In an ADHD world…

3rd grade… sitting across the table from his teacher. Listening. Nodding. Hearing, but not really hearing.

Lack of attention. Lack of focus. Lots of energy. Unable to sit still. All phrases I had heard since 1st grade. But this was different.

She looked across the table and said, “So now I’m going to talk to you as a mother and a teacher, not as your child’s teacher. You need to do the screenings. He is a poster child for ADHD.” After the shock dissipated, I looked at her and simply answered, “OK.”

She was old enough to be my mother. She was retiring that year. She had nothing to lose.

We did the screenings, saw the pediatrician, consulted with the school psychologist, and the diagnosis came… he had ADHD. I was not surprised. I had been teaching for over 15 years at that point. I knew his struggles, but all the typical responses remained.

What if he is ‘just’ a boy?

What if it’s the teaching, not his learning?

But he is doing so well, what is the missing piece?

Then the conversation of medicating vs. not medicating. I struggled with this. How can I give my nine year old medication? What about the long term impacts? Two statements resounded with me as we made this difficult decision.

The first from the doctor who said, “If he had asthma, would you hold the inhaler and tell him to go ahead and breath on his own? He could do it… just try harder.”

The second was from my husband who said, “So we try it, if we don’t like the effect or we don’t want him to continue, we stop. We can take it one day at a time.”

So we tried it… the results were amazing. It was clear that this was the right choice for him.

Fast forward… seven years later… he is a sophomore in high school. He still takes his meds during the week, but not on vacation and not on weekends. He struggles daily with attention. He works so hard, and his successes are hard fought.

While many believe this condition is made up, or simply unruly children… I do not.

I have watched my son struggle without his meds.

I have watched him work so hard to achieve.

I look forward to watching him find his path and make his way in the world.




6 thoughts on “In an ADHD world…”

  1. Many years ago when I was teaching grade two, I had two students who I suspected had ADHD. I proceeded to have difficult conversations with their parents. One set of parents yelled, possibly even cursed at me. How dare I suggest they take him to the doctor? The other set of parents took their son to the doctor that same week and he was put on medication. As with your son, the results were amazing. I watched those two boys go through elementary school with very different results. I do not suggest we medicate simply to medicate. However, for some children it makes all the difference. I believe you have empowered your son.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Feels like I needed to read this today. There are so many struggles our students face about which we may have ideas but struggle to acknowledge. Experiencing our own children’s struggles adds another layer to understanding how much we miss and to what degree our old biases about what kids should be able to do and when and how are often faulty and hardly respect the myriad of individual differences we will encounter. Thank you for sharing your son’s story. It’s heartening to hear that you as a family were able to make the right decisions for yourselves.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for sharing this. So many wise, thoughtful words from so many people in your life – from the teacher to the doctor to your husband. You son is lucky to have so much support. I’m glad that the meds help – ADHD is a tough one & too many people (teachers!) don’t seem to get it. All my best thoughts go with him.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Unfortunately my ADHD tenth grader never had a teacher that was willing to take the ‘risk’ and speak to me as a mother and teacher. It wasn’t until a close friend of mine, who heard me share struggle after struggle, year after year, used a similar analogy (eyeglasses and compromised vision) that we went through the identification process just 2 years ago. I suspected the disorder for years, but ‘trusted’ the teachers . . . there’s something to be said for a mother’s intuition. #mothersregret

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I went through all this as a mother… and then was astonished when I finally realized that I myself have ADD. (I have the inattentive type, which goes unnoticed much more easily.) The analogy the doctor used is perfect — it’s amazing how many people truly believe that ADHD can be controlled by just trying harder. Thanks so much for sharing! ~JudyK

    Liked by 1 person

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