Child No. 1

I thought I’d tell you about both my kids, and what we live with with each of them, to give you an idea of where I’m coming from. Today, I’ll introduce you to Joseph, my first born.

JosephHe’s currently 7 years old. He’s in 2nd grade. He’s been diagnosed with Disruptive Behavioral Disorder NOS. How long a road has this been? I first noticed something “wrong” when he was all of 6 months old, and my husband had to disengage his teeth from the skin on my chest. He was unhappy, and bit, and hung on. I still have the scar. So, I’ve been fighting for him, and for some kind of treatment for about 6 years.

The first point of contact was, of course, his pediatrician, as well as friends and family. I was told by that pediatrician, friends, and family that he was fine. Boys will be boys and all that. After we moved, when Joseph was about a year old, he had a new pediatrician. This pediatrician took my concerns seriously, however, there was nothing he could do. Basically, pediatricians don’t do mental health, and even if they did, testing couldn’t happen until he was about 4 years old. He suggested I contact the school district for prior to kindergarten testing. I did. They said there was nothing they could do, since technically he wasn’t part of the school district yet. What a catch-22.

So, I sort of gave up. I’d seen the terribly violent tantrums. The refusal to try to read. The refusal to color. The refusal to do any kind of arts and crafts. The refusal to follow directions. I’d seen how change threw him. How he didn’t understand certain things. I thought to myself, “Fine! We’ll see how you all help me once he’s in school! I give it three months.” I know my son. Let me repeat that, because I think it’s worth it. I know my son. Nothing is more frustrating when you know when something isn’t right with your child, and no one bothers to listen, or just writes you off. Sure enough, three months into it, Joseph started acting out at school. It got to the point where the principal wanted to expel a 5 year old from kindergarten. I asked, “Are you finally willing to help me?” That’s when the school administration clued into the fact that I’d been telling them this would happen all along.

Since then – it’s been a difficult, hard, taxing trip. And of course, it’s been a work in progress. But Joseph finally is on an IEP with special education, as well as a county social worker overseeing his case, as well as weekly personal & family counseling. He’s finally starting to succeed. He’s finally learning to read. He’s finally discovering there’s things he likes like math and science. This is something we may have to fight with and for him for the rest of his life.

But – you know what? On his own, last night, he came into our bedroom, sat by the fire, and read his library book. All by himself.