The day the Neuro-Psychologist presented me with the results of Ashlyn’s neurologic and behavioral disorder tests it was like 5 years of weighted questioning was lifted from me. I was fully prepared for the moment she proclaimed without a doubt that Ashlyn has ADHD. I was actually more surprised that she wasn’t diagnosed with autism at even the mildest case, or a mild case of Tourette’s with all the ticks and tendencies she frequently displays. Those, however, we learned were attributed to the Primary Motor Stereotymies she was also diagnosed with, a condition I had never heard of before, but currently educating myself on.
I myself of course have spent many a night diagnosing her through my self-proclaimed webmd.com degree, and have lost many hours of sleep because of this, but we won’t go into that now, HA! Our knowledgeable neurologist was thankfully onboard with continuing the process of exploring and unveiling our suspicions. She confessed she had wanted to discuss behavioral testing with us previously, but as often as 7 times out of 10 her patients’ guardians were either in denial or completely oblivious to the fact their children may have symptoms of these disabilities. It is bewildering to me that so many parents would resist the opportunity to take any necessary steps in learning about and hopefully improving on the ways to guide their child(ren) through these life obstacles.
As a parent I want my child to have access to all the opportunities that will give her the knowledge and experience to set her goals and reach them. That being said I also just want her to be a kid. I want Ashlyn to play, to imagine, create, explore, and even fail, because through failing she will learn. I know that her ADHD and epilepsy will create obstacles in life that many of her peers won’t have to deal with, but I hope that myself, her current teachers, future educators, and friends can be accepting and knowledgeable enough to guide her through the successes and fails despite any disabilities she may have.
I am thankful for the current and past teachers Ashlyn has had, as they have been incredibly open minded and accommodating regarding her needs. We have spent a good chunk of time discussing Ashlyn and my concerns have always been met with acceptance and helpful feedback. In fact, last week happened to be my parent teacher conference with Ashlyn’s PreK teachers. I had asked them at the beginning of the year to take note and let me know if Ashlyn portrayed symptoms related to her ADHD and Stereotymies. First, they went on and on about how sweet, well mannered, and friendly Ashlyn was at school to both them and her classmates, and then came the portion of the meeting I had most anticipated. Her biggest challenge, which is also a main reason we felt the need to place her in Pre-k5 instead of sending her off to Kindergarten was her attention and focus. Every box listed in the column for Attention and Focus was marked with a “N” (Needs improvement).
- Staying on task during activities: “N”
- Finishing a task before starting a new one: “N”
- Listening to full directions stated by teacher: “N”
- Allowing other to finish talking without interrupting: “N”
- Neatness (taking her time and being organized during tasks): “N”
I laughed, and I think her teachers were relieved in my reaction. At this point in our process of learning how to deal with Ashlyn’s quirks sometimes it’s just best to laugh it off. There are times to engage and fix, and there are times to just let her be her. Pre-k is a time to let her be, as I know in the years to come once she enters into full-time public grade school we will have plenty of instances where “fixing” and “focus” will be necessary. The days of 504 accommodations and special education interferences are in sight, but for now we will let her be her own Spaz, and instead educate ourselves on how to best live with a child with ADHD. Hopefully there will be more Mary Poppins moments and fewer visits from The Hulk. God, I accept your challenge, and appreciate your faith in my ability to love and raise a child with disabilities!