Is “Boo” Autistic or does he have ADHD?

Last autumn, “Boo’s” substitute teacher decided that “Boo” needed to be tested because he has such terrible problems in school. His temper is out of this world, he doesn’t get along with other children, his own age, nor older ones, only younger ones, and his learning goes very, very slowly. His language is still behind that of  his peers. I fully agreed. But that does not mean that I am happy about starting all the painful testing over again, right after we got finished with it concerning “Gubby”. But for everyone’s sake, it needs to be done. He has been given an assistant which has changed a lot for him. He no longer has long aggressive explosions. He is actually doing more of his school work. He stays in the classroom for longer times. And he has come up with his own ways to handle the fact that he does not get along with others that well. He plays by himself and when they tease him or things become too much, he either jumps over the fence of the school yard or runs through the school, to get to the front, where he can be alone for a while, to calm down and be away from the others.

While the school psychologist could do a tiny bit of testing, she of course could not do everything. And we did not get to BUP until  January of this year. Where we were told that the tests she had done, are weird and not used by them, so that part has to be done again. Us parents were interviewed and then we were told that the testing would start two months later. But nothing happened. The testing did not start until last week! Wednesday last week, I ran off to have my nails done and was gone for two hours. When I got home, “Kitty” had been put in his room and “Cookie” in hers, since their older siblings could not stand them fighting anymore. Which forced me to do something to my Thursday plans, when “Boo” had to go for his first testing appointment. I had to take one of my prize fighters with me and of course it had to be “Kitty”, since I did not want “Gubby” to get upset in any way, and if “Kitty” screams, “Gubby” does get upset. So off we went, for a play observation, me and two of the boys. I had my “Defenders of the Faith” book with me, but “Kitty” was bored and wanted to play “Fia” instead. I don’t like playing with him, because he is such a poor looser, but my book was so incredibly boring, that anything was better than reading that. Even “Kitty” getting a temper tantrum.

Because, contrary to when they tested “Gubby”, the parent is not allowed to watch when a seven-year-old gets tested and filmed. Otherwise, it was the same sort of test done on “Gubby”, according to J., the psychologist. When I asked him about it, he said they played with cars and did some drawing. He had also asked J. if he has Autism or ADHD. He is very upset about the whole thing, because he knows and sees how odd his brother behaves and does not want to be put in the same category as “Kitty”. And as his substitute teacher, his now-returned-from-maternity-leave teacher and assistant said, at our conference before school ended, the two boys are nothing like each other. Not at all. The only similar thing between them is that they are both sloppy with their things. But apart from that, they are like night and day. “Boo” explodes, but then it’s over. He doesn’t hold grudges. But “Kitty” explodes and it goes on and on, he will not calm down easily and he hold grudges. Just like Johannes as a matter of fact. “Boo” has a tough time in school, learning things and doesn’t want to sit still, because everything is so much work for him. “Kitty” just has ants in his pants, but under threat, he will do things in school, quickly, since he is very smart. “Kitty” lives for here and now, 4 second rule, while “Boo” can be told why there are consequences, knows what he is allowed to do, but does things just to be disobedient or who knows why? I can get him to do homework, but “Kitty” is just one long fight every day. “Kitty” can get friends and knows the social rules for the most part, while “Boo” just doesn’t understand why noone wants to play with him and he teases and picks fights with everyone. But he doesn’t seem to understand cause and effect, in the social arena.

At the conference in the beginning of June, the teachers told me what is planned for “Boo” next year. His assistant will be there. He will go in to the first graders a lot, in order to catch up with his peers, but they do not want him to move down to first grade, since both parents and children in his class, have got used to him. He feels safe and secure with things the way they are right now. He does not get along with “Kitty’s” class, but they will not be on the school yard next year, at recess, but out in the park. So, it will be calmer in the school yard for him, not even “Kitty” being there anymore. He will get to use an iPad, like he has the last month, after his “old” teacher came back. She seems to have spent her maternity leave, learning how to deal with a child who has the problems which “Boo” has. She knew nothing, before she left in February 2013. She just disliked him from the start and did nothing to help him, only complained every day of his behaviour, so I stopped walking in to the school. But now she has found all these programs for him to use, which give instant gratification because they tell him right off  if he has done things right or wrong. Think if he could have had this from the start, two years ago?

Tuesday, when we once again headed for BUP, I thought I would bring “Cookie” for a change, because for one, I needed to ask the psychologist a sensitive question. But she refused to come along, and since we had to be there at 9:00 and leave here, at 8:30, I couldn’t stay and argue. I just had to bring “Kitty” imageagain. “Boo” walked off with J. while we once again, played two sets of “Fia”, “Kitty” loosing again and having a temper tantrum. I am just not going to play with him again! When J. came back out with “Boo”, she told me that she had more testing to do, but it will have to be after her vacation. So the next appointment is not until 4 September! I just want to rip my hair out! I thought for sure that we would be done much sooner than this. Deep sigh! When is this going to end! The 11th she wants to have the diagnosing done and the 12th, she wants headmaster, teacher and assistant, to show up at BUP, to be informed of what they have to do to help him. I pointed out, that I can’t tell her what time will be good for them, so as soon as I got home, I had to e-mail the headmaster and ask him. Needless to say, he has ignored my e-mail even though I wrote that it was very urgent. I get so sick and tired of this un-professionalism from his side. This is outright rude since J. is sitting waiting for an e-mail from me, telling which time we will all be able to come. She can’t keep the entire day open for us!

I also had to tell her, that he still has not been to see the doctor. The usual incompetence from BUP’s side! Why should I have to remind THEM  of things they should keep track of? She promised she would look in to it. But it made me irritated. When I showed up last Thursday, the secretary said she had no knowledge of us being booked for an appointment. I felt like a right idiot since T. had phoned and asked how long the play observation would be, and they had said 90 minutes, so I had paid for 105 minutes, just to be sure. And there I stood and the woman told me that I had no appointment that day! Nor Tuesday, this week. We had to sit down and wait while she went to investigate. Turned out the psychologist had just done the booking on her computer and not let the central computer know.

Now when I had her sitting there in front of me, I brought up the “sensitive” business even though “Kitty” and “Boo” had started a fight and where screaming. I had to send “Kitty” outside to the courtyard, in order to hear myself talk. During the developmental appraisal, in June, for “Kitty”, I had to sit down with a super negative teacher and not so positive special ed teacher. Oh, he had reached the goals alright, with coaxing and threats, BUT both of them “really feel that he needs to learn strategies for handling his problems”. In my mind, I started getting really mad at them. HIM learning strategies. He is ten years old and lives according to the 4 second rule, so famous for ADHD. Like he would think of coping strategies when he is suffering nuclear meltdown! It’s people around him, who have to learn strategies and then teach him appropriate behaviour. It is all of us, who have to put on the breaks for him, because he can’t do it himself. His teacher brough up exactly the same problems she brought up a year ago, when she demanded he be medicated. That he would be happier if he did not throw himself on the floor when he gets excited and walks off, when he gets mad. And that he must stop this bad habit he has started this year, saying “I will not do this because I have ADHD”. I know what she wants and now she has an ally in the special ed teacher. They both want him medicated. I can’t say that I don’t think the thought at least once a week, because I am getting sick and tired of the aggressive behaviour. I can’t handle the screaming anymore. At the same time, all people I have spoken to at BUP during this year, has told me that only some children will cease to be aggressive on the medicines and they do come with a lot of bad side effects. So what am I to do? Well, the school are not going to decide for me, that is for sure. But I promised them to ask BUP if there is a course he can take, teaching strategies. I knew the answer already because if there had been a course, I would have been offered it last summer, when I started going to BUP with HIM.

So, I explained the problem to J., that first of all, we never met with a psychologist last year, about his problems. We met a counselor, who coordinate the efforts and who can help with the school contacts and where to apply for help, but nothing more. We met with a doctor and we met with the work therapist. But no psychologist. And at this point I would like to discuss his problems with one and hear what he or she suggests. J. asked who the counselor was, the doctor and the work therapist. I told her, their names and ALL of them, are on maternity and paternity leave. All three of them! Can it be believed. I thought the counselor was too old to get pregnant! Anyway, she started to get irritated with me, for bringing up “Kitty’s” case and I countered with that “the team that tested ‘Gubby’ has moved us over to habilitation and now you tell me that everyone we talked to last year are on parenting leave, who then are we to turn to? We have no other contact her than you!”. She understood the problem but pointed out that we have to keep things separate and that her patient is “Boo”. Like I did not already know that but for heaven sakes, what am I to do when I get shuffled around and run over? I am so fed up with BUP, with testing, getting diagnosis here and diagnosis there and getting ZERO help from anyone and just having neighbours, people in church, school and other parents judging me for having awful boys. I hate all of this! I did not ask for this. “Scar” is totally and entirely correct: “LIFE’S NOT FAIR”.

J. promised to look in to it and alert people that we need someone to talk to about “Kitty”. She seems very sloppy and disorganized, so I am not sure she will do anything of the sort. She made clear that I had crossed the line. Too bad! “Boo” received an appointment to the doctor on the 7th July, yesterday. So at least she remembered that. On the other hand, he is her patient isn’t he? So, we will wait and see what happens with “Kitty”. I will just say this, and that is, that I am not very keen for him to continue at the school where he is at. Maybe things will get better next school year since he is getting a new teacher. But they could also get worse. His so-called best friend is back. He got back from an Atlantic island, the week before they ended school. During those days, his friend hit “Boo” every single day. So, if for no other reason, I might have to move “Kitty”, so he will not get to be around that awful young man anymore. And if we decide not to medicate him, the special ed teacher will still be there, pushing for it! I don’t know how his new teacher will handle him either. She is a tough cookie. She has been “Cookie’s” teacher for four years and she can get angry, she will not tolerate whatever, but she told me the last day of school, that it is not the first time she will have a child with ADHD in her classroom. She is much younger, than his old teacher was, and she is not Catholic, which might help A LOT! So, I might decide to give it a chance, after all. I really wish I had a crystal ball and could look in to the future! It would be so helpful, in the case with my boys, so I could see what the best thing is to do about matters. I hate letting them be test rabbits.

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