Wednesday, August 6, 2008

First Opinion

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.


MariBy said...

I have been down this path with my son. Your inner voice - everyone has one - will guide you through it. Trust your instincts. Mari :)

Anonymous said...

You might want to check out this book as well. Last child left in the woods.

Cindy said...

I realize every parent probably approaches this differently, but it sounds to me that you are doing everything right. There is nothing wrong with getting information. You're right, this is not something you want to jump into hastily. I have complete faith that you'll make the best decision for Noah and your family. *hugs*

Shama-Lama Mama said...

Anon, I have heard of that book and already been intrigued by it. Its kind of my own philosophy. Why I want to be a camping family when my kids get older.

I just went and looked at the amazon listing, though, and realized its saying that "thoughtful exposure of youngsters to nature can... be a powerful form of therapy for attention-deficit disorder and other maladies."

Wow, I think I am going to put this book on my "want list". Thanks!

emily said...

sounds like you're doing as well as can be expected; as someone who's been through the doctor wringer, i think you're doing the right thing by getting as many opinions as possible. not only for the labeling thing, but also for treatment. how can you treat something if you're not sure that's what it is?

Karin Zirk said...

Last child left in the woods is written by a San Diegan!

JeSais said...

I admit I am not a parent, and I think you are doing everything right... so that said, I don't completely understand why you are so afraid of the diagnosis, especially in light of the recommendation that a behavioral therapist be called in first. I would definitely look for alternatives to drugs, but if he had diabetes, you'd get him insulin. If he had cancer, you'd get him chemo.... a label of ADHD or ADD or whatever only has as much power as we give it.

and one more piece of advice (not that asked, but hey what are friends for if not to give unsolicited advice) ASK questions. Ask lots of questions. and carry a notebook! and love each other lots and don't forget to laugh -- that will get you guys through this.