J, my six-year old son that is all heart, is going to be officially assessed and diagnosed for his emotional/behavioral issues.
I wanted it to be ‘just a stage’… Just a stage that has lasted since he was 18 months old.
That’s when J started having seizures. And after a 24-HR inpatient EEG, and MRI, at 2 years old, we thought we were in the clear. J was given a clean bill of health by one of the best pediatric neurologists in the state. And the seizures stopped.
But the screaming fits worsened.
At the age of 4 years, our long-time Pediatrician told us that the next step was a referral to a psychiatrist. There was nothing physically wrong with J. And while it wasn’t entirely out of the norm for a kid his age to scream and rage… my husband and I knew something was off with J. However, we didn’t think it warranted bringing our four year old son to a psychiatrist. Thankfully, our Pediatrician agreed.
My hubby and I were ‘behavioral management specialists’ for several years before J came into the world. There was little, as far as juvenile psychopathologies go, that we hadn’t seen and found ways to deal with in our line of work. It’s the only reason we haven’t pursued outside interventions before now– there was nothing new J could throw at us (Quite literally).Hubby even has a certification in childhood autism interventions. J has no idea how lucky he is to have parents that do not fear his inability to control his frustration.
We have always been cautious about having labels slapped onto our kiddos. There are those parents that can’t wait to list all the diagnoses their children have collected…and I find that abhorrent. No child should grow up thinking of themselves as a series of acronyms. If that’s how your Mom introduces you to new people, then that’s exactly how you will see yourself.
But at some point, labels can be helpful. And, I think we are at that point. Because J is hardest on himself. He knows how he wants to behave. He just… Can’t. He’s at an age where a diagnosis– a label– can help him better understand his own limits. It’s pretty obvious to us now, this is something rooted in his neural makeup. It’s something that is going to shape him and mold him well into his teenage years (Maybe throughout his whole life).
I was hoping it was just a developmental quirk. A stage.
We have a pretty good idea what J’s assessment will turn up. It’s why we decided it’s time to seek outside assistance. J is beginning to demand more than either of us are qualified to provide on our own. That’s a difficult truth to admit. No parent enjoys coming to this point.
My hope for J is that a diagnosis will help him empathize with himself. That is my prayer for him too. J is the most self-less, empathic, generous child I have ever met. He wears his heart on his sleeve. Which is why it’s so hard for me to see him as disordered. He has a pure and gentle heart– A kindness in his soul.
It’s his brain that is causing him trouble. And that is something I don’t know how to mend.