A family's story

D-Day

Editor’s Note: This piece has been in progress since Wednesday. I have all 3 kids home, and Tate’s therapists keep cancelling sessions. Jake is “bored”, and apparently, their only source of entertainment includes my involvement. Next week will likely be similar. I may not post much until August 23–when my older two boys are back in school. Please send wine. Please.

On Tuesday, Hubz and I met with the neuropsychologist to discuss the results of Jake’s testing. We got there with a few minutes to spare, and, as always, the doctor was running just a little bit behind schedule. We fiddled with our phones as we waited. We made some banter over the Olympics. We were nervous. Finally, the doctor came to get us so we could talk all about our Jake.

We sat down and made ourselves comfortable. The doctor opened with, “Well, we all know Jake is a cute sweetie pie.” Yes, yes he is. I’m glad we have that “officially” documented by a professional! Seriously, though, we delved into the report.

First, Doc led us through the responses from the BASC-2. Hubz and I, along with the teachers, and even Jake, all raised concerns about attention, impulsivity, and atypicality. Doc then went over the answers from the BRIEF that the teachers filled out. Then she went over our answers. Again, concerns about attention, focus, executive functioning, atypicality, and impulsivity.

From there, Doc had us go over the test results. Since this wasn’t our first rodeo, we knew what to look for in the results. Jake has below-to average intelligence. However, due to the ADHD, his true intelligence will always be difficult to measure. While Jake has some areas of weakness, where he is “borderline” or “mildly impaired”, he has several areas of strength. I want to frame the section where Jake scored “above average” and “superior”. The results from Doc’s testing were consistent with the results from Jake’s evaluation done by the school district. Our beautiful boy does, indeed, have ADHD. Doc gave him a diagnosis of “combined-type” because he is inattentive, as well as impulsive. It fits. Jake also has a math-specific learning disability. The entire section of testing devoted to math came up with “well below average”.  Jake has average to below-average reading scores, and his handwriting is well-below average compared to his intelligence.

Due to family history ( Tate), as well as some of our answers during the interview and on the BASC-2 and BRIEF, the doctor administered the ADOS to Jake. While Jake exhibits a few behaviors consistent with autism, these are due to his ADHD and language delays. He is “sub-clinical” in official terminology. His test results on the ADOS show no autism.  While I knew deep-down that Jake’s issues were related to his language delays and inattention, there’s that nagging, “what if” that plagues many of us who have already been through this process and see another child standing out from the crowd in some awkward ways.

Doc gave us her recommendations. First, she thinks Jake would benefit from pharmaceutical intervention- aka- meds. Much of the population that struggles with the symptoms of ADHD benefits from medication. We have seen what it can do. We are open to it. I have already booked his appointment with a psychiatrist to discuss our options. I am trying one of the psych’s that Doc recommended. Tate’s psych is ok, but I’m not totally sold. I want to see if this guy is better. If so, then I can always transfer Tate there.

Doc also suggested that we enroll Jake in a social skills class. Due to his language delays, as well as his ADHD, social interaction is awkward. It’s difficult. He doesn’t always know what to do with other children once he introduces himself. I agree. I left a message with the psychologist she recommended. I hope we can get him into a group nearby. That would be so good for him…to help him feel some more success with peers.

The math and reading interventions that Doc recommended are currently in place. She agreed with most of his IEP. The part of the IEP that concerns her is the part where the SLP wants to drop Jake’s services down to 30 minutes per week this coming school year. His primary qualification for special education services is speech/language. He is still in the mildly-impaired range for language. He needs speech therapy at 60 minutes. Doc also suggested private speech therapy as a good boost for Jake. Today when we see Tate’s SLP, I am going to ask for some references. Tate’s SLP is booked solid..but I’m sure she can give me a few names of SLP’s who are good.

I have to leave the report in the school office for Jake’s special ed resource teacher (case manager). She’s going to set up a meeting in the first couple weeks of school. We have hope for this coming school year. We have hope for our kiddo. He is such an amazing person, who knows struggle..and is working hard, not allowing himself to give up.

I worry so much now, but like I told some friends, one day, as Jake is crossing that stage to get his diploma, I will smile, giggle even…and be so very, very proud of my son. Academics, social interaction, and daily tasks are not easy for my two older boys. But they are learning, early, the benefits of hard work, strong support systems, and dedication. They take nothing for granted..and earn every ounce of their successes. They inspire me to be better. They give me hope.

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Comments on: "D-Day" (6)

  1. ADHD is difficult. Toots has it too. The meds have calmed him, according to his tutors and teachers. Funny thing is, I don’t see it as much. Maybe, because the med we give him lasts only during school hours. I hope you find just the right med for Jake. It took a bit of searching to find the right one for Toots and he went through some not-so-fun mood swings while we tested out the different ones. Social skills classes are always great and it sounds like the timing for the eval was just perfect. Now you have that and the perfect teacher so you are starting out so well prepared! Yay for Jake! And I will look forward to August 23rd when you’re back! 🙂

    • Tate has ADHD, as well. His meds work fairly well..but I think we’re going to have to make a change..he isn’t as focused lately..and his anxiety is through the roof..but some of that could be the “back-to-school” blues.

  2. Your Jake could so be my Ace. You say that all the time and its true. I hope the diagnosis helps you to get him whatever will help. We’re still waiting to get a mtng with the school and due to insurance/finances will have to wait till January to enroll him in a social skills class. I’ll be following along with you guys – as always. Please keep the news coming. Xoxo

    • Thanks, Deenie. I do think that Ace and Jay and Jake and Tate are very similar. I hope that you can get that meeting soon with school. I hear ya with waiting. Since we have maxed out our out-of-pocket deductible already this year (thanks to ABA), we can swing the social skills classes…we’ll see what happens once January comes around…

  3. I am in my 40s and wish my ADD had been diagnosed and medicated while in school. My fairly recent diagnosis explains so much of my life back hen. I have the inattentive type with a bit of impulsiveness. As I aged I learned ways to compensate and your Jake will too. Actually now I would not trade my “condition” as there are many gifts also. One thing I can do is concentrate intensely for long periods. This is a great advantage in the IT fields. Literally the building can burn down around me and I would not notice and keep working. This can be a very lucrative and desired trait in the workplace. As soon as I was medicated my world changed and Jake’s will too. Don’t let the naysayers convince you otherwise.

  4. Don’t you hate those moments in the office when the doctor keeps you waiting and you’re just a bundle of nerves? I’m glad you’re all done with the diagnosis portion. That was, I think, for us the most stressful part. All of those tests and answering the same questions over and over…. I was glad when we knew what was going on and we could start making plans to implement an educational plan for Joel based on his capabalites and focus on his weaknesses. I hope that the upcoming months and years are successful ones for you and your family.

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