Sunday, 9 October 2011

Diagnosis

Friday. An appointment at 2. Which always means that I do zilch with the rest of the day, using the getting ready, and getting to, as the "thing to do" for that day. It was with the psychiatrist who I succeeded in bribing the 14 year old to see 2 weeks and 2 days before. 2 days and 2 weeks of me wondering what she'd concluded from the mere hour (and bulging file of notes from other professionals) that she'd seen him for. Seen his anger, irritation, resentment...

There was a mix-up. I was supposed to have been at her other hospital. Not the one I'd had the previous two appointments in. No, one that I didn't have an address for or even a written appointment confirmation for - she'd just looked at her diary on-screen and given me a date to be there next. Only there was evidently not here, it was actually there. The receptionist took 20 minutes to decide to tell me I was in the wrong place, and hopes of progress fell through the floor. My assertive bolshy streak took over - was there not a way to ensure that the psychiatrist and I could have this meeting, albeit over the phone? There had to be a room I could use? Seeing as I couldn't get there now in such a short time, and she wasn't going to get over here? Phone call arranged, I was put into a room full of open files. Which I did not peek at. I just read a wallchart detailing what they do if parents refused to medicate their ADHD children.

She rang through, apologising profusely for the appointment mix-up, and I burbled apologies about making assumptions about where it would be. Then we ran through what she felt about the 14 year old.

Autistic Spectrum Disorder. Did she mean Aspergers? Yes, she did. Leaflets would be sent, letters written to the school, referrals to other services made. It confirmed what I'd long thought, so it was a relief, maybe I hadn't been a paranoid parent all these years.

But it hadn't been recognised until now - it often is hard to diagnose - so the 14 year old has been having a tough time for a few years, and has cut himself off. What now? How was I supposed to tell him there had been a "diagnosis"? That he has a recognised disability?

I got outside the building and any sense of relief, validation, vanished. I don't know what the future holds for him; maybe he won't ever get a job, am I going to have to tell his future partners? Maybe that's nothing to do with me...

Today I told him. I opened up the conversation with "if the school could give you a bit more help, what subjects would you think you'd like to concentrate on?" He named 3. I said maybe we could look at whether we could get that to happen, having another meeting with the school to see what they could offer him. Then I sort of wove into "well, you know that woman we went to see the other week? The one who sees quite a lot of people your age? Well, she thinks..... and that would mean you could get a lot more support". He told me to go away.

4 comments:

Kim said...

Aspergers or not, it is so difficult to talk to a teenager and even one who is 41 I have found. What are we supposed to do? There were no classes for us future parents to take in school...they concentrated on Future Farmers of America or Future Homemakers of America...not future parents of children with personality conflicts caused by 'we do not know what or will we ever know why'.

Lisa-Marie said...

When I was training as a teacher ASD was my special interest topic. It has such a large range of symptoms that it is really hard to diagnose - often confused with ADHD or dyslexia (children with ASD are often dyslexic too). A diagnosis is always a see-saw - on one hand, there is the labelling of a person, which isn't always good, but on the other hand, the label helps you get help, and sort of validates the differences in behaviour.

I don't know everything, but I do know some stuff about the disorder and have worked with a lot of children with varying levels. My boyfriend before the husband has(I say has as he is still alive and we are friends) Asperger's too. You can always email me if you want - even if just for a wee rant. xxx

Loretta said...

This can be hard, I know...and I wish I had an answer to offer. However, those subject that he wanted to take in school, since they are something he has chosen, maybe, just maybe, it would be right/good for him.

Blessings to you my Dear...I admire your offering such love and assurance.

trashsparkle said...

Kim - Lordy, there's a lifetime of trying to find the right way to talk to our kids then! You've done a great job with your son - I had no idea he was 41. I assume he's not a farmer? ;) xx


Lisa-Marie - thanks for your huge and very sweet comment. You really should go back into teaching - you'd be brill - or is it the dreaded paperwork? He's accepted it more happily now - little bro found out one of the presenters of Myth Busters has Aspergers. Bloke gets to blow stuff up, get paid loads of money = role model! And he's found out Bill Gates also has it, so feels more positive about the whole thing. xx