25.9.09

Trying a new approach

My son has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. We know it. He knows it. His teacher knows it. Yet, it remains a struggle. Every day this week and most of last week, Javi brought home behavioral reports. A few choice problems:
  • "Javier was disruptive in music class today. He continually argued with Dr. Hester and had to be removed."
  • "When we came in from recess today, Javier picked up his chair and held it over his head. When I asked him to put the chair down, he told me he couldn't yet because he was showing another child how strong he is."
  • "Javier hit another classmate today. He says the reason he hit her was she kept putting her hands in his face. This is unacceptable behavior."
  • "Javier refuses to sit quietly in his seat. He talks out of turn, interrupts his classmates, and argues back when he gives the wrong answer. I have moved his desk away from his classmates' but it doesn't seem to be helping."
And then today we get his progress report. My smart third grader, who reads on a seventh grade level and enjoys doing his homework, has an 82 in Math and an 87 in Language Arts. His teacher commented, "Javi needs to work on not talking at inappropriate times (i.e., during instruction, hallways, etc). He learns quickly but needs to concentrate more in math to prevent careless mistakes." He received a U (Unsassifaction as Javi defines it) in listening and focus.

This is the point at which I would ramble on about the injustice of his disorder and how I can't hogtie his brain into working the way his instructors want it to. Normally I would be pissed that she took the time to write out what could be described as a definition of ADHD and that if he had any other disorder, he wouldn't be villified for it.

But I'm not going to do that. I'm going to do what my mountain man did when he read the progress report. I'm going to take a deep breath and get back to work on helping my son figure out how to live successfully within the structures of our society. I'm going to brainstorm ways to help him thrive and to take the sting out of what he cannot control.

And it's all because of this. Which Billy and I watched together this morning, and which has reminded us that a) we aren't alone and b) everything we do and every reaction we show shapes Javier's future. Will he be an genius entrepreneur or will he be a societal failure. It's up to us. We build him up and he'll be able to cope with anything. We harp on the disabilities his disorder brings (inattention, impulsivity, forgetfulness, carelessness), and he'll be the one who pays for it.

So today I'm working on being a stronger, more supportive parent. Even when it's a struggle. Even when my intelligent son can add 2 + 3 and get a different answer every time (when he remembers what he's adding). If you have time, you should sit down with that documentary. I am amazed at what it has accomplished in our mixed up little home.

5 comments:

  • Grey

    Normally I would be pissed that she took the time to write out what could be described as a definition of ADHD and that if he had any other disorder, he wouldn't be villified for it.

    Oooh, boy, I can so relate to this. I'll never understand how I can meet with a teacher 3 times before a report card comes out to discuss my son's ADHD, and yet the teacher still writes "Zach needs to stay focused." It makes me wonder if the teacher recalls ANYTHING we discussed about ADHD.

  • Kelly

    Exactly. When she called me last week, I told her in 18 different ways that we are trying some new things to help him stay focused in class and that we are more than happy to hear her suggestions. All I get is this stupid progress report. It makes me not want to bother.

  • { L }

    Very intriguing links you posted. I am going to look into them. It is such a huge responsibility that we have as parents, huh? It actually sounds like you are doing a beautiful job as a mom though. <3 And your son sounds so talented in spite of what the teacher says...

    Also, I'm doing my first giveaway on my blog right now if you're interested:

    http://www.mooreminutes.com/2009/09/pleated-poppy-giveaway.html

  • jennster

    you know what i find interesting about boys? they don't sit still. they don't wait their turns. they shout out. they are excitable. they don't behave in the classroom. this was a constant battle for us with blake. but this year- his 6th grade year, it's all changed. he says he doesn't shout out anymore. he says he's chilled out. i dunno- maybe they aren't mature enough yet, or ready to behave how WE WANT THEM TOO? maybe i shoul dread that article first. lol

    basically, hang in there. you are doing great.

  • Kelly

    I know, I know! Kids are kids, dude. The reason you don't ask 8 years sign contracts is their brains don't make sense. Unfortunately, Javi does things like try to run up the walls, bounce in his seat, sing and whistle during instruction, etc. I hope the day comes soon when he hits the maturity level to fight his impulses... 6th grade is still 3 years away!

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