Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Ryans Dr. visit with the neurologist

( I am just posting this although this Dr. visit was last week and I wrote this last week)

I took Ryan for a Doctor appointment, DURING THE SCHOOL DAY! I have never before taken my kids out of school for a Dr. or Dental appointment ever. But I was itching to get in and see another neurologist for Ryan.

This year has been such a struggle and I just want to figure out how to best help Ryan. The school doesn’t seem to “get him”. They don’t seem to understand his issues and how to re-direct him and how to do preventative things to keep him from straying from his work in school.
So, today we went to see another neurologist. I liked this doctor much better than the last one we saw. He seemed very knowledgeable, and he made eye contact with Ryan and actually talked to Ryan. He seemed to be interested in Ryan and took his time with us, didn’t get flustered by Trevor being my little Tasmanian devil in the room (zooming his car and falling all over the place in the tiny room).

I was a little anxious about this appt. Do I want the Dr. to diagnose him with something, or find nothing wrong. If he finds nothing wrong, then what do I do then about his behaviors at school that at times are a big problem, not just for his learning (and the other kids) but his social interaction with his peers. If he does find something wrong, I worry about my son being diagnosed with something and being “labeled” and being categorized in some way and being treated differently. Still he already has an IEP, and so he is already “labeled” with developmental delay. He has amazed us this year is how smart he really is. I always assumed that he just couldn’t figure out things, that it was too hard for him, but now I think he is smart, but just won’t stay tuned in long enough and isn’t interested enough and so does sloppy work, and WORKS VERY SLOWLY – not always because its difficult, but just because he doesn’t want to do it. Recently at a parent teacher conference, his services coordinator and his teacher tell me he is very bright and is very capable. I was surprised that they had figured this out. (I’m his mom and I was slow to catch on as to how much potential in academics he has). When asked at the Parent Teacher Conference “what should I work on at home with him” – it wasn’t “math facts”. It wasn’t “reading”, or “practice sight words” or sentence components. Nope, their answer was “behavior”. I’m not sure what changed this year, but back in October my happy friendly boy turned into a frustrated, unhappy, rebellious, volatile boy who sometimes could be a little mean spirited. It broke my heart to see my little boy who was my “mama’s boy” go from being so sweet and loving to being so NOT sweet and loving. Yes, he has always been one to be a bit argumentative, and very “spirited” and always on the move (can’t sit still ever!), and has had poor impulse control and is a bit immature for his age, but he was funny and friendly and social and good at building things, and wanting to please, and oblivious to peer pressure and is smart in his own way. He has lots of positive qualities about him that I hope others see.

So this doctor spent an hour with us. He gave me a questionnaire and it had 3 parts to it, and each part had about 8 questions in it. I was to circle all that applied to Ryan. Out of about 24 or so questions, I circled all but one. I didn’t even have to think about most of them, they were that obvious. This questionnaire was for ADHD. I was not surprised to have a Dr. talk about this as a possible diagnosis. In fact, I have been wondering how long it would be before Drs and the school would want to have him screened for ADHD. This Dr. has prescribed some medicine to help with Ryan’s focusing and attending issues. I am feeling good about this Dr. and hopeful that this medicine might help him focus and attend. Ryan would learn so much better if he wasn’t so easily distracted and day dreaming about things and have all these thoughts about other things in his head. We will also see about seeing a pshychologist to get a better understanding of Ryan’s strengths and weaknesses. I think this is a good plan. We will try the meds at the lowest dosage for a month and see if we see any difference in his school work. The teacher and service coordinator tell me how smart he is and he has an IEP to help him with his delay, yet they don’t really have strategies that have been totally successful to get him and keep him motivated and to stay on task. He will have days and even weeks where he won’t always do his work and acts out during school, and then there might be a day or days or even weeks where he is doing good mastering word wall words, going up on his math facts and is acting and playing well with his peers. Right now Ryan is doing well at school. When he isn’t sick and is sleeping enough, he does quite a bit better so this is a good time for him to be learning. Even so, he is still easily distracted and off task. In taking the medicine, it may even help him with his anger and frustration; so although the medicine is for focusing and attending, it might also help him behaviorally.

Next week will be the 3 year eval for Ryan; ITS ABOUT TIME! I am curious to see what the phychologist and OT have to say. I’ve had very little contact with them (or maybe not even any since the meeting I demanded back Dec 3rd!). I don’t get how I can live in such an awesome school district and yet, the school district is not providing for the special needs kids the way they are for the regular and gifted kids. They are very much lacking and letting the special needs kids down (and it is not just my opinion – the latest test results show how the special needs kids at our school are scoring below the other special needs kids in the district.

We’ve been to the Allergist (ruled out allergies), had blood tests done to check his immune system (as he is always sick), had a CT scan, and now have gone to two neurologists. I feel like we are finally going to start figuring out how to best help Ryan reach his potential at school and at home soon. Academically he has grown leaps and bounds the past year and a half and is on grade level for reading. So I am going to sit back and for a bit and try to enjoy the best things about Ryan and what he has been accomplishing lately. (I’ll relax at least until the 3 year eval next week!)


  1. Michele, I'm surprised and sorry to hear that you are not happy with the support that you get at school. Could you ask for a change in any of the therapists? Jack gets o/t at school and we have been very happy with his therapist. Who does Ryan see? Email or call me if you want to talk about this. Have you tried any diet changes or adding fish oil? I know a lot of people rave about the fish oil and it is supposed to be good for focusing. Just thought I'd throw that out there. I hope that the meds work well for Ryan and everything gets easier for you. Take care.

  2. Michele:

    If your son has some illness, you go to the doctor, he prescribes a treatment, you finish the treatment, and the illness is gone. That's what we have come to expect from our helping professionals.

    But developmental problems are a condition (not an illness). Developmental problems result from some blockage of the developmental process (it is either stuck or sluggish). No professional education includes training about what causes developmental problems. They do not receive information about what will get the developmental process back on track.

    They have some things they can prescribe, like treatments or meds, but these only address symptoms. So, the meds prescribed for your child's focus might help him focus, but they do nothing to get Ryan's developmental process back on track.

    From my experience developmental problems are a result of sensitive children reacting to things in their environment, which their body thinks is toxic. Their reaction includes some kind of shut-down of the developmental process. When you discover what you child is reacting to, and eliminate that from your child's environment, the developmental process re-engages.

    You can read more about this concept at http://* Developmental Problem Community.

    Rodger Bailey, MS

  3. Michele - you go Mama!! You're working so hard for Ryan, and the hard work is paying off. Kudos to you, and to him. I'll be thinking of you this week with the evaluation. Em


Books I have read

  • Friday Night knitting Club
  • The tale of Edgar Sawtelle
  • Island of Lost Girls
  • The Prizewinner of Defiance Ohio
  • Nineteen Minutes
  • Kite Runner
  • Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons