The struggles of my 12-year old with ADD

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I am very angry at this time, so please forgive any spelling/grammar errors…but I need to write this down because it angers me and it also breaks my heart.

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I have a 12-year old son, who was diagnosed with ADD when he was in second grade.  He was diagnosed after his 2nd grade teacher, kindly, recorded his performance and behavior in a chart minute by minute.  Seeing the chart was overwhelming, it was a very sad day for me.  My 12-year old is my youngest, and we have a special bond.  I understand him, better than other, not only because I am his mom, but because he confides in me. My boy has struggled all his life with school.  Is not like he has a learning disability, is more of an attention issue. I understand that the teachers do not have the time to teach him one-on-one, but I do think that they can take five minutes out of their times to email his assignments to me.

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My boy is in the 7th grade, and if you look at his grades…you will find A’s and F’s all across.  The sad part is that the F’s are mostly for work he has not completed.  Work he was supposed to do at home.  Now, mind you, that when my children come home, or I came home from work, the first thing I ask both of my kids is:  Do we have any school work?  I said “we”, because I will sit down with them to help them complete their work. Luckily my daughter has never required that sort of extra attention, but the boy does.  

Why is everything always so hard?

The beauty of helping my son with his homework, is when I am in the middle of explaining something to him, and all of a sudden the light bulb goes off.  Teaching/helping my child with his homework can be frustrating…you can see how he loses interest and his mind goes to what I call La-la land.  He is the first one to admit, that he starts paying attention, and all of a sudden he is thinking about something else.  I have to keep things short and simple in order to maintain him engaged in the task ahead.

When my child was in kindergarten, his doctor, prescribed him a very low dose of Adderall. I mean, what the hell do we know about that drug? I was giving my son amphetamines…really!  After seeing how he reacted to the medicine, I made the decision to stop giving him the medicine.  Some of the side effects I noticed right away where lack of appetite, trouble sleeping, stomach aches, and my child who was known as the happy child, the joker, never smiled again. I stood by my decision all the way until 2nd grade. I guess after that teacher took the time to write down all the things my child was doing or not doing in the classroom, I felt responsible for the well-being of the other students.  I did not want my child to be the reason other students didn’t learn. So, we started back with the medicine. All the symptoms appeared again, it was such a troubled time.  The medicine, help him pay a little more attention (not a whole of difference), it did not help him learn, it just calmed him down enough that he did not disrupt class. 

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On again of again…that was the story of my child…and in the mean time…he grew unhappy…he did not believe in himself again…then we started dealing with his insecurities. Then he labeled himself as the child that could not learn. Then he started calling himself stupid, he hated school, he does not get any joy or satisfaction in anything school related.  When he started 6th grade, he finally asked me to stop the medicine.  He described, in very detail, how his stomach hurt constantly, how his headaches were non-stop, how he did not want to eat, how he could not stay asleep at night.  Another sign that help me made the final decision about taking him off the medication was his anger outbursts. My boy is not the average 12-year old, he is 5’8 and he weighs 150 pounds of pure muscle.  He is scary when he gets angry! So, he started acting out in school, he got into a couple of altercations, his sister was scared to be at home alone with him because he would get upset and take it on her. So, I talked to my husband and we decided enough is enough.

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Now, here we are again…we just move from SC to MS in the middle of his 7th grade. Not only is he struggling leaving behind all his friends, the ones that accepted him for who he is, he has to adjust to another place, different people, different school…different curriculum. He has always struggle with his grades, is like riding a roller-coaster…and trust me…is not a fun one. 

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The only think making my son happy nowadays is baseball. He plays for a travel ball team and he loves it.  He made some new friends, but they do not attend school together. So, at school he is alone.  My daughter has a little spy on him. According to the spy, my son doesn’t talk to anyone, he doesn’t eat lunch, and he is pretty much a loner.  My daughter constantly tells me, that the boy looks very intimidating…well, heck, why is he being judge by his looks? So weird!

Anyways back to  the academics. So, I meet his new teachers…and three of them were a breath of fresh air, they were sympathetic with me and they acted like they genuinely want to help.  Two of those teachers and I maintain communication via email.  All I want from them is to tell me what does my child has to do at home (homework), so I can monitor his work at home and help him when needed.  The boy’s main problem is that he forgets to bring his homework home. So, if we don’t have his homework, he cannot get it done! He is struggling horribly with Math…here in MS, they have something called Common Core math…and he is not understanding at all!  So, when I met with the teachers, the Math teacher, gave me a run down of my son’s performance at school and she mentioned that her students now what they have to do for homework. She stood up and left because she had another meeting. That was it!

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This past Friday she called me, at 5 PM, to tell me that my son has an F in her class.  She had the nerve to tell me that she told me that during our meeting. I let her have it then.  I, in a not so polite way, reminded her of how she abruptly left the meeting to meet with someone else. To make a long story short…we are struggling, and that takes me back to being the protective mother, who fears something bad is going to happen to my boy, because of all the stress the stupid school is bringing upon him.

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I pray and wish that someone will speak up about how mistreated our ADD/ADHD children are in school. How misunderstood they are. They are labeled, and pushed to the corner, without hope, without any signs of savoring a little success, with no help, with no motivation, like a said…they are hopeless.  I pray that someone will come up with a curriculum designed to teach students who are diagnosed with ADD/ADHD.  I pray and hope that teachers become educated about ADD/ADHD, that they are trained to help and deal with this special and gifted students.  Yes, I used the word gifted…because they are…all it takes is for you to discover what triggers their brain and their attention and they are a joy to teach and be around. I hope someone reads this, and share this with the world.  Life is not only about being successful…its also about happiness…as adults, we struggle finding that balance…imagine as a child…never judge a child with ADD/ADHD because you have no idea about the battles they are constantly fighting…just to try to “fit in”.

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