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.