Sunday, January 2, 2011

"It's going to change his whole life!"

Over the holidays, we realized another dimension of Jonas' struggle with ADHD. It's the flip-side of the "It's all a bunch of hooey!" coin - the miracle cure believers. They embrace the ADHD diagnosis and our decision to try medication, but think that this miracle drug is "going to change his whole life!" I wasn't sure at first what they meant by that but I soon realized it isn't as positive as it sounds.

ADHD isn't something that we're going to "fix" with a pill. There's nothing broken! Jonas' brain is wired differently than the other 75% of the population and that means that we have to change the way we think and the way we do things. There are lots of ADHD success stories to be encouraged by, but they aren't about people taking a pill every day and magically turning into a completely different person. Heck! We don't want a different kid. The one we have is amazing!

One amazing kid!

The two biggest impacts of Jonas' ADHD are in school and his relationships. Our biggest hope is that taking this medication will help him focus better at school so that, along with a bunch of other accommodations, he can be a successful learner. He struggles, too, in his social relationships. Like most kids, he has to learn those vital social skills, and sometimes it takes him a little while longer to get it. This makes dealing with his peers hard sometimes but he has a good heart, and that shines through to most of the other kids most of the time. Other kids have a lot of their own learning to do too, and that adds to the challenge.

His relationships with adults is an entirely different ball of wax. A child is rarely the driver of those relationships. There's a power indifference there that makes him very vulnerable. Saying that he'll be a different kid is too uncomfortably close to saying that he's not good enough as he is. It's sort of like a stick in the mud approach where he's expected to make all the changes. Even with the right medication, Jonas is still going to need lots of help to get through his days smoothly, and with as little stress for everyone as possible. He's only seven after all. We're counting on the key adults in his life to realize that our attitudes, and the way we interact with him, are crucial. Someone wiser than me once said that if you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem. This isn't going to change his whole life unless we change right along with it!


1 comment:

  1. Absofrackinlutely! I agree 100% I learned a long time ago that 50% of how my children behave or are feeling is directly related to how I feel that day or how I am dealing with my world that day.
    I have also learned to smile sweetly and unashamed at any stranger who watches my little darling throwing a fit. I know they are judging every word I say/don't say or every move I make/don't make. That is their right. I don't care. They aren't me, they don't live in my world. I think for some people the stares from strangers is the hardest part of having a differently thinking child. It no doubt takes more effort to speak to other parents on the playground when your kid is the one who has his hands over his ears screaming "SHUT UP" at the top of his voice because the noise/chaos has gotten to be too much for him to process.
    My advice: stay strong, be your own counsel because nobody knows your child better, and remember you are a GREAT parent who created and even GREATER child with a brain so unique that they rank up there with some of the best thinkers in history.
    And, don't be afraid to tell other important adults in your child's life that your child needs special accommodations for difficult behaviour or good behaviour. It will create less stress for your child when their consequences are the same as at home no matter where they are. I have sat in the middle of the grocery store isle for five minutes because one of my children needed a time out. Consistency is key!