Proudly Supporting all Military Families with a Special Needs Dependent
March is Developmental Disabilities Month. MSNN will be highlighting a different developmental disability each blog post this month in an effort to educate, inspire and connect our families. If you would like to guest blog, please email Kelly Hafer (KellyHafer@MSNNblog.com). Thank you.
Back in early October my five year old son came home from school and told me that he couldn’t slow his brain down. He was very upset about this. It was a statement that stopped me in my tracks. This started our current journey. At first I thought that it was not that big of a deal if he had ADHD. I was used to his energy level and I had adapted to the struggles with home work. Really, what 5 year old wants to sit and study sight words? I never dreamed what we would find out. After reflecting deeply about my beautiful son, I began to realize that I had made a habit of making excuses for many of his behaviors. The outbursts, the meltdowns, HATING to write or color, not respecting personal space, never wanting to wear jeans and many other things. After all the testing was done I sat with the psychologist to hear the results: ADHD, Mild cognitive delay, fine motor skill delay, ODD, Mood disorder, possibility of Sensory Processing Disorder and characteristics of Autism. He was not diagnosed with Autism but he does have some of the traits.
I tried to wrap my mind around everything I had just heard. As a military wife, I wanted to take control of anything that turns my world upside down by making a list. Quickly I started to build my “battle plan.” Okay, let’s start on the referrals for an OT. Let’s set things up with a behavioral therapist. I need to get things started for an IEP and categorization of Other Health Impairment (OHI) with the school. Then things came to a stand still. Instead of continuing with my battle plan, questions began to flood my mind. How do I tell my husband? This is going to be a blow for him. We have to decide are we going to do medication or not? Do you we tell family and friends right away? Do we tell them everything? Will people judge him for his ODD? How will this affect my baby boy? Will he always struggle? How the heck do I manage all of this between work, three other children, and sports? I already have a full plate!
That night I told my husband the news as he sat quietly trying to absorb what I was telling him. I could see the dreams in his head for our son being questioned. It’s funny that you go through so much testing and get detailed results only to end up with more questions than anyone has answers for. We are very blessed for the friends and family that we have. A few of our friends have been down similar paths and offered great advice. We really needed the nonjudgmental support while skipping the pity party. I feared people questioning the diagnose. I didn’t have it in me to defend it or explain it. We just needed love. I need my son not to be looked at by his diagnoses but for who he is.
It hasn’t been long since I heard the results, but things are already changing in our household. The one thing that surprised me the most was how little I really understood about my son. A more clear picture is forming. I now understand why he has meltdowns and the triggers for them. I know why he hates wearing jeans or why getting the right toothpaste matters. I am really getting to enjoy knowing my son all over again. Yes I have moments when my heart hurts for him. No parent want to see their child struggle. The odds might have been stacked against him a little more but one thing that he has in his corner is he has two parents that will move heaven and earth for him. There will be tears and many melt downs, but there will be conquest and love. Always love!
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