|He loves animals. Always has.|
Incredibly, he has risen to the task, proving himself to be responsible and able to manage. He has kept up his little "pad", doing the dishes, taking out the trash; all the "normal" things that I was concerned about. He is taking his medications, and has been proactive in the "set up" of his new place. He has asked me to get him items to help him remember the basics, and to help him stay organized. He's had friends over (and they are super jealous of his place) for gaming and snacks.
When Dylan was little, I knew something was "off". I didn't know what it was, but there were little clues all along, like not wanting to make eye contact, the way he clung to me so anxiously, like a drowning child around new people or situations. Things that other children loved he wanted no part of. Disneyland was a nightmare. Too loud, hot, stinky. The rides terrified him. He had to be told over and over to do everyday tasks. He could never remember to brush his teeth or wash his hair when he was in the shower, but he could tell you in great detail about his favorite dinosaur, using a vocabulary that was greatly advanced for a boy of 3.
In school, he struggled so hard with everything. Dylan was and is a voracious reader, but he wanted no part of the early readers handed out in kindergarten; but read "The Hobbit" at home. Math on paper was impossible, but he could do complicated math problems in his head with no problems. He was obstinate and defiant with his teacher. I didn't know what to do because he was such a sweet and loving boy at home, albeit there were some attention issues, and the inability to control his impulses; but nothing that caused me significant distress. Our family just worked with his strengths, and helped him with his weaknesses.
Finally, after getting the third call in one week from his teacher, we went to have a battery of tests done. The pediatric neuropsychologist spent one month administering one test after another. The conclusion: Dylan was exceedingly intelligent with an IQ of 145, but had zero attention span and very low impulse control. He had thoughts of death regularly. He had obsessions (which we all knew about) that were definitely not within the "normal" range. He had sensory processing problems.
When we finally got his diagnosis, I felt such a conflicting mess of emotions. On the one hand, I felt relieved, finally knowing that I was not a bad parent, which is what the school would have liked me to believe. On the other, I felt grief, crying for days. I was full of guilt. Was it my DNA that caused this for him? I knew he was going to have to work harder and push himself further to make a go of it in the world. I worried he might not be able to do this. I was afraid the outside world would crush his self esteem. Anxieties about medications, physical therapy, psychologists, and speech therapy swirled in my brain.
|Proud Mama and her beautiful son.|
With a lot of patience, perseverance, and most importantly, unconditional love, he's matured into an amazingly creative loving young man with a great sense of humor. I am so happy for him right now. I am proud that he is adjusting to this next phase of his life. I feel such joy when I see him so happy and confident. It is a relief to know that despite all the struggle, he's come out on the other side with such a positive outlook.