is mostly done, I would like to write a book about what it is like being an ADD mom parenting an ADD kid. I have so many advantages, because I get where he is coming from. And I have so many disadvantages, because I need to set things in place for him that are as difficult for me to cope with as they are for him.

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