Ten days since I hopped on here. TEN! In my defense, I have had a few things swirling around and they are all good…or at least “good-ish.”
I have been working. My job doubled in size in late June and I am now responsible for 100% of the community involvement projects for our company. While the opportunities that come from added responsibility are great, it has been a bit of a trick to find time to get everything done.
Last weekend, we held a big event at a local middle school. It sucked up a ton of my time, but it turned out awesome. We were joined by the Mayor, the Chairman of the School Board, both the Florida Representative and City Councilwoman from the school’s district and other dignitaries. We got lots of great press. (We hired a wonderful PR agency to help with that.) The end result: 119 volunteers working diligently over two days, 5,200 new books for the school’s 40 classrooms and lots of “sparkle” for a much-deserved Title I school.
In the week since then, we have had two big developments at home that are also both “good-ish.” Each of these things by itself is not necessarily what anyone would want, but they are conclusions that are WAAAAY better than the worst case scenario and workable in their own way.
First, HH’s dad… For 8 days, he was staying in our guest room, going back and forth to the hospital for tests, procedures and other less than fun stuff. The bad news is he will be dependent on enzymes and insulin for the rest of his life. The good news, and it is VERY good, is that he does not have cancer…and for a while we thought it was the worst kind, pancreatic cancer.
Vader’s behavior is the other thing that has been on our plate. After being asked kindly to not return to summer camp because of behavior issues, we began the process of evaluating him for a whole host of stuff. We could not figure out why our sweet, curious 6-year-old would not listen when asked to sit still at the table, to stop jumping off the couch, to stop tickling his brothers and so on.
Visual processing hurdles, sleep disorders, stress (we’ve had some of that around here over the last 3+ years) and learning disabilities were all on the table. We ended somewhere completely unexpected. The goods news starts with the fact that we now know that Vader is extremely bright. His IQ puts him in the 95 percentile for his age group. The analysis also told us he has Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder, otherwise known as ADHD. It means that his brain has trouble telling his body not to pay attention to everything interesting thing it sees, among other things. He is impulsive and curious and wants to interact with everyone and everything.
In the past week, I have read 5 books about Vader’s diagnosis and I am actually buoyed by how far we’ve come as a community. Vader was not diagnosed 10 or 25 years ago when people widely believed that this was a hopeless flaw, a nuisance or disease to be barely tolerated. In fact, there are many doctors and teachers that believe that children with ADHD, when supported properly, have a gift. Children and adults with ADHD are often great problem solvers, creative thinkers and high-performing extroverts. Others can harness that energy and be extremely focused (though that is probably not our son. 🙂 )
We are now 100% certain that Vader will go onto first grade. Boredom, like the kind that Vader would likely have repeating Kindergarten, is the worst thing for a child with this diagnosis. The trick now is figuring out how to help him be successful, how to work with his brain and his environment.
I thought long and hard about sharing this news. I think there are a lot of people who dismiss this kind of stuff as hooey or worse, will stereotype our son. But, I believe that the upside of sharing it is much bigger. Vader’s behavior challenges in Kindergarten were hard on all of us. Had we known how to help him, we’d all have been better off. Perhaps there are other people out there who are embarking on this path and through my blog, I can connect with them and we can help each other.
This will not be the ADHD blog. I still want to share about my two other kiddos (who are also awesome, of course), a house of projects I want to
do plan think about doing, a body that needs toning, recipes that I want to try (and fail) and so on. However, the news about Vader has changed things for all of us here at Chez Boss Lady and will likely be another voice in the conversation of our lives.
It may not be the best news ever, but we’ll take some “good-ish” news over the bad kind any day.