Thursday, February 12, 2015
::how I came to understand that my Max has attention deficit disorder::
Max. Oh, Max. I want to eat this kid. Curly headed little ray of sunshine. I am fairly blind to anything but the perfection of him. It's not hard to do. He is funny and has the best sense of humor. He is handsome, sometimes I stare at him because he is just so good looking, I literally love the look of him. He hears a commercial or a song and the lyrics stick in his head like glue. He can act out the entire "Jake from State Farm" commercial, it's HILARIOUS. You never met a kid that could memorize like him. He is such a talented reader and is way ahead of his classmates. He does math in his head and already gets points taking away for not showing his work. Because he doesn't need to show his work. He is a performer is his heart - which is not something we have pushed at him since Lily is really our theater girl. We didn't want them to compete, but we can't hold him back. He wants to act, so we let him. Max. Max. Max. He is my sunshine when skies are grey. I can't resist my future American Ninja Warrior.
So, when I started getting frequent notes home from his first grade teacher I knew it was her not him. How could anyone not fall in LOVE with the glory of this child? She doesn't get him. She'd too old. She retires after 30+ years at the end of this year. She's mean. She's boring (she is actually boring). When she first suggested that my perfect baby had ADD I knew she was off the deep end. He is a bizarre thinker I always thought. He is a bad listener. You have to given him lots of extra time to get ready in the morning because he gets off task. That's just his quirks. His teacher is a crazy old ____________ (insert one of the many choice things Josh and I called her). I was taking Quinny in to the doctor anyway so I brought up this crazy ADD crap. We both rolled our eyes and said this teacher was nuts. My kids doctor is wonderful. I love her. Yet, she is new to us. We have only had her for the last few months. She has met Max one time for about 10 minutes. She has never done his spelling words with him - the ultimate torture test of endurance. She has never had to get him out of the house dressed and presentable. She had never tried to have a conversation with him that is longer than a few minutes.
The doctor gave me a form to fill out and one for his teacher to fill out. You rate the kids behavior on a scale, five being the more often you witness the behavior. Things like "How often is your child easily distracted by external stimuli, like something in their environment such as a noise or another conversation?". 5 stands for several times a day. As I am filling this thing out my heart drops. You don't have to be a genius to realize that all 4's and 5's on this thing is a pretty strong indicator that things are not exactly what you thought they were. When I started the hyperactive part of it I was writing down 1's and 2's. As I started researching this whole issue I realized that not only does Max have ADD, but it isn't just a little mild case to be ignored. He has high moderate to possibly severe ADD. And it isn't a maybe kind of thing.
How could I have been so blind to this? Totally in an alternative reality about the whole thing. This kids head has a ping pong ball bouncing around in it, hitting on random thoughts no matter how they fit in to his reality.
What do we do? We attack it. I am ADD. I was also hyperactive. I interrupted constantly as a child and was dangerously impulsive. You don't have to know me for long to know that I am still ADD in lots of ways. The hyperactive has mellowed into high energy, now I think of it as a super power. I just have more energy than most people, I get lots of crap done. I don't have to worry about channeling Max's hyperactivity - that's not the problem. He is active and sometimes wild, but not hyper. His attention span is the issue.
I grew up with my learning issues and my parents had a strong opposition to medications. So strong that I couldn't even talk about meds as an option for Max. I am trying to be more open minded. At some point in Max's future he may need medication to help him, but I am going to exhaust all options first. The number one reason I don't like meds as an option for Max is because one of the big side effects is poor appetite and poor growth. We have been chasing this kids calorie intake for years, trying to get him to eat. He is finally in the 50th percentile for height and I am not going to do anything to risk his growth. Not yet.
I have a meeting next week to talk about treatment options for this guy with his pediatrician. I am going to do what ever it takes to channel this creative little genius into a high functioning adult. He has limitless potential. We just have to find his personal plan. I am researching like crazy this whole thing to make sure I am informed. I am devoted to this. This kid is not going to slip through the cracks. Our school has a top notch principle that I have met with to get Max's treatment with the resource room teacher started while we pursue additional outside of school options. I am currently not interested in essential oils, healing crystals, or medications - besides that I want to hear about peoples experiences.