All of my reading and research on ADHD and anxiety has helped in other ways than blaming myself for everything. It got me to find Bubba and Smash-N-Break a behavioral therapist. Bubba to learn some coping skills for his anxiety, and Smash-N-Break to (hopefully, God, please) learn an impulse control.
Bubba is like me – he’s a stuffer. I know, I know – it’s kind of shocking that I would say I stuff my feelings but also write about feelings and things publicly on a blog on the webernet. It’s the internet – it’s out there forever. I’m crazy, duh. We’ve been over this. But, Bubba is like me. He stuffs his feelings and you have to pull them out of him. His therapist sees it. She knows she will have to build the trust. Bubba shuts down when I yell (or when Plus One yells).
So, we need to change it and NOT yell. When you have Smash-N-Break who doesn’t listen, respond, or stop, we yell more than we should. So, we’re changing our parenting. It’s a good thing. The kids deserve it. But it isn’t easy. We also have to explain it to other people, like football coaches and teachers. They’ve been great. I tell them not to feel like they have to walk on eggshells, just how he may react to yelling, and how to get him to calm down and come back to the present in those cases.
Smash-N-Break – even his therapist has admitted she has her work cut out with him. She also warned me she sees some red flags. He has trouble making friends with kids his own age. He is repetitive. He likes to sort things in ways that make no sense to me. He has ADHD. He has SPD. He walks on his toes (curled). He has language issues and pronoun confusion. He has a stutter when he starts a sentence and he is overwhelmed/excited/anxious/etc. He takes things literally.
His therapist explained expected and unexpected and how unexpected can twist your heart. (I’m really paraphrasing here.) Smash-N-Break honestly thinks his heart is twisted in his chest now. He has a loud voice and a quiet voice, but not really much of one in between.
He doesn’t really do the give and take of a conversation. It’s pretty one sided, usually. If he wants to talk, you can’t get a word in edgewise. If he doesn’t want to talk, you will have a monologue of questions. Noise hurts him and has caused him to act out. He doesn’t play pretend as much as his brothers do, and it’s usually their idea.
He doesn’t listen – I’ve often wondered if he has a hearing problem. He has so many questions. Compared to Bubba, he asks about 10 times as many questions. He has no patience. He wants it NOW. He is the definition of hyperactive.
So, she’s asked us to have a speech evaluation done for the stutter. Okay, can do. It’s scheduled. She is also concerned about autism. Aspergers specifically.
*Screech sound effect*
What? Smash-N-Break? He makes eye contact! He’s outgoing! I know autism is more than that, but it’s been drilled into my head that this is the BIG SIGN. Yeah, he doesn’t talk to kids his own age, but he’s just shy. Right? It’s the ADHD, isn’t it?
Doctors have warned me about autism signs in Littles, and he’s outgrowing those as he gets older and gets more occupational therapy. She’s going to keep a watchful eye on him, but since we’re already having a speech evaluation done, why not have an informal* autism evaluation done, too? If the evaluation comes back “negative”, but she still has concerns in 6 months or so, a neurophysiologic exam is the next step. If the evaluation comes back “positive”, well, I guess we have an answer. I took the CAST test, too. He got a 22. Above a 15 is indicative of more testing necessary. Okay.
Guess We Need To Do That Evaluation
The evaluation is coming up. I’m scared. I don’t know why. Well, I know why. I’m good at blaming myself and feel like I’ve wasted years that could have been helping him. The stutter – I always assumed he was just excited to get his words out.
I had him evaluated for speech in Colorado. They said he had a “slight speech delay”, but that it wasn’t enough to warrant therapy. I should have pushed more. I’ve tried correcting him on pronouns for almost 3 years now, and it hasn’t helped. He still uses the wrong ones. He can’t say certain words. I know that, no matter what, the Smash-N-Break before the evaluation is the same Smash-N-Break that will be there after the evaluation. I will love him just the same. I know all of this logically. It doesn’t help.
What do you pray for when you see the warning signs, too? Do I just see them now because someone mentioned them? Is this another “Overactive Oversensitive Q”? Do you pray for a diagnosis that would be lifelong, because then you at least have answers? Do you pray for someone to say “Nah, he’s good”, but then you still have the red flags waving? If he gets a diagnosis, or needs services, do I pull him out of his new preschool? Or do we go the private insurance route?
If he has to go to a new preschool, the one he will go to requires a uniform. That will go over like a lead-balloon filled with a fart in church. How do I do that? He will feel like there are ants all over him with the clothes they require from his SPD. How am I going to fit all of the appointments into our days, and still get done what needs to be done?
Am I borrowing trouble right now? Probably. I’m good at that when I don’t have a plan and can’t have a plan without others input. Should I put down the coffee cup today, since I’m working myself up into spaztastic levels? Yes, yes I should.
I’ve known Smash-N-Break was different, just like I knew Littles was different, than other kids. I could see the differences between them and their older brother. Bubba is more mainstream, more expected. So far, I’ve just been praying for strength to be the advocate he needs, and to not sound like a bumbling idiot or forget anything when I talk to the people who will do the evaluation.
Wish me luck.
*Informal isn’t the right term, but I’m going with it.