We recently changed to a new pediatrician. He had experience with ADHD and its treatment, as well as other alternative and nutritional supports. We were cautiously optimistic and ready to discuss the alphabet soup that is part of our boy’s experience.
“I saw the autism mentioned,” the doctor began, “but I didn’t see the ADHD diagnosis–let me update that in his chart.”
Okay, so far, so good.
“He’s on what medication? Such a small dose! Do you even know he’s on anything?”
Well, yes, if we give him more, he’s a non-functioning zombie.
I brought everything we give our son–supplements, vitamins, meds–and offered it up to the doctor who is deciding our child’s treatment plan. After a few minutes, he told us “He needs to be on a low-carb diet–and double his omegas.” I tried to say, “Well, with sensory processing disorder (SPD)…”
The doctor cut me off with “Oh, he will eat! You give him the food option and he will eventually eat. It might be three days….”
I started shaking my head. “Kids with SPD will not eat and many end up hospitalized…”
“He will eat! Watch this movie on Netflix and you will see how worth the wait this will be - don’t give in! Give him chicken and cheese, if that’s all he will eat!”
I gave him an incredulous look but saved the idea away in my “Hmm…. should we try it?” mental file.
I don’t know about your kid, but mine has anxiety, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), SPD, autism spectrum disorder (ASD), oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), and a high intellect. He’s not doing anything he doesn’t think is his idea. Not without a good fight!
We spend much of every day trying to get the bare minimum accomplished. Things like tooth brushing, hand washing, and 20 minutes of written homeschool work.
Days when he eats 3 actual meals are miracles! He’s not going to magically follow this doctor’s prescribed low-carb diet just because I insist. The child who has in the not-so-distant past subsisted on Goldfish and juice for 2 days? Forgive my skepticism, but I’ve been around this block a few (thousand) times.
In the end, we know our kids best. We can, and should, try new things. But we also have to do what’s best for our whole family. Our child raging all day because he’s hungry and I’ve suddenly changed the eating game is not what’s best for any of us.
And it sure doesn’t build up the trust between parent and child. And this trust is what allows him to try new things on the few occasions he will. That is much more important for all of us in the long run.
Yes, we’ll try to offer more of the good stuff and less of the bad stuff. We’ll work towards a better diet. But I’m not going to fly us there overnight. Progress is, well, progress. Perfection? Unattainable–I know. I’ve tried!
DeAnna’s blogs offer her insight and experience about raising children with multiple disabilities.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, we asked parents of children with disabilities and special health care needs to share their tips and stories about caring for their children during difficult times.