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talking2.gif (12161 bytes)Coming Out Of The Dark! Surviving An Academic Nightmare!  Recipient, April 12, 1999, of the Prestigious "Talking Hands" Award for "...creative excellence provid[ing] a web site which teaches, contains teaching elements in sufficient detail, and otherwise leave[s] a visitor with something of significant value after returning to their normal daily activities."   Check out the original location at: http://members.tripod.com/myson70/grid1MainPage.html

    

Coming Out Of The Dark! Surviving An Academic Nightmare!

Did you ever hear that the best way to get over a bad dream is to talk about it? Maybe saying it in daylight with the sun shining, the dream would somehow lose that terrifying feeling. Well, here as best as I can tell it, is not only my nightmare, but also my son's. If you have any light to shine on it to help us deal with the darkness, we would be forever grateful.

My son is in many ways an average teenager,but to look at him, you would never know the turmoil he has been through. From day one, my son was absolutely astonishing! He walked at 7 months, rode a 2-wheeler alone (no training wheels) by 4 years old, and was a constant blur going-going-gone. He was in constant motion and absolutely beautiful to us, his parents. He was our first child. My son was very unique, as I saw it, compared to a lot of other children I knew his age. What seemed normal to us, now as I look back, were unmistakable signs of what was later to be learned as a disability. He could never focus on anything for long, and for instance, when his friends would play with their toys for hours, my son would dump out his toy box and quickly lose interest. That is when I started to be anxious because he just didn't seem to fit in anywhere. Family and friends would make comments like, "he's so bad", "he's a wild man", and would say it all the time. I felt like I couldn't do anything right, and I was a young mother with nothing to compare him to, so in order to protect him, we pretty much isolated ourselves. I truly felt like maybe God was punishing me, for what, I don't know.

One night when my child was four years old, my husband and I got a family friend (a teenager at the time), to stay with him. We had known this teenager all of his life. We were to find out later that this person, who was probably a victim himself, abused our child. The memory of this was too much for a 4 year old child. He did not begin to tell us until he was 9 years of age. We are still dealing with the fallout from this. After this event, our child suffered an emotional shutdown. He did not want to be held or hugged. I cried inside, knowing my child was hurting, but I didn't know how to reach him.

Kindergarten, 1rst & 2nd grade came. There were bus notices, teacher's conferences, phone calls from the principal. I knew without a shadow of a doubt that something was very wrong with my child, but the school would say that he "just wanted attention, so he chose to act out". I knew in my heart that he wanted to be like everyone else, to have friends & fit in. He was constantly missing recess, sitting in the corner. We would go into the school to eat lunch with our son, which was a big deal to him. He would have to eat with his head down, because he had lunch detention. Usually he had the detention for getting out of his seat, running in the hall, and blurting out answers to questions. Yet, he never missed a day of school, because he wanted to learn so badly. In third grade, he began to tell us about the abuse. We took him to therapy. Because the event happened years before, a report was filed about the abuser, and he was childlined. My son was taken from child psychologist to therapists, to social workers, and each time absolutely agonized as he relived what had been done. He was also in turmoil at school, where we had team meetings, where every teacher would state that NO ONE like my son, and that he was interfering with the other students' education. He was finally tested by the school psychologist, who found him to be non-exceptional. Although at this time, a psychiatrist diagnosed him as ADD/ODD (Attention Deficit Disorder + Oppositional Defiant Disorder), and he was place on medication. He also tested almost 2 years behind grade level. He was in trouble constantly, and began to perceive himself as bad. I remember at one of the meetings, I sat on one side of the table and 8 professionals sat on the other and began to "BRAINSTORM" ways to get my son's behavior under control. Included in these were for him to be sent home when they couldn't handle him, and also paddling was an option. My son couldn't take any change in his routine. If they had a substitute teacher, the school would call, and he would be sent home for the day. The further behind he got academically, he started to feel like, not only was he bad, but he must be stupid also.

Because, he didn't understand what everybody else was learning. So, as a defense mechanism, so that the other kids wouldn't tease him by knowing he couldn't do the work, he would act out, get sent home, or get taken out of class.

He felt it was "Cool" to be tough so that no one could hurt him anymore. Prior to 5th grade, my son was riding his bike, lost control, and flew over the handlebars, causing him to go headfirst into a parked car. The ambulance was called, and my son was life-flighted. It caused him to have a head injury that resulted in a grand mall seizure. I shared this information with the school starting into 5th grade.

I told the principal, and his teacher of this accident.

By 5th grade, he was starting to get into fights, and I was picking him up on a regular basis. He had more detentions than I could count, and I got so fed up with him being thrown off the bus, that I was taking him. In each offense, the school would always tell me that my son had started it. He would come home and tell me, "nobody listens to me, I tried to tell the teacher. She sent me to the principal. The principal said she didn't want to hear it.

I hate myself."

When they would call me to come and get him, I would hear people's voices raised when I was heading for the office--they were loud, angry voices. When I would get to the office, I would see my son sitting in the chair surrounded by the principal, the guidance counselor, and the teacher. He looked like a "CAGED ANIMAL". Even though, every time I would try not to cry in front of them, the tears would start. The guidance counselor would state to my son, "Look what you are doing to your mother." My son would say on the way home, "I'm sorry, I will try to be good."

With how the school would punish my son throughout elementary, I would feel as if they were trying to undermine my parenting skills. After he would have been punished at school, the principal would CALL ME to see how he had been reprimanded at home. By the time that I would get him home, I could literally see how upset he was with himself, when in reality, he didn't have any control of his actions.

A child with ADD/ODD, is very impulsive, suffers from low self esteem, puts up a defense, nothing seems to bother him, argues with adults. Check out my son's handicap page linked below........

One day in the cafeteria, a child, who was twice as big as my son had a problem with my child because he cut in line. So, he proceeded to bang his head off of the ice cream cooler, throw him on the floor, and stood on his back, wearing work boots.....Read the next link pertaining to the
fight!

Explaining My Son's Disability!

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Last modified: April 15, 1999 02:32:19 AM

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