Welcome to One Small Step for Parents! Our goal is to help you find the right resources, support and information that is needed to make informed choices. Without the proper tools we, as parents and adults, don't know what will help our situation or what works and doesn't work. Here at One Small Step, we have done our best to take the guesswork and confusion out of the equation by supplying tools, resources and online support.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Holiday Greetings

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy Hanuka, and Seasons Greetings!

This year was a pleasant surprise from previous holiday seasons. My son, who is ADHD/ODD was surprisingly mellow over the beginning of Christmas break. I was told by his school counselor that he was a bit distracted (what child isn't,) and somewhat "grumpy", but that all of the children were excited and restless. My son managed to keep his behavior in check for the most part, and there were no melt-down's or escalating issues with other students. He even managed to finish all his work and is now caught up with the rest of his class, so that when or if report cards are issued, he will receive full marks for this term.

I was also pleased to note that his behavior at home was more controlled than previous years. Yes, he was still excited, and yes the ODD still made its appearance from time to time, but overall his behavior and attitude was well within acceptable limits. We had family visiting with us this year, and some would say that was the reason for his good behavior. I, however, know that guests do not affect positive behavior. It would make no difference if the President was visiting!

My son had only one minor meltdown (so far,) over the holidays, and that was when the dog ate a few of his chocolate coins that he had neglected to pick up off the floor, (after being reminded a few times to do so.) He was most aggrieved and his words were particularly venomous, however the outburst was short lived, and both he and the dog made friends again, his chocolates were replaced and all was well with the world.

To be perfectly honest, his outburst was short lived because we very firmly stopped the tirade, explaining that he had left the chocolates, the dog was doing what dogs do, (I mean, what do you expect from a dog?), and within a few minutes, instigated a reunion between the two. My son was told to apologize and make friends, and the issue was closed with a "group hug" to end the day on a positive note. Generally speaking, this is not the type of parenting that most people would expect, or one that would have any effect on a behavioral issue. However, the outcome was positive - the behavior disappeared, and peace was restored within minutes.

I have used this principal before, but this particular time it worked in minutes...something to think about for the coming year...I will keep you posted!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

First Jobs and Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

My son is a paper carrier. I am quite proud of the fact that he is employed. After all he is only fourteen, and just the idea that he wants to work is wonderful. I still find it amazing that he actually wants to work. However, there is a huge difference between wanting to work and actually doing the work!

When he first started, I had to help him several times as he wasn't used to the physical exertion required, and I got very tired of hearing the excuses and complaining that went along with the paper route! However, he did get used to his route and soon he was managing it all by himself. The only issue that kept recurring was getting him started. For weeks I had to remind him that "today  is paper day," and then keep nudging him to get out there and start delivering. After a few months, we finally settled on a delivery time, and that seemed to work out well.

Then we got a call from the newspaper office stating that they had made a mistake, and his route was actually bigger than what he had been told. This sparked a new hurdle. My son decided that he wasn't going to do the other street as the route now took him twice as long to do and the previous complaints came back with a flourish! I suggested that he call his "boss" and tell her that he didn't want to deliver papers any more, but my son admitted that he had become accustomed to the money, and he was actually reluctant to give it up.

Again, it took a few months before he finally settled into a routine, and for the most part, he completes his whole route on his own, with no help from me...unless it is pouring rain. Then I will step in and we load his papers into the van. I drive, he delivers!

So far, my son has been a paper carrier for over a year, and this will be the second Christmas that he is able to buy gifts with his own money!

As today is "paper day", it is time for me to remind him to start early...it gets dark quite early now, and I am doing my best to motivate him to start and finish while there is still daylight! At any rate, I am very pleased that he still has his first job, and that for the most part, he doesn't complain about doing it...
See? There is light at the end of the tunnel...

HubPages Comments, continued

Meet Christina, the mother of an eight year old boy with ADD, a high functioning form of Asperger's and possibly ODD (Oppositional Defiant Disorder.) These are her words:

My son is 8 years old, has ADD, a high functioning form of Asperger's and I think ODD. He is very intelligent, as handsome as his Daddy (who is the love of my life) and is driving us nuts. As I write this he has been doing homework for almost 4 hours. Last night was an epic 6 1/2, the same amount of time a school day lasts. It's not that he's not capable of doing the work, he manages to do it in school. I have tried everything, and I'm at my wits end. We've done the reward system, which he only managed to turn around on us by flat out refusing to do anything unless he's guaranteed getting his game system which was the reward. We've tried punishment, not allowing any TV time before homework, made sure there are no distractions, sat beside him for hours to help him, explained that if he gets his work done there will be free time to do what he wants. NOTHING works. Yet somehow he manages to do well in school. Though his teachers always talk about his focusing issues, he is performing at grade level, in a mainstream class, is two reading levels above where is expected, gets high scores on all tests, is very good at math, and can recite lessons he's been taught. Every time I walk into the school for whatever reason all I hear is "Hi Nicky!". Teachers who do not even have him in their class know who he is. Children in older grades know who he is and last year there were a group of 6th grade girls he called his "girlfriends". They were quite charmed by him. Apparently he is quite the character in school. I wish I could be a fly on the wall for a day to see it. Well behaved and well mannered I'm always told. It makes me mad and jealous that he can't show us the same respect and courtesy. We, after all, are the ones that do everything for him.
Home is another story. He's putting us through hell. My 19 year old daughter went to live with my Mother at 14 because she couldn't deal with the constant yelling, arguing and stress. It absolutely breaks my heart, as I love her dearly. She lives close by and I do see her quite often, she comes for sleepovers at our home and she and I are quite close. But I wish I had her home. She loves her brother, but gets as frustrated with him as we do. My neighbors put up with a lot as they listen to quite a bit of yelling. One has a son with ADHD so she really understands. Yet it's embarrassing as hell. This is not me. It's not the household I come from where things were quiet, and yelling just wasn't part of the program.
I have come to believe that part of his issues he is VERY much in control of. He's a devil in the morning as we get ready for school which he refers to as a "trap", but as he walks into the school yard I can literally see the transformation. He's good all day and the moment he gets out it begins to change and by the time I am pulling into my driveway it's "hello Mr. Nasty". He knows full well what he's doing. As he gets my husband and I (I am his FAVORITE target-the weakest link I guess) angrier and angrier you can almost see the twinkle in his eye. He enjoys it, which is nuts. We are not pushovers by any means, and don't let him get away with bad behavior because "he can't control it" as I've been told. BS! He likes to push our buttons, it's obvious. Our immediate family "gets it" but when you try to explain it to anyone not living with this they look at you like you have three heads. They see him as charming, witty, intelligent and oh my God do they LOVE to talk to him. "He speaks like an adult, not like a child!" If I had a dollar for every time I've heard this I'd be loaded. The cashiers in my local market are even charmed by him. None of them live with him though.
I am very involved with school and my husband has put him in Little League and Hockey (a perfect sport to release his aggression, but there Nicky acts like a wimp ) and my husband manages and coaches both teams to be involved. He himself is very athletic and the other kids and parents love his style. Nicky could be good in both, he has potential but he loves to give his Daddy a hard time. My husband has enrolled him in these sports teams to help with Nicky's social issues, which are another problem. He has befriended another boy on his hockey team with the same issues and at first we thought "Great, he's made a friend!". Well, two peas in a pod are not always the best thing when dealing with ADD. They drive my husband nuts during practice and games because they do not stop talking. It never ceases to amaze me how much he can talk, and he was delayed with his speech. He talks from the moment he wakes up until he goes to sleep. It's how we know he's fallen asleep, for we no longer hear the talking.
The level of stress is through the roof, and we both feel it taking a toll on our health. We can't ever get a break from him, as no one will take him for a sleepover. Everything we do or don't do is based upon whether Nicky will be happy, well behaved and/or entertained. It ALL revolves around him. I believe that my kids come first, but we have a life too. And that my daughter has sat out on vacations and outings because of the nonsense is so unfair. I don't invite our friends over because at any moment something can erupt, and escalate because he just doesn't know when to stop, and I don't need the added embarrassment. Holidays are pretty much the only time, and he usually makes sure to give me an extra hard time then knowing that I am busy and stressed as it is. Birthdays, anniversaries, holidays or any special day he likes to sabotage. If he knows you are not feeling well, he gets extra pleasure out of making you miserable.
I don't get to be a "Mommy" to him. Most of the time I'm angry, arguing, frustrated, annoyed and yelling. His childhood is flying by and it's so sad that things are this way. Once in a while (and I don't know why) he is a "normal" kid for a day. He's sweet, well behaved and I can breath again. It's cruel in a way because it lets me see how things could be. How I wish with all my heart they would be. It's a window to another life possibility, and I try to explain that to him. I try to point out that when he is like that there is no fighting or yelling, and there wouldn't be if he would act like that most of the time. But I think he gets bored with that. He likes the chaos.
We don't want to medicate him. I just don't feel these drugs have been around long enough, and who knows what effects will come to light in 10-20 years. Doctors and pharmaceutical companies just love to dispense a shot or a pill for everything nowadays. His pediatrician agreed that she is no fan of these medications either, and many others I've spoken to feel the same.
What do we do? I feel lost. Reading the other posts here have made me feel slightly better as I know we are not alone. We love our son dearly, and would do anything for him. We both believe he can be very successful someday, he has so much potential. But I also see a lot of trouble if he can't get his instigating and aggressive ways under control. His condition is a blessing in some ways (the intelligence) and a maddening situation in others. All I know is as I drive away from school after dropping him off I can feel the physical change in me. My chest loosens up, I can breathe, my head stops pounding, the stress fades and I can talk without yelling. And the reverse happens at pick-up time, I feel it all increasing because I know what will transpire. And I know homework hell is looming. It's a vicious cycle, and I go to sleep every night praying (sometimes crying) that my son will begin to ease up on some of this.
As more and more children seem to have this (there are about 6 boys in his class and I don't know how his teacher manages) the medical community and the schools need to step up their game. It takes a village to raise a child right? Something somewhere is causing this upswing and I do believe there is a remedy other than sedating them. I try to keep the faith that those questions will be answered, and a "cure" of some sort will be available someday. Til then the gray hairs keep coming faster and faster and my beauty supply store keeps making more money! LOL. 

Comments from my Living With ADHD hub on HubPages

I wrote an article several years ago on HubPages, and I get at least one or two comments a day on it from parents searching for answers, suggestions and support. I have decided to post a few of the comments here, to give them more exposure, and to help other parents who might read a bit of their own story in the words.

Meet, Kristin, a mother of a seven year old boy with ADHD, sensory issues, Anxiety and possibly ODD. These are her words:

Thank you so much for writing all of this, it is so nice to hear that we are not alone. I have a 7 year old, who 1 year ago was diagnosed with ADHD, anxiety, possible ODD, and sensory issues. LIfe with him can be so amazing, and then snap, it goes the other way so quickly. We sat on a wait list for Mental Health for 1 year and have now been going since March. It has been great, but in the same breath his behaviour when we are there is usually not too good, so it is hard for all of us to get anywhere when we are there.
It all started when he was about 2 years old, and after raising one 2 year old already ( he is now 9 and a awesome mellow, laid back boy), I knew that something wan't quite right. He was very hands one, acting out, could never sit still, the whole nine yards. Once he started school (kindergarten), it got worse, he struggled socially, has no idea how to make friends, keep friends etc., was finally designated with H designation which is a behaviour designation through the school, which did get hid a EA in the classroom. He couldn't concentrate on school, had to sit on certain chairs, couldn't fininsh school work, mouthed people off and swears like a trucker! That summer once school was finished we (my husband and I), went to our family doctor and finally got our family doctor to give the ADHD diagnosis and put him on meds (biphentin). We struggled with the Biphentin, it didn't work, kept upping it and then did a top up at 3pm of ritalin, nothing lasted very long for him. He started grade 1 and was doing a bit better, still had his EA, went to reading recovery, had alot of support in the classroom, but still was getting in trouble. Got calls from the principals office on more than a few occasions, he got sent home from throwing rocks at all the cars that were driving past the school. Then towards the end of grade one we finally got in Mental Heath, they changed his meds to conerta, kept having to up it as it would only last till about 2pm, he is now on 54mg of concerta, and is lasting most of the day.
We are still struggling though, he can very abusive, more to me and his brother, than dad (who was in denial for the longest time, but has now come around). He has hit me, punched me, pushed me down the stairs, I have gone to our appts. at mental health with bruises. He also calls us all the names in the book, and heaven for bid we wanted to go out and do anything as a family, because it always gets destroyed by his behaviour.
So far in grade 2, he has been holding it together while at school, until last week when all wheels kind of fell of. He refused to take his meds in the am, warned the teacher and told them to call us if needed. Of course, we got that call, he was being sent home for threatening kids in the class with scissors- wanting to cut their hair, tried pulling down someones pant etc., the school wanted to call family services because of all of this, but didn't once they were properly informed about Connor and his actions on a regular basis. He got everything taken away form him, all his electronics etc., and he didn't care, we could take everything away and leave him with a pillow and blanket and he wouldn't care on bit, it so frustrating.
We have been judged by parents by other parents at the school, his older brother doesn't want to have anything to do with him most of time, and even one set of grandparents until recently thought that we just needed to parent him differently and be more strict!
I feel as a parent that I am always walking on egg shells, waiting for the next one to crack, because I know that it will sooner than later! My husband works night shifts 2 nights out of 6, and that can be really stressful with me, as Connor will push every button on me, refuse to do everything for me, it is his way or the highway. He never falls asleep before 10/10:30 at night, have tried melatonin, and it doesn't do anything for him!
I keep thinking that it sucks, and why did I get a child like this, but then I look in his eyes and my heart just melts, because I think if I am feeling this way, what goes on in his little head, as he always down on himself (lacks self esteem).
Everyday is a challenge, I never know what we are going to wake up to, the prince I know he can be or the devil that comes out so quick!
It is so nice to read everyone's posts and to know that we are not alone!
Thank you all, especially you Enelle for sharing your stories!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Hello and Welcome to Our New Members

I must apologize for being remiss in welcoming our new members! I could cite several reasons and excuses, but to be completely truthful, I left it up to the individual members to contact us! I have since discovered that I, personally, find the Friend Connect feature a tad confusing so have decided to simply by pass this feature and issue a public and very heartfelt welcome via a new post.

Thank you so much for choosing to join our community! Seeing new members always makes my heart glad! It is such a joy to know that our community is not only growing, but attracting and sustaining readership across the globe! Our "mission" (to use the up-to-date vernacular,) is to educate readers about ADHD, ODD and other disabilities related to ADD and ADHD, as well as provide information, resources and support for parents and adults living with these disabilities.

We are not medical professionals, although some of our members and followers might be. We are simply parents and adults who have a unique view of ADHD. We feel our community fills a void, because we have a different perspective. We have a wealth of information and support to share with not only our members, but everyone whose lives have been touched and in many cases, changed by ADHD and its attendant disabilities.

I do hope that everyone who has joined this site since its inception has found our community helpful and informative in some way. Please feel free to use the forums if you have any questions or answers for us, and if you are interested in adding your story, please contact us at harondezyn@hotmail.com and we will be happy to add you to the author's group.

Once again, thank you for joining our community and we hope to hear from you soon!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

New Look!

For those of you who have been following my stories and hopefully taking advantage of the resources that I have here, you may have noticed the changes to the look of One Small Step...

I have recently changed the outward appearance of the site as well as added a few, new items. One of the new additions has been an actual forum, (instead of simply using the comment form,) so that members can discuss issues and challenges, as well as add their voice in support for people looking for answers. It is set up in such a way that anyone can view the topics, (or start a new one,) and comment.

Another addition is the option to shop onsite. I am a single parent, with a fixed budget that doesn't stretch to afford luxuries such as alternative medications, diet plans or reading materials...all of which are important when searching for answers to our busy and at times, stress filled lives. These additions were made with that fact in mind! I wanted to mix great selections with affordable costs, and so far I feel I have achieved that balance.

If you are searching for products, and don't see the specific one you want, I have also included a search box for your convenience.

That being said, this site isn't just about finding products that help, it's about finding the right resources, support and information that we need to make informed choices. We won't know what works or what can help if we don't have the tools available to use.

Our readership and members list is growing daily, and I hope these changes will offer more avenues of information and support.

School update

It is now day three of the new school year (at least for the school my son attends,) and so far there have been two issues that were addressed and two phone calls. Not bad for only three days!

The first issue that was dealt with (...with no phone call to come and pick up my son,) was an altercation with another student. This is a huge first! Not only did the school deal with it in a prompt manner, they also 'closed' the incident so there will be no other problems. Hallelujah!

The second issue had to do with my son's level of learning. Since grade six, the regular school system simply passed my son regardless of whether he actually learned enough information to warrant the passing grade. I have been fighting this battle with no results until now. The last school my son attended, Betty Gilbert Middle School, as well as his previous school, Ecolé Christine Morrison, both refused to fail my son, opting instead to pass him into the next grade, citing "school policy" as the reason. I don't know what good this policy is doing by simply moving children through the system as it seems to be based on the child being with his "peer group" instead of learning.

However, the first thing Apex did (my son's new school,) was to place him in the grade eight classroom instead of the grade nine class that was recommended on his final report card from last year. Finally, my son will now receive (she says with fingers crossed,) the education that has been sorely lacking for the last three years.

I was also informed by the principal, Ms. Epicch, that the only time my son will ever be sent home from school, aside from being legitimately sick, is if he comes to school under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or if he brings a weapon...both of which I am confident he will not do. (Again, with crossed fingers!)

The phone calls that I have received to date, were from the family support worker, (another plus this school has over the regular system,) who informed me that so far my son was actually completing work in the classroom and they were working on his paranoia regarding his allergies and food. The second phone call was this morning informing me that he had missed the bus. (This I already knew and had dropped him off at the office moments before the call.)

So far I am thrilled with the way they are handling and dealing with my son. There just might be a light at the end of the tunnel after all! I will keep you posted...

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Back to School

Well, all too soon, the summer is over and kids everywhere are gearing up for the first days of school...except my son! He is still more concerned with video games and visiting friends than he is with new clothes and school supplies.

He did enjoy his new school's summer program though, and with the exception of being sick for one day and trying to con his way out of a couple more, he did manage to complete the program and participate in all the activities. His reward for sticking to it is 10% towards any grade for the school year.

As the summer program was 'held' at his school, he also had a chance to get to know some of the other students who will be attending, as well as the lay out and some of the teachers, so at least when he finally attends his first day, he won't feel so lost and out of place.

He only had one day where he phoned home complaining about being picked on, and there were no phone calls from the staff asking me to come and get him due to his behavior. That in itself gives me hope for his grade nine experience!

My son also had to take public transportation to and from the summer program, which has given him the opportunity to experience a wider world. He adapted quite well to riding the bus, which gave me the idea to expand his horizons a bit more by showing him how to get from our house to his friends house (over an hours drive away) using the skytrain (ELRT - elevated lite rail transportation.) By the time he comes home, he should be more than able to take the bus to the ELRT station ane visit his friend without me tagging along...we shall wait and see how successful this experiment is...

One small step towards independence...

Thursday, June 16, 2011

A Fresh Start

This past week has been a busy one. My son and I attended an intake meeting with the school coordinator at a new school, and toured the facilities. I must say I'm rather impressed with what I saw.

There are just over 100 students in the school, from grades seven to twelve, with the average classroom size being 10 to 15 students per class, with 3 adults (one teacher, one TA and one counselor,) in each class. The school also introduces itself as a family instead of a school, which appeals to kids like mine. The school caters to kids who don't fit in the regular school system, or have been in trouble, making it appear to be a good fit for my son.

After speaking with the coordinator, who is also filling the Vice Principal position, I feel relieved and confident that my son will do well there. There is a bus system, plus a lunch program - meals are prepared on the premises - and not only do they prepare lunches, they also serve breakfast. There is a small 'shop' where woodworking and mechanical work are done, a small weight room, music room and gymnasium along with the regular classrooms. There is also a counseling room (should it become necessary) and several counselors available throughout the day.

Because the size of the school is much smaller than regular schools, the staff is better able to assist with students who are having troubles - not understanding, not willing to participate, not willing to work, etc. The students are allowed to listen to music and stand at their desks if that is what helps them to complete the work. Their curriculum is also tailored to their individual needs and strengths, to better facilitate their willingness and ability to learn.

The school also runs a five week long summer day camp from Monday to Thursday each week that provides some academics as well as activities and field trips. The coordinator suggested (as he does with each new registration) that my son attend as this will help the staff to tailor his schooling and get him used to the school, meet some of the students, and settle in.

Overall, I'm pleased and hopeful this next year will be more productive for my son, both with academics and social interaction. He is already looking forward to summer day camp and attending regular classes there. Now if we can just keep his interest....

Monday, April 4, 2011

Life With a Learning Disabled Child:My Own Story

Nic today with his new wife Shannon
As with most first-time Mothers, the parenthood journey started long before the actual birth and encompassed a plethora of worries.  When my son Nicholas finally did arrive, kicking and screaming, I took my final cleansing breath of relief, without an inkling of what lie ahead for both of us. At that point in time, I was elated, high on the wonders of childbirth, my son’s tiny perfect hands and the ability to sleep, if only for a few hours when he was shuffled back to the nursery. My family and friends visited, we drank champagne to celebrate this incredible moment in time, and toasted in a new year and a new life. It was December 31st, New Year’s Eve and a wonderful day to be born.
When I returned to my apartment with my bundle of joy, life would never be the same. As a single mother, I learned quickly that everything had to be carefully planned, from showers to shopping; I had a new appreciation for Mothers everywhere and wondered if they ever felt as inadequate as I did.  To top it off, it seemed like whatever I did, Nicholas would not stop crying and although everyone kept telling me to “just relax, babies do cry” I could not just let him cry. His pediatrician assured me that he was fine, and that he probably just had a touch of “colic” a condition, by the way, that I still don’t completely understand. Nicholas was eventually put on a goat’s milk formula which did seem to agree with him best and I spent many hours rocking, holding, singing and dancing him sleep. It was the motion that seemed to be the most calming, with a quick cruise around the block becoming my favorite fussy baby fix!
To say that Nicholas was an active toddler is an extreme understatement. He was busy, stubborn and difficult to handle, doing best with a consistent daily routine and constant one-to-one interaction. He was always very social and athletic however, which was a plus when he entered daycare. There were concerns about Nicholas’ behavior though, and even at this age, his daycare and preschool teachers commented that he was frequently disruptive and defiant, especially during activities that required him to remain quiet, and pay attention to instruction. This did not surprise me in the least because I had the same frustrating experience with Nicholas at home. When it came time for Kindergarten, I was incredibly worried that he was just not ready, willing or able to comply with the most basic requests. In addition, Nicholas was not reading or writing, it was apparent that this was very difficult for him and he literally threw a fit whenever I attempted to review these essential skills!
Amazingly, he got through Kindergarten and part of First Grade with a few good friends and memories before the dreaded call came requesting my presence at a meeting with concerned school staff regarding Nicholas’ progress and placement. The condensed version: they suggested that Nicholas be assessed for placement in the district’s special education program, theoretically moving him into a class with 8 or 9 special-needs children,  located in a trailer on the same elementary school campus. Of course I wanted him to learn with more individualized attention, and so I agreed to the proposed plan, and so began the battery of tests for Nicholas and meetings for me.
Unfortunately, things got much worse after Nicholas’ move and in the years to come. He was questioned and teased relentlessly by his previous classmates and so Nicholas’ behavior became much worse. He became angry and more uncooperative as the positive social interaction that he once shared with his peers was gone, replaced by a boy who felt isolated and different.
He went from learning disabled to learning disabled with oppositional behavior, the initial official diagnoses was ADHD with ODD, or Attention Deficit Disorder with Oppositional Defiant Disorder. This changed over the years though, as reflected in numerous IEP, or Individual Educational Placement Reports. I tried to learn as much as I could by asking questions but I was told repeatedly to take the various diagnoses notes with a grain of salt as they frequently sounded worse than they really were to obtain sufficient funding. This only added to my worry however as these files were a part of Nicholas' permanent school record and identity. I felt helpless to do anything about it. The nightmare continued and eventually landed Nicholas in a private school that was about 40 miles away from our apartment. 
By this time, nearing the end of 5th grade, he decided that it was far better to be bad than stupid and after a short adjustment period, he seemed to fit right in, although I don’t know how beneficial this was. He was picking things up from his new classmates that made learning even more difficult and things at home impossible. Trying to work full time, drive Nic (as he now liked to be called) to school every day because he was embarrassed to ride in the little yellow bus and then set limits for an impossible and constantly testing child was taking a toll on me. The therapy sessions that Nic and I attended were not much help either at this point because Nic would not talk. He would just sit in silence, arms crossed and angry. I tried everything from behavior modification to punching bags on the porch.
But then, as I contemplated filling out an application for Wilderness Camp, Nic got to know a teacher at his school named Greg who seemed to share Nic’s love of sports. One of the problems with many privately run special education schools and programs is that they don’t have a strong focus on sports, perhaps understandable due to a lack of funding. As Nic’s friends and peers were playing High School Football, he watched from the sidelines, wanting to be part of something he always loved. Greg understood this gap in the system and made an effort to start a Sports Program at the school, and challenged Nic to help. If you don’t like something change it, and so they did. Having Jerseys made and arranging practice and game schedules, they succeeded in starting something that Nic now attributes to helping strengthening his body and mind, allowing him to make it through an educational system that didn’t seem to understand him.
Nic continues to struggle academically but after high school and as he began to mature, his attitude improved making life much easier than it was before. He still avoids everyday tasks like filling out forms, and situations where he may have to read out loud or be put on the spot but his love of sports, exercise, health and animals has reaffirmed his self-worth. He is without a doubt, still a work in progress who will never forget his journey. Last July, 2010, he married his girlfriend Shannon, who is, ironically, a 5th grade teacher who specializes in special education and family counseling. Nic is working as a mechanic and enjoys coaching football and basketball at the school Shannon works at. Although I don’t think I’ll convince Nic to further his education any time soon, he is a relatively happy individual and I am very proud of how far he has come.
This certainly is not the end of a happily-ever-after story by any means, but I think it’s a message to us as parents and citizens of society that one size does not fit all. One must feel hope and a sense of accomplishment. When we get out of bed in the morning, if there is nothing to look forward to then our performance will indeed reflect that lack of purpose in all that we do. For young people especially, they are all so different and must be allowed to learn and express themselves in many sometimes unconventional ways. We must be able to tune into and further develop their strengths as well as diagnose their weaknesses. As neighbors, friends, family and parents--children are the future and we must act as advocates, sometimes finding a hidden purpose within them that they do not even know exists.


Parents Insights

My son had a bad day at school last week, he was in music class (mind you he is in 2nd grade) and the music teacher asked him "to keep his hands to himself." How many times as a parent have we said that phrase?  Anyway, my son got extremely aggressive for no reason and started yelling at the music teacher.  His sudden outburst scared the teacher and she sent him to the principle's office. 

Well, they called me and I had to rush to school to get him.  He was expelled, but the principle thought he needed to "calm" down. I was shocked, embarrassed and didn't even know what to say.  Well, after I got in the car with my son, he explained that he was just "mad" at the teacher for yelling at him.  It took all my strength not to yell and scream at him either.  However, to get him to calm down I had to calm down myself and help him understand that he cannot act like that in school.  He explained that he was just mad....but he doesn't act like that ever.  So the sudden surprise of it was just plain shocking to me! 

Anyway, after he understood that his behavior was wrong and that he shouldn't do it at school he said he was sorry.  I think he understood.  But have other parents encountered these sudden outbursts and been totally taken by surprise by it? 

He is such a good boy and I was totally surprised!! Please share your experiences....

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Personal Update

Recently, after reading an email from a member regarding her son's behavior, I thought to myself that I was quite fortunate to see changes in my own son's behavior, to the point where things were becoming smoother at home and at school.

I would like to recant that statement!

It would appear that my son's behavior has not changed sufficiently to warrant that all elusive pat on the back! I received a phone call from my son's principal this morning in which he told me that my son would be staying home from school for two days for swearing at his teacher.

I have no idea what prompted his outburst, but I do know that he obviously has a long way to go before I can rest on my laurels.

All the frustration and depression that I had managed to overcome came flooding back in an instant and I feel like I did when I first started on this journey.

So many parents ask me how I manage to cope with the behaviors, acting out, disrespect and sometimes down right rudeness that seems to cling to these children like lint on a wool sweater, and the only advice I can give is to be consistent, set up counseling for your child, get some support and be kind to yourself.

Well, we have counseling in place, and I have support, but at times like this, nothing seems to help rid me of the feelings of isolation, guilt, and frustration.

I have to say that these feelings will abate after a day or so, but in that time frame there isn't much that I can do to feel better, with the exception of crawling back into bed and sleeping away the next few days!

However, that isn't going to happen, even though that is exactly what I feel like doing! Writing, and sharing my stories with other parents facing the same challenges does help. Also, knowing that my son is getting older and will be better able to control his outbursts quiets some of the anxiety. I just wish it didn't take so long for the epiphanies to manifest.

I was told just the other day that my son is taking a "hard road" and seems to learn his life lessons the hard way, and I'm sure that other parents with children like mine have been told the same thing.

Unfortunately, there doesn't appear to be any type of solution for that problem...at least not one that I have been made aware. So for the time being, it's back to the drawing board. I think there are several household chores that have my son's name on them. It might not hurt to show him what happens when you don't have a good education...

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Community News

Today marks the beginning of an online community for parents raising children with ADHD, ADD, ODD, OCD, and ADHD/ODD. There is a need for this community, and for more awareness about these disabilities and their affect on parents and children.

Society views children with these disorders as "hard to handle", "difficult", "unruly", "undisciplined", or worse yet, as "bad seeds". Parents of these enigmatic children are often ostracized, criticized, shunned, and simply labeled as poor or bad parents.

One the plus side, there has been more television exposure regarding ADHD and ADD, as celebrities come forward with personal stories regarding these disabilities. This is a huge step forward for us "regular folk", and gives us a glimpse of what might be, however, not all of our children will become celebrities, and enjoy their success.

Even with the rise of exposure, parents raising these children continue to struggle. Resources are fragmented and difficult to find, leaving us feeling isolated and confused. Support groups are often outside our areas, or non-existent, which furthers the feelings of isolation.

An online community can reach anyone - world-wide - all that is needed is an internet connection. Parents can now connect with each other; share their stories, resources and receive much needed support. If you are a parent struggling to raise one (or more,) of these charismatic and often times exasperating children, or you know of someone who is, please join or pass this on.

Monday, March 14, 2011

New ADHD Book Release

Today was a very exciting day. Today marked the day a  newly released book, "part-time Genius full-time Job" was published on Enelle's Book Case. It is available as a paperback edition and a download-able e-Book.

The story is a candidly personal account of raising an ADHD child and chronicles the many challenges, trials and triumphs involved. Reading the book is akin to following in the author's footsteps as she leads you into her life with her son. Chances are, if you are reading this, you or someone you know, might see familiar experiences mirrored within the pages.

Part-time Genius full-time Job also offers support, resources and information for parents looking for validation and solutions. This publication hopes to raise awareness of ADHD by bringing humor, hard truths and social issues together in an insightful manner.

This book is a must read for everyone, not only parents and children experiencing similar challenges. Families facing these difficulties need the support and understanding of professionals, communities and other family members, and "part-time Genius full-time Job" provides the right platform with the right formula at the right time.

An interview with the author, and reader reviews will be forthcoming soon, and I will post them here when they are published.

*You can read an excerpt of the book at Enelle's Book Case - I welcome your comments.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Dr. Mel Levine

Today I discovered something that could be viewed as a set back for children with disabilities. I recently joined Twitter, and was browsing through tweets and related articles, when I came across a headline stating: Pediatrician in Abuse Case Killed Himself.

Being curious, I clicked on the link and was surprised to discover that the pediatrician was none other than Dr. Melvin Levine, the same Dr. Levine who with Charles Schwab,  founded a nonprofit group, All Kinds of Minds, that has trained thousands of teachers, a link to which I have listed on my Resources page.

This news now begs the question, do I remove my link to All Kinds of Minds from my site, or do I keep it?  In no way do I condone any type of abuse - be it animal, children, elderly, spousal or any other, and there is a lot of good quality, relevant information on All Kinds of Minds, that I am loathe to ignore or remove simply because of bad press.

For now, the link will stay, simply because we need as much good resource material as we can find.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Blogs on ADHD

I recently came across a few blogs that also discuss ADD, ADHD and other attendant disabilities, and I thought it would be a good idea to call your attention to them as well. My attempt with this blog is to deliver as much information as possible to the people who need it, myself included!

The first blog on the list has an extensive list of resources you might find very helpful. I will be updating my on-site resources as well, to try and keep abreast of the information available, but I am not adverse to sending you to another blog if that will help you find the info that you need.


There are many others, and I have only listed a few of the ones on the main Google search page. I'm not sure if any of these blogs deal with ODD or OCD, but there are some wonderful stories and resources available on them, and they are definitely worth reading!

Additional Resources

Hi again! I know it's been a while since I have posted, so I want to make it up to you by giving you more resources to help with your "behavioral" child/children. I know this might sound like I'm jumping the gun by saying that, but as I have my own "behavioral" child to raise, I know I need as many resources as possible!

Some good news (I think!) My son's school has informed me that there is a program available for him for next year instead of attending a regular grade 9 class. Hallelujah!!! I have been very concerned that he will get eaten alive when he starts high school, or worse, booted out before spring break!
There are only so many things we, as parents, can do to help our kids once they hit school, so I was very pleased that there is an alternate solution for my son's needs.

Don't get me wrong, my son is very bright. But he is also very bored! He really hates school (not that I blame him, I didn't like it much either, and I'm sure most of you felt the same way,) but unfortunately, he doesn't have a choice, which in turn makes my life harder. I'm sure many of you have been, or soon will be in my shoes.

I am always on the look-out for more resource material and books that can help with my son's behaviors. I have found some that I didn't see on my last trip to my library, so I decided I should add them to the site so others could make use of them too. Hopefully there is something here that can help you as well.