When my son started elementary school a couple of years ago, I was delighted to find that there was day care on the school grounds. He was in morning kindergarten, so he went there after school at 11 AM. I wasn’t crazy about how small the day care room was, but I was told that they used the playscape outside extensively. The big draw was that Lawrence was right there on school grounds, and would be picked up at the door to his classroom.
In retrospect, I realize that we weren’t given any information about how discipline was handled, which I now know to be a red flag.
I’m reading “Green Eggs and Ham” to my son Lawrence before bed. Actually, he’s reading it to me, which is very exciting. He’s doing really well. I only have to help him with about one word out of ten. I read way ahead of my level when I was his age, and it seems that he’s going to be just as good.
The thing I’m noticing, though, is that while he’s reading, he’s wiggling around on the bed, almost falling off sometimes, although his eyes are fixed on the book. Come to think of it, he does this when we’re going over flash cards at the dining table, wiggling around on the chair. He also, which I’ve never seen in another kid, jumps up and down in place when he’s playing a video game, usually when he’s at a part that’s particularly difficult.
It dawns on me that this is probably why his kindergarten teacher told us about bodily-kinesthetic intelligence when we were discussing Lawrence’s problems sitting still in class.
So, as I said in my last SharePost, my son was recently diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. I had my doubts about the diagnosis. Lawrence’s behavior didn’t exactly fit ADHD, and the doctor also is known for diagnosing ADHD pretty frequently. But I had decided to go with it for now and give the medication, Vyvanse, a shot.
Treatment for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is, on its surface, somewhat insane. You would think that giving someone who’s hyperactive a sedative is, to say the least, counterintuitive. But the brains of people with ADHD react in a completely opposite manner to amphetamines than people without ADHD. Amphetamines make us calmer and more focused. Strange but true.
1. Recognize that clinical depression is a disease. Internalizing this fact will help your child in two ways. One, it will hopefully keep you from blaming yourself or your child. This is no one’s fault. Second, if you think of depression as a disease instead of a choice your child is making, you won’t say anything stupid like, “Why don’t you just pull yourself together,” or “Stop feeling sorry for yourself.”
2. Don’t freak out. This will definitely not help your child. Clinical depression can be successfully treated more than 80% of the time. As long as your child has a good doctor and supportive parents, he or she has a very good chance of recovering. Notice that last part – while everyone with depression really needs a good doctor, supportive parents are absolutely critical for a child with depression.
Around January this year, my husband and I got the dreaded summons from our son’s kindergarten teacher to meet with her about a problem with Lawrence. It was not a complete surprise – she had told us that she had some concerns. Lawrence was having some mild behavioral problems, in that he was having trouble conforming to the classroom structure.
I knew what she was talking about. I had observed him myself in class, when I took the morning off to help with the Halloween party. He ran everywhere in the room instead of walking. Unlike most of the other children (there were a couple of boys who acted like him), he fidgeted and talked out of turn.
“Grandma Nancy,” my son informed me tonight, as he has done several times before, “does a much better job scratching my back.” “Yes, I know, honey,” I sighed, as I tried to slow down the tempo of said back scratching. “It’s because she’s much calmer than me.” Since Lawrence was a toddler, my stepmother has, on demand, indulged him with a few minutes of back-scratching whenever she sees him, during which he becomes absolutely boneless and quiet. She is somehow able to transmit her calm and sense of center to him.
Loving hug and kiss between mother and son.
“I love you, honey.”
“I love you too, Mommy.”
“Mommy, I got snot in your hair.”