Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Happy ADHD Awareness Month?

Which I'm slightly dubious about. I like the idea, let's say, but the execution, in past years, has seemed ... a bit circular. Are we raising awareness among each other or the general public? Because if the general public hears the same conversational checklist every year about why ADHD is real, isn't the general public going to get annoyed and tune out?

Also I think the general public might be more concerned with Ebola right now.

And the thing is, I don't need my awareness raised. I'm pretty well aware. What I could use is some advocating. Like, can some awareness-raising expert also explain why I can't find a social skills group that takes insurance? Or why the one group my insurer recommended that allegedly does take insurance explained to me they'd just hired several facilitators that wouldn't be covered, and there's no way of knowing whether the person who'd be running my son's group would be someone covered or not covered, but hey, want to schedule an intake appointment anyway, because why are you getting hung up on whether this group is affordable, you self-centered mom who only cares about paying the bills? Isn't your son worth all your savings?

Sorry, I might be over-extrapolating.

After the enormous debacle of the private occupational therapy company that swore they'd take insurance but really meant they'd screw up three months' worth of invoices and then nag us to send them the cash, I'm not interested in taking on another facility that kinda sorta maybe well-it-depends takes insurance. I'm interested in dealing with actual experts who know how to file paperwork. These do not feel like high expectations.

My point? If we're going to go on and on how ADHD is real and get archly defensive about how medication is sometimes necessary, shouldn't we also go on and on about how potential alternatives to medication, or at least supplements to medication -- like OT, like social skills groups -- are either not covered by insurance or are completely unattainable? Shouldn't we also describe how trying to do the right thing for your child can frequently mean wanting to throw something at the wall? (Usually the phone.)

And our family is in a relatively good position, comparatively speaking, in that kiddo has a behavioral therapist, an IEP, a special education teacher who seems to be trying hard to do right by him and relatives who support him without carping that ADHD isn't real. Yet still some days are a trial.

So you'll forgive me if I'm not precisely on the awareness bandwagon. I guess I'm sitting in the corner going, "But what does all this mean to me?" And if that's self-centered, well, so be it. Possibly I'm not the activist type. More of the "get things done so I can go to bed" type.

Anyhow. In the interest of absolute fairness, here's the official link to ADHD Awareness Month. By all means, decide for yourself about it.

Friday, October 10, 2014

On spooky things

One of the utterly fun (and by this I mean frequently exasperating) things about parenting a kid with anxiety issues is that he is scared. Of. Everything. Of being in a room by himself, anytime, ever. Of unexplainable noises. Of seeing "The Wizard of Oz" even though he's already read the book and seen the play version. Come on, kiddo, we have it on Blu-ray! You already know the ending! (It's been a point of contention.)

October, obviously, is not the best month for us.

Kiddo is scared of the spooky placemats on our dining room table. He had a near-meltdown in front of the Halloween store because of the scary clown mannequin parked in a chair near the entrance, and the only way I even got him in the store was by telling him to close his eyes and grab my hand. He is, every year, so freaked out by any sort of spooky-ooky house decoration that he will refuse to go near the front door even though there is candy waiting.

And while part of my frustration is that I feel bad for him and want to help him not be scared, the rest is totally that I love Halloween. I like spooky things. I was reading Poe in grade school. (Admittedly, probably not a good idea.) Neil Gaiman is one of my favorite writers. "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" is -- still -- my favorite TV show. I like over-the-top gravestone-bedecked houses. I like gap-toothed jack o' lanterns. I like "The Monster Mash."

I guess I'm just baffled that my love of these things did not, in any way, genetically pass on to my son.

His behavioral therapist has been working with him on the anxiety issue. And I've been trying, gently, to put things in perspective for him.

I told him all about the first haunted house I remember ever going to, and how I was secretly terrified of all the ghosties and eerie candles and things jumping out at me, but I didn't want anyone to know that, so I skipped my way through chanting, "I'm not scared, I'm not scared." At least I think I skipped.

Kiddo was fascinated. Now he wants me to tell him about every single haunted house I've ever entered, ever, and what I saw there, and was it scary.

So I've told him about the haunted house his Aunt C.'s church put on, and how we saw her there, and she stopped pretending to stab a roll of paper towels to say hi to us. (Sorry, C. I'm sure you're thrilled I told that one.) I've told him about the Haunted Mansion at Disney World, and how the floor drops in one room and you see more of the silly-spooky pictures on the walls. DH reminded me about the haunted house and maze at Sterling Forest.

I don't know if it's helping, these haunted house stories. At least kiddo sees that we went in them and lived to tell the tale.

Maybe he never gets into Halloween. Maybe it's too much to ask of him. But I hate the idea of October being this trial for him, something he has to close his eyes and cover his ears just to get through.

He does like the candy, though. So there's that.