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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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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

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.