i do love them even though they drive me insane

Defining The Boy

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This month the From Left to Write Book club read Those We Love Most by Lee Woodruff. The story was about a family and the secrets that come to the surface after the death of their nine year old boy in a tragic accident. It chronicles how the family gets back on their feet after their loss and how they slowly begin to return to their lives, learning how to live their lives without James.

We’re sort of re-learning how to live our lives too, only we haven’t lost our boy. We’ve gained a label, gained an answer, and gained some understanding.

According to Wikipedia the definition of Aspergers is as follows:

Asperger syndrome (AS), also known as Asperger’s syndrome or Asperger disorder (AD), is an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) that is characterized by significant difficulties in social interaction, alongside restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior and interests. It differs from other autism spectrum disorders by its relative preservation of linguistic and cognitive development. Although not required for diagnosis, physical clumsiness and atypical (peculiar, odd) use of language are frequently reported.

WebMD lists the symptoms of Aspergers as follows:

What Are the Symptoms of Asperger’s Syndrome? The symptoms of Asperger’s syndrome vary and can range from mild to severe. Common symptoms include: Problems with social skills: Children with Asperger’s syndrome generally have difficulty interacting with others and often are awkward in social situations. They generally do not make friends easily. They have difficulty initiating and maintaining conversation. Eccentric or repetitive behaviors: Children with this condition may develop odd, repetitive movements, such as hand wringing or finger twisting. Unusual preoccupations or rituals: A child with Asperger’s syndrome may develop rituals that he or she refuses to alter, such as getting dressed in a specific order.

Communication difficulties: People with Asperger’s syndrome may not make eye contact when speaking with someone. They may have trouble using facial expressions and gestures, and p understanding body language. They also tend to have problems understanding language in context. Limited range of interests: A child with Asperger’s syndrome may develop an intense, almost obsessive, interest in a few areas, such as sports schedules, weather, or maps.

Coordination problems: The movements of children with Asperger’s syndrome may seem clumsy or awkward. Skilled or talented: Many children with Aspergers syndrome are exceptionally talented or skilled in a particular area, such as music or math.

Aspergers.com lists the treatment for Aspergers is as follows:

There is no specific treatment or “cure” for Asperger’s Disorder. All the interventions outlined below are mainly symptomatic and/or rehabilitation oriented. Psychosocial Interventions: Individual psychotherapy to help the individual to process the feelings aroused by being socially different Parent education and training Behavioral modification Social skills training Educational interventions

Psychopharmacological Interventions:
For hyperactivity, inattention and impulsivity: Psychostimulants (methyphenidate, dextroamphetamine, metamphetamine), clonidine, Tricyclic Antidepressants (desipramine, nortriptyline), Strattera (atomoxetine)

For irritability and aggression: Mood Stabilizers (valproate, carbamazepine, lithium), Beta Blockers (nadolol, propranolol), clonidine, naltrexone, Neuroleptics (risperidone, aripiprazol, olanzapine, quetiapine, ziprasidone, haloperidol)

For preoccupations, rituals and compulsions: SSRIs (fluvoxamine, fluoxetine, sertraline), Tricyclic
Antidepressants (clomipramine)

For anxiety: SSRIs (sertraline, fluoxetine), Tricyclic Antidepressants (imipramine, clomipramine,
nortriptyline)

ADHD is defined by WebMD as:

The symptoms of ADHD include inattention and/or hyperactivity and impulsivity. These are traits that most children display at some point or another. But to establish a diagnosis of ADHD, sometimes referred to as ADD, the symptoms should be inappropriate for the child’s age.

Adults also can have ADHD; in fact, up to half of adults diagnosed with the disorder had it as children. When ADHD persists into adulthood, symptoms may vary. For instance, an adult may experience restlessness instead of hyperactivity. In addition, adults with ADHD often have problems with interpersonal relationships and employment.

Wikipedia defines ADHD as the following:

Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD, similar to hyperkinetic disorder in the ICD) is a psychiatric disorder[1] or neurobehavioral disorder[2] characterized by significant difficulties either of inattention or hyperactivity and impulsiveness or a combination of the two. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR), symptoms emerge before seven years of age.[3] There are three subtypes of the disorder which consist of it being predominantly inattentive (ADHD-PI or ADHD-I), predominantly hyperactive-impulsive (ADHD-HI or ADHD-H), or the two combined (ADHD-C). Often people refer to ADHD-PI as “attention deficit disorder” (ADD), however, the latter has not been officially accepted since the 1994 revision of the DSM. ADHD impacts school-aged children and results in restlessness, acting impulsively, and lack of focus which may impair school performance.

This is how I define Aspergers and ADHD:

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And this:

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Yes, that’s my boy. Yes, he has Asperger’s. Yes, he has ADHD. Yes, we’ve gotten a second opinion. And both doctors came to the same conclusion.

It’s not an easy thing to accept. Or an easy thing to talk about. Or an easy thing to understand.

But I wouldn’t trade him for the world.

Just this weekend he went with his Boy Scout Troop on his very first camp out, 4 1/2 hours away, without me or his dad. I worried and worried and worried, and cried and cried and cried, but he came home hungry, dirty and smiling from ear to ear. He had a FABULOUS time! And he hasn’t stopped talking about it.

Now we know why he does the things he does. Now we know why he’s obsessed with his video games, and why he loses his mind when something doesn’t work out the way he thinks it should or when he doesn’t understand something the first time around.

It’s because his brain doesn’t work the same way ours does. He expects to know the answer the very first time a problem is presented to him. He expects that his video games will always work and never break or malfunction or die.

People I’ve mentioned this to have said to me, “He’s just being a little boy.” Yes, he is, and I intend to keep it that way, but my little boy and your little boy and two different boys and my little boy is the one other little boys call “weird” or “strange”. And my little boy will be the one who will get bullied and picked on because he is “weird” or “strange”.

Unless I get him the help he needs.

One of the neurologists I saw told me that I have to teach him how to “mask” his “quirkiness”. He needs to learn how to hide what makes him who he is so he can fit better into society.

I’m not sure I agree with that.
I’m not sure I want that for him.

I AM sure that I just want him to be a little boy before is too late and he has to be a grown up.

I AM sure that I want him to have the best summer ever, every summer, and I will MAKE SURE that happens for him and his sister.

And I AM sure that he is MY little boy and I will love him NO MATTER WHAT.

God gave him to me for a reason, and I am honored to be his Mommy.

This is an original ROSCMM post and was written for the From Left to Write Book Club. This post was written in response to Those We Love Most by Lee Woodruff an ebook copy of which I borrowed fro the library for the purposes of this post. And no, you can’t steal my content, it’s called copyright, yo.
Copyright MasterMind Mommy 2013

Categories: i do love them even though they drive me insane | 3 Comments

Figuring him out

As I type this my son is grumbling to himself and piling paper towel after paper towel over the dog’s spilled water. He’s angry with me because I won’t let him have Cheezits after he just had some brownies. Dinner will be in an hour and if I let him have more of a snack now, he won’t eat his dinner.

Tomorrow we go to the dr.

Finally.

Tomorrow we see the neurologist who will (hopefully) help us to determine why my son can’t sit still for more than a few minutes at a time, and why he gets so angry over little things like math homework and showers and the fact that Hurricane Sandy ruined his Halloween. Why he has to wear the same sweat jacket to school everyday and when he gets himself worked up in school, all he has to do is zip it up and he calms right down. Hopefully this doctor can tell me why as a baby he could spin and spin and spin and not get dizzy and why he’s not still unless he’s plugged in to some sort of device be it his iPod, his computer, or some sort of gaming console. Why he gets so fixated on one thing and can’t seem to let anything go until I absolutely lose my mind and scream at him, and then he gets angry and it starts all over again.

I need to figure him out. It started in Preschool when his teacher suggested I get him tested for ADD/ADHD because he was having trouble sitting still and staying focused. S By the time she brought it to my attention, it was too late for Kindergarten. I took him to a neurologist anyway, neurologist told me she could see him “seeking sensory stimulation” and ordered an EEG. When the EEG came back normal, she didn’t want to see him again.

In Kindergarten, the teacher said nothing to me that would imply that he would need to to be tested. He had behavior issues, but those were worked out with a reward chart.

First grade same thing.

Second grade, all hell breaks loose. He can’t concentrate on a test because the kids on the playground below his classroom window are yelling and some kid is calling his name. They’re not calling him, just some kid with the same name but its bothering him. He is constantly getting in trouble for talking and getting out of his chair. I begin to resent his teacher because I feel like she’s picking on him. Finally in May of that year, he loses his mind and shouts out to his teacher “I can’t wait till second grade is over and neither can my mom!!” Crap. She calls me in to explain myself. I tell her how I feel. She tells me to get him tested, but not to go through the school, get him tested privately. I call my dr, dr says that I have to go through the school. Call the school, psychologist says “it’s May, there’s really nothing I can do for him.” And pushed it back into my lap.

Third grade I was told that he was a genius but didn’t test well enough to get into the gifted and talented program.

Fourth grade, nothing.

Fifth grade, this past October, I get called in to speak to the teacher. “Have you had him tested? I need to know what’s going on with him.” I don’t know what’s going on with him, what do you think I should do? “Let’s talk to the school psychologist and see what she says.” One month later, I get another call to come in. “We have to figure him out.” He left his jacket (this was before we discovered the sweat jacket) in the gym and he needed to go get it, in the middle of a lesson. Without asking, he picked himself up and tried to leave the room. His teacher stopped him, but he nearly lost his mind because he NEEDED to get that jacket. “Did you call the school psychologist?” Yes, but she’s never gotten back to me. The next day, she calls. After the holidays, I get called in AGAIN. He’s had an argument with another student and told him he was going to f-ing kill him. Sigh…

There’s so much more, but I don’t want to turn this into a whine fest.

He has social issues too. He has a hard time making and keeping friends. He’s in a social skills group offered by the town. He sees the social worker at school once a week.

He has anger issues. He needs an outlet. I signed him up for Tae Kwon Do. It seems to be working.

It all seems to be helping. But only a little.

Next year he will go to Middle School and he will be faced with a whole new experience. Will he sink or swim?

So tomorrow we go. Is it ADD? ADHD? Emotional disturbance? Sensory?

I don’t know, and I’ll admit, I’m scared, but his teacher is right, we have to figure him out. And we will. And this goes without saying, I will love him no matter what. I just want him to be happy and comfortable, and safe.

This is an original ROSCMM post and was written for the From Left to Write Book Club. This post was written in response to Raising Cubby: A Father and Son’s Adventures with Asperger’s, Trains, Tractors, and High Explosives by John Elder Robinson an ebook copy of which I received for free for the purposes of this post. And no, you can’t steal my content, it’s called copyright, yo.

Copyright MasterMind Mommy 2013

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Categories: From Left to Write Book Club, i do love them even though they drive me insane, Rants | 5 Comments

The Pep Talk

20130213-175331.jpgThis month, the From Left to Write Book Club is reading Saturday Night Widows: The Adventures of Six Friends Remaking Their Lives by Becky Aikman. It’s about a group of women, all in different stages of widowhood, getting together and forming their own support group of sorts. It was an effort by Becky to prove to herself and others that being a widow didn’t mean you had to sit around and mourn your lost husband forever. It was meant to prove that one could be a widow and still move on and create a new life.

As you know, the From Left to Write Book Club doesn’t write reviews on the books we read. We write posts inspired by the book. Last night, I was trying to put together ideas on what to write for this book. Nothing came to mind. I read posts by other members. Most of them were about the death or impending death of a loved one. I’m not feeling writing about the death or impending death of anyone. I’ve been there and done that. I want, like Becky wanted from the widows group she was kicked out of, a more uplifting post. Something that talks about life after death instead of grieving.

So, lets face it, it’s pretty inevitable that we’re all going to die at some point, right? (Unless you’re my dad who says he’s not going to die cause he’s got entirely too many people to annoy still.) But what about the people you leave behind after you die? What kind of things will they remember of you after you’re gone? This is what I want to write about for you today.

A few days ago, the kids and I were in the middle of our usual morning routine. Little Miss was at the table eating breakfast, I was packing Big Boy’s lunch, and Big Boy was off somewhere on his iPod.

Now, the day before, My Big Boy wasn’t feeling well and wound up giving back his breakfast after only eating it a half hour before. Ick. So he stayed home from school. Now I had a meeting that night and wouldn’t you know it, he spikes a fever. Dang it! So I pop him some Advil, and go to my meeting.

Next morning, he gets up, gets dressed, goes into the kitchen for breakfast. I didn’t say anything, he just did it.

Then…

I made the mistake of mentioning that since he had a fever the night before that I wasn’t planning on sending him to school. (I KNOW, I know… the rule is 24 hours fever free, but c’mon, he was FINE!) Well, as soon as he heard that I was originally wasn’t going to send him to school, he started.

“I HATE SCHOOL!! ”

“IT’S TOO HARD!!”

“I don’t wanna go!!”

Sigh…

So this is my fault, I know, so how do I handle this?? I scream at him. I argue with him. He cries… I hang my head, defeated, he hides in his room.

Then, a miracle occurred! MY HUSBAND WALKED IN THE DOOR!!

“Oh, I’m SO glad you’re home!”

Puzzlement.

“Would you please go down there and talk to your son? He’s refusing to go to school.”

“But I thought you weren’t sending…”

“I know, but he got himself up, and dressed, and he had breakfast. He’s FINE.”

Husband goes into boy’s room.

I brace myself for impact.

Now, I get told that I yell, a lot. But when my husband is angry or the kids aren’t cooperating and he’s frustrated, he explodes.

Five minutes go by and I don’t have a crying boy in front of me yet. I need to investigate.

So I go into the boy’s room, and my husband is kneeling in the middle of the room talking to the boy. TALKING!! Not yelling.

And the words?? Oh the words!

“I need you to go to school and learn as much as you can. Show everybody up. Be smarter than everybody. Make me proud.”

That’s the memory I want my son to have years down the road. The memory of his father giving him the motivation he needed when he couldn’t go on. The memory of his father talking to him, being there for him, supporting him, when his world was crashing down.

Thanks babe. You did it. I love you.

This is an original ROSCMM post and was written for the From Left to Write Book Club. This post was inspired by Saturday Night Widows: The Adventures of Six Friends Remaking Their Lives by Becky Aikman a copy of which I received for free for the purposes of this book club. All opinions are that of Jennifer herself, and no, you can’t steal my content. It’s called Copyright, yo.

Copyright 2013. Mastermind Mommy

Categories: From Left to Write Book Club, i do love them even though they drive me insane | 2 Comments

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