We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started, And know the place for the first time. ~T.S. Eliot Four Quartets

17 April 2008

Hard Facts and Harder Decisions...

Pervasive Developmental Disorder: according to Wikipedia (which provides a more lay person's language to understand it), PDD refers to a group of five disorders characterized by delays in the development of multiple basic functions including socialization and communication. The most commonly known PDD is (1) Autism, with the remaining identified as (2) Rett syndrome, (3) Childhood disintegrative disorder, (4) Asperger syndrome, and (5) Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (or PDD-NOS).

This was the initial conclusion of my son's psychiatrist yesterday. He feels that my son has definite autistic tendencies (and actually sounded worse than I felt about it), and will need to be assessed/examined by a paedeatrician, a specialist in ASD's and possibly ed.psych again, within the next 6 months with the aim of a statement of special needs at the end of it all. In the meantime, the doctor felt that my son's hyperactivity was the most disruptive feature that could be addressed immediately, with medication of course.

I have never been inclined toward medication, unless I'm in absolute agony with no further options. However, my husband has the feeling that if it were something like cancer, we wouldn't turn down conventional medicine, if that meant helping my son. So I now have to weigh the pros and cons of medication for ADHD very carefully. I am more inclined to allow a trial period, but I do not want it to carry on into his teen years, nor do I want it to serve as a replacement for other possible treatments. That said though, the psychiatrist said his initial feeling is that my son's problems stem more from the autistic side, which could mean the medication wouldn't work anyway. I have to agree that this too was my intuition, before he even suggested medication.

So we are looking at another six months of testing, waiting, etc. but thankfully some of that time will include summer holidays. I can't say I feel much better after having heard the conclusions of the psychiatrist's observations, but something has ticked over in my brain. It is a bizarre thing, our brain, and how we can dupe it, or rather perhaps, persuade it to accept things like a placebo to do the work we want it to for instance. In my case, somehow hearing that my son had something more going on, something more complicated perhaps than Asperger's or ADHD, that I hadn't thought about, hadn't considered being as complex, brought me to yet another level of awareness.

I have found myself short tempered lately, easily frustrated by my son's behaviour and was beginning to think I may never feel anything other than this way. But I have been able to step back, and really think about the implications of having a neurological disorder. I can see how frustrated he is feeling, and when I let go of my own frustration, he relaxes, really relaxes, and that is so important. I can't excuse every bad behaviour and I have to be firm, but I can now also just relax, as he is just my son, as he has always been and always will be.

It also affects my daughter, as she is like a little Richter scale measuring everything that happens in the house. She is far more intuitive and aware than my son was at this age (2), but her language development is a bit slow, and I am conflicted as to whether to bring her in to see someone. It is developing for sure, and faster than my son's did, but will she have similar issues? Its a lot to deal with and my gut says to wait until she's 2 1/2 and then decide, as at that point she'll be able to attend the Steiner Kindergarten for two hours in the afternoon, and if it is obvious that she is having problems, then that will be the time to deal with it.

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