I was recently inspired by a hater who thinks I’m “CRAZY” because I write this blog. This opened my eyes to the fact that there are probably many people who think I’m crazy for airing my dirty laundry onto the Internet, and I felt the need to step onto my soapbox for a moment. Thank you for humoring me.
What’s even more inspirational to me than the “haters that are gonna hate” is the many more people who have contacted me to let me know that they have found peace in knowing that someone else has similar experiences to theirs. I am so inspired by the support from people who would have never known our stories had I not shared them. I am NOT the kind of parent or person who sweeps things under the rug, nor will I ever be. I do not look at this opportunity to share our stories with whomever wishes to read them as “airing our dirty laundry,” but rather look at it as showing how an absolutely incredible, but extremely misunderstood child has been able to find his wings and soar above and beyond our expectations (which were pretty high in the first place) with a bit of education, understanding, and appreciation of his sensory-seeking ways. If his stories help other children find their wings, then these “rude” comments from the haters are well-worth it, and I make no apologies. With that said, I have a short story about the beginning of our journey to helping Cameron soar:
It was the day of my master’s degree project presentation. Almost-three-year-old Cameron came with Jon to see my awesome trifold poster board display and enjoy the mini-lunch that was served for the families and friends who came to see the projects. Cameron, as usual, was over-stimulated and full of energy, which left him jumping, skipping, running, and talking in his megaphone voice. My instructor, who just happened to be a nun, stood by watching. I was thinking that she’d probably like to pull out a ruler at that very moment, so I turned to her with a sheepish smile and jokingly said, “Ritalin, here we come!” Her reply? “There are other dietary things you can do before using meds.” And then I knew that even a woman of God who was supposed to think that children are precious gifts was thinking that my son wasn’t exhibiting “normal” behavior.
When he was evaluated for ADHD, Cameron’s psychologist recommended meds. Jon and I decided that was not the best option for us/him, so we decided to look into behavioral interventions. Even as a special education teacher, I struggled to find and stick to strategies that were successful in curbing Cameron’s behaviors. So it wasn’t until three months later, when Cameron’s transition to second grade left him sobbing and throwing tantrums almost nightly, that I called my clinical psychologist (yes, I’m proud to say that I have a therapist) to see if she could help him, or help Jon and me parent him better. I was picturing her as the “Kid Whisperer,” training the parents, not the children. As I mentioned in an earlier post, she mentioned the fact that many children with “ADHD” actually have sensory processing issues and recommended a clinic for children like him. And that was the step that changed our lives for the better.
I am so grateful for the knowledge that has helped us understand Cameron. As I continue crossing the virtual picket lines, I hope that these stories continue to inspire others as I’m inspired by my son. I hope that Cameron’s transformation to a more emotionally-controlled, still sensory-seeking bookworm helps other families identify their amazing kids.