A couple weeks back, Michael and I went in with Noah to see a psychiatrist to find out if he felt Noah might have ADHD.
He was a relatively young man who came out and greeted us with a walking cane. He spoke softly and greeted Noah warmly and lead us slowly back down a long hall to his office. Oddly, I was reminded of the scene in Willy Wonka where the kids and their parents get led into the Chocolate Factory for their big tour and Mr. Wonka's cane gets stuck in the ground... he begins to teeter forward and ends up doing a quick somersault and rebounds with lots of energy.
The soft spoken psychiatrist did not do that. He just kept walking slowly down the very long hall.
He asked us a lot of the usual questions, and had a few for Noah as well. He asked Noah to draw a picture for him of a house, a person and a tree.
Then, he had Noah perform a few physical tasks. He had him sit in a chair with his feet on the floor and his hands on his knees (I guess to see if he could sit still while we stared at him) and then he asked him to stand up, put his arms out, open his mouth and stick out his tongue as far as he could and stand there.
Noah made a little sound and the doctor said quietly, "Notice the grunt?" and "See how his toes flex?"
He did make a grunt, but it seemed to me he flexed his toes (in his sandals) to keep his balance.
The doctor wiggled Noah's arms and told him to keep them floppy. I believe he was looking for tense muscles.
After we all sat together again, across the desk, the psychiatrist declared Noah as having moderate ADHD. He suggested we go talk to a behavioral therapist before considering drug therapy.
Back home, we digested the news for a few days.
Neither of us are completely convinced about the diagnosis, though we are not in denial, either. It was just a very quick appointment, much of it spent talking about insurance and such. We both agree that there is a very good chance this IS what Noah's problems amount to, but it could also be attributed to "typical boy behavior" that has stronger tendencies than many other boys. It could also be attributed to first time parents not making the best parenting choices and realizing too late that other tactics and more consistency are called for.
So, I think we may take him to the behavioral therapist and see what he/she thinks as well. He also begins first grade soon, and will be with another teacher. It would be interesting to see what her opinion is. ADHD or lack of maturity and self control.
Don't think I am saying "my child does not have ADHD". He probably does. But I don't think these things should be jumped into lightly, nor should you allow one person to put a lifetime label on your child.
We are taking the information, the opinions and evidence we have so far, putting it in our pocket, and moving forward.