Monday, October 1, 2007

One Size Does Not Fit All

Last week, my son got a 100% on his math test. Now maybe for some of you this is a common occurrence but for others, like us perhaps, this is cause to throw a damn party.

The little signs that our son was struggling with schoolwork started in pre-school but became more pronounced in Kindergarten. Then last year, in 1st grade, it was obvious that we needed to do something other than give him extra time to do his work and extra encouragement. I couldn't figure out why my son, who has incredible wit and humor and was so bright just couldn't seem to "get it" when it came to academics and had such anxiety at test time. It broke my heart to see him struggling and to see his self-confidence suffering.

We started with the usual eye and hearing exams to be sure that the problem wasn’t there. It wasn’t. We gave him a modified curriculum and extra tutoring to see if he just needed to catch up. His teacher described him in the classroom as being “out there”. He wasn’t engaging in the classroom, he became easily frustrated with work and complained of being tired. This mirrored what we were seeing at home when it was time to do homework or work on projects.

He was never hyperactive or disruptive but the diagnosis came back – ADHD. The testing process we chose was extremely comprehensive, extremely expensive…and extremely worthwhile.

Now, I had always been one of those moms that thought it was crazy that “all these ADD kids are being thrown on Ritalin” and here was this psychologist sitting across from me and recommending medication for my son. I am a BIG proponent of alternative and holistic care. But after much discussion, research and debate, we decided that we needed to try it at least. The common "starting dose" turned out to be way too much for him. We ended up cutting it in half after only 1 day and found success.

I am not suggesting that medication is the answer for every kid out there who is struggling with ADHD. What I can tell you is that it has worked for MY kid. He can stay focused and attentive in class. He participates in discussion and is engaged, anxious to raise his hand and answer questions. And most importantly? His confidence level has gone way up.

My kid got a 100% on his math test. And the look of joyful pride on his face was worth every anxious moment we’ve had in the last 7 months.

Posted by another Mama

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