Thursday, April 5, 2012

What to Make of It

Yesterday Bill and I met on referral to a pediatric psychiatrist for Ben's potential ADHD diagnosis.

Without a huge, long story our concerns have grown over this first year in public school. Remember the first day come to Jesus meeting where his teacher met me at the door about behavior?

After a daily behavior contract, nearly being suspended from the after school program, several meetings with his teacher as well as frequent email communication, concerns with report card after what felt like no marked improvement we moved to an evaluation. What was deemed immaturity in October is now a vaid concern and waiting until 1st grade is not an option.

So far we (each parent and each teacher) completed lengthy questionnaires and completed an observation survey privately and forwarded to his pediatrician.

The day before my surgery we met with Ben with our pediatrician. She asked questions of Ben and concluded that there are legitimate concerns. She identified multiple markers and felt a fuller psychological and educational evaluation was warranted before a diagnosis could be confirmed.

In a nutshell here are our top concerns and reason why we are seeking an evaluation now instead of waiting:

1. Inability to concentrate and finish school work despite multiple interventions within the classroom. From our volunteering we've seen Ben sit with his portable cubicle peeking under talking to others, not be able to stay seated, give up when frustrated, and engage in a power struggle and be defiant towards the teacher and TA. Completing homework is difficult and often a similar power struggle.

2. Being in constant motion from the minute up until he goes to bed. So many nights it seems that if I would let him he would simply stay up all night playing. So many of the questionnaires asked if it was like he was a wound up motor. Even with the outlets of recess, a good 2 hours outside or in the gym afterschool, and if we can swing it time outside once home, he is still going strong as we approach bedtime.

So many of the questions we have are about what is normal almost 6 year old behavior and what is in the realm of ADHD. The meeting yesterday was a step, Ben will meet privately and then we will meet again after she has both us and his classroom teachers complete more evaluations.

At this point I'm not worried that this what is likely pointing to a diagnosis that is going to be the end all, be all. Both physicians felt that what we were doing at home including a recently ramped up effort to break down the am/pm into specific tasks that ties into our already successful system of "bear bucks" were a positive direction and to continue as well as strive for consistency.

The more that I've read and asked, Ben's behavior could be much, much worse. As mentioned before I don't think ADHD even qualifies in childhood misery poker when put up again what we could be dealt.

Bill and I do have some concerns if medication is suggested what are the short and long term implications. We also do not want to only medicate in a vacuum and plan to augment with several other suggestions. Bill and I are making being a united front a priority even if it means lots of uncomfortable and hard conversations.

Yesterday between my post op appointment (yay.. no more drains and all looks good) and the psychiatrist appointment we had lunch outside and talked over priorities, concerns, and what being a united front looks like for our family.

The first steps in what has the potential to be a defining part of raising our boys long term and keeping our family dynamics on an even keel.

One thought that has keep me grounded came from a friend who commented that you will love your kid regardless if a label becomes involved. Ben is the same kid you've always known and anything you are doing now is only so you can honor the commitment to helping provide the best for his future.

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