Thursday, April 13, 2006

Are you familiar with that acronym? Yes? Well then, this blog's for you! For those of you fortunate enough to not be familiar with it, it stands for Pervasive Developmental Delay Not Otherwise Specified. Clear as mud? Exactly my point! What in the hell is that? It turns out, nobody knows. Its the umbrella term under which all the "squishy" special needs kids fall. They are a lot of things in general, and nothing in particular.
The part I like best is the "NOS". There have been days a plenty wherein I feel not otherwise specified. Just blah, not quite right. As it turns out I'm not alone, nor am I imagining this. My friend, Michelle, fellow blogger ( and mother of a child with ASD (Autistic Spectrum Disorder), just e-mailed me after returning from a conference called DAN! (Defeat Autism Now!) They did brain scans of moms with ASD kids (lots of these kids are PDDNOS) and guess what? The moms' brains showed visible signs of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. They resembled those of Vietnam War vets! While this study was not comprehensive, nor conclusive, it does give credibility to the fact that these kids, do indeed, drive us crazy.
After raising my two special kids for six years, I went to my doctor and told him I had answered "yes" to all the self-test questions for Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. He has been treating me ever since. I am a new woman, or more to the point, I am my old woman again, the one I was before the traumatic stress.
I'm not minimizing the trauma of Vietnam Vets, the horrors of war I am thankful I've been spared, but it does raise some interesting issues. Not enough has been made about the physical, spirtual and psychological effects raising these kids has on parents. I don't know all the answers, but I do know that raising awareness is part of the solution.
So, I ask you to consider this, the next time you're out in public and see a parent of a child with special needs trying their best to maneuver their child through life, smile warmly and make eye contact. We parents need to know that you are pulling for us, not judging us. That you are empathetic, not oblivious. Thanks.


Karen said...

PDDNOS: An acronym I was not familiar with. But PTSD, that one I know. And, yes, it's true, there are many people who suffer from this disorder.

Last year I attended a lecture given by Dr. Robert Butler, a clinical neuropsychologist at Oregon Health & Science University who specializes in pediatric oncology. The lecture addresssed the issue of PTSD in parents of children diagnosed with cancer.

People who suffer with PTSD are a mixed bag: veterans; victims of rape, domestic violence, and other forms of abuse; parents of children diagnosed with life threatening illnesses; accident, fire, and other disaster victims; and now I learn, parents of children diagnosed with PDDNOS and other illnesses and conditions.

PTSD is all around us, and it would behoove us all to not judge behavior and personality quirks too quickly.

Anonymous said...

I have to tell you, I tried this a few days ago when I saw a mom struggling with a special little boy. She gave me look back filled with such gratitude. Thank you for increasing my awareness and showing me how to respond!

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Anonymous said...

I have a son w/pddnos, sid, adhd and I happened to find this blog by accident. I can really relate. I will bookmark.