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Jennifer E. Thomas
...... .:::.:.:

It's almost like there are these periods where our relationship is smooth and steady, and then there are times when it's like standing on the edge of this gorgeous, wonderful waterfall and just letting yourself drop, knowing that there's a safe pool of water ready to catch you at bottom. You take the plunge and you're in wayyyy over your head, but oh man, it's exhilarating, it's breathtaking, it's just incredible and you feel better than you ever have before and the water is cool and refreshing and exactly what you needed.

Sam is my waterfall.

- LJ entry from 8/2005


Every Human Has Rights

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December 2017
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Jennifer E. Thomas [userpic]
Email to one of Sean's teachers

The teacher at school who handles parental communications for Sean emailed me a "Glad to have your kid" note the other day, and I thought it would be good to send her a reply and tell her a bit about my big boy, because his particular special needs can be very trying at times for the adults in his life, and knowing what is going on can really help in coping with it. Here is the text of the email I sent:

Dear Mrs. Taylor,

Thanks for the note!

You will find that Sean is a very bright and wonderful young
man, but can be, at times, something of a challenge to work
with. I say this as his mother who homeschooled him for three
and a half years.

There are two major reasons that Sean can be challenging.
Actually, make that three.

Firstly: Sean has ADHD, and we do not medicate him because the
meds for ADHD are amphetamines, which killed his mother (I
adopted Sean and his brothers when I married their father).
Another reason for not medicating is the simple one that the
amphetamines are, in general, unhealthy. Sean did not even hint
at beginning puberty until we took him off the medications last
year, at which point he shot up 8 inches in one year, and he
entered full blown puberty and was through the major part of
that in less than three months. We won't stunt his further
physical development by feeding him speed. :)

Secondly: Sean has moderate Asperger's Syndrome, diagnosed when
he was ten years old. This mainly manifests itself in his video
game obsession, as well as his difficulty understanding abstract
concepts in conversation. With Sean, it is best to state your
meaning clearly and concisely, and ask him to repeat it back to
you to be sure that he understands what you are trying to say.

The final challenge is with his intelligence and previous
education. When Sean was ten years old, his IQ was measured at
143. I am pretty sure that this number is erroneous and should,
indeed, be higher, but Sean is a bit slow at taking tests, as he
reads the questions several times for comprehension before
formulating his answers, and in IQ tests, time matters. As a
hyper-intelligent young man, Sean is easily bored by the same
old routine, and this can manifest itself in odd behavior in the
classroom, or anywhere he is. By odd, I mean things like pulling
a book out of his pocket and reading it.

As to his previous education, we homeschooled for three and a
half years. Sean was already working about one grade level ahead
at the time we removed him from the school system, and is now
working at least two years ahead in all subjects. Unless the
subject matter is new to him, he will be bored and he may
reflect this in his behavior.

Should there ever be any problems regarding Sean's performance
or behavior in your class, I hope that you won't hesitate to
contact either me or Sean's father.

I hope that you enjoy Sean, he truly is a remarkable person with
a big heart, a great sense of humor, and a very intelligent
mind. I think you'll like him very much. :)

Thanks again for the note!

Jenn McWhorter

I got a response from her today, thanking me for the insight and telling me that she would forward the email to all of Sean's teachers, and have it added to his file at the school.

Most excellent!

Tags: ,
Borderline symptom of the day: cheerfulcheerful

Good for you keeping him off those nasty meds D:
How old is he?

Sean is 15. And full of spit and vinegar, of course.

The other kids are 27, 18, 17, 13 and 10. The boys (18, 15, 13 and 10) all have ADHD. The three who live with us do NOT take meds. And they're coping with their ADHD faaaaarrr better than their big brother. :)

I think ADHD is just an obnoxious reason to give kids meds. I have all the symptoms of them, therapist offered about it but no thanks. I'd rather just say "short attention span" and deal with it myself.

I think it's obnoxious to assume that people are looking for an excuse to medicate their kids.

A little respect for those who choose to make a different decision than you've made would be nice.

I see both of your points of view here. In many cases, the meds are very beneficial, but at the same time, they also tend to be overprescribed. Everybody's mileage varies as to their usefulness.

I personally respect any parent's or individual's choices regarding medicating for ADHD and ADD. It is very much an individual thing.

Thank you. That's all I ask. :)

Doctors. Not parents. It is not the parents fault for listening to doctors because you know the doctors should have the kid's health in mind. Unfortunately I know from personal experience with improperly being medicated as a kid and having issues from side effects of the medicine that is not always the case.

And see, I find that remarkably condescending. What makes you think that some of us can't make our own decisions based on a combination of what the doctor says and research? I don't EVER blindly follow what a doctor says. I know they're only human, and many of them are pawns of the drug industry.

I'm sorry you had a shitty experience. But not every doctor, not every kid and not every parent is the same.

I've got to say though, Kat has a point. My ex-shithead's younger brother has very low functioning kidneys precisely for this reason. He was one of the early ADD cases, and they overprescribed Ritalin for him, and it resulted in damage to the kidneys.

There's lots of doctors in this world who mean well, but just go with the very latest ideas because they read an article in a medical journal. This is why shit like the Fen-Phen debacle occurs.

There's also lots who use their critical thinking skills and realize that it's not always a half bad idea to try other things before medicating.

Again though, everybody's mileage varies on these things.

Oh I'll agree it's been over prescribed. That's not even an issue.

What I have a problem with is the assumption that because *some* kids don't need it that *none* do, and that all parents who do choose to medicate are dupes of the medical system. That's just ridiculous.

Let me tell you about my daughter. She's thirteen. She gets As, Bs and the occasional C. She hangs out with her friends after school. She likes to read, play video games, meet people online (bloody Neopets...), sing and draw. She's helpful with her baby brother. She's helpful around the house.

Before medication, she was unable to have a conversation that made sense. Unable to find a friend who could stand her violent mood swings, random topic changes, and inability to listen. She couldn't play a game with her parents. She couldn't finish her school work. She was getting Ds and Fs. She was miserable and bloody near manic without the hyperfocus. She was a screaming, crying, depressed, miserable kid.

Before medication, I removed all sugar, food colourings, processed foods and gluten from her diet. That helped her a little. I took her to counselling. I took her to about 5 different specialists. I took her for hypnotherapy. I took her to an educational psychologist for testing. Around the same time as I did that, a pediatrician recommended (not for the first time) trying medications. I was at my wits end, and said okay. I'd researched them heavily online. We tried a number of different ones before we hit on a magic med. Between it and a small dose of an antidepressant for her anxiety, she has transformed. She is happy, healthy and functioning at home, at school and socially.

So I get REALLY pissed off when people say that medications aren't necessary and they are an "obnoxious excuse to medicate" children. I fought meds for years because of that ridiculous attitude, and it rather pisses me off that I could have saved her a good two years of misery if I hadn't been so irrationally anti-med.

Yeah, try the diets, try the counselling, try everything and anything you can think of first. You never know, you might hit on the problem and solve it yourself. But you might not. And if you don't, don't let the anti's convince you not to try.

Wow, that poor kid must have felt awful! AND you guys, too.

Every single kid is different. Andy, for example, would be a walking disaster without the adderall. But for the three here at home, they're really thriving without the meds, both mentally and physically.

I'm a firm believer in better living through chemistry if it's what works. Can you imagine me without my head meds? Good Lord, trust me, I've been there, and am NOT going there again! ;)


As an adult with ADHD I wish I'd had access to meds. It might have made my childhood a whole lot easier. As it was, I didn't even get a _diagnosis_ until I was in my mid-30s.

For some kids with ADHD, meds are the right choice. For others, like Sean, they're a disaster. I'm glad Sam and Jenn have figured out what's right for Sean, but that doesn't mean that going med-free is the right choice for every kid with ADHD.

I bet the part where you indicated your desire to work with teachers over any difficulties was particularly popular!

That's a good letter. I'm glad they were receptive!

It is really good to know that it will go into his records. Also good to know that all his teachers will see the note. Let us hope they take it to heart.

OMG a school that actually COMMUNICATES!?! *faint* *thud* who'da thunk it? :) It sounds like he has an awesome teacher :)

sounds like you got a good set of teachers!

Great letter. It's odd behaviour to pull out a book from your pocket and start reading? I thought it was odd behaviour to sit and not listen to music, or read a book, or anything like that while on the bus, or other non-stimulating environment. I'm one of those odd people who just sit there and don't do anything...

Jigme Datse