When Dervish was 4 and after the unsuccessful visit to the family doctor, we visited the paediatrician to see if there was a medical reason for Dervish’s many meltdowns and the inability to calm himself.
After a thorough examination the doctor could find nothing to suggest a physical reason and suggested we visit a child psychologist.
The first visit to the psychologist was just us parents. We filled out a very long questionnaire regarding the behaviour issues that brought us there and family history.
Dervish, as his brother and sister are adopted but we have a good medical history. Dervish’s birth mother has a lot of problems, not the least of which is drug abuse. I guess it was natural for the psychologist to zone in on this in his diagnosis.
After a lengthy discussion with us the next visit involved the actual child. They met in his office and were left alone for about 1/2 an hour.
Apparently 1/2 an hour is all a psychologist needs to deliver a complete diagnosis.
We sat stunned as this doctor told us that our son had FAS (fetal alcohol syndrome . That he would develop ADD or ADHD, potentially ODD (oppositional defiance disorder), that he might be mildly retarded, that he would never live independently that he would require special education, that he might possibly require a special school…. oh, there was more, I just can’t remember all the things that were wrong with him.
We left the office absolutely stunned and terrified and devastated We could not believe that our bright, articulate, creative, affectionate intense child was being sentenced to a non life.
After digesting this information I wrote a letter to Dervish’s birth grandmother. I told her what this doctor had said and asked her to find out if his birth mother drank during the pregnancy. The history had said she didn’t but we needed to be sure. I assured her that I needed the truth straight up, that I didn’t care if her daughter had lied about it before, I needed the truth now.
It wasn’t long before I had my answer. NO. Not only did the grandmother talk to Dervish’s birth mother and explain the situation, she also went to her ob-gyn and asked him. Birth mom doesn’t drink. Never has, never will. Yes, that’s an anomalie among drug users but it’s not unheard of. A sigh of relief.
I talked to the social worker who had handled the adoption and she confirmed that with her first hand knowledge of FAS, Dervish was not a FAS kid.
I’m glad I checked it out. Dervish is now doing well in grade one in a French immersion program. He is well liked by his teachers and has a pile of friends and is never short of invitations to friends houses or birthday parties – strong evidence against the psychologists doom and gloom prediction.