Wednesday, September 10, 2008

ADD or Very Perceptive?

I seem to have the child that the world does not understand.

Ever since he was born, Noah has just been MORE. More intense, more dramatic, more active and more sensitive than any other kid I have met. If you have one of these type of kids you know exactly what I am talking about. You know, the type of kid who will throw an hour-long tantrum because you won't let him call 911 when he wants to see the firefighters, then turn around and keep up a running dialogue as Spiderman for an equal amount of time?

The world does not appreciate this kind of kid. I get told that I am too lenient because he screams in public. What they don't seem to get is that maybe I am choosing not to fight that battle right now, because I am already fighting 10 other battles with this kid at the same time. This is the kid who tests every limit, every time, with every situation and every person!

What no one (teachers, coaches, etc.) seems to see is his innate creativity, precociousness and amazing intelligence (I mean, who can really explain the noctural habits of owls at age 3?)! Why can't they see that the qualities of persistance, enthusiasm and intensity that cause struggles as a child are the very same chacteristics that make successful adults?

They have such a propensity to label him because he doesn't fit their expectations of what a kid can or should do and say. Can you imagine if someone told Anne of Green Gables that she was ADD because she was daydreaming and couldn't follow the steps to bake a cake?!? According to the analysis I was given today by the school district, she would be! I was told it is likely my son is ADD because he gets distracted and can't follow multiple directions. Nevermind that it occurs because he found the fire alarm and is busy concocting an imaginary scenario where a freight train crashes into the building, sets off the shrieking alarm and the firemen come plunging in and rescue us all from certain doom! (I know this is what he is thinking because he explains the entire thing to me 2 seconds later in vivid detail with his large vocabulary!)

As the new school year begins, I am searching for ways to make his experiences as successful as possible. To that end, I am reframing the words we use to describe him. Instead of distractible or attention deficit, I am going to use very perceptive. And then I will explain to him that he is very lucky. He is more creative than other people and he gets to perceive, think and feel more about the world than most people. I will teach him this because I recognize, even if everyone else doesn't, that his greatest weaknesses are also his greatest potential strengths. I will do this because as I work with the child he is, I also see the man he can become.


Sarah Jane said...

Woohoo! Great post! My brother (now 17) was exactly the same way as a child. . .my mother refused to have him labeled and put on pills and he is now a very intelligent, smart, funny, capable young man who is probably my moms best 'success' story. Your son sounds amazingly smart!

Lauren said...

I agree with Sarah, what a great post!

Mrs. G said...

Lissa, keep looking to God for the answers, they are *always* found there. AND, keep doing what you know to be right for your little boy, in spite of the nay sayers. Little boys are little boys and they are going to act like little boys, we wouldn't want it any other way so *enjoy* him.