Kaite was diagnosed with ADHD 3 years ago and Asperger this January. Kaite has always been our little flower child. She loves everything girly and pink, but she also loves wrestling. Kaite has been wrestling since she has been in kindergarten so this is her fourth year. Kaite has always been a very active child. Got into everything she shouldn’t have. Still does. The reason we brought Kaite in for testing was her kindergarten teacher had a meeting with us in March of her kindergarten year, saying she wanted to discuss holding her back. We were completely blown away by this. Her report cards were very good and her behavior reports were not bad at all. She told us that Kaite never sits still, is constantly talking and is very immature compared to her peers. The teacher proceeded to tell us Kaite needed to be help back, and needs to go to the doctor to be evaluated for ADHD. I asked why she never had bad behavior reports and she told us she didn’t want to hurt Kaite’s feelings by sending home a bad report. I told her, “no, this was not going to happen”. The teacher then went on to say we (Dad and I) had no choice in the matter. We met again in May and I did have a choice. I had the school principal attend the meeting and the principal told the teacher that holding Kaite back would destroy her emotionally. She was very loved by her friends and if she did not move up, it would kill her. Her grades were not bad, though her reading was a bit behind. I put together an action plan that included a neropych evaluation to see if she did indeed have ADHD, plus I would work with her all summer on her reading. Kaite was 6 at the time. Finding a doctor that will work with a 6 year old took me two weeks. Then it took me 6 weeks to get her in for testing. After her initial interview the doctor did not think Kaite had ADHD but went ahead with the two days of testing with her to be thorough. She surprised the doctor with a very definitive finding of ADHD and severe anxiety. She recommended a Psychologist for Kaite to see for therapy and a psychiatrist to help us with medication.
This January we had Kaite retested. In July of last summer Kaite broke the radial head of her elbow and had to have it surgically repaired. She had fallen off a trampoline after being distracted by a fire fly. I thought a lot of her sensory issues and anxiety getting worse was due to her being not able to do anything over the summer, but after she was released to go back to wrestling, things only got worse. Her focus was so off that she couldn’t practice. The sound of the coach blowing the whistle made her skin hurt she said. She was back to not being able to eat lunch in the lunch room at school because it was too noisy. Some of her other “Kaite things” I call them, were rearing their ugly head again. So her dad, myself and both her doctors agreed something else is going on. We had her go through another evaluation. She was diagnosed with Aspergers, ADHD, and anxiety. Of course nothing with Kaite can be text book. Most children with Aspergers lack empathy, Kaite is the far opposite. Kaite is the over caring and nurturing kind. This caused her to become depressed because she feels she is not making people she cares for happy.
One of the hardest things for Kaite to deal with is failure. Sometimes it is failure only in her mind and no one else’s. For example doing spelling practice at home if she got any wrong there would be a meltdown, or if she got a B on her report card. Unfortunately, the sport she loves so much-wrestling, causes her the biggest melt downs. When she doesn’t win or when she feels during the match something isn’t going right she has a panic attack and/or a major melt down on the mat. When this happens I know others that have observed this must feel Kaite is a bad sport, or a bratty kid who just didn’t get her way. Her meltdowns are big, and can and have ruined an entire tournament for her. Therapy has helped a lot with that. I think the biggest help is her now being old enough to tell us what is going on in her mind and with her Dad (Coach Bill). This has been really tough on Dad. Dad is old school. ADHD to him at first was, “just a kid who needs a good foot in her rear.” To see her have the fits on the mat would drive him nuts. He would want to walk away from her. One thing that bothered him a great deal was having to explain things over and over. But since Kaite has been explaining what is going on and talking to him more about how she feels inside, Dad is getting it. Just this year she had a panic attack during a match because a girls arm play was bugging her and her game plan. She ended up losing the match and having a fit. Dad got her calmed down and got her to tell Dad was was bothering her. What normally would have been the end to the day, Kaite came back and pinned two girls and tech’d another. Her winning put her in a four way tie for second, but her strong finish won her that second place.
Dad has learned to make things more fun with her. He has learned to help her understand you can’t always win, but you can always try your best and not give up. I think it has taught him to be a better sport. Does it work all the time with her, no. It has brought the two of them much closer in the last 4 months since her diagnosis.
Wrestling has helped Kaite in so many ways. It helps her burn off all that extra energy she has. It helps her to focus. Wrestling has triggered some of her biggest meltdowns but on the positive side, it has also helped her, Dad and the entire family work as a team. She is learning to be a better sport, a good winner and how to deal with a loss. Wrestling has also helped Kaite feel accepted. Being part of a team has been helpful. Off the mat things aren’t going so smooth. Kaite is getting to the age where some of her friends think she is odd. She wears tutus a lot. She is a bit immature for her age. Kids can be mean. She is made fun of. In all the girls wrestling tournaments we have done she has made a ton of friends. Kaite has learned from some of the older girls to be herself and give it your all. Over the last few years we have met some great Team USA girls that are great role models for her and her sister. We are a wrestling family and hope that through hard work, open communication and some help from the older wrestlers, Kaite will continue to grow as an individual. In turn, Dad and his little girl will be a winning team together.
The family wishes to remain anonymous at this point.