When you become a parent, a new adventure begins. We were so excited to welcome Luke into the world. He was the first grandson on both my husband’s and my side of the family. My father was especially excited for Luke as he (joyfully) already had four daughters and my lovely niece Sofia.
Luke arrived on Friday the 13th in 2009. Most people who know me laughed when they heard this and said “only you would have a baby on Friday the 13th.” As unlucky a day as that historically has known to be, it was lucky that my husband had just arrived at his desk at the hospital when my water had broke. “Honey, we gotta go, it’s real this time….”
Luke was a rather average and unremarkable baby. Early signs of trouble filtered in every now and then when a loud emergency vehicle went by, or when we’d visit my mother in law, and her sweet but very protective dog would bark when we entered the door. He’d cry and cry and cry with loud sudden noises, more than your average baby. We thought nothing of it at the time, because he was just a baby after all.
However, all Hell broke loose when he turned 18 months. He was having very serious meltdowns, some lasting 45 minutes to an hour, for what most parents know can be the most arbitrary reasons. Almost all toddlers are famously terrible in their 2’s and 3’s…. ours was the stuff of legends in comparison.
But there’s a silver lining to every cloud. Luke was a very competent reader by the age of three. In fact, his teachers in his preschool class set up a “station” for him to explain letters of the alphabet to other kids in his class. Luke was identified as gifted later on in kindergarten. I thank God every day that his teacher saw how bright he was past his very disruptive behavior.
It wasn’t until last Fall, after waiting 10 months for an appointment, that we discovered Luke had combined type ADHD. After a battery of intelligence testing, we also discovered that he was reading at the 11th grade level, and his math skills were that of a 9th grader. The developmental pediatrician confirmed what we knew all along: ADHD and hyper-intelligence often occur hand in hand. I felt like a 100 pound weight had been lifted off my shoulders.
Unfortunately, we were not able to get an IEP for Luke because he learns despite his disruptive behavior. However, we were able to declare a Section 504 disability for him with the developmental pediatrician’s diagnosis. Our lives, along with Luke’s, have been radically different.
The goal of this blog is not to assist in diagnosing their child (I’m not qualified to do that.) Rather, I want to share this life changing adventure with everyone who may be having the same struggle as me. I’ll share more about our journey as a family, and also the steps we’ve taken to get Luke to where he is now.