By Chelsea Hull (mama bear)
Dear “New Special Mom,”
This is hard to talk about. I know.
Some words are really hard to hear when they are applied to your child for the first time. There is never a good time to go through the process of considering your child has a neurological condition much less having someone evaluate him for for one. It’s hard. It can suck energy out of you. However, undergoing the process can lead you toward a greater acceptance about who your child is. If he has a special need or a disability, a diagnosis can bring you peace, resources and support.
So to you “New Moms” who ask “Why should I have him tested if the professionals will recommend he be medicated and we already know we don’t want to medicate him?” Read on. If your response is “It’s a soft science. One professional might diagnosis but another would not.” Read on.
I have a couple of thoughts for you.
First, a diagnosis (if accurate) WILL validate the struggles that you’ve had with your child. Got struggles? Me too. It’s sort of like having someone (who knows their sh!t) say, “I understand exactly what you are talking about. This is hard. It’s been hard and here is the reason it’s been so hard. It is not your fault and here are resources to help YOU and help you parent your special child.” Invaluable.
To know, for sure, your child has a disability can help release a lot of anxiety you’ve faced about how to raise or discipline your child. It can be like the best therapy session of YOUR MOM LIFE. You can release a lot of….guilt, shame, and maybe just feel justified.
If you know for sure you don’t want to medicate your child, I totally respect that. Also let me say this. I never would have imagined that I would have chosen to explore medicine for my kids. And seriously, I try to dodge this conversation a lot. BUT, when I was told it could help my son and not hurt him, I mean really, it doesn’t hurt him? I realized it was no longer about my personal opinions but about his need for tools to cope with HIS disabilities. You may feel entirely different and KNOW you won’t medicate your kiddo and to that I say, okay. We can only decide for our family and you for yours. No judgement.
Let me just say one more thing.
Without a diagnosis you may not have an easy time setting up a legal binding document (Individualized Education Plan) that requires your child’s teacher to see him as a child who requires: extra response time , a safe place to calm down, or frequent reminders to stay on task. Working with three different elementary schools in the last four years (we’re military) means I’ve had to become a mama bear.
Us Mama Bears look closely after our cubs. We also reserve the right to turn Grizzly Bear without fear of judgement. Loving our special child and wanting to change the world for him is enough.
It’s not an easy journey. But it is our journey and there is only what’s right for your child and your family.
From my bear cave this time.