It has been a long and interesting week here in my house. My sons both underwent testing with a specialist in the field of cognitive disabilities. There are varying reasons why, but the important part was that they both needed answers and this testing was going to provide that. My oldest was diagnosed ADHD with sensory issues and my youngest was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Sensory Processing Disorder. The oldest has additional testing he needs to complete.
I was not sure that I was ready to receive the news myself. Yes, I have LD, ASD with SPD and I have a daughter with ADHD, SPD, and LD. I even knew my oldest son had LD’s. Yet, the information impacted my sons and I in a strange way. Allow me to take a step back and tell you all about that day.
Knowing we were going to have the results meeting on this day, I took the liberty of taking the boys out of school. I had no idea that doctor would find anything. I felt that the testing had been stressful and even if nothing was wrong, the boys needed a day off.
We slept in that morning and took our dogs on a long walk. The mood was light. We were laughing and joking. We mutually decided that we would have breakfast together.
As we loaded into the car, the mood began to change. It was silent. Then out of the blue we found our selves behind an advertisement that read “Stump Removal and Daughter”. We could not figure the sign out – even the picture on the advertisement was odd. And it quickly got us laughing.
I cannot explain how hard it was to point out the ordinary things in life, just as you are driving down to the unknown. We had breakfast and watched President Obama address the Nation on the monitor in the dinning room. My sons had all these questions about Russia and the Ukraine. It was surreal – watching the news and watching the clock – hearing about this conflict as we had our own internal struggle about our own day.
Finally, it was time. We got to the elevators – walked to the office and I was eventually asked back to hear the results. The doctor and I then broke the news to the boys. My oldest had a few questions. My youngest quietly took it all in.
After we sat in the car for a little while. The boys both felt heavy and finally asked if we could do something fun. I then drove them to the store, purchased real record players, bought albums, and took each son on a private walk to figure out if they could say the things that they were having trouble saying.
There were the obvious questions. What is this illness? Am I sick? Do I have to take medication? Then there were the other questions. Why me? Did I do something wrong?
Each new day brings more questions, as one might expect. Knowing though has had a great many benefits. It has helped my son to answer questions about themselves that had been unanswered for years. It has allowed my husband and I to take a second look at our children and focus on them over their grades. It has opened conversations at school that are helping our sons to navigate school better because they know what is happening and they are trying to avoid the pitfalls.
Parents as you consider testing, especially if you are worried about the labels that you child could potentially have, my advice to you is to take a deep breath and accept what comes. I only regret waiting this long to do this. As we step out into the future, I plan to keep you all posted on our progress.