Friday, August 21, 2009

That Was (Not) Completely Unexpected

Punkin had her 4 year well check up yesterday and to see it did not go well would be an understatement.

In the whole Punkin saga I detailed a week or so ago, there were a lot of things I left out. There was just too much to tell. One of the reasons we initially sought the help of a child psychiatrist was because of some of Punkin's behaviors that made me concerned that she was suffering from some form of anxiety. Punkin does not transition well. You have to prepare Punkin wayyyyy in advance for everything. And sometimes even if you do prepare her, it doesn't do any good. She's still going to have some kind of melt down.

Also, she wasn't really forming friendships and social relationships in a way that I had hoped. At her old school her teachers told me that she would occasionally yell at her friends when they tried to get her to play. I have seen her wander away from a group of kids her own age to play by herself. And at a birthday party one of her friends ran up to her joyfully and Punkin just cowered behind my leg.

She didn't (and sometimes still doesn't) enjoy participating in group activities at school. At her new school she once crawled, crying, under a table to avoid having to play a simple game.

These things concerned me. But, after meeting with the therapist a couple of times and after seeing the success that we had with the school's reward program, my worry lessened. And she began to make friends, so that eased by concern, too.

But yesterday at the doctor's office, of her neuroses were on display. When I told her that I was going to have to get a urine sample she freaked out. If she were an adult I would have said she was having a panic attack.

Then she didn't want to put on her examination gown. Then she absolutely freaked out when it came time for the hearing test. And then it was the vision test during which all she had to do was hold a little black circle over her eye and identify some shapes. And then it was time for the shots. I'm sure you can imagine what that was like.

When I say she freaks out, that really doesn't tell you much. When Punkin "freaks out" or melts down, or whatever you want to call it, she becomes uncontrollable. She's crying and screaming and panicking and struggling. It is almost impossible to get her to calm down and trying to get her to actually do whatever it is you're trying to do. Our pediatrician said he was really impressed that I got her to do the hearing test because after watching her he didn't think we would get to do it at all.

And so, based on her behavior in his office and my description of her behavior over the past several months, he wants us to see a specialist. He thinks that she may be on the very high functioning end of Aspergers. And that perhaps she has some sensory issues as well.



To say that I have had mixed emotions about this would, again, be quite an understatement. To be honest, my initial reaction was "Yes! Thank you!" because I had wondered several times if Asperger's might be part of her problem. But frankly, I had thought of so many different things to account for her behavior -- in part to help me feel like it wasn't my "fault" -- that I didn't trust my instincts anymore.

And then, in the space of a few seconds, I felt overwhelming sadness. Something is "wrong" with my child. She's having a hard time and I don't want her to hurt. I don't want her to be viewed as different.

And then, just as quickly, I thought "she's the same child she was before we walked in the door 30 minutes ago." She's still my same sweet Punkin who likes to make funny faces, who likes to read books, and who can melt my heart with her sweet declarations of love.

Twenty years ago she wouldn't have been diagnosed with Asperger's. She would have simply been a "difficult child." And so, if the therapist can give us some ideas on ways to help her transition and ways to moderate her emotions, then I'm all for it.

Because I, like all mothers, want only what's best for my child. And I'll do whatever it takes to make it happen.


Mir said...

I'm sorry you're (both) going through this, sweetie. Email me if you want to talk.

AndreAnna said...

Wow, this has got to be so rough. I'm glad on one hand because at least the doctor saw it first hand and could see what you meant. On the other hand, it's always hard to see your child struggle, no matter why.

I'm confident that you'll be awesome, get some answers, and do the best for her.

Lylah M. Alphonse said...


I felt relieved, then sad, then angry with myself for feeling sad, then overwhelmed, and then determined, when our oldest boy was diagnosed with Aspergers when he was 5 (6 years ago, now).

It can seem extraordinarily difficult, but finding out when Punkin is so young gives you many more opportunities to help her learn how to navigate the world around her. Think of it this way: The toolkit she was born with doesn't have everything she needs in it, but you can and will help her get what she needs.

(((MORE HUGS))) It's going to be OK.

Wooda said...

Awww. Your last paragraph just radiates how much you love her. I am glad you finally have a diagnosis. I do not know much about Aspergers, but I am about to Google it. As always, if you need me I am across the street and call me anytime. Love to you and Punkin!

Laurel said...

Wow...that's a lot. So, okay. Now you know. And you are on the hunt to work it out. She is lucky to have you as her advocate. I'm really impressed with how you're handling it all. I know you're not perfect, and some days are bad, but you. are. a good. mom. I'm sending you hugs and prayers.

Katie @ Can't Get Here said...

Oh, dearie. (hugs) That must be so hard to deal with, with so many changing emotions. Even when you know it's for the best, it doesn't mean it will always be easy. Know that you and Punkin have a world of support out here, and that if you need me I'm just an email away.

calicobebop said...

You are a great mother! I know it must be very difficult to hear something like that. I think Punkin will do well because you have such a great attitude - plus, she knows how much you love her. Hang in there! I'll be thinking about you guys!

Leslie said...

I'm so sorry to hear about this and I'm sure you and Mr. Daddy are feeling a million different emotions. A specialist will give you some answers and will help you to navigate solutions. B. and I can certainly sympathize after the journey we've been through with Little Brother. Please call us if you need someone to talk to.

el-e-e said...

Sorry I'm late getting to this, and sorry to hear this part of your story, but from here, surely it starts getting better. You've got so many people cheering you on. Count me as one of them. Do keep posting about it. I think it's good for you, and it's good for others (me) too, to learn.