I have been avoiding writing this post for a few weeks. Partly because I have needed time to process. But more because I’m not sure I want to share this part of my family’s life with people. I’m not sure I can weather the well-meaning advice, the normalizing comments, or bewildered looks. All the while feeling painfully inadequate to handle the day-to-day.
I know it’s okay not to share and I could leave it at that. I don’t feel pressured even with social media and the blog world being what it is today. I’m not compelled by the pervasive sense of entitlement that surrounds the culture’s need to “know what’s going on.”
The nudge I feel to share is coming from another place. A place inside that says it’s okay to feel weak and vulnerable. A place that believes healing and solidarity can only truly come that way.
When I write about my experience as a member of the human race, and more specifically when I write about being a mother, it’s usually from a place of hope and redemption. I tend to leave out the “ugly” parts. Or if I do comment about the more negative things I usually try to finish off in an “all is well” kind of way. In all sincerity I often do see the beauty in difficult growth opportunities. But not always. Sometimes I feel alone. Sometimes my fear, sadness and anger get the best of me. The truth is my family and I need help. We need to experience life alongside other people who understand our situation.
So it’s time. It’s time to let this part of our story unfold…
We love and adore our son Quinton David Peers. We have been in his life since he was only a few hours old. We carried him in our hearts and prayed for him years before he was even conceived.
Not flesh of my flesh
Nor bone of my bone,
But still miraculously my own.
Never forget for a single minute,
You didn’t grow under my heart,
But in it.
Our parenting journey has been a difficult road. Years of sleep deprivation and excessive crying. Daily experiences of aggressive anger (hitting, yelling, and name calling.) Through out the years we have wondered if something more was going on for Quin. We have doubted our parenting abilities and examined and implemented every kind of discipline strategy. While imperfect, we have sought to maintain our patience and shower love and praise upon him.
Many are surprised by our experience because Quin is such a wonderful boy. And he is!! We agree!! His joy and laughter are infectious. His words and storytelling are captivating. His love and sensitivity are gifts to the world. And yes he is smart!!
But what we know to also be true is that he is struggling. He is asking for help in the only ways he knows how. He deserves to be heard and taken seriously. He needs help to overcome some specific neurological problems that have presented themselves since the very beginning.
Over the past year we have been connected with a growing team of people in hopes of supporting Quin: Family Doctor, Pediatrician, Psychologists, Psychiatrist, Occupational Therapist, Speech and Language Pathologist, Social Worker, and Teachers/Principal. This of course is in addition to our family, friends, faith community, and bringing our bleeding hearts to God in prayer.
In late February 2015 we were blessed to learn that Quin would be one of approximately 30 recipients of a subsidized full Psychological Assessment conducted yearly through the Grand River Hospital Preschool Diagnostic Team. We received the completed report on July 20th, 2015 (the day of his fifth birthday.)
We learned that Quin’s verbal skills and fluid reasoning skills were good (which wasn’t a surprise to us.) But his visual spatial, working memory and processing speed were areas of weakness in the borderline to low average range. His attention and executive functioning was found to be lower than expected, in the borderline to impaired range. His fine motor skills were also evaluated and found to be in the extremely low range (>1% percentile.) He continues to exhibit moderate hand tremors which will have an impact on his ability to print and do other fine motor skills.
The psychologist also believes Quin exhibits many characteristics that meet the criteria for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder-Combined presentation; Moderate. In saying this though the psychologist makes comments about how “it is unclear whether there was alcohol interference or other teratogen interference.” With regards to the display of oppositional behaviors, it is common that children with ADHD-combined type will display externalizing behaviours as a way to cope with their challenging environment.”
After going through a Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Assessment through St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto this pas June (2016), Quin has been given a provisional FASD diagnosis given that he meets many of the criterion. However, we will be exploring genetic testing as he gets a bit older to see whether this can be ruled out.
The details as well as specific recommendations for Quin and how our lives will change moving forward are many. (I’ll save this for a future post.) What’s clear for us at this point though (as I said earlier) is that Quin is struggling. He is asking for help in the only ways he knows how. He deserves to be heard and taken seriously. He needs help to overcome some specific neurological problems that have presented themselves since the very beginning. This is our goal as parents in a broad sense. And much of the time this goal feels insurmountable, unattainable, and impossible.
We took Quin to see the movie Inside Out the day after his 5th birthday party. I thoroughly enjoyed it and sobbed through parts of it (Please tell me I’m not the only one!) The saddest part for me involved sacrifice, the end of an era, and a special friend named Bing Bong. Quin barely moved during the whole thing. His face was serious and his eyes were locked. Other times he cried and covered his face with a blanket.
The end of the movie was unexpected and beautiful for me. In those moments I felt courage. Courage to allow Sadness room to do her work. I felt less afraid to lose control and let life take its necessary course. I’m thankful for these reminders as a I write this. See…more words about positive growth opportunities!:S But I suppose we don’t have much of anything without faith, hope, and love. Thank goodness they are enough for today. <3