And the Secret Word is….

I haven’t posted in a while.  I don’t know if you’ve been missing reading my blog, but I’ve been missing writing it.  I think the condition of my heart is directly related to how often I blog.

The lack of posts, means my heart has been preoccupied.  Preoccupied with Christmas and New Years and sickness and writing for other assignments.  But most recently it’s been preoccupied with the secret word of the day:  Diagnosis.  You all know what to do when you hear the secret word, right?!  SCREAM REAL LOUD!!!  

When my baby was having constant tummy trouble I went to doctor after doctor, having test after test, and trial after trial to figure out what it may be.  We couldn’t live without the diagnosis.  A definitive one never came.  Asher was negative for parasites and allergies and Celiac’s.  We took him off of food after food to no avail until finally by trial and error we took him off of both soy and milk and that seemed to help.  Most of the time.

On the other hand, earlier last week Isaac’s teacher sent an email to tell us that she’s concerned that Isaac is having a hard time focusing in class.  He is easily distracted by any outside noises or his classmates.  In the same day, she’ll find him staring off into space, unable to complete his work and then an hour later he has so much energy he can’t sit still and bursts out with screams of excitement when nothing particularly exciting is going on.

I asked to meet with her after school that day.  I knew exactly what she was talking about.  We see that behavior all the time at home and I am just helpless as to how to parent him.  Mrs. Larsen suggested that we talk to the pediatrician.  She said she’d talk to the school counselor about doing some observations.  We made a plan to form a care team for him and move him to a desk away from distractions.

I called the pediatrician and spoke with a nurse who suggested we take him to a psychologist to test him for ADD.  I wasn’t convinced we needed a diagnosis quite yet.  I spent the last few days online, researching symptoms of ADD and looking for any answers other than medication.

I went ahead and set up the appointment with the psychologist for last Thursday.  Then I called the pediatrician again.  I wanted to talk to Isaac’s doctor, not just a nurse.  I told her all of the symptoms and how I was feeling.  I don’t want to medicate my son.  I’ve been in the education field long enough to know the side affects of the medicines that curb ADD symptoms: suicidal thoughts, depression, sleeplessness, loss of appetite/weightloss.  My skinny Randall clone can’t afford to lose any weight.

The pediatrician made me feel better about the whole thing.  She said we don’t need a diagnosis at this point.  If Isaac’s school work isn’t suffering and he’s not a huge disruption to the class we’ll just keep an eye out on him and see how it goes.  She was very patient with all of my questions and agreed with my instinct to try everything (diet changes and focus practice) before medication.

We went ahead and kept the appointment with the psychologist.  I wanted to talk with a professional to get advice about how to parent my kid! There’s so much more to talk about than just a diagnosis and medication that may address the symptoms.

Randall was worried that if we went to the psychologist, we’d get a diagnosis that will follow Isaac around for the rest of his life.  Will educators look at him and have lower expectations of him because those three letters are attached to his name?  I don’t know.

I’m not worried about him being labeled ADD if he has ADD.  If he needs different expectations and more help in school, then we need to do what it takes to get him that help.

I think what I discovered this week is that I needed the suggestion of a diagnosis, at least, to change my expectations of my kid.  I expect perfection because that is what was expected of me.  I had straight As in school because Bs were unacceptable to me, not necessarily my parents.  I expect my kids to be able to control themselves, because I learned how to control my behavior.  I’ve expected Isaac to be like me because I am me… and quite frankly I don’t know how not to be. I’ve never expected Isaac to be Isaac.  And that’s exactly what he needs for now.  Diagnosis or not.

Mrs. Larsen said that many kids with focus issues can’t stand the pressure of the school work by third or fourth grade.  I guess we’ll cross that bridge when we get there… Or maybe we’ll just stand in front of it and watch it waver and consider more diet changes and decide not to cross it again…