I’m really nervous for tomorrow’s psychiatrist appointment. Months ago, my son’s pediatrician asked us to continue our ADHD care with a psychiatrist after 5 different medications that he prescribed were considered “failed” because of undesirable side effects– and the last one caused him to suffer a “manic” episode. It has taken us two and a half months to get our first appointment. I have thought about cancelling it on a few occasions. I’m nervous and have imagined a scenario where the psychologist spends some time with us and then says, “lets try this drug, it might work better for him.” Or worse yet, I’m afraid that they are going to try to pin a diagnosis on him that is more severe than what he actually has. I know, it’s totally unfair of me to make assumptions.
My fears are not completely baseless though. I have written before, of the behavior specialist that we must meet with in order to even make an appointment with the psychiatrist. She came to the boy’s school and observed him during gym class. He was running around like a maniac and making high pitched, almost chirping, noises. I can not possibly spell the noise out to give you an idea of how it really sounds, like they do in the comics and Sunday funnies, but I can tell you that this noise has gotten him into a lot of trouble. He has done it in class and disturbed the peace quite a few times with this weird little noise. The boy once explained to me that it was his bat superpower and he uses it to repel bad guys. (That’s what you get when you cross Batman cartoons with The Wild Kratts!) The teacher tells me that she thinks he can’t help but to make that noise. I agree with her somewhat. When he’s overstimulated or stressed, he will still occasionally make that noise, I feel like it’s a “tension breaker” for him. But when I tell him to stop, and use 1, 2, 3 counting, he stops the noise. The behavior specialist who observed these noises, thinks that he might have “something else going on” and has mentioned Tourette Syndrome on several occasions.
Attention deficit and Tourette Syndrome do go hand in hand in many cases. They do have similar symptoms, they are both neurological disorders. But for crying out loud! Tourettes? Cut me a break! ADHD is all about impulses and trying to control them. Making weird, inappropriate noises is par for the course with young children with ADHD. I am not saying it should be allowed, or go uncorrected. In fact, what I really want from the meetings with the psychiatrist is for someone to teach him how to cope and control his outbursts, be it noises, or temper, or need to run or move or tip his chair over (and over and over). Drugs don’t teach children how to take this energy that is welled up inside and direct it, or to hold it in until it is a more appropriate time. After our recent terrible experiences with ADHD medicines, I’m not really ready to jump right into another prescription. I would like to give him some time to grow over the summer and be the wild, fun, free, funny, intelligent, inquisitive, inventive boy that our unmedicated son usually is.