“Are you okay mom?” Gleek asked, and I realized that I had just made a large sigh while surveying the contents of our pantry. The lack of enticing food had been some sort of sigh trigger.
“I’m all right.” I answered, “Just tired. It has been a long day.”
“Aren’t all days the same length?” asked Patch. “They all have the same hours.”
I turned to look at him, his blue eyes wide. “Yes, but some days seem long. Today felt really long to me.”
Gleek and Patch continued to munch on their cereal, which was my simple-as-possible bedtime snack effort for the evening. It was all I could muster after having to scold Gleek for ignoring me and turning the scolding into a lecture on how she should respond when I say “stop” in a commanding voice. Perhaps the scolding and lecture will make tomorrow’s conflicts a fraction easier, no guarantees. Before snack and the scolding had been the mediation over whether Gleek could play her music in the kitchen even though Kiki had been there first. That had been preceded by a cub scout pack meeting full of running and shouting children. Then ever-so-long-ago at the beginning of the day had been the ninety minute long meeting with Link, two of Link’s teachers, an administrator, and the school psychologist in which we hammered out his Individual Education Plan (IEP) for next year. Nothing said in the meeting was news. I’d already seen all the results, knew what we were going to say. But it all needed to be said out loud so that everyone could hear all the words. Most of all so that Link could hear. Half the information was new to him. He needed to assimilate it. It also needed to be written down on paper so that next fall when we’re all attempting to settle into a new year we can just read our instructions to ourselves.
I asked Link later, how he felt about me blogging about his diagnoses. (Yes, plural).
“That would be good.” he said. “It could help people.”
I agree. I began planning out a big, beautiful post which would clarify everything and put it all into an emotional context. I stopped writing notes halfway through, because I’d run out of emotional energy. It is just possible that 14 years of worry is a bit much to try to pull into a single blog post. Maybe I’ll write that post later, or a different one.
The short version is this: Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). The ADHD we’ve been treating for years. The APD…I’ve also known for years. I just forgot that I knew it because treating the ADHD made such a huge difference. I guessed APD back when Link was in Kindergarten because it was the only thing I could find which explained the patterns of development I was seeing. I keep thinking that perhaps I should feel guilty that it took us this long to diagnose the APD. I ought to feel guilty, but I don’t, and I feel vague guilt about not feeling guilty. The truth is that we’ve all been doing the best that we can. Link just needed this comprehension now so we tested and found it. Link’s ears work fine, but his brain scrambles words, so that Link has to work hard to comprehend what is said. Combine that with the working memory and processing speed challenges which are common with ADHD, and you begin to understand that Link has to be brilliant in other areas or else we would have found this long ago. He’s like a deaf person no one knows is deaf because he reads lips so well. Link has distinct areas of brilliance. I’ve got test data showing that too.
So none of it is new, but all of it is now official in the school paperwork. Making it official is exhausting, as if writing it down makes it more real. This I think is why many parents shy away from diagnosing their kids. I think it is why I did. As long as it is only a suspicion it could be wrong, everything could be fine. Knowing the auditory processing diagnosis shifted things in my head. It shook up my thoughts and they settled in ways that will be much more beneficial to Link. Now when I slow down and simplify my sentences for Link I know that it is because he physically needs that, not because he can’t comprehend complex concepts. I knew that before too, but this knowledge has also become more real and that is a good thing.
Or so I tell myself. I’m finding it oddly difficult to click “publish” on this post, as if that too is a line to cross, making things more real.
It has been a long day, and it is time for bed now.