Friday, December 14, 2007

Ask the Doctor

I had one of those confusing days yesterday. I couldn't even sort things out enough to write about my specific questions. But today I was able to call Dr. T at NIH and ask him some very specific questions. His answers have helped me understand things better and eliminated much of my confusion. I thought it would be good to write them out here so that I have things written down and so that those of you who are interested in more specifics can get some information this way.
Bear in mind Dr. T's answers are the best I can remember and are coming through the filter of my brain, but it's what we have to work with.

Q: Yesterday Cadi had some pretty bad behavior but couldn't seem to understand that her behavior was tied to the consequence of losing privileges which she was indignant and angry about. The phrase "Everything I do you blame on me" sums up her attitude and the extent of her understanding of the situation. It seems like she is missing some important connections here. What do you think this is coming from?

A: There are some areas in which Acadia is developmentally immature, and other areas where she is on target, or close to target for her age. This is one of those areas where she seems to be immature. You would expect this kind of thinking and behavior from a four year old, but not a 9 year old. Acadia has a social deficit or immaturity in her understanding of responsibility for her actions.

Q: You have mentioned anxiety as a probable cause for Cadi's anger, irritability, and oppositionality. In your experience with other kids, have you seen anxiety present this way?

A: Yes, often. I can relate it to being like a timid animal. When you first approach it, it will run. If you get closer, it will freeze. If you try to touch it, or force it to do something, it will fight. When Acadia is faced with something she is being asked to do, she is not saying, no, I can't do that because it's too hard or too scary for me. She struggles with that capability to express intense feelings with words when she is in the middle of them. She is just fighting, desperately.

Q: We've talked about Acadia having a developmental language problem in not being able to express things using language. What about the times that she has talked about her feelings, such as in a therapy session where she is motivated with candy?

A: The fact that she has to be motivated by a piece of candy for each sentence, actually demonstrates that this is a problem. Food is a very base level motivator, we use food to train animals to do what we want them to. A 9 year old should be able to volunteer at least some basic information about their day or their week, and then maybe work towards more expressing more personal feelings, but shouldn't have to have such a base level motivator to use language.

Check the Care Page for more about Cadi's status, meds and our plans.

2 comments:

Faith said...

Kathryn and Dan,

I can't even begin to imagine all you are going through. Yet as a mother myself, and having had a child who had hospital stays, operations, fevers, etc. I feel your anxiety and concern. Yes, mother Cadi as best you know how....love and hugs.....continue to ask questions of your doctors and follow your hearts. You all continue to be in my prayers.

Love and Hugs to you,

Faith

Kate said...

Dear one,
I do ache with you over the questions, the confusion, the uncertainty and even that "guilty" feeling...the pain of seperation. Keep on walking with your heavenly Father...He knows this path, the beginning, the middle and the end. Trust HIM to take care of Acadia even when you feel you can't. I truly believe the hardest thing as a parent to trust God with is our child. I love you and am lifting you up in prayer...
If there is ever anything I can do, please let me know!
I love you,
Kari