Thursday, January 27, 2011

A New Journey for Our Family

When Austin was just a tiny baby in my womb, I went to my doctor for an ultrasound.  My child, at about 9 or 10 weeks gestation, was dancing around in my womb. His small nubs for arms and legs were flying around.  He looked like he was doing the jig and we all thought it was funny.  At the next ultrasound several weeks later, he moved so quickly they couldn't get a clear picture of him to give us.  While I carried him he was always moving, and often woke me up at night while he seemingly tapped dance on my ribs.  While in labor, he was squirming so much in my belly that they couldn't keep the heart rate monitor on him.  He was getting his last chance at dancing in the water.

As soon as he figured out how to move around outside of the womb, my baby was a mover.  He kicked out of his swaddle.  He would lie on the changing table and kick his legs a mile a minute.  He kicked so much that over time, he wore a hole in his changing pad where his feet would hit it when he kicked.  When Austin finally learned to walk, it immediately became running.

When he was about 18 months old, he learned the alphabet.  Just as fast as he picked that up, he knew the sounds.  When he was nearing 2, I was cooking dinner and he was playing with the magnetic letters on our fridge.  He took an M and turned it upside down and said "look mommy, W".  Then he took a 6 and turned it upside down and said "look mommy, 9".  My jaw was in the floor.

From a very young age, we knew we had a very smart and active child.  It wasn't until Austin was about 3 or 4 years old that we started to realize that he was having difficulty paying attention and at times seemed scattered all over the place.

Austin is now in kindergarten.  I am fortunate that he goes to school at the same school where I teach.  His teacher is willing to chat with me here and there.  We knew that Austin was doing quite well (he can read far above grade level), but he struggles with paying attention in class.  His teacher pulled me aside a few months ago and said that his lack of paying attention was hindering him from growing academically.  Those words were all that Paul and I needed to confirm that something more needed to be done.

After consulting with our pediatrician, and talking to some people we knew who were parents of children with similar struggles, we decided to pursue our own independent psychoeducational evaluation.  I am writing this because I want others who may have some of our same issues to know what their options are and what to expect.  This service was not fully covered under our insurance and what was fell under our deductible.  This is a sacrifice that we felt was necessary for our family at this time.

The entire process took about three weeks.  We went to a Child Psychologist.  There was a parent interview where he took our family history and inquired about our concerns for Austin.  Then, before Austin met him, the doctor went to Austin's classroom to observe him in his environment.  He was a non-biased eye and was able to compare Austin to his typical peers.  Finally, I took Austin to his office one morning and the formal evaluation took place over a few hours.

I got the results back this Wednesday.  Austin has a very high IQ and does have ADHD.  This does not surprise Paul and I at all.  We knew this was the case.  The psychological report gives us a full picture of Austin and allows us to fully understand him and his abilities and limitations.

This is just the beginning.  I plan to blog about our journey as we pursue the next steps for him.  If you are reading this, you need to know that I am not putting this out there so that the world can critique our parenting skills.  This is our journey, and with the help of the Lord, we are going to do the best we can to parent our child through his focusing difficulties so that he can meet his full potential.  If you so desire, please learn from our experiences as we go down this new road with our precious son.


  1. Alecia - when I adopted Jordan they told me the exact same thing - high IQ, ADHD.The social workers gave him to me because I am the same way and they wanted someone who could advocate for him. I can tell you the journey ahead will not be easy, but it will be rewarding. Austin has you and Paul as his advocates - lucky kid! One thing to share from my experience - I never saw ADHD as a disability. We are different, not disabled. Unfortunately the schools do not like people that are different, or really smart. If you can find teachers that see Austin as unique and a gift to the world he will be fine. There will be those, as you already know, who will try to tell you there is something "wrong" with him when you know there is not. Follow your gut, pray a lot and listen to your kid - all things I know you are already doing. It might help if he is tested for gifted programs, which I also figure you are already doing. If he qualifies for Mensa, even better. He is going to realize he is different from the other kids but if he can hang out with kids like him things will go much better for him. This I know from experience. Austin is a gift not only to you but to all of us. ADHD - different, NOT disabled! I send love from the desert! Nikki

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