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Being Blessed – A Parent’s Perspective

By November 1, 2012Blogs

“We’re concerned about Blake,” the preschool teacher said. “He doesn’t seem to hear us when we call his name. It’s like he zones out.” Her tone was gentle and caring, while her expression revealed her worry.  It was the first time a teacher ever pulled my husband or me aside to share observations about our then 4-year-old son’s behavior, and it wouldn’t be the last. It was, however, the moment that altered our path and sent us on an ever-shifting journey to a diagnosis of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.
I reflect back on that teacher, and upon the entire journey, with deep gratitude. It’s not easy as a parent to hear that something might not be okay with your child. Yet, when someone causes you to look at what you already know in your heart is true, there is relief.
We knew our son was distracted. Often my husband and I would call out to him, only to have to repeat ourselves several times before he would come out of his seeming daydream. The teacher’s comments led us to our pediatrician and a neurological evaluation. All came back normal and we breathed a brief sigh of relief, yet the nagging feeling that something was wrong remained.
Blake’s kindergarten teacher was kind and supportive, but by the middle of the second semester she voiced her concerns. Blake was one of the brightest students she had, yet he needed constant reminders to keep him on task. He often didn’t seem to hear her the first time she gave a direction. She convened a team to assess the situation – perhaps Blake had a learning disability. A full assessment would take place at the beginning of first grade. I fretted all summer long.
When first grade began, Blake got distracted and didn’t hear the bell at the end of recess and lunch. He was found wandering, confused where everyone had gone. I was terrified he might wander off campus and get lost. During classroom transitions he would walk to a corner and stare into space.  He wasn’t making friends. The assessment team explored the possibilities: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, a learning disability, autism. None of these fit. Exactly what it was, the team couldn’t quite put their fingers on. In the end, Blake qualified for special education services because he had difficulty making the “th” sound. No learning disability, no other disorder the school could identify. They recommended another neurological exam and EEG – again, normal.
Blake gave hints at what was going on, but I was a poor detective in this case.