Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Or It Could Always Be Hot Dogs

So, Scud has always been a bit peculiar. He's bright, he's fun, he's hilarious and handsome, but also rather quirky. He has a hard time with empathy, with eye contact, with understanding social norms and acceptable behavior. This started when he was still a toddler and would invariably hit other children on the playground EVERY. TIME. WE. WENT. I always thought it was because I was a crappy mom and couldn't figure out how to teach him not to hit, or give appropriate consequences. When he could finally talk (at about 4) he told me the reason he always hit kids. "Be-duzz I am doh nerbous."

The social anxiety has continued through the years, along with other odd behaviors that make life hard for him. So, we're investigating several avenues.

I met with the school psychologist on Monday and we went over the results from the screeners we took. For the ASDS (that screens specifically for Asperger's Syndrome), he scored in the "possibly" category. There are five categories: very likely, likely, possibly, unlikely and very unlikely. Possibly, as you might have guessed, is right on the fence. Which is exactly where we've always been.

On the second screener, he measured in the "clinically significant" category for traits such as withdrawal, maladaptability, social skills and agression -- all of which are red flags for an autism spectrum disorder. But again, inconclusive.

He also scored high for hyperactivity and attention problems, which is no big surprise because I think nearly ever member of our family (JDub and I included) could probably be diagnosed with some form of ADD or ADHD. I don't mean to pooh-pooh this idea, because I'm sure that if it becomes a problem for him we will want to find resources to help. But high activity, high intensity and distractibility are all what "normal" means in our household.

Giftedness and it's attendant odd behaviors were our first thought (and still haven't been ruled out), but homeschooling him and matching his environment and academics to his needs have not resolved many of the most concerning behaviors. He is a very bright kid and definitely thinks differently that most. Our school's principal suggested that we have him tested and apply for him to go to a satellite school in our district set up specifically for gifted children. I'm researching and thinking about it, but am concerned that it might be too high-pressure for him and that, rather than flourishing, he might just wilt.

The school psychologist was very helpful and suggested that it would be a good idea to take him to someone who could give us a definitive yea or nay on an Asperger's diagnosis and help us with any other problems and needs.

My emotions and thoughts on this are all over the map. I want to know how to help this sweet kid, how to get the resources he needs to learn how to function normally and just be happy. I want what's best for him. But, I also don't want to be quick to jump on the "diagnosis bandwagon" and just try to fit him into a box to make it easier for us. And there's also the guilt that, in my years of making it "all about me" and my feelings of inadequacy to properly parent this child, I have been blinded to the fact that I was doing all I could by myself and he just needed more help than he was getting. I wonder about the future repercussions of pursuing a diagnosis, both positive and negative. But, more than anything, I just want to do what is right for Scud. The hard part is often knowing just what "right" is. We'll be working on it, praying about it, pursuing this further. Wish us luck.

And now for your listening pleasure (and mine because I'm tired of feeling crazy), I give you my happy songs. 10 songs that never fail to make me smile. Happy Wednesday!

Get a playlist!
Standalone player
Get Ringtones


Emily said...

This sounds so difficult -- I hope you guys find all the answers. To help Scud and maybe make life a little better for all of you!

Kendra said...

I have had some of the same concerns with Patrick, but on a lower scale. I wish you a lightened heart and a clear mind. I know that you will do all in your power to do what is right for your children. Keep having faith. Love you.

Kim said...

Oh how I pray that the Heavens will open and you will know the best course of action for your sweet little guy.
It is so hard isn't it? I worry so much about mine and wonder if I am doing the right things for them.
I pray for clarity to your heart and mind my sweet friend.

Heather said...

Thanks so much for your kind words and your support. We'll get it figured out.

Jeff and Jessie said...

I hate having to put my child in 'a place'. Why can't Scud just be Scud without a label to change that. It bugs me that others want to label something to deal with it. Sometimes we just have to trust that our children will grow to be wonderful adults without all our meddling. I like how you allow him to be himself. And remember, it is no reflection on you!