As a mother of four boys, I've come across quite a few different struggles concerning them. Some days it seems as if it's not one thing, it's another. However, the way I parent, which is not perfect by any means, is I fix things. I am a fixer. This is all well and good in certain circumstances, but I do really need to pull back the reigns once in a while.
My issue stems from having all four of my boys born prematurely. I think it's a guilt thing with a little PTSD sprinkled on top. Also, one of my boys is autistic, with ADHD and SPD. One of them has [just] ADHD, and more recently, my oldest was having issues as well.
How Did I Not Notice This Earlier
My two younger boys were diagnosed early on, however, my oldest was 13 when I realized there was a problem, I just needed to figure out what it was. I was really hard on myself when I sat down and really thought about this. It was like the answers were so clear, they were right there, and I let my son down. Maybe I just didn't want to believe that another one of my children had an issue. Maybe I thought it was just his age group. Let's face it, middle school years are not the best when it comes to parenting. I honestly don't know, but it hurt.
Being A Special Needs Mom
The weight of being a special needs mom sits directly on my soul. Motherhood in general is exhausting, having therapists and doctors throw a few different diagnoses in your lap all at once adds overwhelming fear and anxiety to that exhaustion. I couldn't think straight. I was so tired mentally and emotionally. So much of my focus was put on my son and researching autism, ADHD, and SPD. I held tight to the thought that this was my fault. Had I just done something different, this wouldn't be happening.
Then another son was diagnosed with ADHD. If you have ever had a bowling ball dropped right on your stomach, that's what it felt like. The thing was, both boys had an ADHD diagnosis, but they presented so differently. There are many aspects of ADHD, not all children will have every symptom or even the same symptoms. My boys certainly didn't.
Back To My Oldest
Back to my oldest son who, as mentioned, was now facing issues. He was getting horrible grades, which was not like him. I could tell him something, and he would literally turn and ask me what I had just told him. Taking away video games and other devices to help him focus wasn't working. He was anxious, emotional, and frustrated that he couldn't understand or remember anything. I knew in my gut after watching my son break down and cry, that this was not anything he was doing intentionally. He needed more help than I alone could give him.
The Doctor Appointment
I sat down with my son and his pediatrician. I told her what I was noticing, and she asked my son how he felt. She then said what I was holding in the back of my mind. "This could be a form of ADHD." So, if you're keeping track, this is my third son who is now going to be tested for ADHD.
No, there is absolutely nothing wrong with having a child with different needs. I don't regret having them or wish I could have different kids. But it's hard to hear this for the third time. So, was I upset? Yes, a little. His doctor was wonderful in getting paperwork for the teachers to fill out, as well as myself and my husband. In the meantime, I also found a tutor for my son through the National Honor Society and did more research. Remember, I am a fixer.
According to multiple studies cited by Plos One Research, children who were born very premature, less than 33 weeks gestation, have a 2-to-3 times increased risk of being diagnosed with ADHD. Micro Preemies, less than 26 weeks gestation, have a 4 times greater risk of diagnosis. It didn't make it all better, but wow, I did feel a little better. This wasn't necessarily all my fault after all.
In The End
My oldest son does have ADHD. ADHD – Inattentive is formerly known as ADD. There is no hyperactivity, he doesn't fidget, and he isn't restless, he just has problems with his working memory and attention span. Again, it manifested completely differently from his younger brother and his youngest brother.
I had to stay on top of his school and advocate for my son. Even with a diagnosis, they dragged their feet as far as giving him any accommodations. Fortunately for me, in this case, I am very familiar with the IDEA act. It is a law that sets requirements for the education of students with disabilities. ADHD is considered a learning disorder. My son also takes medication to help him focus. He started high school this year. He has accommodations and a lot of support. He is doing great, and as always, I am very proud of him.
Sources: Plos One Research