He’s gotten worse over the course of the summer, and even noticeably over the last few weeks. My wife and I are at our wits’ end about our son’s inability to process and respond appropriately to adult guidance. We’re really feeling for the educators. One of the things allowing me to hold it together this summer is that my son is getting help. As this worried father writes, we’re preparing to get his first prescription filled.
Moving Past the Condition
My son is an A student, but has never excelled in deportment. He is large, loud, outgoing, high-spirited and social – many teachers’ worst nightmare. That made it difficult to separate the clinical problem from the boy’s nature. Now, after three appointments with the psychiatrist who helped a friend’s son, we have some clarity and a direction. Our son is now diagnosed to suffer from both the ‘attention deficit’ and the ‘hyperactivity’ components of the condition: ADHD, big as life and twice as ugly.
What’s Still Concerning
At first we held out hope that he wouldn’t need to be medicated. My son is too much, and I never want him to become less. My wife and I had heard of children who barely stir in their chemical haze. Teachers are happy, but what happens to the wonder of childhood and the rightful thrill of growing up? With our front-row vantage on his experience, we’re now more worried about potential elevated heart-rate, loss of appetite and episodes of heightened emotional sensitivity under the prescribed medication, a Ritalin-based treatment in preference to the Amphetamine alternatives.
Following a short vacation, my son begins fifth grade. At his particular school, this is a significant step up in academic challenge and self-management. He’ll be taking technology classes. Without intervention, he would go down in a disorganized blaze of demerits, late or missing assignments and growing gaps in his educational preparation. We’re confident in this doctor and hopeful for the medication to help the young man focus and meet the social, academic and maturation challenges of growing up. He can remain a high-achiever and get ready for the future of his dreams.
Our friend who referred us to the doctor has a renewed, close and endearing relationship with her son. They do many things together, and he has become a model citizen and improved student in my son’s class. We’re thrilled for them and ever grateful their experience was shared with such timeliness.
I don’t know for sure what my son’s experience with treatment will be. He now has the opportunity to turn around an undeserved reputation for misbehavior and develop the responsibility he needs. The kid dreams of going away to the only High School in the state with a working science lab in his chosen specialty, then UC Berkeley, graduate school and field research in China. Undistracted by ADHD, he has his shot to make it happen.