Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Doing the Right Thing or Looking for Trouble?

Emotionally draining. That is how I will describe today. I think my husband would agree.

On the suggestion of the LSW at J's preschool, we had an appointment with a behaviorist at Nationwide Children's Hospital this morning. To sum up, we were there for a number of behaviors. An obsession with doors (to the exclusion of all other activities), freaking out when broken out of his routine, still doing the parallel play thing at almost four, and absolute fetish for toes...these are only a few of my boy's idiosyncrasies. They are glitches and they are his glitches. I was hoping he would he would grow out of them (especially the toe thing. Cute at 3. Creepy at 13).

We began working with "Team Jack" last year, when J was 2 and the door thing became a problem. He was disrupting the class's activities with the constant door obsession. Both the Infant/Toddler Coordinator and the JCC and the LSW were able to offer some very helpful advice and the teachers were able to get J interested in classroom activities again. Our family outings were limited for some time, however. He didn't enjoy things other kids his age did. Not playgrounds or the "play pits" at the local mall. Not kids' concerts or bookstores. We couldn't get him past the doors. It was disheartening and sad.

We turned a corner early this year and things were looking up only to backslide a few months ago when J kicked it up a notch and not only remained obsessed with the doors, but now was opening them and started bolting from the classroom when frustrated. Ug. Now it was a safety issue. Our trusty LSW suggested we go tit for tat in the ramp up and maybe look onto a behavior evaluation at Children's. She said it could be nothing. She also said that if it is something (and she wasn't saying WHAT it could be) that we could learn some coping skills before he hit Kindergarten.

Today was the Day of Reckoning.

Nationwide Children's Hospital Behavioral Health Center asks that you show up for the evaluation of your child with possible behavioral problems 45 minutes before your scheduled appointment so that you can fill out a ridiculous amount of paperwork that could easily be mailed to you ahead of time. Luckily, mine was the only one going apeshit in the small waiting area. This could very easily be a Thunderdome situation. Get five or six hyperactive kids in there with anger issues and, well, Mad Max ain't gonna save yo' ass. While Jack melted down about three times in the 45 minute period, mommy was close to tears at least twice. This was my idea of hell. I could feel my blood pressure going through the roof. I could feel my heart trying to pound its way through my chest. And I could feel the hot tears of frustration and anger burning their way from the back of my eyeballs to the forefront.

Once we were called to meet the LSW specializing in OCD (that's a whole lot of letters, sorry), all went a little better, I guess. She was very nice and great with J. After 45 minutes of evaluation, she decided that yes, if he were older, he displays dead-on OCD characteristics. However, since he is so young, let's get a "full-spectrum evaluation." I don't like the word "spectrum" one damn bit.YOU know as well as I do what spectrum she;s talking about and I don't want my kid on it. I dont care if Jenny McCarthy cured her kid by giving her kid special bread or not, I do not want my kid anywhere near the word AUTISM.

But there he was. And here we are. Waiting for a call back from a lovely PhD to get a "full spectrum evaluation" later this summer.

On a side note, it turns out that OCD-like symptoms could have been caused by J's exposure to my Group B Strep at birth. It is an odd little thing called PANDAS. Check it out. Who knew. Wouldn't it be great if this could all be cured by a round of antibiotics (which a. Jack is mostly allergic to and b. it won;t be because I've already looked into this and am about 98% sure this doesn't describe Jack's symptom's because his aren't cyclical). Interesting all the same.

So I am left thinking - ARE these just J's little ticks? Am I just an older, first-time parent going over-board? Am I LOOKING for a diagnosis? Or am I doing the right thing by following the advice of the social worker who, I have to trust, knows more than I do, about child development. I have a feeling this nagging question will be with me throughout the summer.


Tammy Howard said...

Chris, I sympathize with you. I empathize with you. But I do think you're doing the right thing. Knowing is always better than not knowing. And now that you've spoken (or at least typed) the 'A' word out loud, you've put yourself in this situation: if he DOES get that diagnosis, you're prepared for it and if he gets a lesser diagnosis (or a diagnosis of nothing at all) you can treat it as a huge relief.

Thank you for sharing and please do keep us posted...


Pam said...

I can understand how scary this is for you, but I agree with Tammy - you are absolutely doing the right thing. Knowing is better than not knowing and whatever it is the earlier the treatment the better the outcome. Waiting for the next appointment is going to be difficult, but just keep doing what you're doing - loving that little boy. You are in my thoughts.