“You’re not even trying.”
If I didn’t say that, I said something pretty close. Graham, after all, had an extensive vocabulary and most teachers thought he was bright. But the words on the pages didn’t come to him.
A consummate storyteller, he could transform a simple interlude between friends on the playground into a 30-minute sitcom script. So why did he hate reading stories?
Natalie's son, Graham
Near the end of first grade, after tutoring, remedial phonics and other tactics, we asked about testing for dyslexia. It runs in our family, and we just couldn’t figure out any other reason Graham couldn’t--and wouldn’t--read.
It would take months to see the area’s best evaluator, but it was worth it. In fact, our school’s resource director suggested he needed “the whole battery of testing.” What she knew but we hadn’t even considered was a truth we are now living.
Graham suffers from severe Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder-Combined Type.
It could be worse. He's not fighting for his life or managing a chronic disease.
And yet, the room felt like it was closing in around us when the psychologist said, “He will likely always struggle with it.” “Assume he will do most mature things, like driving with delays.” One phrase, well-intentioned, cut straight to the jugular:
“Imagine how hard those first few years of school must have been for him.”
The diagnosis came only a month ago. Why did we not see it? His brother read very early, but he’s an active kid. We didn’t want to push. We didn’t want to compare.
Sure, he’s energetic--I didn’t sleep the last three months of my pregnancy, I know his energy. How did I not guess he might have ADHD?
I write for Time Timer, a tool that helps kids like Graham manage and understand time. I’ve written about ADHD. I know ADHD. I know my son. I didn’t know.
But I do now.
October is ADHD Awareness Month. This year, it has greater meaning for me as my family begins a new journey helping our son manage his ADHD and achieve success in all areas of his life.
Please join me this month (and in the months to follow) as I share our personal journey of how we become (I hope) champions for Graham and many others like him.
More soon. There’s already good news to share.