Tammy has lived in Northwest Arkansas for 20 years, married to her husband, Todd, for 11 years and a busy mom to their seven year old son Drake. Tammy sat down with me to give us insight into her parenting journey and the difficult path of advocating for your child.
Tammy’s journey started when Drake was just two years old. When Tammy and her son’s pediatrician disagreed on whether or not her son needed tubes in his ears to prevent the numerous ear infections he had suffered with from getting worse she went to an Ear Nose and Throat specialist who performed the needed surgery. When Drake continued to showed great difficulty articulating words and communicating after the surgery Tammy sent her son for a speech evaluation. After the speech evaluation was conducted it was determined that Drake had “moderate to severe receptive language delay accompanied by a moderate expressive language deficit.” During Drake’s journey through speech therapy he received another diagnosis of Sensory Integration Dysfunction and began occupational therapy.
Drake had trouble staying focused and was quick to respond aggressively to others. His unpleasant and aggressive behaviors continued even with speech and occupational therapies. After five daycare facilities, trying the find the right fit for her son, Tammy found a center that worked perfectly for Drake. Knowing kindergarten was right around the corner Tammy received a referral from a friend and sought out a child psychologist to help assess their situation. It was during these assessments that a diagnosis of ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) and Asperger’s Syndrome was made. Drake was now armed with a diagnosis. These words gave Drake the right to special accommodations and understanding in school.
Tammy’s advocacy for Drake isn’t over. With each new school year comes a new teacher to coach on how best to work with her son. Drake is in the first grade and learning in the classroom with his peers. He continues his speech therapy, occupational therapy and enjoys his horseback riding therapy. Tammy did not give up during their journey. Tammy understood, a mother knows her child better than anyone else and you learn that you are the only one who can advocate for your child.