God always provides an umbrella, right? Of course he does!

This is a true story. The names have been changed to protect the innocent.

In April of 1998 Sally gave birth to a healthy little baby boy, named Sam. Sam was the baby to three siblings. He was a cute little boy with snow white hair. He captured all the hearts with his bubbly personality and perfect little face.

Sam attended Kindergarten in the Fall of 2004. His teacher was quick to overlook his lack of focus as he was ‘just being a boy’. Kindergarten turned in to 1st then 2nd then 3rd grade. While in 3rd grade his teacher was absent a lot due to a multitude of reasons. Many of the substitutes would become frustrated with Sam’s clowning around and disruptive behavior.

Sam’s Mom and Dad decided it was time to check into the potential ADHD with their pediatrician at the suggestion of the school. Keep in mind that Sam’s parents have only dealt with ADHD children through activities such as baseball, 4H, church, Cub Scouts, etc. but have always been against medication to calm a child down.

Questions are asked, a quick evaluation takes place and results show no concern. Disciplinary action is taken from time to time simply to show Sam that he needs to respect the rules and do his work. This pattern continues however Sam’s grades were sufficient so he moved on. Fourth and 5th grade brought similar challenges however again, his looks seemed to overshadow any scholastic or behavioral issues with acceptable grades.

It’s time for Sam to move on to middle school. Seven classes, seven teachers, 3 floors, a locker….wow. Let the struggle begin. Very quickly Sam’s attention span is compensated. He can’t keep up and quickly his grades are concerning enough for teacher conferences, discipline, a diet change and tutoring. His 6th grade year was such a challenge that many times it was thought that he would fail and be required to repeat the 6th grade. The school year ended, and the mail was delivered with the verdict in an envelope. “ADVANCED”! Hooray….Sam has now advanced to the 7th grade without Summer school or any additional work. What a relief. Sam was even surprised!

Last Fall brought a new school year; a fresh start. Unfortunately within the first month incomplete and/or missing assignments and behavioral issues were noted. Sam’s parents met with the teachers to better understand what needed to be done. Sam was also a part of the meeting. No significant change. The teachers were becoming more and more frustrated. Sam’s Dad even attends school one day, moving from class to class to observe. All through this time, Sam’s computer, Xbox, TV, cell phone and ipod have been taken away. Basically he has a room. At home frustration heightened as well with simple chores were left undone. A messy room, no sense of responsibility and failing grades was all Sam had.

With no other alternative, Sam’s mom consulted a counselor. HELP she said. Nothing seems to phase him.

Within 10 minutes of the first call, the counselor suggested Sally pick up this book, “Taking Charge of ADHD”. Oh no. This won’t help, my child is not ADHD. He can sit in front of a tv, play a video game and isn’t hyper. Not to mention that Sam’s Dad would not hear of this!

So quietly Sam’s Mom began reading the book. Within the first two pages, pink highlighted sentences and paragraphs were quickly visible. Sally couldn’t read this book fast enough. Oh my gosh! This is Sam, this is me, this is what’s happening to our family. How can it be? With all this knowledge Sally now begins dealing with Sam in a different light. Simple tasks, one at a time. Remaining calm. Giving back the TV and xBox. This gives Sam the sense that now his parents don’t think he’s just stupid but are starting to understand that he needs help. He wants to do better, just doesn’t know how.

It’s still difficult to share with Sam’s Dad however Sally decides to make an appointment to meet with a special counselor. The appointment is out about 3 weeks which gives Sally time to convince Sam’s Dad to “hear her out”, “listen to what she has to say”, understand this is in the best interest of Sam and to glance as some of the highlights in the book. Wow – now even Sam’s Dad is starting to understand.

The time comes for Sam, Sally and Tom to meet with the counselor. After a questionnaire, some testing and an evaluation, Sam is confirmed – Attention Deficit Disorder. He is not ADHD which is the hyper active version. A prescription is handed to Sam’s parents. Now the big challenge. For years medication was something they would refuse to administer. No way.

After Sam’s parents talked it through, with pretty much straight F’s and diet, tutoring and discipline not working, they had to give it a try. First does: Christmas Eve. Sam was 1)not hungry 2)sad and 3)stayed to himself. Their immediate reaction was NO MORE MEDICATION! Regardless, no way. A different approach would have to be taken. So after a few days and some heavy conversation, they agreed to try this again but first thing in the morning, with food. Major difference. Sam was very calm yet focused, appetite was not compensated, sleep not impacted and very interactive with the family. This continued over Winter break.

Now it’s back to school. His teachers immediately noticed a difference. Assignments complete, focus in class, interactive yet not disruptive, displayed the desire to learn and do good overall. Yay us! Within a few weeks, his F’s were brought up to A’s and B’s. He went from failing to passing. Has made new friends (you’re only as good as the friends you keep, right?!). Likes to go to school. Completes his homework and is so mature. The environment at home is much more pleasant as well. He does his chores, keeps up with his room, doesn’t talk back, can be given a list of tasks with all being completed and is a joy to be around. Wow….what an amazing difference!

So I guess you could say that it’s important for all parent’s to keep an open mind. There are cases where medication is necessary in order to be successful no matter what everyone else feels and……more importantly, “know the story”. I have learned so much about this condition….educating myself is the best thing I could have ever done. We never know what any one family may be dealing with so it’s always better to take care of our own situations and stay out of those we don’t completely know.

So there you have it…..now do you want to meet Sally and Sam?

Now you understand why we were SO excited to learn that Chase had placed 1st in the Young Writer’s contest for the 7th and 8th grade for our whole county? How can a child go from failing…to A’s and awards and recognition throughout the county? Well….a lot of support from family, friends and teachers. Remember….anything IS possible with a little faith but you have to BELIEVE in yourself, trust your heart and always keep your eye on the prize.