Devin has now seen countless people for tests and evaluations. We've run from one side of town to the other and have done everything from reciting the ABC's to getting EKG's. All of this for....ADHD and sensory integration disorder.
It is exhausting.
Since being a little girl, all of my career related dreams were always with high maintenance kids. I wanted to be a guidance counselor, a teacher, a social worker, a missionairy (hahahaha)...the list goes on and on. As it turned out, I wound up working with a program that serviced various groups of children and it took less than one year before they moved me with the inner city group. I LOVED it. I loved working with the kids that were misunderstood. I loved the ones that nobody else wanted. I loved the ones that people called bad or hopeless. Every child has the potential. Some may be broken and need some mending. But, they all have it. They need faith and that's what I was good at. Seeing the potential and helping them figure out how to release it.
Working with kids is not where it stops. Or at least that is what I've always been told and what I tell my staff. We don't just work with children. We work with the family. One of my BIGGEST rules is that if you have to tell a parent something negative about their child, you sandwich it with two positive things. You never know what is going on in their lives and how many people have come before you to 'talk' to them about their child.
All of this leads me to now. I have a new found respect for those parents. Those parents aren't just 'them' anymore....they are now included into a 'we'.
I am one of them. My child is not typical. I never thought that I would one day be on the other side of the fence but am greatful that I had the opportunity to get to know and learn from them for my own sake. I never thought that ADHD could cause so much turmoil in a childcare setting, in a family, in friendships. It affects his whole life, mine and Chris' and his brothers. And, it's not always easy. It's not easy for him. It's not easy to watch him struggle with making or keeping friends. Or struggle to keep up with his peers. It's not easy to watch him not be able to make choices like he 'should' or be responsible like he 'should'. It's not always easy for me to listen to other parents talk about how 'perfect' their children are even if I am truly happy for them.
Things could be far worse. Devin is healthy and happy but he has severe ADHD which does not allow him to function as a typical child during the school days or keep up academically. Mix that with some sensory integration disorder and he's all over the place.
I can deal with the academics. He has private tutors and we're putting some accomodations in to assist him throughout the day. He's not learning at the pace of everybody else, but he is learning. And he keeps steadily pushing forward.
But, here's the difficult part.....
People. People have been the biggest hurdle. And not just any people...but the people that I thought were supposed to be like me. The people that were supposed to see the good in my child. The people that were supposed to provide me with a shoulder to lean on and some wise words of advise. But, time and time again...that didn't happen.
People. People that you think love your child...or have their best interest...don't.
People. People who have no patience and don't understand why he doesn't just 'act right'.
People. People that want to tell you everything that you are doing wrong because they think that the parenting MUST be the problem.
People. People who treat your child differently or say thoughtless things to them. People who give them the look.
People People People People.
Sometimes good people are shitty. That's my new inspirational quote. Everybody messes up. Nobody is perfect. And at some point or another we are all shitty human beings. Some without realizing it until after and some just outright.
But, I have learned. I have learned from Devin. I have learned from myself. I have learned from people.
So, this one is for YOU...
This one is for the ones who have stood by and given me words of encouragement. You have helped me keep faith in myself and my child when others were stripping it away.
This one is for the ones who didn't have faith. Once I was able to see through the fog you have given me the will and courage to not give up.
This one is for the family members who have listened to me cry and helped me by just listening and then allowing me to talk through it by laughing about Devin-isms.
This one is for the adults who should have helped my child but instead humiliated him. You have given him an early glimpse into a world that isn't fair. You've stripped some innocence away that can't be regained. In return, he has gained empathy and can relate to the underdog.
This one is for the few that will dare to come and spend time with him. It isn't easy but he loves going places. And it gives him a break from the day to day things that start to build up.
This one is for you....
It doesn't matter if you were the encourager, the discourager or the one who didn't want to intervene because this wasn't your problem.
This one is for all of you...without the good, the bad and the ugly. We wouldn't have the zest to get to where we're going. Devin will be alright. He'll make friends. He'll one day be a productive man who will remember what it was like to be an awkward child. And hopefully he'll be all the better for it.
Thank you. All of you.