Friday, October 21, 2011

Truth Be Told

My son has ADHD.

I have never said that out loud (in type) here on my blog.  I feel like I have been hiding a secret from you all.

I already hide chocolate from my family, I can't handle another secret.

All our friends are aware.  Some neighbors, teachers, people that need to know, know.

And now you all know.  I need to share my frustrations so that other parents can feel comfort in not being alone.  I have felt alone, ashamed, for too long.

ADHD is to Learning Disabilities as crochet is to knitting.  It's like the ugly stepsister that really isn't a sister.  Many people think of ADHD as an excuse for poorly behaved children to act out.  It is not.  It is real.  It is a disability.  And my son, has ADHD.  This is my favorite post from a mother with a son that also has ADHD.

Since he was young, we could all see that this boy had a head full of information.  He was so inquisitive.  He would take a full minute before he answered a question because he was "thinking" about the answer. As he began pre-school, he was constantly in trouble.  I'll never forget the feeling of walking into that room with all the other parents and seeing every child on green, and Sam on red.  It does numbers on a mother to see that every single day.  If you are an educator, it does no good whatsoever to show all the children and parents which children are good and which ones are not.

When Sam was three and four, he could name every state in the country.  We could even hold it backwards and he would know it.  Recently, he learned the entire alphabet in hieroglyphics.   Monday, he had a hard time doing simple math (more on that later).

Our parent teacher conferences are always the same...'So smart, but just doesn't listen. Marches to the beat of his own drum."  Sam's Kindergarten teacher was the first educator to see the potential in Sam.  First grade was rough, I couldn't wait for that year to end.  Second grade was better, a male teacher.  Sam seemed to enjoy school much more than years prior, but forgotten and incomplete homework was never an issue with the teacher, he didn't really care or mark Sam for not doing it.  This year...another male teacher.  This one seasoned, near retirement, a runner, with grandson's Sam's age.  I think he gets it. I can see the changes in Sam.

Sam and his brother have also met some neighborhood boys.  That has built confidence in him like no other event so far.  Yes, we still have meltdowns, like yesterday, but those I can handle.

I started writing this post on Monday of this week.  I was going to tell you all how great things are going.  How Sam is doing his homework, playing with friends, respecting me.  Then, Tuesday Math happened.

Screaming.  Slamming.  Scary.

Some days, it sucks.  Sucks real bad.  It is miserable.  ADHD sucks.  He feels like he needs constant help, yet gets angry when trying to explain something.  I think he ran to his room for a self-imposed time out 4 times.  And it was only one page of math homework.

I guess what I really want to say is that ADHD is real.  If you know of a child that has it, smile at the parent.  Give them a pat on the back.  It is hard work.  It's such an unpredictable disability and the ebbs and flows are so distinct, that it's sometimes hard to remember the highs.

And sometimes hard to forget the lows.


Dani said...

ADHD is over diagnosed...have you had your son evaluated by a doctor? several teachers told us our youngest was ADHD, but we didn't put him on any medication....we worked with him at home and he's fine now at 20....he had the same fits your son is having.and they are as scary to him as they are to you....your son may have to learn math differently as not everyone learns the the way, our son's work improved in high school, we put him in a charter school where his grades went from C's and D's to A's...he did part of his work at home and then two days a week of classes...the change was remarkable....hang in will get better for both of you..

Anonymous said...

As you know, I live with it day in and day out, both at work and at home. If a child NEEDS medication for ADHD, give it to him. If cancer could be cured with a pill wouldn't you use it?

Yes, I agree, that some children do not need medication for ADHD. AND MANY children are over medicated for ADHD and many children are on the wrong medication, but the right medication can change you and your child's life.

My son is on the right medication. He does not walk around like a zombie, he is a fun loving extremely intelligent boy!


PS Let me know if you want to talk about it!

Carrie G said...

Dani - yes, we have had Sam evaluated on several different occasions. We too, were skeptical about the medication. My husband is half a semester away from graduating pharmacy school, we know about all of the medications, actions, reactions. Sam is currently on the lowest dose of a med and has changed dramatically. Over the summer we removed artificial food coloring and added fish oil and have seen a remarkable change. I believe that last weeks math breakdown was a result of an artificial food coloring intake at school.

Carrie G said...

Dava - Thanks! It's good to know I'm not alone.