Thursday, November 28, 2013

Kids to Leslie and back to kids

Oh, my word!  I have missed my blog so, so much!  Right around when I was due to deliver Evan, so back in May, our laptop started giving us issues.  We went weeks without it, and nothing was officially found to be wrong, but it just never worked right.  Then Internet Explorer started giving us issues so I switched to Google Chrome, simply because it was already downloaded onto our computer.  It worked fine, but then we started getting a gazillion pop-ups.  I had a pop-up blocker, and that wasn't helping, for some reason.  Programs I used to use were not compatible with Google Chrome, including my blog, so I had to go on a major hiatus.  Fortunately, I still got all my thoughts out, but unfortunately, I had nowhere to document them.  It's far more therapeutic for me to write them out than to just sort through them in my mind, so let's just say:  I am finally back!

This blog has taken a few shifts.  First, it was a continuation of my livejournal, which I started nearly 10 years ago when I found out I was pregnant with Ethan.  That style of writing had a more "Dear Diary" feel to it.  It was (and is!) fun to look back on those times and I am so happy I have it all documented.  When I switched to a blog, I started slacking in writing.  Partly because then I had 2 children to care for so life became busier, and partly because I lost the desire to write.  If I don't feel it, I can't force it.

When Leslie got sick is when my blog got a ton of attention.  She has so many people that love and care about her, it was PERFECT for keeping everyone informed.  And again, it was so therapeutic to be alone with my thoughts and dumping them out on the keyboard. 

Now my blog is about to take another turn.  I won't deviate from Leslie entirely, but really, no news is good news, and she is doing so amazingly well.  It won't be so focused on her recovery, but her recovery is still a huge part of my life, so it will still be brought up.  Now I want to focus back more on my life and more specifically, Ethan's life.  I have discussed Ethan's issues before, I think immediately before Leslie got sick.  Just little quirks he had and how frustrating they could be.  That was 4ish years ago.  Since then, he started showing more physical signs, including tics.  I had him evaluated by a neurologist to rule out Tourette's Syndrome or some other neurological disorder.  I was told his tics were benign, and it was related more to anxiety and stress.  He was put on a low dose anti-depressant that worked well for anxiety, and things were okay for a while.

Right before Evan was born 6 months ago, we were blessed with an AMAZING opportunity to see, who I think, is the greatest pediatric behavioral specialist EVER.  For the first time in Ethan's life, he had a complete examination, exploring all of his quirky behavior issues, and received an official diagnosis.  Right now the diagnosis is generalized anxiety disorder, sensory processing disorder, and OCD.  I have done a ton of reading on these, and I agree with them.  I am more convinced with OCD over the sensory processing disorder, but regardless, they kind of go hand-in-hand.  His medication was adjusted, and since then, we have been okay.

Over the past summer and into this school year, Ethan has had some significant setbacks.  He went from having interests to having none except his iPod.  He went from caring about things SO much, to not caring about anything or anyone.  He preferred  to be isolated in his room.  He didn't play outside, he didn't ride a bike, nothing.  He'd have play dates with his friends and have a great time, but still preferred to be alone over anything else. 

His 4th grade teacher this year is stricter than most teachers he has had.  She is very firm on organization and independence in her students, which I think is very important.  However, I know my child and I know these are issues he struggles with in a big way.  His brain is chaotic so his organizational skills are chaotic.  He is a major introvert (diagnosed!) so he'd rather just go unnoticed.   This teacher is what I would call an older generation teacher.  And as much as I hate to make generalizations, it seems the older generation see diagnoses like Ethan and see it as an excuse for bad behavior.  I actually totally understand that thought process, and in some instances, I agree with it.  I think kids are overly diagnosed and overly medicated.  I think parents would rather make an excuse for their child acting out than to actually help the child.  THIS IS NOT THE TYPE OF PARENT I AM.  I will bend over backwards for the teachers my kids have.  I WANT my kids to be successful, and I want their teachers to have a great year.  But I can't force them to understand my child if they aren't going to even try.  Our most recent visit to the specialist started the possible diagnosis of ADD.  When she said that, I immediately said, "No, he is definitely not ADD."  ...but then I saw the checklist that is filled out by the parents and teacher to assist in an ADD diagnosis and read it realizing it described Ethan almost exactly.  I was SHOCKED.  And fascinated.  How amazing would it be to know exactly what was going on in that little brain of his and FIX IT?? 

So that is where we are now.  Conferences are next week.  I am waiting to get the teacher evaluation back and once I get it, I'll be taking it to the pediatrician to analyze and hopefully by the time he has his follow-up in 6 weeks, I will know if he meets the criteria for ADD.  I am also learning all I can about 504 plans, which is a plan I can create (with the teacher) for ways to help Ethan succeed.  For instance, he is fidgety and always has his hands moving.  He usually will draw on everything.  His teacher does not like his and has made it very clear that she does not want him drawing.  My question is...why?  If he gets his work done, is not disrupting others...why?  A 504 would make it so legally she has to allow him to draw or do SOME type of activity with his hands (stress ball, silly putty to squeeze, etc.)  If this would help him stay focused, I am all for it.  A 504 would make it so even if the teacher disagreed, it would still need to be implemented for Ethan's success.

Next week he sees a psychologist for the first time as well, to help him with his coping mechanisms and just be someone neutral to talk to. 

This is the start of a long journey, but it's for my child, so I am ready to tackle it head on.

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