Our youngest son is our child with an ADHD diagnosis. He will be 8 on Halloween. It took us a while to get our ADHD diagnosis but now that we have it we are much better off.
I knew in my gut from the very beginning that something “wasn’t right” with him. We spent the first 9 months taking turns sleeping as he would not sleep. At 10 months old he lost a fingertip thanks to a baby gate accident and him having no fear. At 14 months we found him on top of the fridge.
Then there were the unique qualities of his. Everything had to be in order. Toys had to be lined up perfectly according to size and colour. He has a memory as I have never seen and he would watch or read things over and over until he had everything memorized to the T.
Along came kindergarten. We warned his teachers he was non stop and had no sense of danger so to keep a close eye on him. Teachers are not allowed to say they believe your child may have a “disability” or something “wrong” with them. From his daily reports though we all knew there was an underlying issue.
One day I mentioned to his teacher that I think we should get him tested for Autism. I didn’t suspect ADHD at the time but he showed Autistic traits that I recognized with another child I knew who was on the spectrum. The teacher nodded knowingly and said she was glad I brought it up as they are not allowed to.
The Journey Begins
I booked an appointment with our doctor. At the appointment he had us fill out a questionnaire that they use to see if your child may be on the spectrum. He wasn’t on the spectrum but there were enough signs to investigate further according to our doctor.
Our next step was to call CHEO (Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario) autism program. After intake, they agreed to see our child to have further testing done. Through CHEO we found out he did not have autism. They did refer us to a pediatrician as they did suspect our son had something to be diagnosed.
Two years after we started the process the pediatrician we were referred to gave us the ADHD diagnosis. At the time I did not agree with her. I was of the old school mindset that ADHD isn’t “real” it was a label for kids just being kids. Boy did I have a lot to learn.
After receiving the ADHD diagnosis our family doctor referred us to a local pediatrician who specializes in ADHD to become our go-to doctor for all things ADHD. This was the best thing to ever happen to us. Our new pediatrician explained ADHD to us, how the brain of someone with ADHD works and what we would need to do to help our son.
He was the first doctor to start our son on medication. It was trial and error and took 3 different medications before we found the one that worked. We did not want our son to be a zombie. With the medication he is on he is still a lively child with his spark, but his brain is helped with its “ADHDisms”.
Our next step was to have a psychoeducational assessment done. This assessment opened up so many doors. My son was able to receive an IEP at school and get extra support from the resource team. An occupational therapist was brought in to the school to help him with his fine motor skills, sensory regulation and behaviour management. I am actually very proud to report that after 2 years with his occupational therapist I received news yesterday that he is being discharged in December as he no longer requires the therapy. I won’t lie. I cried tears of joy at this news.
Getting our ADHD diagnosis has been a journey and I know we are far from over it. ADHD is something my son will always have to deal with. He will never have to handle it alone though as we are in his corner and will always be learning and fighting for him.