Remember just over a year ago when I wrote this post here about what a typical day with our two year old with SPD was like? Little did I know on the day that I wrote that post that Logan's diagnosis of SPD was only the tip of the iceberg. One short year later and I feel like every time I turn around, we're adding a new diagnosis to the pile.
My brain is quite confused right now. Only 3 short months ago, I wrote this post here, while sitting at Starbucks, sipping on a chai latte. I wrote that I was quite convinced that Logan was on the autism spectrum.
Well, here I am, three months later, sipping another chai latte at Starbucks. I left the child psychiatrist's office at the Montreal Children's Hospital just two hours ago.
Yup. That's right. My child has just barely turned three and we have already been to see a child psychiatrist. Gulp.
This morning, Logan was diagnosed with severe ADHD, a developmental coordination disorder and a disruptive behavioural disorder. The psychiatrist also mentioned that she felt that Logan is at high risk for developing a learning disability as he gets older (i.e. dyslexia, etc.). Add to this that we got feedback a couple of weeks ago that he has a mild delay in his comprehension and a moderate delay in his expressive language, plus significant difficulties with his social skills (no shocker there).
As for autism?? I'm super confused. The psychiatrist feels that his profile is not consistent with a child who is on the spectrum. However, she did say that she can't rule out anything more subtle at this point in time and encouraged us to go to the autism assessment next spring anyhow. His Speech-Language Pathologist feels that his profile is consistent with a child who is on the spectrum. Who knows???
Today's diagnoses are hitting home a bit harder than I had anticipated. I felt that I more or less knew what was coming. I knew, without the shadow of a doubt, that we were walking out of this appointment with a diagnosis. I knew that he has very limited attention, impulsivity, etc. I knew that he has significant behavioural issues. I've said myself, numerous times, that I feel that he is likely going to end up with a learning disability. The developmental coordination disorder was a bit more unexpected, but our physio happened to mention this to me a few days ago, so it was not a surprise to hear it from the psychiatrist.
Yet somehow, even when you are most expecting it, it knocks the wind out of you just a little bit. You go right back to that place where you are thinking about the struggles your little one will face as he gets older. To that place where, even though your rational brain knows that it is ridiculous, you feel that maybe a little bit of it is your fault. That maybe you've contributed to the behavioural diagnosis. Even though you know deep down that this is not true.
You go back to that place where you are mourning the loss of the child you thought you would have, the life you thought you would have. The life that wouldn't be filled with multiple weekly therapy appointments for years to come. With regular meetings with daycare and school, to help adapt things so that your little guy can manage just like everyone else. Back to being super frustrated with our system that provides zero support for kids who are struggling so much, yet don't perfectly meet the criteria to be accepted for any funded therapy.
You go back to feeling that wee bit of guilt that maybe you aren't doing enough to stimulate your child's delays. After all, every professional gives you a list of 5 things to do each week. And let's be totally honest. I don't do half of them. It's darned near impossible.
Let's take a peek at my current therapy "homework" for Logan. If I were to follow even only the highest priority recommendations from our therapists right now, this would include brushing Logan several times every day, squeezing him in cushions, giving him a massage before bed, letting him jump on the trampoline, crawl through the tunnel and swing in our therapy swing every day. And this is just to meet his sensory needs.
I would play with him, alone, for at least 20 minutes each day, to stimulate his play skills. I'd help model appropriate social interactions with other kids. I would use a visual schedule for every single activity we do, every single day. I would prepare a visual schedule during all play times to help Logan play more independently, and use a visual clock to signal changes between each activity. I would develop and use social stories to help model more appropriate behavioural responses and social skills. I would role-play with Logan how to behave and react in various situations.
For his motor skills, I would practice having him move each hand independently from the other and each foot independently from the other. I would practice holding a crayon properly, drawing circles and cutting. I would practice learning to pedal a bike. I would practice walking sideways, standing on one leg and doing a bridge on our backs, to strengthen his glutes. I would practice throwing and catching a ball.
And all of this on 3 or 4 hours of sleep some days.
In between major behavioural meltdowns.
Never mind that, during the week, I only have the kids home for a few hours and we still need get dressed, do dinner, bath, books, etc.
Oh... and wait... my daughter is delayed too and has a whole set of different goals and activities to do each day.
Never mind that we've got to get this kid toilet-trained one of these days...
Le sigh, as my sister would say. I'm exhausted just reading the list.
I know that it is ridiculous to even feel the slightest bit of guilt for not doing more. The above list is clearly an unrealistic expectation for anyone to accomplish on top of working and daily life. And I know without a doubt that we stimulate this kid as much as we possibly can. And that we are managing as well as anyone could in these circumstances. And furthermore, that we are his parents and not his therapists, and that this role needs be preciously preserved.
But, for some reason, every time you get a new diagnosis, new recommendations, you go back to feeling that maybe you should be doing just a little bit more.
I know that all of these feelings will pass in the next few days and that I'll be back to just knowing and accepting that my kids have delays. And feeling more like, so what, we'll all survive. I feel like I was in a place where I was as ready as possible to hear and deal with these diagnoses and that going through these types of emotions is more than typical.
But it all still sucks. No prettier way to say it, because that's just the truth of the matter ;) Though it's nothing that a chai latté and a little TRX in a couple of hours won't help with ;)