I know this post has been a long time coming.
I think that a big, BIG part of me was
is scared to really talk about this. Because even the people in my life that I thought I could trust to be supportive and encouraging during this have let me down and begun the “process” of either criticizing our family and the way we parent and/or handle things or just choosing NOT to try to understand what’s going on.
After multiple visits with both the pediatrician and the child Psychologist, we’ve reached a starting point with getting Noah some help.
First things first, as of right NOW the psychologist does not want to diagnose him with Asperger’s.
He’s given us a new set of paperwork and forms to fill out and more information to gather. While it’s not exactly what we were anticipating, we are simultaneously very pleased with the fact that they aren’t looking to slap a label on him immediately. He does continue to tell us that Noah has a lot of “spectrum” qualities, but because he is still so young and Asperger’s is usually not diagnosed until around age 10, that he wants to continue doing some testing for now.
What we do know…
Noah has moderate/severe ADHD, which we (meaning both Josh and I and the doctors) think could be a lot of the cause behind his trouble with phonics & reading. That being said, if we are dealing with Asperger’s then we will have a better idea of why he struggles and how to handle it. For now, we are exploring options for different low-dosage medication to help with his ability to focus and attention span.
Noah also has a learning disability when it comes to reading comprehension. We don’t know if that is because of the ADHD (see above) or if he just doesn’t grasp the comprehension aspect. He can memorize things all day long, but short term his memory is terrible and none of us know right now if he is actually learning anything or if he is just memorizing everything for test-taking purposes.
He also has severe childhood anxiety and borderline childhood depression. The psychologist best guess as to why is because of the constant moving we have done in his short little life and his daddy being gone for extended periods of time for work and/or school. While this isn’t necessarily a major problem, it doesn’t present concerns long term as it is something that automatically puts him in a higher suicide risk group as a teenager.
He has severe low frustration tolerance (generally a common thing with ADHD children and/or Asperger’s children). This is, right now, the biggest worry and concern that we have. He has already started to display some issues with his self-esteem and self-worth and has made multiple comments both to Josh and I and his teachers that “he just isn’t smart/good enough” to do his school work or that he isn’t as good as the other kids. Which, for me as a mama, is absolutely heartbreaking. There are no words for how hard it is for your child at such a young age to feel unworthy.
His outbursts and tantrums (or meltdowns) are difficult to control and very hard to regulate. At the same time, they also bring me on the defensive for my son. Because I know what people think when he has one of these moments. I see the stares, the looks, the condescension from people who just assume that our son is a brat. And quite frankly, it pisses me off. And I’m choosing to just wash my hands of it.
Even if our son doesn’t have autism, he very much has a moderate/severe mental illness.
One that we will live with-that he will live with-from now on. One that I will have to advocate for and stand my ground against people who don’t know what they are talking about. One that I’m sure that I will lose friends over when they make ill informed comments about and jump to ignorant decisions about.
Regardless, I am learning a lot about our boy through this…and about myself.
More than anything, I’m learning that he is passionate, he is caring and he loves no one as much as he does his family. We are his team…his advocates…his support. The ones who encourage him no matter what he is facing.