For today I thought I’d give you a brief explanation as to how we came to find out our children have ADHD and Autism. (And recently my son’s been to occupational therapy for sensory processing issues as well. But that’s another story . . . )
Today I’ll share about our little man. Since he was an infant he’s always been a terrible sleeper. I mean, always. He was our third child so we both figured this really couldn’t be that different from the girls. Well, we were soooo wrong. He slept in his crib for about 6 weeks and then after that he wouldn’t have any of it. The only way to get him to sleep was to hold him, rock him in his car seat or have him sleep in bed with us (which terrified my husband, and for good reason). To this day he will only fall asleep if one of us lies down with him.
After his first birthday, he was pretty much like any other baby. We still had to do the whole sleeping routine, trying to figure out which method would work each night. Doing whatever we could do get him to sleep so WE could sleep. Then the food aversion began. It was like all of a sudden he was refusing to eat anything I gave him. He never really refused anything I gave him as an older infant or young toddler. He’d eat hot dogs, turkey, ham, cheese, applesauce, apples, peanut butter, you name it. When he did begin refusing food it’s not that he simply would not eat. He would throw his plate on the floor almost every single meal. And I mean every single meal. Completely frustrating. This began a slow downward spiral to a very limited food palate. Currently he will eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, spaghettios, macaroni and cheese (only the kind shaped like characters), crackers, chips, candy, bread, spaghetti, sometimes applesauce and zero meat, fruit, and vegetables. We’re working to supplement his diet so he’s still getting good nutrition.
As he grew as a toddler, his “temper tantrums”, which we now know are “meltdowns”, increasingly grew as well. And they would be spurred on by the smallest thing. He couldn’t watch the TV show he wanted. Or he couldn’t have the snack he wanted. Or we weren’t going to the store. Or we were going to the store. And we tried EVERYTHING we knew. We did time outs. Reward systems. Sitting in the corner. Taking privileges away. Spanking. Going to bed early. No matter what we did nothing worked. And these meltdowns would last for anywhere from 20 – 45 minutes. He would hit anyone in his way. He would hit himself. Scream. Cry. Say “I hate you!” As he got older, after his meltdowns he would call himself a terrible boy and say he hated himself.
Around the same time our Goosey Girl was diagnosed with Attention Deficit (Hyperactivity) Disorder and Oppositional Defiant Disorder, I realized her and our little man had quite a few symptoms in common. So we took him to the same psychiatrist we took The Goosey Girl too, and lo and behold, he also had ADHD and ODD. The doctor was thinking there could be a possibility of him being on the Autism Spectrum but because she is a very wise psychiatrist, she treated the ADHD first. After getting that to a manageable level, my husband and I realized there was definitely another concern to handle, which brought us to the Autism Spectrum diagnosis this past spring.
I have to tell you, after meeting with the psychiatrist, I felt such relief that I hadn’t felt in years. He was only 5 when he was diagnosed but finally having answers, and having hope, that there was help for him and for us, was so promising.
During this entire time, my battle with depression had come full circle. I had to make a decision if I was going to trust God through all of this or lean on myself for the strength and courage to get through it. Thankfully, I chose God over myself. And I know our family has victory and hope today because of that decision. Oh, we are not perfect. If you’ve read any of my stories in the past you already know that by now. But it’s not about being perfect. It’s about trusting the only One who IS perfect.
If you can relate to anything I have told you, please let me know. Over the last few years I have researched and perused many blogs and articles, trying to find someone who understood what it was we were going through. It was very comforting knowing our family was not alone.
I’d like to hear your story too.