We’ve been having some issues since school started. Actually, since he started school. Yes, I’m talking about my youngest. And, I’m not going to make this post filled with fluffy, poetic words (not that I could, anyway, I’m no poet), I’m just going to tell it like it is.
ADD and anxiety suck. Having a learning disability blows. Combine those and you have a kid that the public school system doesn’t quite know what to do with. Kids like that don’t fit into the standardized testing pigeonhole. And private schools, where they do fit, are too expensive. Especially when you’re a one-income family and that one-income is that of a teacher whose pay just got cut. Another story, another blog post, I suppose.
Over the last couple years, we’ve tried a few different ADD meds. As many of you unfortunately know, the side-effects can be horrifying. So, we took him off those lovely pills.
He’s been floundering, though. Barely getting by in school, particularly in math. But, because math causes such tremendous stress on him, it carries forward into the rest of the school days and negatively effects his learning. And, we are now at the point where he’s at a deficit pretty much across the board because of it. And, he’s aware of it which has killed his confidence.
I can’t blame the teachers, they can’t spend the day helping him exclusively when they have overcrowded classrooms. Lessons have to move at a certain rate because hey…Michigan Educational standards MUST be met, to hell with those kids who inevitably will fall through the cracks. Again, I’m not blaming the teachers.
When you have kids that are ‘normal’…meaning no ADD, depression, anxiety, learning disabilities…anything that wouldn’t fall within what would be considered normal…that’s really when you’re truly astounded by how lacking our school systems are. Because, the resources available aren’t necessarily the resources necessary for each child. They all have different needs. Yet, there are still those little sub-pigeonholes. One size fits all doesn’t work for clothing, how can it work for education…special needs or otherwise.
Now that we are dealing with middle school again…it has been quite a few years since my big kids were in there, I had almost forgotten what it was like. Well, now my baby is in 6th grade..middle school. He attends a wonderful one. It’s really a great school run by amazing administrators and taught by a terrific bunch of educators.
None of them seem to know what to do with my kid. Never have, though. So, why would I have expected anything different?
So, let’s rewind a bit, shall we?
This past summer, we started him on Prosac. It seemed to be working fine and dandy. His anxiety was pretty non-existent.
It was summer. What kids even have stress during the summer?
Then, of course, school started again.
There went our happy-go-lucky, singing around the house and being silly kid…
Suddenly, not only did his anxiety kick into high gear but so did his ADD. He was fast-forward all the time. And, where he typically was able to control his impulses…not so much anymore.
This past Friday, after a boatload of complaining about math to anyone who pretended to be listening in the school’s office, my son hiked his backpack over his shoulders and walked out of the building.
Now, mind you, he had talked about doing that before, back in elementary school. But, he’d never done that. Ever. He begrudgingly would suck it up and spend the rest of the day, at his desk, sulking.
Remember earlier on when I said no impulse control anymore? After sitting on a bench by the front door of the school for around 10 minutes and no one noticing, my son decided to walk the 3.5 miles home. Without that impulse control, he did whatever his young mind told him to do. In this case, it told him to hightail it home.
Strangely, I had been driving toward the school to drop off some money for an after school event when I noticed a vaguely family figure walking along the sidewalk about a half mile from my neighborhood. As I got closer to him, my heart hammering in my chest, I realized it was, indeed, A VERY familiar figure.
So, after I freaked out at him, I called the school.
Thankfully, there will be no suspension. He just has to check in at the office after every class.
Clearly, there are issues that need to be dealt with on both ends. We are able to deal with it on our end, we don’t have an overcrowded school. We just have a lack of that green resource. You know, it’s expensive to have a kid that needs stuff above and beyond the necessities. (Duh, right?) Which brings me back to the whole…public school doesn’t really have the resources or the time to spend on a kid that doesn’t fit into that stupid pigeonhole…not sure how we are going to effectively deal with it on the school end to ensure he is academically successful.
It’s quite overwhelming.
Now we are trying a new med. Straterra. Because, if he can’t fit in, focus and learn the way things are being taught, then we have to medicate him and hope we find the right cocktail to make them do all those things.
This medicine…we are on Day 3..and he’s essentially zombified until his young body adjusts to this foreign substance.
He’s a wreck. My husband and I aren’t much better. Because this is our kid and we like him the way he is, without the meds. But, it seems the only way to get him through school is to medicate him. It’s a vicious cycle, it seems.
Aside from a math tutor and counseling, we are not sure what else to do. No matter how many people I ask, no one has any ideas.
This is my kid. I want to see him succeed. And, I’m not sure that is going to happen at this point. Not if we aren’t able to obtain the right kind of resources for him. Whatever that may look like.
Which is why I am writing this. Because, just maybe, one of my friends..or one of their friends…can give us ideas.
I’m just a mom who wants to find a way to help her kid. Why does that have to be so freaking difficult?