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We knew our son was different from birth, only because of doctors saying so.  Nearing discharge he was sent through all kinds of tests because of a suspected heart murmur.  The thing is his heart passed, but they discovered a defect with one of his vertebrae.  He was given the diagnosis of “congenital scoliosis” on his 2nd day of life.  This just meant extra specialists and tests for the first 2 years of life.  However, by 6 months he gained the diagnosis of GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease).  This meant additional doctors and specialists.  By 2.5 years old, he also received the diagnosis of abdominal migraines and delayed gastric emptying.  Between 2 and 3 we had night terrors and sleepwalking.  By 3 years old, he added allergies and eczema to the list.  At 4 years old we learned about his giftedness formally.  At 5 years old he had his tonsils and adenoids removed.

He did outgrow the abdominal migraines.  By age 3, they could no longer find the spine deformity on x-rays.  His GERD is still there, some days worse and some days barely present.  His allergies are under control.  His eczema comes and goes.  His sleep has greatly improved but still not normal.  The number of doctor and specialist visits are down to just yearly visits with 2 and medication has been eliminated.  His giftedness is always there, it is intense and asynchronous.  His giftedness brings out other challenges too like sleep irregularities, anxiety, and perfectionism.

When going through all the doctor visits, they sometimes mentioned odds and prognosis.  I have to admit, with the GERD we just have come to accept DS is in the tiny minority that will never outgrow it. However, of late it I was wondering what are all of the odds of all DS’s diagnoses he has received.

Here is the list of incidence rates:

  • Incidence rate of Congenital Scoliosis in general population estimated at 1% to 4%
  • Incidence rate of GERD at 1-year-old is 1% and less than 1% as a child.   DS also falls into another special sub-population group, up to 28% of those with GERD also have delayed gastric emptying (gastroparesis).
  • Incidence of Abdominal Migraines is 9% to 15%
  • Pending which scores you want to use for DS’s abilities he falls in the incidence rate of less than 1% to less than 2%
  • Incidence of perfect pitch is less than 1%
  • Incidence of eczema is 7%
  • Incidence of allergies is 20%
  • Incidence of perfectionism in gifted is 42%
  • Incidence of gifted requiring less sleep than average is 20% (DS has consistently slept less than average)

The thing is, knowing the odds doesn’t change anything.  It just confirms that he is different.  His medical conditions don’t prevent him from being a kid.   And, despite having medical issues we always put it into perspective: it could be worse.  We have friends with kids with more severe medical conditions and who had survived cancer.  We also know that you can’t tell just by looking at kid what medical issues they may have.   We are thankful for what we have. We knew from little on, he was different.  He is special and unique!  We love him for his quirks and are truly accepting of him as a person.  And now that we are homeschooling, his learning path meets his needs.

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