Saturday, May 28, 2011

Thoughts on "Disorders"

I've thought and prayed a lot about this post. I don't feel like I need to "explain" myself to anyone but God, and even then I don't "explain" myself but rather converse as He knows my inmost being. That said, I would like to talk a bit about how we got to where we are with Braeden right now.

This is mostly because I recently read a blog post that really hit hard. Someone posted a long dialogue about how so many of today's "disorders" are a joke. That "professionals" are giving name to disobedient behavior and making the disorder's label a way to excuse said behavior instead of parenting the way children need to and used to be parented. A couple of the disorders listed were ones I've heard of, ones I know of, ones I know kids from hard places deal with, and I don't think that they are a joke, especially to the parents now in the position of loving and parenting a child with this trauma and hurt. The post then went on to talk in the same way about children labeled with ADHD and how in the past a paddle "cured" ADD.

Don't get me wrong, as a teacher especially, I have seen many many children "diagnosed" with ADD/ADHD who are NOT. Children who do NOT need medication and yet are "drugged" daily. I get it. I've seen it. I have taught, and teach, said children and have NOT agreed with this "diagnosis" yet as a teacher I usually wasn't consulted and the "doctor" has strictly gone by parental say so. Parents who are ill equipped to "deal" or parent and are looking for a way to make things "easier". Crazy. I get it.

But, there are many many children I have seen and have taught who truly do need something to help them. Children/Students who absolutely cannot focus AT ALL and therefore are NOT learning. I teach one now who usually does not get the medicine he desperately needs on a regular basis and he has learned little to nothing this entire year. A year of his life wasted because his parents don't care enough? to give him the meds regularly?

So here's a little of our walk in the past seven years of my Braeden's life. (without sharing his history and details that are HIS)

Braeden first of all has a bio brother and sister who lives with a good friend of mine. They were only two and one when Braeden was born and had at that time lived with her for a year, therefore they have grown up with my friend since infancy. She parents VERY differently than I do. Not better or worse, just differently. And yet all three kids, especially Braeden and his brother, are SO much alike in activity and behavior it's not even funny. Yet they were raised in different homes. Interesting. :) They have the same birth parents, and similar histories with regards to things happening in utero.

Braeden came to live with me at 3 days old, from the hospital, yet was nine months genetically and physically linked with his birth parents. Although he wasn't born yet, many things affected him during this time in the womb. Things that affected how his brain developed as opposed to a "typically" developing child. Things that left gaps and holes in pieces of his brain affecting mood, regulation, activity, etc.

From the early days, Braeden has always been active. And that is a radical understatement. I've nannied, babysat, worked with children in my church nursery, etc from the time I was very young, and have been around many many children. Braeden was active to the extreme. As a young toddler, he would lay on his back in his crib and RUN his feet around the edge of the crib, spinning on his back as he did so. He literally could not and CANNOT be still. As he sits, he is flipping in his seat, climbing ALL OVER, etc. And it's NOT him being BAD. It's just HIM. He can't control it. He is the textbook definition of "run by a motor." No amount of parenting would or will change this. (Believe me, I'm pretty strict and structured and most think I'm TOO hard on the kids, another post itself!) :)

I have worked HARD to keep Braeden regulated and in a routine to help him as much as possible. I have waited as long as I possibly could to even try meds for him as I don't always agree with meds at all. And we had awesome and wonderful teachers who worked with both of us as long as possible to help him educationally as we navigated through the educational years.

His preschool teacher kept him near her, worked on redirecting whenever possible, and knew how to keep tabs on him with field trips. And in turn he learned to read, counted in spanish by ones and tens to one hundred, and devoured non-fiction books, especially in regards to animals. As we moved to kindergarten we were so blessed to have Braeden in a class with a teacher who had a child herself VERY much like Braeden and had navigated many of the issues we deal with. He flourished again. He was in the highest reading group and was learning so much every day. Yet as the year was coming to a close, we talked about how he was beginning to be affected educationally by his "motor". His eyes were starting to jump as he read, affecting his reading and education. We knew it was unfortunately time to start looking at something medicinally that hopefully would help him slow down and focus more. Not because we were allowing him to get away with behaviors. Not because he was choosing to disobey. But because he could not control his movement and impulsivity as other children can and it was affecting his education.

I was naive. I thought, it'll be worth it for him. They'll prescribe a med, knowing him as a patient, and we will be on the right track. I was wrong.

In rolled our nightmare that this year has been with regard to medicine. With regard to being on Medicaid. With regard to doctors who don't listen. Doctors who see kids as stats, as behaviors, as money in their pocket. Not as kids. This aggression... this belligerence... this rage... this "child"... is not the same one I trusted in their hands at the start of this school year. BUT, we didn't get here lightly. We (I) didn't make the decision to medicate because I was too lazy to parent him correctly, or because I didn't want him running through the house, or because others were pressuring me into this decision and it was the easy route. Believe me, this year has been anything but easy. This is harder than having the child who is active. I wonder if I am still doing right by him ALL. THE. TIME. I question and pray. But right now I believe that I still need to try. For him. For his future.

I hope that others can understand there IS more to a child's behavior SOMETIMES than parenting. It's not always about the parent. Pass it on. :)


Julie said...

I'm so sorry it has been so tough- still praying for y'all!!

Megan said...

Lisa- people who don't understand our children will always criticize our decisions. BUT YOU? You know your child and what he needs. YOU are doing everything you can and YOU are loving him like he deserves to be loved. Don't let others be hard one you or judge your choices unjustly because you are being on *heck* of a wonder woman :) Hang in there mama. You are doing a great job!!!!

:)De said...

I am glad you posted this. Parenting is one of those things that really fits the "until you have walked a mile..." saying. And each family's/parent's/child's situation and walk is so different. We have to remember to use discernement when reading and listening to other's advice in regards to rearing our children. As you said... We answer to such a Higher Power and God gave the right child to the right Mamma :)

Keeping you all in our prayers.


I so agree with you! As a mom two to kiddos who have special needs, others just don't understand sometimes. Thanks for sharing with us!

Joyce said...

Hi Lisa
I hope that my comment about SPD didnt hurt you - I was quite hesitant to post last time, as I am no expert on your child. I really agree with this total post, and I appreciate you posted this.
Since my boy has been diagnosed, I no longer look at 'badly behaving children' in a negative way, judging the parents - which I have absolutely no right to do; instead I feel sympathy that having to do shopping can melt a little person out and can cause such stress for the parents.
I wish you well with your little ones and also as you enter the next adoption journey


Lisa said...

Hi Joyce, No not at all was I hurt about your talk of SPD. I appreciate your thoughts! :)

Molly said...

Bravo Lisa! This needed to be said.

Mom said...

I understand. Praying for you all.

~Stephanie said...

I understand completely. I have my own little motor, he's two, we love him to bits, he is adopted and there are issues from his prenatal life that linger. No judgement here. He's been jumping in his crib (with no hands I'll add!) so much that he broke a spring. And he started when he was about 15 months or so. He keeps me on my toes. And I often wonder what his future looks like.

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About Me

I am a single mom to four amazing kids; each of whom just happen to have been adopted. The first three were adopted through foster care, and we just completed an international adoption from Haiti. Our family has grown through adoption and I am all the more blessed to know each of my children. I worship a mighty God, teach Special Ed, love bargains, and am inspired by Pinterest... come along with us for the ride!

Olivia - 14

Olivia - 14

Braeden - 11

Braeden - 11

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