If anyone had told me a few years back that my now almost 13 year old son would be in the place he is today I seriously would have laughed in their face and probably told them where to go. In no way shape or form did I ever think he would be able to overcome so many of the issues that plagued him on a daily basis.
It began with the vacuums and batteries, and the obsessive behaviours, which then escalated into major sensory issues associated with eating. He was overridden with separation anxiety and fears. Then came the hoarding and let me tell you it was as bad as the reality show on TLC!
He was diagnosed with ADHD at age 7, tried to commit suicide by the time he was almost 8, was finally given a diagnosis of Asperger's by age 9 and half and then early onset bipolar was added just for the hell of it by the time he was 12. Perhaps some would have given up and really I cannot think badly of them if they did. I have lived the hell of it all - the crazy obsessive behaviours - lights being turned on and off, doors and the stove constantly being checked, hoarding anything and everything, the meltdowns, the violent outbursts, the desperate need for Pokemon cards, video games, and now the need to take everything apart and the building of computers. Not being able to go out with his siblings due to his fears of bee's, dogs, cats, and other people. Yep I wouldn't blame any parent out there for being overwhelmed, stressed or even starting to drink. But I didn't give in.
I am not sure why but I have actually been able to focus on what his strengths are as opposed to what his weaknesses are. But lets get one thing straight - I am by no means a saint or wonder mom. My gosh there have been days when I am so overwhelmed I want to run out the door and never look back!
So why I am telling this story now? Well let's just say I was the number one bitch mom and I kept pushing the Dr's, Psychologists, psychiatrists and anyone who would listen. I knew when he was diagnosed with Asperger's there was still something off, and finally they couldn't argue anymore because I was right. Of course I was! Mothers just know.
About 5 months ago my son was hit with a major cycle of mood swings and manic phase - so bad that he was begging me for help because he could no longer deal with it and thought he was going crazy. I took him to the emergency department and refused to leave until he was seen by the crisis management team and a psychiatrist. Finally his medication was changed to something more suitable for the mood swings and the past four months have seen a drastic change in him! He has lost a ton of weight (the other medication put weight on him - a lot) and his mood swings are much more manageable.
This whole year though has shown that patience, and pushing for what you now is right can help your child in so many ways.
My son has gone from average to below average grades to being on the honour roll all year. He helps around the house and is my number one babysitter. Just recently he took on his first job as a delivery boy for the local paper.
For those of you who have a child with a disability or issue (and who doesn't have issues) please remember that the younger years are the hardest because you don' know what the next day or year will bring, but it does get better and easier! Keep pushing for answers and always focus on your child's strengths and build on them.
My son is entering the teenage years soon and there will be many ups and downs, but I know that he will come out strong because for any child to have dealt with what he has been handed the past twelve years and be where he is today is in my eyes amazing. So yes, my son is a special hero to me.
Do you have a child with special needs? What are their strengths?
Until next time,