I wanted to share with you a story that may be all too familiar.
The Sad Story of a Tale of Two Souls
Aiden and Ethan are best friends. They live on the same block, go to the same school and sit next to each other in their Grade 4 class. And like many best friends they are oh-so different.
You don’t notice it much when they are shooting hoops or obsessing over a video game, although yes there are little things there too. Aiden stopped running into the street without looking to chase a ball when he was six. Ethan still does it at age nine. Aiden reluctantly parts from his beloved video game after the second reminder that he needs to start homework. Ethan, on the other hand, can’t tear himself away from the game no matter what you say or do, and at the mere mention of ‘the h word’ explodes into a major meltdown.
But where you really see the differences is in school, for example when the teacher says, “Clear your desks and take out your math. Open your textbook to Page 25 and write the date on a fresh page in your notebook,”
Aiden, along with most of the class, has completed those four tasks in under a minute. A few kids, Ethan among them, got lost at “Clear your desks.”
Moreover, Ethan can’t follow what the teacher says for more than a minute; he’s always playing with something in his desk, and has a hard time with reading and writing. He’s the first one to ask to go out for a drink and the last one back after recess. His homework rarely makes it home and if it does, it’s often not done. His school bag looks (and sometimes smells) like the bottom of a bird cage.
Yes, Ethan has ADHD. One on one he understands everything. He’s smart as a whip and has an answer for everything – except for “what should you be doing next.” Everything is an experience, nothing is a process and he leaves bits of himself all over the house.
Anna and Ella are best friends too. They are these boys’ moms and they’ve been having coffee together once a week since the boys made friends in pre-school.
This week, Ethan’s mother Ella has a particularly heavy heart. “They want me to put him back on meds.”
“Are you going to do it?” Anna asks.
“What are my choices?” Ella’s question is almost rhetorical. “His marks are sliding, tutoring doesn’t help, homework is a nightmare, and now his spirits are starting to sink because he sees the good kids succeeding and he feels stupid.”
“But he’s not!” Anna protests, “Aiden says he’s the smartest kid in the class.”
“Fat lot of good that helps,” bemoans Ella, “when he’s struggling to get C’s with extra help while his friends all around are getting A’s and B’s without that much effort.”
Anna watching her friend sink into sadness, tries to lighten things up, “Well, I’m sure he’s doing his best.”
“Don’t be so sure. Lately he’s been misbehaving a lot. He’s so frustrated he doesn’t even want to go to school!”
Long silence. Anna breaks it with “Well he was doing better at school when he was taking that stimulant medication.”
“At school is right,” Ella half-agrees, and half boils. “But you didn’t have to deal with the side-effects. He’d stop eating, and then once the meds wore off, he was so irritable and moody, they gave him an anti-depressant. Then when he couldn’t sleep, they wanted to add a 3rd pill. At that point I’d had it! I took him off”
“So now what?”
“I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place! And you know what worries me most? The future. How’s he going to make it through high school? How’s he going to hold a job? How’s he going to manage a family?”
* * * *
The biggest challenge is that the longer we take to make a decision and begin fixing the problem, the worse it will get.
Whether you are stuck between a rock and a hard place like Ella, or just trying to help like Anna, you need to know that there is help. Take our free ADHD Assessment to get started today.