Monday, March 14, 2011

Mom Instinct Strikes Again!

A couple of months ago I wrote here about my oldest son, who is not my special needs kiddo. I wrote about my suspicion that there was something going on with him, that he was not as typical as he often seems to be

At the time that I wrote that post, we were mid-psycho/educational evaluation. Part of me wondered if we were wasting a ton of money evaluating a perfectly typical kid. But another part of me, backed up by information from professionals, knew something was going on. "If there is smoke," that part of me reasoned, "then there is fire."

My husband and I met with my son's evaluators last week and they told us that although he "isn't a cookie cutter kid," he fits securely into an ADHD diagnosis. After hearing those words and talking to the psychologist and the educational diagnostician for the next two hours, so many things clunked solidly into place.

When I wrote about this in January, ADHD wasn't on the list of things that I suspected could be in play. I suppose I really didn't know much about ADHD (still don't, frankly), but as they went through all their data points and observations, it all fit.

I am so glad I trusted my instincts. My son's ADHD has not yet affected him at school. According to the psychologist, the survey that his teacher filled out was so glowing as to be technically invalid. My son is such a model student, in fact, that I wonder how herculean of an effort it must take for him to be so.

We were left with a recommendation to monitor him. We are armed with the knowledge that as the demands of school change and our son may not be able to compensate so well, we must be vigilant in making sure he doesn't falter. At home, we can make things easier for him. We can work with the school to make sure that the teachers know what he needs, even if he currently won't qualify for accommodations or services.

We can understand that even though he knows how to act, his impulse control issues when we are out and about are not a result of him being badly behaved, but just wired differently.

Just as with my middle son's autism diagnosis before, this diagnosis brought me no sadness, but rather relief. I am relieved that I am now learning how to equip myself and my son to best help him be a successful man. My guy is an amazing kid, and I feel lucky that we had him evaluated so I can better understand him and help him understand himself.

And even though I say it all the time, it bears repeating: You know your child better than anyone else. Trust your instincts. 

Stimey writes a personal blog at Stimeyland; an autism-events website for Montgomery County, Maryland, at AutMont; and a column called Autism Unexpected in the Washington Times Communities. You can find her on Twitter as @Stimey.



  1. Relieved for you. Happy you can have a plan and be prepared to meet needs as they arise.

  2. You know I've been waiting to hear what happened for my own selfish reasons...but first, I'm so glad you trusted your instincts. You definitely know best. And I like what you said about the relief part - it's not about the label, but about knowing what tools you need in your toolbox to help your son succeed.
    And I'm off to make a phone call of my own today...thank you.

  3. Thanks, Lisa and Alysia! And, Alysia, I knew you were waiting for this. Hope it helps. :)
    Also, I'm still learning about ADHD. If you have a favorite book or resource about it, I'd love to hear about it in the comments. Thanks!

  4. I just did the same thing for my daughter ( 4 yrs old). Had son done yrs ago and he has ADHD and I just knew something wasn't working. Just finished testing Saturday and she has high anxiety and most likely ADHD. We will be adjusting her IEP that she has to help accommodate her needs for starting kindergarten. We really do know our kids best. It's hard to justify all the spending until you have an answer and it makes it all worth it. I too feel better just knowing what way we are heading. Good Luck

  5. I find this so interesting. I my 6 year old has all the traits of ADHD but doesn't met the diagnosis. Your kid has none of the traits but meets the diagnosis? How do they diagnose exactly?
    I hope Jack gets everything he needs.
    Let's talk.

  6. Oh we need to talk about this! It sounds exactly like someone in my house.

  7. Jodi, I should probably have been clearer. At SCHOOL he doesn't show signs of ADHD. Everywhere else he does. My guy spent two long sessions with an educational diagnostician and one session with a psychologist. They would have done a school observation as well, but we confirmed that the teacher report was pretty accurate. I really feel that it is a data-based and well thought out diagnosis. We still don't have the report yet, but I'm interested to see what it says.

  8. So glad you got the answers you needed, and that you can start to learn how to help him. I know a lot of kids (ASD, ADHD, etc.) do well in school but then come home and really act out, whether it's stims or aggression or whatever because they need a break from working so hard to control themselves.
    Nice job on the mom instinct!

  9. When you discover that you have an autistic child, you don't really expect special needs to come up for your other kids! I'm going down that road with George right now. Can I just get Oliver figured out first?
    This was an excellent read for someone like me. I'm adding it to my Monday links next week.
    Sam is such a good kid - I'm so glad that he'll get support when he needs it.
    I've been thinking a lot about intuitive parenting lately... Mainly in small - every day ways - but it's important to trust our intuition when it comes to special needs testing and services too. I have to keep reminding myself of that...

  10. I'm so glad that this gives you clues and a path forward. Like Kate said, Sam is such a great kid!

  11. Remember the day Andy was diagnosed ADHD?
    The structure of school is a huge help for Andy. Then he comes home and goes insane from holding it together all day.
    Hence, I still have a trampoline in my kitchen.

  12. I am a virtual wealth of information on ADHD, but can't really recommend any specific resources. I think you need to take a "field trip" to Ohio and come to my classroom for a week!!! Bring the kids. Their quirks would go along quite nicely with all of the other little quirky behaviors in my class, and best of all I have a huge Lego castle and an iPad in my classroom. :) Fun can be had by all!
    Send me a list of questions, concerns, areas of difficulty, etc. and I'll share my tips and techniques. Or come up with a list of frequently asked questions from some of your readers and I'll do my best to share my experience with everyone. :)

  13. I remember when you talked about this earlier. We just finished Ethan's psycho-ed eval & are waiting for results. Trying to figure out how much is ADD & how much is anxiety. Like your son, my guy is mostly on best behavior at school, certainly has minimum academic/learning issues right now (having a wonderful teacher who says "I don't mind that he climbs on his desk, as long as he is paying attention & learning he can move and fidget and squirm as much as he wants" certainly helps) but holding it together comes with a cost: he is like a released rocket when he walks out the door. Homework is a nightmare and putting him to bed often beyond a challenge.
    His best days are the 2 he has after-school classes, since they are sports (basketball & fencing) and then they play kickball while waiting to be picked up. That wears him out so he's rather mellow.
    Coming off dealing with autism with Ethan's twin, Jacob, it definitely took us a while to recognize Ethan's issues, as they were so much lesser than Jake's. Also didn't help that I myself have ADD (which I realized pretty much as I was trying to figure out what was up with Ethan) because Ethan seemed so "normal" to me - as in like me... Guess the apples don't fall far from the trees.
    Anyway, I'm glad you have the knowledge now, that can make a huge difference for your son, helping to re-frame how you view his behavior. And being vigilant for when you may need to intercede in some way at school to protect your son's self esteem is the absolutely right way to go.
    Yes, always trust mom's instinct!

  14. Whatever did we do in those dear, dead days before child psyc evaluations? Seems to me it's a business like any other. It suspect that any child, even one who was the most typically typical of neuro-typicalness, were he or she taken for an evaluation would be found to have a diagnosis of some sort. Of course there would be no way to prove that the diagnosis was invalid but I'll bet a gluten-free, casein-free cookie that as soon as a label was officially applied the kid would start displaying the indicated behavior because kids, like everyone else, lconform to whatever is expected of them.

  15. Man, I don't know a thing about ADHD. How many things are we supposed to know about? Sheesh. Good luck on this journey. I'm sure you will dig into it and be just as expert about it as autism.