I haven’t posted on my blog for quite a while. Part of that is due to being busy with my new baby (who is doing great and is now 7.5 months!) and also due to having something of an identity crisis. What kind of mom was I and what kind of child did I have? What is the context of what I would be saying in my blog if certain questions were still unanswered?
When 2018 started, I had one resolution in mind. This would be the year I finally got my son evaluated. I contacted a local psychologist who wanted to wait until he was 6 (6.5 months out), for testing. When you are raising a certain kind of child, and dealing with certain kinds of things, you want clear answers quickly. I just couldn’t wait until July. I couldn’t handle another person telling me “all boys are hyper” and either purposely or accidentally insinuating that I was not mentally prepared or equipped to raise a “typical boy.”
So one night as I rocked my youngest child to sleep, at about 3.5 months old, I begged God for an answer. I was desperate and crying. I just needed an answer because it felt like no one believed me, and that was impeding on my friendships.
Shortly after, I received a recommendation from my mother-in-law who received a recommendation from a friend that I should contact the psych department of a local university for assistance. After my first call to the clinic, I was told to wait for another call from them and I didn’t hear back for two weeks. When calling to follow up, it turned out there was someone available for an intake call right then (slightly unusual) and at the end of the call, it turns out there just happened to be someone who wanted to take on our “case.” We went in the next week! It was a very answered prayer! (And we saved a lot of money going through the university.)
We found out, or received confirmation, that my son has ADHD – severe ADHD. He is also most likely twice exceptional, but the IQ testing was a bit hard to run because of his age and the ADHD. We have two sets of scores and the second set is more reflective of him, but they are technically unofficial. I guess giving an IQ test to a child with severe ADHD is pretty silly since most of the test is like playing with toys! I also learned that giftedness for twice-exceptional students is often determined by the GAI score, not the FSIQ, because working memory and processing speed is affected by various learning difficulties.)
So here I am, with an official ADHD diagnosis coming in the mail shortly, and how do I feel? I am glad to have an answer for sure. But now, I have a new feeling to deal with and it is somewhat comical. Before I was worried that no one believed me when I said my son was challenging and probably had ADHD, but now I have confirmation that he does, and REALLY does, but now these same people probably don’t even believe ADHD exists!
I am imagining myself saying asinine or condescending things to people about medical studies and brain scans and how ADHD is REAL. Trust me, it runs in my family. I KNOW its real.
ADHD is so real that my son who has been on an adhd diet since he was born (no artificial color or flavor, almost no preservatives, no soy, very low sugar as toddler), watched almost no television/movies and hardly used the computer until he was 3, grocery shopped with me since infanthood without an iphone in his hand, was read to constantly, was fed on a schedule when appropriate which was said to reduce the likelihood of ADHD, has a healthy, structured family life, STILL HAS ADHD – severe ADHD!
My son’s diagnosis flies in face of all of the internet trolls who say ADHD is not real. Another point I want to share is that I read somewhere ADHD is common in certain social demographics because true ADHD is kind of disability that is passed on genetically. Luckily for some, when you are “twice exceptional,” or close to it, you are able to compensate, take medication perhaps, and still be very successful in life.
So I will end this post with a few things to consider NOT SAYING to someone who thinks their child might have ADHD, ASD, or anything else similar. (And remember, people usually share things because they are looking for empathy, validation, a listening ear, and/or support).
- Well, you know, boys are hyper. If you must say this, consider adding, all boys are hyper, but certainly there are some who do have ADHD and I only see your son for an hour (or fill in the blank) each week. I’ve heard early intervention is important so its great you’re thinking about this.
- Well, you know, boys mature more slowly than girls…. If you must say this, consider modifying it to include that my son’s ADHD symptoms might improve or change as he gets older and matures, but please don’t call into question his diagnosis. (I heard this yesterday probably from someone who doesn’t believe ADHD exists. Just because someone wants to know if their child has ADHD, doesn’t mean they plan to medicate. Sometimes they just want to know what is wrong…and why things are so hard. Not diagnosing ADHD isn’t any different from not diagnosing dyslexia. Wouldn’t you want to know why your child couldn’t learn to read and help remedy it? And there is no medication for that.)
- Oh really, he just seems like a normal kid to me…(I have learned that some people say this because they notice he is different and want to make me feel better. Thanks for that, but please validate first.) If you must says this, consider adding things like he seems like a normal kid to me, but I don’t spend much time with him, I’m sure you see a lot more than I do.
- Have you tried exercise? This one really gets to me. You cannot eliminate ADHD through exercise. If you could, then ADHD really wouldn’t exist. My son doesn’t tire out like that. And with all of the challenging behaviors I deal with sometimes, forcing my son to exercise when he doesn’t want to, and when it provides only minimal benefit, is not always worth it. And yes, my son gets a lot of outside time, especially now that he is older and more independent. There is really no way to modify this one. It is really something to try not to say. It is like asking someone with a dirty floor if they have tried mopping it. I’m sorry…not trying to be “smart” just venting after many years of waiting for this diagnosis!
So with it all said, I guess we have some answers. The diagnosis is still pretty fresh – less than two weeks. Now, to move forward and tackle homeschooling while catering to both his ability and disability without medication…while maintaining composure and keeping a smile on my face at all times. (Already failed today.)