I am sure many people watch their children at their activities and think, Wow! Jimmy is so good at basketball, or Sara is so cute when she kicks the soccer ball around. Until this month, I never really had that satisfaction when watching my oldest in any of his activities. I was always anxious at these events.
Is he going to hit someone today, or poke them incessantly until they cry? Is he going to listen to the instructor or get sent out of class for a reset / time out because he is not listening again? Why is he bouncing around like that during swimming class, when no other kid in this crawling-with-children swimming pool is behaving this way? Is he going to lash out, angry that he is unable to focus or keep up….again?
There was no contest when my oldest was finally diagnosed with ADHD after a very long fight against bringing him in for outside treatment. We had extensive documentation, testing, and input from all areas of his life to help aide in this diagnosis. Medication was not a super hard choice for us, as we were desperate to HELP this kiddo who was exhausted and struggling each and every day. (* side note – medication is definitely NOT for everyone, and a really hard choice for many to make.) I was tired of my sweet boy being seen by other parents and kids as a bully. We talked about kindness all the time. He could comprehend, but no apply the lessons I so desperately wanted him to internalize.
I just wanted to share a little of what we have seen in the past three weeks. Guys, I actually teared up at my guys’s basketball game last week. He was…. Wait for it…. WATCHING THE GAME. Cheering on his teammates. Engaged and focused. He paid attention, seemed to have a lot of fun, and for the first time ever in a game, tried to make a basket. (Pay no attention to the funny little dude throwing the ball straight up in the air and running away with arms protecting his head….. HEY, we’re making progress here, baby steps).
I could care less what level of skill he has, and I am not some crazy parent who needs their kid to be a star athlete. Um, no. BUT. When your kid clearly expresses that they want to participate in an activity but then struggle repeatedly to even follow the simplest of instructions, you feel lost. You want to help them, but every effort is not enough to calm their brains and help them reset. Physical activity, heavy work, various therapies and more…. Without success.
Ryan is on a very low dose of medication twice daily, and it is just enough to get him through his days. In the past three weeks, Ryan has gone from being on red or yellow (no bueno) to consistent green days at school without a problem. We have yelled FAR less in our home, and experienced significantly less struggles with daily living activities. His personality remains intact, he is still hilarious and sweet and smart, and these shine through more than ever. It seems that his little brain can now focus and the constant background buzzing he dealt with, has ceased. Luckily, he has not experienced any side effects other than difficulty falling asleep the first two nights.
I am not saying this medication is a miracle drug. Absolutely not. He will need to learn ways to handle his symptoms and not rely only on medication. He may not choose medication when he is older. Often, medication will just stop working or will need to be tweaked due to physiological changes or illness. Many variables come into play. But for our family and our big dude, this medication has literally changed his life. And I am so grateful. It is one option in a sea of many resoures that we utilize.
So if you see a mom crying in the stands at your child’s next extracurricular activity…maybe she is not only sad, frustrated, or crazy. Maybe she is overjoyed with something only she and her tribe can understand. Maybe she is just really happy 🙂