The Phone Call
A few months ago, we received a phone call confirming his diagnosis of ADHD. I’ve think I knew for a few years that he was blessed with an exceptional ADHD brain. But his mom is a mental health consultant who's spent years working as a school psychologist. Whatever Hall Kid behavior patterns I observe, I have to assume them to be shrouded in ego-driven mama-bear emotions. The bias will always be too great for me not to seek out a second opinion.
This was my first phone call. I was overcome with excitement/dread/fear/ relief/ doubt about what I know about him and all that I didn’t know. I thought about the clients who’d describe similar feelings during their parent-teacher meetings and phone calls regarding their children. I thought about their need for answers and resources.
The Office Visit
sitting there with the physician, while my son played with the Legos. I decided to bring him in when I noticed he was becoming sad about his difficulties adjusting to his new school and his new class. My son's teacher, my husband and I were asked to complete a questionnaire screening assessment called the Vanderbilt, and doctor provided a list of counselors and neuropsychological Evaluation centers; should the screening result in a positive diagnosis.
During the follow-up visit, I was offered the same limited resources and the same lengthy waitlist options for his evaluation as the first office visit several months ago.
I was expecting to be connected to peers, activities, programs, counselors.
I needed a step by step set of instructions for helping my boy learn to navigate the challenges and tap into the advantages connected to the way his brain is wired.
I needed to assemble a team in my community that would get my son what he needed at this stage of our discovery process;
why didn't I receive all this at that office visit.
Evoking My Super Powers
There was a moment, as I was expressing my concerns to the physician, when I wondered out loud if I was doing too much.
My son is meeting and exceeding the academic requirements set up by his school, but I’m able to identify his potential to do more. Determination and willingness to help a child fulfill his or her purpose is one of the most valuable superpowers I've inherited as a mother.
That mama bear power is enhanced by my other superpower: Gifts and talents honed by diligent research and practice in the field of school psychology and mental health. Thankfully my three children get the benefit of both.
I can see some of the ways his symptoms discourage his willingness to test his own limits.
I understand how one teacher may see my son’s inquisitive mind and witty sense of humor as an asset to her classroom and another teacher (teaching a subject that is less appealing to my son) may see those same characteristics as disruptive and disrespectful.
I know that with some simple tools and resources, like small group counseling, behavior coaching and a healthy dose of self-awareness, my son will be set up to soar past the limitations of his differences.
So,nope…I’m not doing too much. I was charged to be my son’s mother on purpose. I’m doing just what I’m supposed to.
It’s a gift meant to be shared
As I meditate on the desires of my heart for my own son, I feel a deep desire to support moms like me with unique family members like mine. I know that my gifts are for providing mental health support to your children as well as my own. This recent experience with my son has given me fresh perspective to bring to the families needing my support. My worldview as a mom, a mental health professional and as an individual with disabilities/differences, I am vested in uncovering ways to help children thrive without fear of being stigmatized, mislabeled or misjudged. I took a step back over the past year, to gain insight on the level and scope of need for the children and families of Maine. I Believe it’s time to begin the journey of service in this community. And what an honor to begin with my son.