Sometimes you get news that should seem bad—devastating even, but sometimes that news comes with a sigh of relief. A peace that you never thought possible. That’s the feeling we felt when we finally got a diagnosis for our 4-year-old Dylan. After a little over a year of heartache, tears, 4 preschools, processing through rejection, a lot of self-punishment, shame and regret, we finally got it. Finally, an answer. Relief. A reason for the difficult behavior, outside of our thoughts of failed parenting.
Mild ADHD and a sensory processing disorder that was triggering her in ways that we just didn’t quite understand. To her, it was as if she were living in a classroom where someone was constantly running their nails down the chalkboard, a glass room where someone was smashing everything to pieces with a hammer… all while trying to focus, learn, and not get frustrated. It had now become so clear to us.
I remember the day. There I was, sitting in the physician’s office and he was trying so hard to be soft with his words, probably nervous that it would devastate our hearts. But, on the receiving end was me, wide-eyed, completely interested and grateful that they had finally figured out what was going on with my baby girl and EVEN better, how to fix it. I couldn’t wait to get home, plop down on my couch, and dive into the 25-page report.
I did just that. Read, cried a little, researched, prayed and started developing a plan for my little strong-willed blessing. I sent the report to her dad. I sent it to her nanny and the behavior therapist. I wanted everyone to know that we’d gotten an answer, and now it was time to activate the solutions.
But now, as I’ve sobered up, I’ve become more aware of our situation and so many other families who are challenged in the same ways. My heart truly goes out to all of you who are processing through something similar or maybe worse.
While I know that our diagnosis may not be as complex as what some of you reading this may be experiencing, I want to at least share some advice on what’s helped me personally during our time of transition.
Now, I’m not saying that what my family is going through is tougher or more important than anyone else’s journey, but, I’m hoping that by telling you what I’m learning it will help in a way. I’d love to hear how you are getting through it, too.
The biggest mistake I think we can make as parents is to compare our child to another. I made that mistake before the diagnosis and am constantly reminding myself not to do it now. I want Dylan to know that she is loved and cherished by her family just as she is. I don’t that or God’s immeasurable love for her, as her Creator, which I think first starts from a place of gratitude in me, as a parent.
While it’s said that sometimes complexity is needed for growth, complexity also slows forward movement. As we’re figuring out how to best love and accommodate my little Dylan, her new therapy sessions, interactive metronome treatments, and even the questions around her education, I have to constantly remind myself that we have to keep going. That I have to keep setting the appointments, and I have to keep showing up.
I have to keep growing in patience, and I have to keep moving forward in leading her to become a grateful, honest, kind-hearted adult.
And, the only way to do that is just to keep moving forward.
Heres what I know: Dylan is a special girl. I believe she has an incredible future and that God is writing a plan for her life. He’s going to take every broken piece and every one of her weaknesses and redeem it all. He’s going to teach us, her parents, how to love her better and be there when it gets hard.
And, in the meantime I’m going to keep fighting. I’ll keep learning and growing and figuring out how to walk closely with Dylan as we go on this journey of discovery together.
What have you learned through a tough diagnosis?