Shawn and I have been grappling with some hard realities lately concerning Isabelle. She is in the first grade this year and, though she excels in her social skills and extracurricular activities, she has really been struggling with her academics. And by struggling I mean failing. We have watched her grades steadily decline since the beginning of the school year. Her behavior has also changed, causing her to get in trouble at school more often and subsequently affecting her school work. She has trouble sitting still and fidgets constantly, she loses her train of thought and has difficulty finishing a list of tasks. She loses interest in whatever she is doing very quickly and has begun to lose confidence in trying new things. This is such a change compared to last school year, when she made honor roll and earned several academic awards.
We have spent many nights analyzing and discussing possible causes of these changes. Could it be the new baby? Shawn being in school AND working and therefore being home less? A way to get more attention? These all seem like practical explanations, yet something in my gut is telling me that it is more than that. Something in my mommy soul is screaming DO SOMETHING!!!!! BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE!!!!
Shawn has ADHD. He was just evaluated and diagnosed two years ago. Meaning he went his whole childhood and young adult life undiagnosed. Meaning he has struggled his whole life with school and even with some social situations because he honestly was incapable of focusing his attention and organizing his thoughts. He was labeled a “bad kid”, a “trouble maker”, when all he needed was some guidance and behavior modification. He finally got that at the age of 31 and, in his own words, “my life has completely changed. I can actually think clearly for the first time in my whole life. It’s like putting on glasses for the first time.”
And so as hard as it is to face the fact that our daughter may be suffering from the same condition, we owe it to her to find out if something is really going on. It is our job as parents to put our own phobias aside and do whatever we can to seek out a way to get her back on track, whatever that answer may be. But of course there’s the social stigmas, the looks of judgement and tones of condescension you get from other parents when you tell them you are having your child evaluated for ADHD. “Don’t you feel like maybe you are jumping to conclusions?”. NO!! Actually, I feel like I am covering all my bases and searching for any and every possible solution for my child. Because I love her and I want a full and happy life for her. I want her to be armed and ready for this life with all the tools she will need. And I don’t want her to suffer or do without because of what society thinks.
That being said, we are not jumping on any band wagons or rushing into anything. The straw that broke the camel’s back was two weeks ago when she failed her hearing test at school. I questioned if she actually can’t hear or if she just didn’t understand the directions or lost interest during the test. So, yesterday we went to the pediatrician. She checked Isabelle’s ears and confirmed that there is no wax build up, no infection, no fluid, eardrums are intact. Meaning: there is no structural reason why she can’t hear. Next step: see an audiologist Tuesday to repeat the test to make sure she can indeed hear properly and rule out that that is not what is actually causing her troubles in school. We were also given surveys to fill out: one for Shawn, one for me, one for her teacher. I suppose this is to give a clear overview of her behavior from the point of view of those who spend the most time with her. We will then meet with a behavioral specialist on Tuesday as well where we will review all this information and she will be evaluated and observed.
Who knows, it could all just be nothing. But, it could be something serious that needs our attention as well. I want the peace of mind in knowing that we tried everything, that we gave her all we could. Doesn’t every child deserve that? As much as it pains me to see her struggle, as much as it hurts me to think of her feeling sad and doubtful about her abilities, it’s time to come to terms with the fact that something is wrong and it’s time to do something about it. This little girl is too smart and too talented to be struggling so much. Her mind deserves to be free, her heart deserves to be full and strong and confident. And we will stop at nothing to make sure that she is given every opportunity this life has to offer.