April 25, 2011


Chunky has always been a "spirited" soul. As a toddler, he was a whirling dervish. He was diagnosed with sensory integration disorder at 15 months and attended weekly occupational therapy sessions for a year to work with boundaries, impulsiveness and adjusting to multiple stimuli which the average person processes organically. We learned a lot of techniques which served us well over the past several years. Recently however it's become clear Chunky is struggling. He's forgetful about the most basic things, interrupts at home and school, has a lot of challenges with completing school work, especially on time, and seems to take the most difficult route possible to get things done (often resulting in being reprimanded). The tried and true techniques used in the past just weren't working. There was an undeniable nagging feeling we needed to take the next step - a thorough behavioral/psychological assessment. He took a battery of exams over the last couple of months, including IQ, behavior and mood. The counselor obtained information from us as well as his teachers and engaged Chunky in "talk therapy" to detect any underlying issues. Read: is it because his mother is crazy

The good news: Chunky has a high IQ (89% above average), is resilient and very self-aware (understands he has trouble processing and tries to do his best to work through challenges). He does not have low self esteem, anxiety or any learning disorders. Nor did they mention the crazy mother thing He does have ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). This means the chemicals in his brain do not work the same as the average person's. The counselor described it as lacking the "just do it" trigger in the brain. Those lacking this trigger use every other area of their brain to process and organize information which means they often take the most difficult way possible to accomplish the same thing as the person with the "just do it" ability. Those with ADHD can't engage this trigger without help, which is often medication due to the need for an effective/efficient chemical reaction. Interestingly he has been high functioning for the most part due to OT experience and our advocacy. Now however he is in the onset of puberty and the wires are getting all crossed again. He even sounded different on the phone the other day - I almost cried when I realized his voice had changed slightly
So our next step will be to work with Chunky's primary care physician to determine if medication would be appropriate to help him focus. I was relieved when I heard the diagnosis - I knew in my gut something wasn't right and it wasn't just behaving badly. I knew he needed help but I wasn't sure what or how much. I am a little sad that my cherub has a condition with some stigma associated with it. The goal now is to figure out which tools will help him reach his full potential and become a happy, healthy, caring, productive adult. Lord willing we all make it

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