Sunday, October 13, 2013

Family: Comorbid - The Word of the Day at 1:30 am, 2:22 am and Finally 4:44 am

I would say the past six months have been the most difficult for me as a Mom.  They have also been challenging for Jack as a Dad.  I think they have also been difficult for Timothy hence today's headline, comorbidity. In Timothy's case he lives with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder which is treatable by medicine, therapy and strong support and understanding from family, friends, teachers, coaches and sometimes complete strangers. Simultaneously, he lives on the Autism Spectrum which is not treatable by medicine but can be managed through therapy which is uniquely designed by his therapist and implemented at home and at school. This is comorbidity, two disorders going on simultaneously in his body. His team also includes a psychiatrist who can prescribe the medicines.  Luckily, Timothy is able to attend a wonderful school on the Delmarva that specializes in individualized education plans, implementation of curriculum that fosters academic success through multidisciplinary approaches and frankly, off the wall strategies (for most main stream public and other private schools), like allowing gum chewing, playing with a fidget toy or sitting on an exercise ball during class.  When you have two things like these disorders going on in a little boy at the same time, it can be hard to differentiate between symptoms of one or the other.  Over the last six months, we have seen behaviors develop in Timothy we do not like such as more aggression, back-talk, boarder line bad language, uneven sleep patterns, lying, suppressed appetite and non-compliance to simple one-step directions such as "brush your teeth," "get dressed," or "eat your dinner."  Many might say these are all typical behaviors of a normal nine year old boy just testing the waters of blossoming independence, and maybe some of them are but as a Mom I know Timothy's behaviors are comorbid with normal (good and bad) milestones but also simultaneously occurring and/or being intensified by his "disorder cocktail."  Each day comes with the scary thought of what's going to go wrong today?  It is hard to stay focused on what's will go right today when Timothy wakes us up three times between 1 and 4 am, only to finally give in and welcome him into our bed for some Disney XD (XD meaning in my opinion, cartoons on steroids or hyperactivity launcher.)  I think the feeling on this early fall morning, is that we do not quite have the medicine right.  I hope we can get it right so we can all get some much needed sleep and more balance in our daily lives!  

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