Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Into the Woods

Into the woods,
Without delay,
But careful not
To lose the way.
Into the woods,
Who knows what may
Be lurking on the journey?*

Yesterday she was pretending to be Little Red Riding Hood.
She dressed up in church clothes, and filled a basket with rolls, cookies , some butter and tulips,
 and delivered it to our "Granny" next door!  

What a journey it has been this year with Diddles!  She's grown so much from where she was last year - so many more words, counting, writing letters, asking questions, gaining confidence, etc.  We've also got more questions - Why still so much frustration?  Why can't she stay focused and seated?  Why does she live in an imaginary world sometimes?  Why is she STILL so anxious about social situations at school and church?  Why can't she turn off her mind and fall asleep before 10pm?

When I learned of our impending move, I felt prompted that I needed to get some answers, if for nothing else, to be able to have a clear picture in her IEP of Diddles' struggles and how best to help her.  She will be starting Kindergarten in a new school, after all - away from all of the teachers and aides and specialists who know her almost as well as I do!  I know we shouldn't label children, but sometimes in order to get the services you need, you need a label!  Fine, I'll jump the hoops.

I started with the long process of dealing with insurance to find out how to get a referral.  A visit to her Pediatrician had me sitting there with my concerns being brushed aside as "she's just young", "she just needs more time" and "I don't think there is cause for concern."  That didn't sit right with me.  I never push, but I pushed for a Psychologist referral anyway, and was so grateful for a government grant we had been awarded earlier this year that gives us $1800 to spend towards Diddles' care/copays, etc.  We'd needed it.  Josh and I went to an intake evaluation with Dr. Wilson, a local Psychologist and after pages of questions, and surveys from the teachers, and one-on-one play meetings with Diddles, she was diagnosed with SOCIAL ANXIETY.  We ruled out Autism/Aspberger's, which was my original thought, but Social Anxiety seemed only one piece of this puzzle.

Diddles and "Wilson" have been having weekly play meetings building up trust and eventually will lead to some Cognitive-Behavior Therapy - an action-oriented treatment.  It teaches kids and parents how anxiety works, so they can combat it with skills that address thoughts, responses and behaviors having to do with anxiety.  I don't know that we will have enough time (or money) to see this all the way through, but I can see the benefit for her (and all kids) in learning everything I can about it, and implementing it.

At her IEP a few weeks ago, we were writing up all of the details, and as I was surrounded at the table with her teacher, her Special Ed teacher, and her speech therapist, I kept hearing the words, "lacks focus" "distracted" "seems checked-out in another world".  Her speech therapist, Betsy, who has known and worked with Diddles since she was two, made a comment:  "I'm not a psychologist, but it almost seems to me like ADD.  She's not bouncing off the walls, but she just has an attention problem, and sometimes I feel like she's not LISTENING to what I'm saying.  Those are the kids I worry about the most, because they just blend in, and you don't know there's a problem until it's too late."

I went back to Dr. Wilson and asked him to test her for ADD, which is now just under the umbrella of ADHD, but with three types:  Predominately Inattentive, Predominately Hyperactive/Impulsive, Combination.  Dr. Wilson seemed really open to the possibility and has been doing exhaustive tests for the past two weeks, along with surveys from us and teachers to pinpoint her exact behaviors.  We are leaning towards it being ADHD Inattentive, but it's still not sitting 100% right with me.  Some things fit her, but others aren't her AT ALL!  It gets really overwhelming and discouraging as the deeper we get, the more confusing it becomes.

Following this week's appointment and official diagnosis, we will consider a low-dose medication trial to see how she responds.  I'd like her to be observed in a school setting with her teachers for them to note the difference (if any).

Aleta gave me a good reminder:  "She is a mystery, but just always remember that she is a very wonderful little girl just the way she is and her loving nature will take her far in this world.  I wish I had a mirror in her mind so I could share all her adventures with her."  

I'm her mother for a reason.  I know Heavenly Father knows her better than I do, and he wouldn't send her here to earth to fail.  I know she is capable of great things, but I just want to do all I can to help her be her very best self, but at the same time not squash who she is!  I pray and pray and pray to know what is right to do.  I know He'll help me.

To get the thing  
That makes it worth
The journeying.
into the woods

Lyrics from Into the Woods*

1 comment:

Dianna said...

Thank you for sharing this with the world. There are so many parents who search and search for answers for their children. Mothers like you are heroes because you don't give up and you keep pushing until an answer fits. We have been on a similar journey with our Abbey. She got diagnosed with ADD last year. She has been working four times as hard as most other students for years and trying to convince us she wasn't frustrated. It was such a relief to have the validation of a diagnosis, and then when she started on medication it was a revelation to her and to us. She has done so much better this year in school, and she feels so much more peace and calm (she also has an anxiety component to her diagnosis). Then as Brett saw her improvements and the great strides she has made with her concentration and focus, he felt very driven to find some answers for himself. Now we have a dad, a daughter, and a son who are doing so much better. The tension with these three very artistic individuals has dropped from their shoulders and they are blossoming. Brett even went to a meeting about ADHD that Davis School District hosted and met the speaker and writer Mark R. Patey who has ADHD. The book is called Addicts and Millionaires: The Gift and Curse of ADHD. Brett said everything this man said hit home to him, and he has been able to look at this new diagnosis in a positive way. Good luck with your continued search, Amy. Your little Diddles is so blessed to have you in her corner.