ADHD Part 1: Pre-Diagnosis
Posted December 1, 2014 by BonitaBlueEyes - 2 comments
My son is and always has been a wonderful, funny, loving, smart and amazing kiddo. My love for him is unconditional. But, like any parent child relationship we’ve had struggles, and perhaps more challenges than many.
I first noticed something was a little different with NiñoZ when he was about 14 months old. I guess you could say I just thought the Terrible Twos were coming on early. I was a young mom anyway, and I looked years younger than my true age (something I’m thankful for now). I’m sure others saw me as a teen mom without parenting skills who had an out of control child. In reality I was in my early 20’s, divorced, well-educated and traveled. I was a voracious reader, nutrition conscientious, perfectionist, Type A mother. I was killing myself trying to follow everything that the American Academy of Pediatrics told me I should do.
Was I actually perfect? Absolutely not! But I was doing my best and cared a ton. Yet despite all this…my son was completely out of control. If our day stayed on track and everything went according to the norm, NiñoZ was great! He could sit at home and read books with me for hours. All he needed was a simple set of expectations before going into the grocery store; “We are going to get food today. Please do not ask for toys or candy.” and he would comply and the trip would go smoothly.
Now take NiñoZ to child care, birthday parties, or tweak his schedule in the slightest way, and things look a whole lot different. And Vacations? Ha! Forget it! He was kicked out of several daycares. He would spit in kids faces, smack kids in the face, or knock an elderly woman down (yes these are real examples). His final preschool before kindergarten was dedicated to his success, and gave him a fresh beginning each day. Even so, he was sent home on what seemed like a daily basis.
Throughout all of this, I was seen as the problem by many. I only know this because kind teaches who were committed to NiñoZ’s success admitted that many would jump to the conclusion that I was a bad mother…though they assured me they knew the opposite was true. Being judged a “bad mom” was truly the least of my worries. I was just searching desperately for anything that would help my son to succeed. We tried dietary changes and had him evaluated by the CDC (who basically offered the not-so-helpful advice of being consistent). I read everything I could in an effort to help him. I started him in activities that would strengthen his impulses and cerebral cortex such as tae-kwon-do and piano lessons . I wanted an answer, and I prayed and cried about it consistently, alone, after dropping him off at school or putting him to bed.
NiñoZ started kindergarten, and things did not improve. His teacher and principal called me in for a meeting and as they “talked” to me I felt completely attacked. They told me something was wrong with him, and he did not behave like a normal child. Could he have ADHD, they asked? I didn’t know anything about it, but totally assumed that an ADHD child would not be able to sit and read books and do puzzles for hours like my son did. Besides, he was evaluated by the CDC, who were experts, and they mentioned nothing of this to me! The staff suggested I get another opinion and I left in tears. A couple of days later, my 5-year-old boy was held in the principal’s office for an entire day.
Stressed to my core, I sat watching my sweet NiñoZ working hard in his tae-kwon-do class. Feeling at a loss, I wondered what to do and where to go to help him. In that moment, I felt I could not handle one more moment of my situation, my anguish must have been obvious that day. After the session his instructor kindly approached me and said, “Your son is doing so well. He’s really in the right place here. He reminds me so much of my own son at that age. Could I please recommend someone who has helped us so much?”
I was thrilled! She seemed to be sent by angels, and eventually turned out to be a answer to my prayers.
Do you have a child with ADHD? Did you feel overwhelmed and guilty before you child was diagnosed?
Categories: Life As It Happens