Last Thursday morning, when I woke up, I was the mother of a child with special needs.
I just didn't know it yet.
In fact, it turns out, this is a title I've carried for 7 years. We just didn't know it.
Oh, I guess there were times when we wondered, questioned, considered... but that's other people's kids. I know how that sounds, but hear me out. The thing is, that when you are a person who dedicates her career to serving children with special needs, you sort of just figure that the odds of God giving you your own child with a diagnosis are astronomically insane.
And then God steps in and blows all of your carefully considered odds out of the water like a pirate ship full of C4.
We met with the psychologist on Thursday, and I have to admit that going into that meeting, I think I was more afraid that there would be no diagnosis than I was there would be. I honestly prepared myself to hear something along the lines of, "Tyson is a delightful child... and he does not qualify for a diagnosis, which means that all of the behaviors, the tension, the trouble in school is probably due to parenting problems."
Instead, we heard, "Tyson is a delightful boy. He's very sweet... and he definitely qualifies for a diagnosis."
So here is where we stand:
1) Tyson now has a diagnosis of severe ADHD, combined type (if you're a numbers cruncher, we're talking two standard deviations from "normal"); he has significant deficits in Executive Functioning (which explains a lot); he definitely has some oddities and symptoms that fall under the category of Asperger's Syndrome (i.e. high functioning autism), but those evaluations were inconclusive.
2) We have been assured by a very respected and competent professional that none of this is due to our shortcomings as a parental unit. (I know it might seem obvious, but I have feared that this was somehow my/our fault all along).
3) We will be meeting with the pediatrician this week to discuss and begin the process of finding an appropriate type & dosage of medication. (Pray for us - this can be a terrible process that includes tantrums, tears, depression, feelings of hopelessness... and that's just the parents.)
4) Once meds are in place, are stable, and are showing some results, we will be exploring a few treatment options for the Executive Functioning deficits. Among our list of possibilities are music therapy (of course!), Brain Gym and CogMed (a computer software brain-training program that looks awesome).
5) The question about autism is still there. It's just dangling out there in space. The medication will either alleviate those autistic-like symptoms, or it will further reveal them. If they do not get better, we will revisit and reevaluate for autism in about 6 months.
6) We will continue to utilize a variety of behavioral supports at home, will be seeking an IEP at school, and will most importantly, continue to pray that God will guide us on this part of the journey.
Also, we are just trying to settle into this new label, to the realization that Tyson's disobedience is often not his choice, to the new habits that we all need to cultivate, to our lives as a family with someone who has special needs.
Do you have any children with a diagnosis? How did you deal with it?