ADHD Primarily Inattentive formerly known as ADD. With the possibility of Non-Verbal Learning Disorder.
This is the diagnosis we waited for. What we searched for. What we knew in our heart of hearts that would affect my daughter, and us, for the rest of our lives.
This is the reason for our struggle for the past 4 years of school, before the official diagnosis. The one we bypassed the school system for. The one we paid for out of pocket instead of waiting another 2 years just to find out what we already knew.
We knew. We were decently prepared. We read up on it, learned about it, set changes in motion at school and home for it. We thought we were ready. But if we were so ready, and so prepared, why does it feel like everything is falling apart now?
1 full year after her diagnosis of ADD. 2 years after having special IEPs (Individual Education Plan) in place to try to help her without medicating. 8 months after starting on medications that seem to be working to help her focus. This is where we are.
The learning is going well. She can focus. You can see it in the excitement that she has when she gets her grades back on a test or project. Grades that she prayed for and cried about when she just couldn’t get them no matter how hard she tried. The grades that never came in her first 4 years of school (Jk through the end of grade 2). 1 year ago, she would give up immediately because she KNEW there was no point in trying. She literally couldn’t focus enough to begin trying.
She gets the grades now. The A+’s, the B’s, even the C’s. We celebrate anything that isn’t an incomplete. Those are the grades we were looking for, for so long. Now she gets them. Those grades are showing that she can focus that beautiful brain of hers and is actually trying to do her work. That she can actually BEGIN to try. She is so happy when she brings home those tests, projects, and report cards. So proud of herself, just as I am of her.
The grades and school are great. The issues we are having now are with an emotional and behavioural demon that we have no clue how to deal with. I know that kids go through stages and ‘phases’ in their lives where they behave differently. I know that. But this…this is nothing like that.
She had bouts of it when she was younger too. The “I hate you” or “your ruining my life” statements at 3 years old. We thought it was cute then. It’s not cute anymore. Those statements now come daily. Screeching and screaming and other awful things being said “I wish I were never born”, “no one loves me”,” I hate you”, “you are the worst mother in the world”. Throwing things, punching, kicking, those come when you are putting her on ‘time out’ in the corner or in her room for 5 minutes.
It is like when she is being defiant, she is totally irrational. She has no control over what she is doing or saying. She doesn’t start off at a debating tone of voice. You know that a bit louder but still controlled voice you use when you disagree with someone? No. It automatically starts at an ear piercing pitch that is unimaginable unless you have heard it before. The tears automatically start flowing. She looks terrified and terrifying if I am honest with myself.
She was never the kid who got everything she asked for or got to do whatever she wanted. She was never the kid who was allowed to talk back to her parents or be rude or disrespectful. She was and is still the kid who is so kind hearted. So wonderfully playful. So beautiful inside and out. So genuinely concerned for everyone else’s wellbeing. That’s why this is so difficult for us.
They say that when there is a diagnosis of ADHD: Inattentive there is almost always another disorder lurking. Hence the possible Non Verbal Learning Disorder that they say she may or may not have. It could wait to show its ugly head for a while, but it’s there. And in a way I’ve always known that it was there. It has just recently become a big issue. A huge enough issue that it is affecting our entire household. No one really knowing what to do. Everyone on edge.
There is no way to know what the secondary disorder is, or if it really is anything at all, until we re-test her. Re-testing will not be done until after she has fully reached puberty. That’s another 3 years at least.
For me, this is both terrifying and hopeful. Terrifying because I have to wait so long with this crazy behaviour that IS taking over my house. Hopeful because maybe there is a reason for this crazy behaviour that has taken over my house. Hopeful also because then there will be a way to help her. A set plan that we can work with. For now, we try anything and everything we can think of, that we read about, that are suggested to us. For now, we wait.