Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Boy, Part 3

....Post diagnosis....

We've been down a long road since that diagnosis. It was October 2010. I won't go into too much boring detail in this post, but I'll just bring you up to speed.

I started researching ADHD. The psychologist urged medication, but my husband and I were reluctant. She insisted that without gaining some control over his hyperactivity, she would not be able to work with him on a behavioral/psychological level.

We tried other stuff first. Diet changes. Acupressure. Chinese medicine. Fish oil, among other supplements. And lots of love.

Still, nothing made much of a difference.

In the end, we determined that we were out of ideas, and would have to give medication a try.

In the meantime, he was spiraling out of control at preschool, and they were starting to tell me they wouldn't be able to have him continue there unless things changed--soon. They knew about his new diagnosis, and were sympathetic. They supported me as much as possible.

I was also trying to get him an evaluation with the Board of Education Early Childhood Dept. to see if he was able to get special services. (Also called an IEP or, Individual Education Plan).

It took months to get our assessment appointment. But finally we got one.

And then were denied services.


The next step was that I went into Mother Bear mode. I contacted a parent advocacy group and gained as much information as I could. I scoured the internet and read through the entire IDEA act. I went over the heads of the local BOE department I had been working with and went to the county. I sent a letter to everyone on the board, and the head of the education dept in Sacramento. I included a portion of the IDEA act wording in my letter (just to let them know I knew my rights--most importantly, that they were legally bound to do a reevaluation at my request, and to respond within a certain amount of time). I collected documentation from his psychologist, his preschool and his pediatrician. Finally, my phone started ringing and apologetic people within the System told me our case would be reviewed. Our reevaluation included a comprehensive psychological workup as well as a speech assessment, in addition to the cognitive testing.

Our new assessment was that Handsome would require special services in order to attend preschool, and that he would receive an IEP. I felt a huge relief and sense of accomplishment. Finally, things were turning around and we would get some help. The only bad thing was that by this time it was the end of the school year and I had had to pull him out of preschool in February. We would have to wait for the new school year to start in the fall before we would start receiving services. He had essentially missed out on an entire year of preschool.

Flash forward to the summer, when my husband started interviewing for a new job--and was hired by a big company out of state. In July we realized we would be moving, and I'd have to start all over again with the finding him services and getting him into school.

Luckily, to my utter astonishment and happy surprise, Nevada had their act together much more than our home town, and after a bit of leg work, his California IEP was reviewed and accepted and he was given a place in our local Head Start Program.

In the meantime, we have also tried several different meds, and he is currently on one that, while it doesn't "cure" all of his symptoms by any means, it does help, with minimal side-effects.

With the help of the amazing team at his school (teacher, special ed teacher, speech therapist, psychologist and, most recently, occupational therapist) Handsome has made AMAZING progress just since starting school in late August.

To say I am a fan of the Head Start Program, and of the Clark County School District is an understatement. I am WOWED by the support he is receiving. A far cry from our previous experiences in California.

Our most recent progress was that he was diagnosed as being 'tongue-tied'. This was brought to my attention by his school speech therapist and school nurse. After his pediatrician confirmed it, we had the procedure (frenulectomy) to correct it (just last week) and he is doing great. I am anxious to see what his progress will be like with his speech therapist.

We have come a long, long way. And, I am a believer in a Bigger Plan that had led us here- from me shutting down my business (originally reluctantly but it gave me the ability to be at home with these kids and gave me the freedom and clarity to do all this leg work) and THEN that lead us to our big move to Nevada--where the System has been very good to us.

Now the baby is waking up from her nap and I have to go... more later!

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