Depicting the day-to-day death defying feats of parenting a child with ADHD, SID and ODD...and his brother.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Next Steps (X-post from Fat Chick Biking)

I posted this on my Fat Chick Biking blog as well...

I'm a mom, first and foremost. And as a mom, I worry about my kids. It's kind of my job, along with making sure they are safe, happy and taken care of. But when your kid has issues like mine has issues, that worry can kick your ass.

My kid is severely ADHD. He's also diagnosed ODD (Oppositional Defiant Disorder) and SID (Sensory Integration Disorder, aka SPD (Sensory Processing Disorder). ODD is very commonly found as a comorbid diagnosis with ADHD. In my opinion, it's also a very harmful diagnosis to acquire, or at least it can be.

Why, you ask, is ODD a harmful diagnosis? Just read the two major players in the name of the disorder. OPPOSITIONAL. DEFIANT. Pretty negative way to describe someone, isn't it? Do you feel sympathetic to someone who is labeled oppositional and defiant? Does it make you want to help them? Or do you find yourself looking at these oppositional and defiant people as troublemakers and people who are going to cause problems for you?

Long ago, when I first started this journey with my child of trying to help him with his issues, I decided that whatever labels were given to him were fine by long as they help him get the services and assistance he needs. Read that again. As long as they help him get the services and assistance he needs. What I've found is that a diagnosis of Oppositional Defiant Disorder gets him nothing but looked upon as someone who is, by definition, oppositional and defiant, and by extension, a troublemaker and someone upon whom many, many things can be blamed.

Here is the definition of Oppositional Defiant Disorder:

* Actively does not follow adults' requests
* Angry and resentful of others
* Argues with adults
* Blames others for own mistakes
* Has few or no friends or has lost friends
* Is in constant trouble in school
* Loses temper
* Spiteful or seeks revenge
* Touchy or easily annoyed

Am I saying that my child does none of these things? No, clearly he does them or he would not have qualified for this diagnosis 5 years ago. But as a layperson, teacher or someone otherwise involved in my child's life in a non-medical, non-psychological way, having a child labeled ODD is harmful. Humans as a rule want to put people into metaphorical boxes so that we understand how each person is "supposed" to act. When you expect someone to act a certain way, you start looking at their behavior through that lens...and it can very easily become habit to look for the negatives, or even the not-good-enoughs, instead of seeing the efforts that person makes, and even the good behaviors, outside of the label you gave them.

Right now, my child is facing a diagnosis of depression, an adjustment disorder w/depression, and maybe an anxiety addition to ADHD, ODD and SID. He's 9. I am worried for my child.

He doesn't want to open up and talk about his peer relationships with his therapist, the person who did the extensive testing back in March, or even with me. That's new...and it's weird. So says me...and the professionals. Hence, the adjustment disorder. He is clearly going through some emotional trauma and feels unsafe or upset talking about his friends, or lack thereof. What was the impetus for this? I can guess it was something that was fairly devastating to him that happened a school a while back. I could be wrong.

I love my kid. My kid is a pain in the ass. My kid is a stellar little guy with a HUGE heart and a great smile. He has a special ability to piss people off. I'm glad for the person he is, and I sincerely hope that his trials at such an early age will make him stronger, not broken.

The next step is a meeting with all professionals involved in his treatment so we can brainstorm and come up with viable treatment options, be they medical, pharmacological, or therapeutic in nature. In addition, at the end of April, our wonderful psychologist will be accompanying my husband and I to an IEP review/revision meeting at the school to talk about the results of the testing done in March, and what the resulting changes in his IEP will be. After that? No idea...I just know that we will keep plugging along, trying to help him as much as we can.

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