I keep going back and forth about publishing anything about this. Torn between my desire for community, for understanding, and wanting to maintain family privacy. Who knows if I will actually hit that button when I finish, maybe just writing it out will be enough.
I want to start the reverse of our appointment with the psychologist. The one where they ask you to explain all of the challenges your kids faces, then end with her strengths and what you like best about them.
M is amazing. She is bright, so bright. I have shied away from discussing it, knowing that some people are over hearing everyone tell you how smart their kid is. She is though, smart, gifted smart. She is compassionate, and caring, and silly. She loves joking, and snuggles and her little sister. I love, we love her, dearly.
She is also, in the most basic of terms, a bit of an odd duck. I can explain to the doctor all of her little quirks and realize what she is doing at 5, started at birth. She needed a special set of circumstances (upper palate stimulation) to suck on a boob, or a bottle. She needed us to hold her to help her fall asleep (pressure on the arms, less stimulation, not more), at a minimum holding her hand. She needed schedules to kept, dinner to happen on time, bed time to never be pushed too late. She needed time to adjust to new settings. At the holidays when my nieces could go with the flow and be charming hours past bedtime, she would be a wreck. I could spot the point where she tipped and always hurry us out before anyone would see it get as bad as I knew it could. She’s never been a good one for transitions either. They take time, warnings, understanding. I’m unsure if it is just her needing to check out when the stimulation gets to be too much, but her focus, isn’t always there. It manifests itself in fidgets and hyper focus. Engagement with her matters. Paying attention is easy if it is new, if she’s mastered it, not so much. Noise makes a situation, no matter how interesting, hard for her to focus on.
She is lucky. She has been surrounded by people that love her and care about her (people I am totally showering with all I can afford this year). At daycare they knew her. There were challenges, but also accommodations and understanding of who she was. It was never a big deal. I knew, even if I didn’t admit it, that school would be a big change, and if my suspicions were true, there would be trouble.
However, the other shoe has dropped, we know now that if we want her to be successful in school, to enjoy it, she needs to get help now. Not to change her, she is wonderful just the way she is. To help her understand herself and find her own ways to deal with the realities of school and life. We met with a psychologist last week, an initial meeting predicated by some issues that have come up at school, and her after school program. The details are not pertinent, so I won’t share.
I think I always knew that this day was coming. I’ve been on edge about the possibility, vigilant, always questioning her caregivers about her behavior, her comparison to age appropriate behavior. It is most likely my genetics that bring this one to the table. I have a family history of ADHD. I have a family history of what would now be considered the autism spectrum. I wanted so bad to be wrong, but there is relief in being right.
So now, the next step, is her meeting with the psychologist we met last week. There are evaluations, and testing, and more understanding. Already, understanding what is possibly going on in her head, has helped us approach her differently. We are learning how to use her strengths, and where to forgive her when we know she is fighting against her instincts and losing.
I debated not publishing this. However, I’ve made it through nearly every other parenting struggle with the assistance of my community. To ignore that it is there with help for me now, would be wrong. It would be isolating, letting me do the kind of living in my own head that we are trying to help her avoid.
So, give me your special needs blogs. Give me your ideas. I don’t want to hear anything about vaccinations, but give me ideas about diet, and ways to make this easier on her. I doubt we will escape without a diagnosis, but we’re still not sure what it will be. When we know, I’ll share as much as I can. For the next person.