Those of you have been following me for a while, know how hard I have worked to make school a better place for my eldest son. I’ve seen doctors, psychiatrists, neuro-psychologists, educational assessors, counselors, and coaches all in the hopes of making school a more enjoyable experience for my ADHD child. I have met with his school principal, school counselors, the school psychologist, and his teachers all to make B’s day and workload manageable. They were showered with emails, strategies, thank you notes, Godiva, and requests for Vanderbilt forms.
I have worked for over 4 years to establish a special education plan for my son. On January 6th, 2017, we finally received a 504 plan. I would like to think it’s the process that got us to where we are today.
This post is about that the light that burns brighter or gets burned out by the daily toils of an ADHDer. This is about the confidence and maturity that comes from not just good parenting and never giving up, but a self-confidence that’s only instilled by personal triumph and getting things right. As an inattentive ADHDer you’re constantly reminded of what you didn’t do or what you forgot. Then, every once in awhile, there is a moment of truth.
There are moments when it’s not your missed appointment, forgotten supplies, homework or returned phone call that brings your character into question. A moment like that occurred for my son, yesterday. He was cornered by a child with emotional “differences” at school. The two seemed to get along earlier this year and I was initially pleased. We’re big believers in the “no kid sitting alone at the lunch table movement.” Thank you, Travis Rudolph. Without getting into the gory details, the child approached my son in a private, inappropriate manner and my 4th grader was pretty shaken up.
I received a call from our school’s Vice Principal that afternoon. After reporting the incident, she said, “I just want you to know how mature and calm B has been about this entire situation. He didn’t run and tell others, he didn’t get scared or cry, he just removed himself from the situation and told his teacher what happened, even adding, ‘I know that L (other child) gets upset.’ Whatever you’re doing at home, keep doing it.” And with that she ended the call.
Life can be more difficult for those of us with inferior executive functioning skills and a penchant for distraction. Nonetheless, when the LIFE moment matters, will a diagnosed ADHD child with a 504 plan perform better than one without? Is it his plan that helps him make behavioral choices? Maybe, or maybe not. For me, it’s the process that is invaluable. My son is learning to advocate for his needs and to stand up for himself. He is becoming self-reflective about his emotions, relationships and schoolwork. Knowing what to do in an awkward situation like that doesn’t just happen. It comes from developing coping skills and understanding. I can only hope my crusade to help my son has made some difference. It’s these moments that prove his light is burning brightly. Truthfully, isn’t that all we want for our children?