My son’s are both part of an alphabet soup. Both acquired their letters at a young age. Their letters have helped them to communicate better, learn better , and stand out from other kids. Not all of these are good things
PDD-NOS (pervasive development disorder – not otherwise specified) was assigned to my youngest when he was 3.5 years old. However, I have known he was part of the alphabet soup since he was 8 months old. I spent almost 2 years arguing with my son’s pediatrician that his delayed developments were due to something other than 10 ear infections before the age of 2. By the time my youngest was born, I had worked in a preschool environment for more than 6 years and I have worked with school age children for over 17 years. As an early childhood professional I notice abilities, or lack thereof, due to trainings and developed lesson plans based on each child’s abilities. I am a mom who noticed that her 8 month old infant wasn’t holding my gaze and interacting with me as the other infants I have worked with. This was brought up at each Doctor’s appointment and I was told that I shouldn’t compare my child’s development with others. I wanted to say “excuse me but isn’t that why you chart weight and height?”.
I finally was given a referral to the PIE (Parent Infant Education) program. After making many phones calls, my son was finally evaluated with a speech delay and they felt he had some other sort of delay but they felt I was wrong in what I felt he has. So, again I’m told I’m wrong. I decided to just skip right to a developmental pediatrician who finally confirmed what I have known in my heart. He was officially diagnosed with PDD-NOS. This is a fancy term that your child has Autism but not the “classic” version. I went home that night and cried myself to sleep. I was mourning the death of my hopes and dreams for my youngest son. Although I already knew what he has, there is nothing like having it confirmed.
While we were adjusting ourselves to our youngest diagnosis, we began to hear from my oldest teachers. They were concerned with his being behind in reading and writing in Kindergarten. This continued into first grade where he began to have behavioral issues as well as being behind in reading and writing. Our school system is excellent, but they don’t test a child unless they are failing and usually not until third grade. I can understand the financial reasons for this decision, but we prefer to prevent fires instead of running around trying to put them out. We made the decision to go to a psychological service and we had him tested. The result was an ADD diagnosis. We brought the diagnosis to the school and they began implementing strategies to help him in the classroom. He is unable to swallow pills so we tried the patch for 2 years. We took him off the patch after we realized the extent of the side effects that were affecting him. He has been un-medicated since that time. When he entered 5th grade I insisted on an IEP for him as I felt he was going to slip through the cracks in middle school. Now, entering high school, he is struggling and we are not happy with the help he is getting at his school. While I realize high school is a time for students to be independently responsible for their assignments, you can’t expect a student with organizational issues to be organized and when a parent reaches out to the school out of concern, they need to be acknowledged and listened too. We have known our children longer than they have and we know what we are talking about. I am starting to get tired of having to constantly fight to be heard.
Both of my children, at a young age, were unable to communicate with us and their teachers. My youngest due to Autism and my oldest child’s ADD brain had him forgetting things left and right because his brain was thinking of too many things for him to respond correctly. With their IEPs this has dramatically improved. Both of them are learning in school, although reading comprehension is behind for both. Unfortunately, being part of an alphabet soup means they often stand out. They are different and they know it. My oldest feels this the most and denies needing any help as he is concerned with being seen as different. My youngest isn’t quite at that point as he just started 7th grade but I see it heading our way.
I know that many others are experiencing more problems than I am, my heart and thoughts go out to them and their struggles. While they are going through more than I am, I hope they know they are not alone.