October 30, 2013

Scary Words

There is a heart stopping moment when someone with the title of Doctor says to you, "severe deficiency" in reference to your child.  Tristyn has had issues in school, ever since preschool.  It's always been obvious that he was, what I like to call, quirks.  It really never occurred to me it was more than that.  "He's a weird kid.  I was a weird kid, his bio dad was a weird kid, eh.  He'll be fine."  As he grew and developed, it became more than quirks.  His quirks had quirks.  When he was 2, Tristyn would run from one end of my 1,200 sq ft apartment to the other, bouncing off the wall and laughing.  His tantrums weren't louder or longer than any other kid I knew (which is like 3) but they would come with the slightest provocation.  He's always been a bright child, memorizing dinosaur names and statistics like he was taking a college exam.  He started educating the volunteers at the Tate Geological Museum, our local dinosaur mecca when he was 4 years old.  We had problems with his kindergarten year.  His teacher and the resource teacher, along with other staff didn't know what to do with him.  They were just baffled.  As was I.  He wasn't violent at home.  When he felt that he or one of his friends was threatened, he immediately reacted, harshly.  I remember an incident when he first started kindergarten, 5 yrs old, and I got a phone call.  Tristyn had seen a 5th grader (10-11 yr old) picking on a kid in his class, so he ran across the playground and double kicked the 5th grader in the head.  Good theory, bad practice. Or at least that's what I figured, until it kept happening.  Sometimes it was a kid getting close to him in class when he was at his desk.  He was isolated to a desk when the other children sat together at tables.  He would constantly wander away from his desk to be with the other kids.  His teacher didn't understand why.  He had constant trouble focusing, and would get reaaaallllllly off topic when he was trying to avoid doing something.  Or, you know, lock himself in the bathroom.  The principal was constantly calling me, asking me to keep him home for the day or to come and pick him up because they couldn't handle him.  They told me to spank him, take away all of his toys and earn them back, points systems, and none of it worked.  Seriously, not any kind of a change other than my sweet child was under huge stress and crying constantly because he said he was broken.  His brain was broken and it made him do things and he was so sorry mom.  I got to hear all of this through my sobbing baby's tears.  I hated having to physically drag him out from under his bed screaming and crying that he didn't want to go back, because he was just going to get in trouble.  He was usually right.  He was always hungry, and even got in trouble for stealing food.  I was almost investigated for not feeding him.  I did, and he eats like a hummingbird.  Constantly.  He is incredibly impulsive and has no filter.  The reason the school had such great records of his incidents is, Tristyn wouldn't lie about it. 
"Why is Jimmy crying, Tristyn?"
"I punched him in the face."
Well, the teachers were baffled.  When asked why, sometimes all he could come up with was "My brain made me do it."  What?  What does that even mean?  We had one behavioral interventionist come to a meeting, and then we had another meeting.  And another meeting.  It seemed like we had the regulars (principal, teacher, resource room teacher) and then a rotating group of so-called professionals.  I think I cried at almost every one of those meetings, sometimes in the parking lot.  Counselors, psychiatrists, administrators, and god only knows what else.  Nothing was working, until we got a new behavioral interventionist that actually cared, and a counselor that noticed things I never saw. 

I'm breaking this installment off here.  If any of this sounds familiar about your child, I urge you to talk to your school counselor about testing for ADD, ADHD, SPD, and autism.