Our son is neurodiverse.

Our son is neurodiverse.

This is according to 2 paediatricians and 3 psychologists.

There are those from the other camp who think our son doesn’t have ADHD: our family GP who we love but who is “old school” (his words not mine); the occupation therapist who helped us work out strategies for JJ’s executive functioning difficulties.

And a long lost, well intentioned family friend who observed our son for 10 minutes. I can’t even remember his name.

I think I’m ready to accept it now.

I took my son to see the third psychologist today. It was really for me, to help settle the doubt and confusion about his diagnosis. And to help me continue to wrestle with the Mother’s Guilt that drags along with me everywhere I go.

She was a Clinical Psychologist. She seemed warm and genuine and spoke sweetly to my son like he was the person she was seeing today (he was of course). And she had the loveliest shoes on, beautiful white leather Mary Janes, not a mark on them. That was the thing that won me over. You can tell a lot about the shoes that people wear, can’t you.

I wanted to ask her where she got them, but I didn’t. I didn’t want to look like the mother whose child wasn’t the centre of their universe.

She asked to speak to me first and suggested that JJ could sit outside the room. Alone. Sure, I said, like I do this every day and went into the room wondering what children she saw that could sit alone without remodeling the foyer.

I nervously sat down, and we spoke briefly about why I had brought JJ to see her. I had previously completed the Connors Test and she went through the results with me (did I pass?).

Holey Dooley.

“Hmmm, “she said, turning to look at me. “There is certainly an extremely high level of hyperactivity in these results”. Silence. “There are also some indicators of mania”.

Mania??? From me or my son??

The conversation focused on the journey so far of JJ’s diagnosis. It seemed that the psychologist didn’t want to immediately jump onto an ADHD diagnosis like other previous professionals.

We were mid conversation –

“MUMMYYYY!!!!!!!!!” called my angel from outside the door….” CAN I COME IN NOW?????”

She warmly invites him in, shows him a seat, grabs JJ a puzzle and instructs him to play for a few minutes while she finishes her chat with mummy.

I hesitated for only a brief minute, looking at JJ and the puzzle with a bit of seasoned doubt, then turned back to her to continue our talk.

After perhaps two minutes in, although more realistically 1 minute in, I see my son in my peripheral. He’s up from his seat, casing the joint, like a stalking tiger.  He moves all over the room, no item is safe. He takes all the toys out – He helps a huge man sized teddy bear sit on my head. He moves all the furniture around. Fortunately, the psychologist’s desk is too heavy. It’s hard for me to concentrate. Our conversation is regularly interrupted with “JJ please don’t touch that”, “JJ I’m not sure the table should be upside down”, in my pretend-I’m-someone-else’s mum voice, like I’m confident that I’ve got this scenario perfectly under control.

The psychologist pauses and looks earnestly at me.

“This is not a normal level of activity” she said quietly.

We both sat silently and looked at each other for a few more minutes and I tried to ignore the sinking feeling in my heart.

The psychologist sat back. “I think we can be confident in the diagnosis from the other professionals”.

“You think it’s ADHD?” I asked.

She just nodded.

We spoke a little more, about future planning and where to from here, but honestly I wasn’t attentive, focused only on the processing of this revelation. And as I helped my son tidy and reorganize the room before we left, I realized that it was time for me to accept the diagnosis.

We got into the car, I put some of JJ’s favourite songs on, and I cried silently as we drove home. I couldn’t quite understand why I had so much emotion boiling inside of me that needed to get out.

Later I realized that it must have been acceptance.

Time to get on with it.

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