Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Comparing him

I want the very best for him and I want him to succeed in everything and to be like other kids his age.

I think that is the hardest part for me, He is not like other kids, but it so hard to not compare. It's frustrating to see classmates of his or friends' kids succeed in things way before my son. I feel like a bad parent or failure because my son can't tie his shoes, can't ride a bike, that he doesn't know his ABC's. And it's hard to explain to other parents when they ask, is he in kindergarten? how is school for him? how old is he? because you know they are asking to compare...

"No he hasn't started kindergarten, he wasn't ready and quite frankly, he isn't ready now. How is school for him?- great question, school is HARD, he can't concentrate, he can't sit still. His friends are writing notes, and reading.. he knows, he sees what others can do.. he knows what he can't. And it frustrates him, it saddens him. And he won't tell you, but he tells me...he is embarrassed for others to see his struggles." And it is not fair!!

He is 6 years old and has no idea what the world will bring. He has an imagination that soars and can build a 5 star building with any objects you give him. He will be my engineer, my architect. But honestly he wants to be a doctor. He always has since his baby brother was sick. I can remember the day I found out, I walked into his pre k classroom to find his drawing of himself that said "I want to be a doctor to make my brother better"

That is the quality that makes him special. His heart is far bigger than his classmates, he excels in loving others. No it doesn't matter that he is 6 and doesn't know his alphabet, or how to write words or how to read. He will get there, he will learn all the things that his classmates know. What matters is that he will love everyone, he will know that everyone has different challenges they face but that we are all special.

I am learning to not compare him, which is hard but because I know what and why he is special and I know that he isn't like everyone else and will never be like anyone else.. because he is him and he is perfect.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Saying goodbye to a legend

How do you say goodbye to the best doctor, patient advocate and believer of your family? We are facing this difficult task, and it is hard. I tear up thinking about the day we have to walk in and see someone new. And I know that day is coming, it literally scares every inch of my being. 

Someone that you have relied on so many times over the past 6 years, and especially over the past 3. Someone who you could call anytime, day or night. Who would stop and come answer my question on the phone in the middle of appointments. Someone who has seen the best and worst of me, has seen me cry too many times, has seen our sweet boy so so sick. Who stood up for you when no other doctor would, who always believed you and your family. 

I can't begin to say how much we owe to this doctor, how much we truly appreciate everything he has done for us, for Zach and Luke. I feel like I am losing a family member, even though he is just our pediatrician, he means so much to us. 

I can not forget the times when Zach was in the hospital and I was scared with questions and he called me the next morning upset that I hadn't called him with my questions. That is a true doctor, one who truly cares about his patients. One that will be missed by our family more than he will ever know. 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

God knows I am thankful

I think I heard "there is nothing to do" and "I'm bored" a thousand times this morning... all before 10 am. And unfortunately when your child has ADHD and dyspraxia there mind can't be still, they get easily frustrated over the little things and then you have meltdowns.

We have had about three meltdowns so far this morning and that's when we decided to pack a picnic and head to the park for some much needed sunshine and energy release.

I think I can relate having a hyperactive dyspraxic child is like having a high energy puppy... if you leave a puppy inside all day with nothing to do, you come home to a destroyed house, everything chewed up and a very unhappy you. That's how Lucas is, if he doesn't have something to do to keep his mind busy, he gets frustrated and has meltdowns. 

I could have easily gotten mad at his behavior this morning, put him in his room and just listened to his whining all day... but I am learning to go with it. I am learning that his behavior comes from a source out of our hands and out of his control and so therefor punishing him for it is unfair.

Instead I have to find ways to occupy him and a way for him to release his energy and emotions.

So today I knew he needed time outside to play. 

God gave us these special boys for a reason, and everyday I am learning more and more about what helps them everday. And of course everyday is different but I am so lucky to have two beautiful boys, sometimes I take that for granted and some days it feels like I am living in a war zone of meltdowns and constant brother fighting. But at the end of the day when I am thanking God for my day and my wonderful family, I realize just how special my boys are and that they were given to us to help us more than we need to help them.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Drugging Einstein

I haven't written in a while but last night I was telling Luke that Albert Einstein was dyslexic and yet he was one of the smartest people known and he came up with brilliant ideas. And then today I ran across this article and it seemed so fitting. So I wanted to share.... it definitely makes you wonder.

Drugging Einstein, an article on ADD and Dyslexia by S Conde
October 27th, 2012

What if ADD and dyslexia are not disabilities? What if they are actually abilities and only labeled as such because the “normal” (neuro-typical) brain is in greater abundance and simply does not understand the spatial nature of a dyslexic mind nor speed of a brain with ADD?

ADD’ers and dyslexics are non-linear, intuitive learners who process information a thousand (some say thousands) of times faster than a neuro-typical person, because they think in images rather than words. (One of the biggest difficulties with dyslexia where reading is concerned is that they have trouble processing words that do not relate to an image. Is, or, the, and, but, if…are often substituted for each other as they have no picture associated with them.) People with ADD and dyslexia are both right brained thinkers who can easily establish complex connections and patterns without much conscious effort at all. Despite popular belief, people with ADD are actually able to focus intensely on a subject for great lengths of time, IF they find the subject compelling enough to shut out the distractions they are acutely aware of, all around them.

ADD and dyslexia are not diseases, they are differences in the way the brain processes information and the parts of the brain used to process information. People with ADD and dyslexia are not sick, their brains just work differently. A psychiatrist explained it to me this way. The ADD brain is actually older, from an evolutionary standpoint, than the neuro-typical brain. When we were hunter gatherers the ADD brain was necessary for survival, noticing everything at once, hyper alert, able to zero in on and focus on a singular detail in the environment. When we moved as a species from hunting to agriculture, the executive functions of the brain began to evolve. Executive functions deal with planning, verbal reasoning, inhibition, etc. The linear thinking mind became a distinct advantage in planning crop planting times and rotations for example.

It seems to me, the neuro-typical brain is in greater abundance, because it was genetically beneficial…at the time. But, what about now? Is evolution beginning to favor the older right thinking brain?

Computers “learn” the same way people with ADD and dyslexia learn, intuitively. In addition, dyslexics are able to construct three dimensional images in their heads. These abilities make both the ADD’er and the dyslexic uncommonly good with computers. As computers and visual communication become more and more relevant in our fast paced world, will dyslexics and people with ADD have a leg up?

Further, is the ADD / dyslexic mind closer to knowing itself? Free of inhibition, to a greater degree than the neuro-typical mind, and the nay saying rationale of executive function, is the right thinking brain more open to greater truths about itself and the world at large?

I was reading a friend’s blog the other day and stumbled across this quote by Jung relating to dreams:

The evolutionary stratification of the psyche is more clearly discernible in the dream than in the conscious mind. In the dream the psyche speaks in images, and gives expression to instincts that derive from the primitive levels of nature. Therefore, through the assimilation of unconscious contents, the momentary life of consciousness can once more be brought into harmony with the law of nature…and the person can be led back to the natural law of his own being. JUNG – CW 16 para 351

According to Jung, the person with ADD / dyslexia speaks the same language as the human psyche. Wouldn’t it be easier to “be led back to the natural law” if we understood the language in which the law was written?

We are forever told to “live in the now” in order to be happy. “Now” is the default home of the ADD / dyslexic mind. Past and future are rather abstract concepts.

In the interest of full disclosure, I am married to a man who can close his eyes and picture a room in three dimensions, then spin it around in his mind’s eye and inspect it from different angles. I have given birth to a child who argued with his sixth grade teacher that the cardinal directions of Earth are meaningless in outer space, (for which he was punished and belittled in front of his classmates). Our two other children are like me, with higher verbal function, but disorganized and with a propensity for tuning out the world around us, and becoming lost in our own thoughts. All of us in this house are drawn to the arts, and all of us have ADD and dyslexia, to greater or lesser extents. Two of us were labeled “gifted”, one of us slipped through the cracks completely, and the other two were labeled “learning disabled”. Do we sound learning disabled to you?

The educational system has failed us. All of us really, right brainers and neuro-typicals alike. It is particularly difficult though, for those who simply can not obey the commands of sit down and shut up. Is this the best way to teach our children anyway, or is an interactive learning experience better for them?

I’d like to share with you a list of people known to have ADD and or dyslexia. What would the world be like had we medicated them in an effort to make them the same as everyone else? What if we had drugged them so that they might focus on what society deemed important? What if they had not been allowed to look inside their own magnificent heads and explore what interested them?

Albert Einstein, Pablo Picasso, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Winston Churchill, Edgar Allen Poe, John F. Kennedy, Vincent Van Gogh, Bill Gates, Walt Disney, Benjamin Franklin, Malcolm Forbes, Richard Branson, Thomas Edison, Orville and Wilbur Wright, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Salvador Dali, Ernest Hemingway, Ted Turner, Thomas Jefferson, Leonardo Da Vinci, Stephen Hawking, Leo Tolstoy, and Louis Pasteur to name but a few. Do they strike you as learning disabled? Abnormal…in a negative sense?

I am left thinking of Kurt Vonnegut’s short story “Harrison Bergeron”:

I think I’d make a good Handicapper General. Good as anybody else, said George. Who knows better’n I do what normal is? said Hazel.

Normal, abnormal, able, disabled? You tell me.