I'm Only Human...A Personal Story

of Attention Deficit Order

by Tracie K. Reed

How many times have you asked yourself -why me? Why is this happening to me? You're not alone. There are thousands of parents with children that have all kinds of disabilities. From Asthma to ADD.

Being a parent of a disabled child is tough whether you are a single parent or are with someone. It can be exhausting. Dealing with doctors and trying to find something that will help your child; at the same time trying to relieve the stress of it all.

My son showed signs of Attention Deficit Disorder at an early age. I did not want to put him on any medications, so I stuck it out until he was in school. Of course, when the time came for him to go to school, I had to face the fact that I had to do something.

In kindergarten, the teacher told me he was acting up a lot and that he might not be ready for school yet because he had just turned five years old. Well, I didn't listen because I felt he was ready for school. I was also thinking "Gee, when did kindergarten get to be such a challenge for Iittle kids?"

I was lucky that the teacher was willing to work with me. We had him tested for ADD. The result was, of course, positive. I talked to my son's doctor and she referred me to a place that deals with children with ADD. I took him there and ended up getting him on medication. They also told me that my son had a facial tick, which I never noticed. I would think that I would notice something like that. But, I took the doctors word for it and got Tenox for the facial ticks and the Adderal for the ADD.

Now that my son was on the medication, he was calm. He had to get used to the medication. He would also roll his eyes a lot which bothered me, because he did not do that before. The doctor told me it was the medicine and it will take time for his body to adjust. I didn't like it at all. Again, I felt I needed to do something so that my son would be able to go to school.

He passed Kindergarten and moved on to first grade. His medication was reduced by the summertime; But, then school started and he acted up again.

He was running in the classroom and hiding under the tables, laughing and ignoring the teacher. He was also getting other children into trouble. They told me that he needed to be tested for ADD. I was upset. because I had already told them he was on medication for ADD. I said if his grades are good, he won't be held back. So I had him raise his meds- just so he could sit in the classroom. He was sleepy all the time and he couldn't concentrate on anything. I felt so bad for my son. But, again he did pass with good grades.

The same thing happened when he got to the third grade. They told me he needed to be in the first grade. I told them the same thing. If his grades are good, then he doesn't need to be held back.

Now, the older my son gets he seems that he is getting into worse trouble. He was actually arrested along with two older boys who got into trouble. Only I cared enough for my son to get help for him by getting him a counselor. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying the other boys' parents did not care for their boys. One is a single parent like me. From my understanding, she pretty much was giving up on her boys because they were always getting into trouble.

I told my son to write an apology letter to the poor boy who was beaten up. Apparently, my son saw the boy getting hit by the other boys and decided to kick him as well. I was furious because I would have never imagined my son doing such a thing even if the boy did pick on him.

Kids who get into trouble definitely need to have someone to talk to. Whether it is a family member or a counselor. I told my son if he ever feels like he needs someone to talk to other then me, he should talk to the counselor-- that is why they are there. He understood my reasoning for that. I continued to take him there just so he could talk to someone else.

He liked it for a while. Then he grew to the point were he didn't want to go anymore. So, the counselor and I told him he has to show improvements for him to stop going. Once he did stop going he, at tines, did act up. To this day he still acts up, but not as much.

I could probably write a whole book about my son and the trying times we both had. Perhaps another time!. So far now I am sharing just briefly about our experience that my son and I have gone through with ADD.

It's summer time and he is off the meds and will be passing on to fifth grade. This is the first time he has been off the meds completely. When school starts, I will take the next step to do what he needs. He did go to a charter school for the fourth grade and did well; but he did act up at times.

As long as my son needs me to work with him as he grows older, I will. Not just because I care; but because he is my son. Most importantly, he needs me. Everyone is different. Children need someone there for them as they grow. No matter what the illness is. So, stay strong. In time, things will get better even if at times it seems to be discouraging. There is help out there.

Do your research on the doctor and the meds. Because only you know your child best and they could only guess what it is they need and how much of it.

When it comes to dealing with the schools, talk to the teacher (along with the principal). Let them know what's going on with your child. There are teachers that know about ADD children and will work with you and your child.

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Reprinted from MIKID Newsletter (Mentally Ill Kids in Distress), summer 20002

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