Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Waiting for Diagnosis

I'm having my son evaluated for ADD. I've been in denial about it for at least a year and suddenly last week it clobbered me with realization. I have mixed feelings about even the evaluation (we have no results as yet) because I worry that if "they" label him with ADD and prescribe medication that we will lose some of the quirky wonderfulness that is the K Man.

Before he's even evaluated by professionals, I'm 98 % sure he'll have some sort of diagnosis. Our regular family doctor assures me that we will be able to choose to NOT give meds on weekends and school breaks if we so choose. So there will be times he will be solely him. I think. If his restlessness and lack of focus didn't cause such strife when we asked him to complete even one page of homework I wouldn't pursue such a diagnosis. The homework and the anguish each page causes is causing a rift in our relationships. K has a meltdown as soon as you mention homework. It takes him an hour and a half to complete one worksheet if left on his own, even with multiple reminders to get to work.

In short, it sucks.

My son is smart. So smart, in fact, that it's this very thing that causes him problems. His brain rarely shuts down. His creativity outshines even mine. He has IDEAS. These ideas are much more important to him than studying spelling or learning to read.

Except he learned to read so that he could create more.

He still insists he doesn't know things that he most probably does know. He gives up rather than trying. He needs to run off energy and doesn't always have time. Even when he can run off energy it is never enough.

Have I mentioned how much I love this kid? I worry that I am doing the wrong thing. I worry that I'm doing the right thing. I worry I will lose this quirky boy that holds so much of my heart.

I worry.

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Holly said...

I understand the anguish. My hyper boy could be diagnosed with ADHD or something else. We have him in different therapies already. We try a bit of this and that. Some days are awful. And he's only in preschool!

You can choose not to medicate at all, if you want. From what I understand, a school cannot force you to medicate your child for ADD. On the bright side, maybe a diagnosis will give you the chance to have an IEP (individual education plan) at school that will help avoid those hour-and-a-half worksheet scenes.


Mama Bear said...

I know meds are very scary for a parent to consider, we waited way too long for meds and the result is that our son suffered much longer than he should have and his behavior affected his siblings so much so that now they are dealing with their own anxiety issues from being in a home where a child is not stable.

Now your situation may not be as bad as mine when it comes to the affect on others, but meds can really improve the quality of your child's life. My son said that he felt happiness for the first time with medication, he said that he felt "reborn". He does not appear like a zombie, in fact, he seems more engaged in life and his eyes look alive and his smile shines brightly thanks to his medication. I just wanted you to know that meds can makes things better and you don't need to be afraid.


desivalentine said...

My sister was diagnosed when she was six. She is twelve years younger than I, so I stood with my mum through the assessment and diagnoses. It was hard to see her medicated, incredibly difficult to watch her make that internal adjustment. But, without help, she was in a constant state of angry frustration because she wanted to focus and could not, and that wasn't good for anyone.
She made the choice to stop medicating her ADHD when she was 15, and is now in her third year of university.
Try not to worry too much. You won't lose him. It might be a bit of a bumpy road at first, but he will be with you all the way.

Sara said...

Of course you worry. It's part of the job. My son has ADD. Not diagnosed until summer between 5/6 grade. He was never a bit hyperactive, never a behavior problem, which gets his ADD overlooked. He is NOT stupid. But we struggled with homework for 5 years. This evidently runs in families, but my husband did not share his struggles with me until Patrick had them. My SIL did not share with ANYONE that her kids had ADHD - their family NEVER talks about any issues. They whitewash it. I am very glad that I had him tested. In our school district his ADD was not severe enough to allow us an IEP - BUT, since ADD is a medical issue, he qualified for extra help through a 504 plan. (This is the same plan that allows a kid with allergies to have an epi-pen, dibetes, etc.) Patrick's problems were improved with medication, and the discipline and dedication of joining swim team. He never took his meds on weekends or vacations or all summer. I never felt that I "lost" his personality. His meds allowed the wonderful, smart Patrick to emerge. From 5th grade on, every year got better.
(BTW - I do have some regrets about my daughters orthodontic work, including an upper palate expander, that permanently changed her face and her resemblance to her fathers family. She is beautiful, but I miss the individuality that her jaw gave her! So I do know what you mean.) Hope this makes sense and helps a little!
Your hair looks great that way too.

JennieB said...

My son has autism. We struggled with similar issues around getting a diagnosis. What if this is just his personality? Would the diagnosis become part of his permanent record and affect him even if he learned to overcome his difficulties?

You will hear this over and over: getting the diagnosis is the best thing you can do. You know exactly what is going on and you have a path to follow. You can get help. You can work with people to learn strategies for your son, and get those strategies officially built into his school day (things like frequent breaks, permission to have fidget toys on his desk, etc), and if it comes down to that, medication. Though it may not.

Take it one step at a time. Remember that no label can define your son. Know that you are helping him, not changing him. And find some twitter friends going through the same thing. Community is so important!

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