Thursday, January 23, 2014

Widsom Learned from Raising Little Man: Getting a Diagnosis

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Although training Little Man immediate obedience seems like a huge feat, it is one - uno - one step toward finishing the parenting marathon.   But after feeling drug backward for so long, I celebrated like no one else.  I emailed and called several people because for once I felt encouragement with our third child.  (I probably posted it on Facebook too!)  Yes, I was that excited about one step in the right direction.

You may be asking, "What's the big deal?".  Shouldn't Little Man have already been doing this?
Both Bubs and Little Man have been labeled with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD.  Same diagnosis in each boy but it manifests itself in very different ways.  In addition, Bubs has several other issues and a couple more labels due to his month-long stay in the NICU and CVICU (Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit) at birth - Executive Function Disorder, Sensory Processing Disorder, Anxiety.

This is very important so don't miss this next statement.

I HATE labels.  Capital H. A. T. E.  Hate.   

Sadly, the culture has allowed labels to marry excuses.  They walk hand-in-hand down the road of life causing everyone else to lower expectations and tip-toe around.  Because of this, I did not want my children to have any initials by their names. 

Kevin Leman in his book Parenting Your Powerful Child: Bringing an End to the Everyday Battles says this about labels.
We have tolerated all kinds of behavior and issues as acceptable, merely because they have a label.  We as a society no longer expect the best of people.  Instead of accepting labels as excuses for unacceptable behaviors, why not work with the child to counteract those behaviors?
I agree 100%, but what happens when what you are doing is not working?

After beating my head against the wall day after day, we had no choice but to find answers.  For the sake of our boys, we could not continue to spin our wheels.  The dilemmas we faced were not discipline issues.  I couldn't place enough boundaries up or nurture our children out of their problems.  We needed professional help.  We needed a roadmap.

I remember the first time Bubs went to the neuropsychologist.  It was like the angels were singing from heaven.  It made sense what the doctor was saying.  He understood and connected the dots that seemed to puzzle everyone we talked to prior. 

What I have learned is that labels can provide parents with roadmaps to help their children.  Finally I had some direction and tools to use.  I can read what others have done and ideas from professionals instead of blindly searching in the dark to understand the "why's" and "how's."

Labels mean that we do things a little different.  The medical initials mean that we have to work much harder and longer to get the same results.  With Bubs, modifications have been made to help him meet the same goals as his peers.  But having a diagnosis is not an excuse. 

This week's posts are a prime example.  I could declare that with ADHD, Little Man will never be able to hear and obey my voice and that no child with ADHD can go from Point A to Point B.  Instead, I believe that with a lot of time and effort, he can be successful.  Teaching Little Man to hear my voice, immediately come, sit with focus, and follow through on a command is taking a lot of work and energy. But as Kevin Leman shared, boundaries and consistency are enabling him to have acceptable behavior and expecting the best of him.

Side note:  If you believe that your child has a disability, seek professional help.  Every situation is different and deserves professional guidance.  From our experience, I encourage you to get more than one opinion as some doctors are very hasty to give out particular diagnoses.  It is very important to receive the "correct" diagnosis in order to be on the correct roadmap. 

Next in the series...What is the Purpose of Consequences?

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The Our Out-of-Sync Life blog focuses on encouraging women to deepen their spiritual life, simplify daily tasks, and impress Jesus on the children around them.