Several years ago my daughter was ‘diagnosed’ with ADD. I put the word diagnosed in quotes simply because this class has caused me to pause on this term, and my daughter’s association with it, even after just one session. It has caused me to really consider how our journey with my daughter began several years ago, what we’ve done and felt since and whether or not things should change as we move forward.
It all began at a normal pediatrician visit. She was due for certain shots and needed her routine check up; the last thing I expected that day was the beginning of a life long journey. Lately she seemed to have a tough time following directions, listening to what she was told, thinking before she acted, etc. It was exhausting! Now granted, I appreciate that most of these things are typical adolescent behavior. But after repeated phone calls from her teacher and nothing seeming to work, the pediatrician’s yearly question of “how are things going in school” was met with way more than “good” for once. I spilled every moment that I had experienced with my daughter in as much of a summary form as I could manage and then, with nothing left to say, my pediatrician gently told me that my daughter more than likely had ADD.
Stunned I took the pamphlets and recommended phone numbers to call to schedule an appointment for testing. There were questionnaires for us to fill out as her parents and then one for her teacher; both, we were instructed, to be mailed in once completed to the pediatrician. We diligently scheduled, PAID, waited, worried and researched; all to finally reach a diagnosis near the end of the summer that year that she was indeed “textbook ADD”.
But as confident as I was in this deduction, I mean such a process had to have correct results right? I can’t help but consider these two words now, textbook and ADD, and really wonder about their meaning. I mean at the time I absolutely took them for face value. She was a classic case, no doubt about it, no need to continue to look further or worry that they may have gotten it incorrect. They even advised against testing her for any additional learning disability (which we appreciated, it would have meant more money for sure) because ADD was definitely her struggle. Her label. But was it? She matches all of the literature, her pediatrician is one of the best, the counselor was so good she only had to work two days a week. But this is a neurological disorder. They didn’t look at her brain. So how do we really know?