I haven’t written about my son specifically for a while. A couple years ago I had begun writing about the experience of medication and ADHD. My son has other things overlapping his ADHD so our family decided we would try medication.
Let me just put out a disclaimer for the trolls out there: Every kid is different. Every medication effecting that kid nets different results. Every insurance plan is not the same. Not all doctors are alike. Not all families are the same.
There. Nonsense managed.
In the summer of 2015 we started medication. It was a rocky road, y’all. We didn’t find “the one” until well after several brands, countless dosage changes, months-long side effect investigations, dual medication cocktails and then finally we found the one. Then the dosage is always a moving target as the kiddo changes and grows and matures.
Let me say this: It. Is. Worth. It.
Stick with it even though you’ll want to throw in the towel …. or the medicine bottle… and probably at someone. Don’t do that, but keep trying until you find the right one. Don’t settle, either. There’s no point going through it if there are not actual real results for your kid. We had a couple of “weeeelll, there’s a bit of a difference in the school work … i guess… on Tuesdays..”.
That’s a no. If it isn’t fixing the reason you chose to medicate, try another medicine, or another dosage with the doctor.
Every new school year we would get the results of my son’s Smarter Balanced Assessment standardized tests. Every year it just added to my anxiety and depression about education and my kid. He was always under grade level. Always. But he’s smart! He’s had an IEP since he was in 1st grade. Goals are always being set, tested, worked on. To have so much energy and effort go into a kiddo and always having the measurement of success be a grade or score on school work – which was “the enemy” in the first place – seemed ludicrous and just disheartening. I don’t usually keep them because a. i’m disorganized and b. the scores never moved much.
Yesterday we received the scores from last spring and I was floored. He actually scored above standard in 2 out of 3 areas in math! Also, reading and language was above standard for 2 out of 4 areas. The other areas were at/near standard. I couldn’t believe it!
I sat down with him and went over this. I want him to know all the moving parts of his education. I told him a long time ago what the IEP meeting was and how many people attend and contribute all for him. It’s gotta give a kid confidence to know there is a literal team of people propelling his education, right? (I leave out the very few shitty team members I have encountered over the years, btw) At the very least it gives a reason for all the pulling out of class and different work areas and assessments and individual teaching he got. It gives meaning to it instead of just “go where you’re told and do what you’re given.”.
So yesterday I shared his SBA results with him and he was surprised. He didn’t know what to say at first because let’s face it; it’s not like a video game record was broken or a new high score. It’s just school stuff, mom. But he was proud. He wanted to give all the credit to his favorite teacher, but I told him “Your teachers helped prepare you. They believed in you. They made you able to do this, but YOU did it. No one did it for you.”
“But Mom, I thought I was bad at math.”
And this is where we discussed the difference between good teachers and unhelpful teachers. We happened to have made a very hard decision in moving to this house, this school district, and this school. Thankfully this move placed him in just the right place at the right time. (our previous move did NOT do any of that)
In the end, he felt so much pride that he actually ducked under the table and got emotional. He misses that teacher he had last year that gave him this confidence and this belief in himself. The kid that disappears in the class. The invisible boy finally realized that participating and trying and cautiously exploring can do all that is expected of him. He can achieve all and more of what his peers can do.
I asked if he wanted to email his old teacher and he did.
There is so much more to our kids than test scores and grade point averages. I accepted a while ago that teaching my kid to be a good human being is far more valuable than cramming for a test or getting a high GPA. When they surprise themselves with their own abilities, though, that is the golden moment in my opinion.
Keep your chins up, mommas. You know what is right for your kid more than anyone else… unless you’re an asshole parent, then maybe listen to those that are trying to help.
But seriously, stick with it. Learning disabilities can be frustrating to manage in your kid because there is no immediate fix. It’s time, interventions, counseling, team effort and a lot of love…. and booze. Don’t forget the booze. 😀