Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Assessment

I never fully understood why we as humans pull away from the painful things. We push away the painful in ways that I cannot fully comprehend and seek the dullness the absence of pain leaves behind. We regard ourselves as healthy when we feel no pain or successful when there are no signs of hindrances. I believe that when we push through the painful we will see transformation.
            We arrived the morning of the ADD/ADHD evaluation armed with the assessments that had been filled out by ourselves and by my son Scotty’s teacher. The pediatrician came in wearing his tattered jeans and T-shirt, a child of the 80s, and sat down on a kiddy chair across from the place where my husband and I sat. Scotty stayed on the exam table, his soccer worn legs swinging back and forth as his hazel eyes grew wide.
            The doctor said, “So talk to me, tell me what this is all about.”
            I began the explanation of what the teacher had told me, what I had observed, and then I handed him a sampling of school work from the past month. He flipped through the papers and looked from my husband to myself and up at my wide-eyed son. After a few moments he asked again what grade that he was in and when we replied he nodded knowingly.
            The criteria for ADD/ADHD was clearly met by the assessments provided, however the doctor explained that usually he would be diagnosed/labeled and treated with the standard treatment that is used by doctors and schools, but that’s not what the doctor felt that he needed. The school work and the observations we shared lead him to believe that there might be an underlying issue, such as dyslexia or Irlen’s syndrome. He readily admitted that he wasn’t comfortable medicating or diagnosing. He referred us to a child psychologist who specializes in learning disabilities.
I’m thankful that this Doctor was willing to admit that he didn’t have the answer, though it would be easy to write a prescription and hope that it would correct all of his problems, but as the doctor explained, medication shouldn’t be our first option, though it may be part of the treatment along the way, it would only be a band aid fix at the moment and would not identifying the underlying problem or problems and addressing each accordingly.
            We were on our way with a few techniques that might helps Scott, such as tactile exercises, such as writing spelling words in pudding, and reading through a different color of acetate paper. A timer attached to a book mark for reading.
            Walking away that day I took away from our visit unexpected hope. I found it in something that he said, he said it simply as if sharing information, but the affect it had was powerful. He said that 85% of people learn the same way, but a few learn differently. It’s as if they speak another language where learning is concerned. It’s not a disability, only a difference. It’s up to us, the adults guiding our children to learn that language and help them to learn ours.
 We each speak a language all our own.

       For you, mother or father of a struggling learner, those who belong to the energetic boys, the day-dreaming girls, do not settle for status quo. Seek the answers that are specific to them, learn your child’s language, be an advocate, do your research, and remember, you are not alone.