I haven’t blogged in a while. God has been working on me over the last few months. And although the desire has always been there to start blogging again, I didn’t know where to start. Now, with the kids back in school, I’m ready! I still love this analogy of the potter. I really feel like I’ve been kneaded and slammed onto the wheel. I’m finally getting centered and maybe I’ll become a more useful vessel. It’s funny, for so long I had not felt His presence. I’d ask Him, “Where are you? Don’t you even care about me?” But man, when He decides to move, He moves.
I’ve blogged a lot about our son who has SPD, but more recently we’ve been given the diagnosis of “ADHD” as well. I’ve seen this diagnosis coming for a while. In reality, kids with SPD usually (but not always) have something else going on. The OT who we’ve been closely working with for two years gave me the “heads up.” She observed him at school and noticed he was having a difficult time. Not in academics, but in social situations and areas of impulsivity, hyperactivity and distractedness. My heart sank. She suggested we put him back in public school where he could receive more structure and extra services (motor breaks, OT, etc.). In order to get these services, I knew I would need the ADHD diagnosis (something the OT can’t do). So we visited a developmental pediatrician and in one 15 minute appointment, she labeled my kid. It was that easy to obtain the label I had been trying to avoid for years.
I don’t like the label “ADHD.” It sounds so negative. Listen to the words… attention deficit (not good), hyperactivity (definitely not good) and disorder (something’s wrong with you). The label fails to recognize that very often these children are quite bright and that they possess many unique and gifted qualities. These children are often perceptive, inquisitive, good problem solvers and strong leaders. In a nutshell, they stand out. The good, the bad and the ugly.
I don’t trust this ADHD label either. I think it can be loosely thrown around and all too often children are medicated unnecessarily. Maybe it truly is ADHD, maybe it’s not. The truth is I don’t really care. Here’s what I’ve discovered: having a label means extra services. At this point in time, that’s what our son needs in order to be successful and that’s fine by me. No child will get services without a label, no matter how hard they’re struggling. That’s the sad truth. Now don’t get me wrong. I do believe ADHD exists. The symptoms are very real. We live it every day. But in researching several different labels (SPD, ADHD, 2e, etc.), all of them describe my son. I have to wonder if what we’re dealing with is true ADHD or something more? That’s a puzzle I’ll have to piece together another day. For now, I’ll call it the name we’ve been given (and maybe rightly so), “ADHD.”
As much as I have been avoiding this diagnosis, I am actually relieved that he has it. He’s able to get the special attention at school that he needs (something that our typically developing daughter will probably never get). I mean, who doesn’t want some special attention? We have a great support team and I now feel like I have many resources and people to draw from.
But let’s be honest here. When we first got the diagnosis, I experienced a number of emotions:
Sadness: I’m going to go ahead and call this *grief,* knowing that this was the cross that Logan would have to bear (that we would have to bear) for life. It’s not an easy life. I remember sobbing in the shower (the only place where I can truly be alone), when suddenly my grief turned to…
Anger: Anger at the situation. Why is this his cross to bear? It’s sometimes hard to explain to a six year old why things can be so difficult for him. And, anger at God. Part of the reason why I couldn’t sense His presence was because I shut him out. I didn’t want to talk to Him.
Guilt: that perhaps somehow I had passed this on to him.
Failure: I tried everything in my power *not* to receive this diagnosis. Homeopathy, elimination diets, OT, chiropractic care, martial arts, vision therapy, neurofeedback… you name it, we did it. I could not cure his symptoms.
And finally, peace. Peace knowing that Logan is “fearfully and wonderfully made.” Psalm 139:14. God created Logan to be the person he is. God doesn’t want me to change him. He may not be the easiest person to live with at times, but it is my responsibility (along with our support team) to teach him how to live as a person who happens to have “ADHD.” I stopped feeling sorry for myself and started recognizing that people go through much greater trials here on earth. I continued to focus on his strengths while trying to help him through the challenges. In this process, God did not change Logan, but He did change me. It’s a relief to know and accept that “he is who he is.” He doesn’t have to fit into the box. It’s actually really special that he doesn’t. I see he has unique gifts that God has given him. Our house is not always peaceful, but I am finally at peace with the situation.
Over the past few months I have witnessed some nice changes in our family and in me. God is speaking to my heart clearly and in a new direction. It’s almost like I had to hand this worry over to God, in order to move on to my next phase of living. I can still chime in on “ADHD” topics here (and I will), because I’m still learning as I go. But I don’t want it to define me. I too am “fearfully and wonderfully made,” and I think God has big plans for me.