Saturday, October 24, 2009

did I sign up for this?

I just returned from the Sixth Annual Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Related Concerns Conference. It was wonderful and difficult. I've known all the symptoms, of course, but to hear them over and over and over for two days was tough. Now, the speakers I heard are all very much advocates of children and adults with ADD/ADHD. I heard physicians, experts in education, adults with the diagnosis and counselors who specialize in the treatment of adults and children. They said things that I already know. But they also showed me what life is like for my son. I wanted to cry, and did when I could. It was so hard. Being a momma is hard.

A high school senior had an interactive computer program to show what it's like to have ADHD on both auditory and visual tasks. As soon as I started the auditory task, which consisted of following directions involving different shapes and colors, my "virtual ADD" made my stomach hurt. I failed the task. I wanted to drive straight home and hug my boy. I still think I may have a touch of ADD, but not like Elijah. Bless him. Now I am left to wonder when and if and how to go about medicating and treating him. I have lots of praying to do. But my mom kept reminding me that the way Elijah is is all he knows, and he's a happy boy. I know God made him wonderfully. But I still cried.

Yesterday morning, as I walked in to the conference, I asked God to show me a true and encouraging picture of Elijah in what I would hear. After lunch He delivered. A counselor who treats these children, and has an obvious heart for them, spoke such encouragement to me. After all the "bad" things I'd heard - symptoms, outcomes, motor vehicle accidents in teens, incarceration as adults (yes, incarceration) - she spoke life to me. She gave the following characteristics of children with ADHD:
  • creative
  • artistic
  • intuitive
  • empathetic
  • visionary
  • inventive
  • sensitive
  • original
  • loving
  • exhuberant - {having unrestrained joy}
  • have the gift of gab
  • think outside the box
  • dramatic
  • intelligent
  • playful
  • passionate
  • spontaneous
Elijah is all over that list. {Talk about wanting to cry for joy.} And I just adore him. I'm just not sure what to do with him.

She also had audience members read many quotes from famous people who live {or lived} with ADD/ADHD. Here are a few that I love:
  • All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up. {Picasso}
  • I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it. {Picasso}
  • The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination. {Albert Einstein}
  • Obstacles don't have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don't turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it. {Michael Jordan}
  • The capacity of man himself is only revealed when, under stress and responsibility, he breaks through his educational shell, and he may then be a splendid surprise to himself no less than to this teachers. {Harvey Cushing}
  • Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn. {Benjamin Franklin}
So, I'm left with much to think about and much to pray about. But also with much to be thankful for. My Elijah will face many challenges, but I know his Father will help him find his way.


Katie said...

Oh, Kristin. I have so many encouraging thoughts on this! I see Micah in that very same list. It has been suggested that people with ADD do not have a problem or "condition"... they just have a different view on life; a different way of thinking and processing. I see that in Micah too. And honestly, I think that's part of the reason he's so smart!

carrie said...

This made me cry for you. If I could, I would hug you. I have taught so many kids with ADD?ADHD and the second list matches them so much more than incarceration. I have to say I was a little mad when I read that this is what they were saying. Kristin, your Elijah has a supportive family that is stable. He WILL be great. He will be so successful. Please do not worry about those negative things. In my opinion, those apply to those children who are left to fend for themselves with the diagnosis. Much love to you and your family. It is a struggling process but your heart is so big and you are so in tune with God that He will guide you and your sweet boy. Don't fret! Just rely on Him and all this will work out for good of those that love HIM! Praying for you to find that peace!!!

Meme said...

You know many times I've told you that some of my favorite students over the years have been those with ADD/ADHD. When you have "heart time" invested in their learning and achievement, then you can not help but develop a profound love for that person. Remember my school's valedictorian last year (whom I taught in first grade) definitely thought outside the box and marched to the beat of a very different drummer! YET----look who was still standing on graduation night! ADD/ADHD is not a death sentence, but a big responsibility to all of us who teach him to help Elijah find himself and develop his many potentials because he has THEM!Remember---those kids will usually be the visionaries---those of us analytical folk will just carry out their dreams in the work place!Meme

Stacey said...

I'm so sorry Kristin...I know we don't know each other very well, but I wanted to let you know I'm always here. Eli has ADD/ADHD along with his autism, and it is the most challenging part of his struggles. I feel like we've tried it all - therapy, ABA therapy, play therapy, modification of tasks at home, charts, reward systems, meds...and the list goes on and on. I know your fears are huge, but you know that God is holding you all in His hand... If you ever need anything, please don't hesitate to ask. These kiddos are doubly blessed...sometimes trying to reach all their talents is the frustrating part for us parents... Hang in there...

A Skin Bag for Jesus! said...

Dear Kristin,

Hey! This is Sharon Lee from Landmark. I ran across your name on the Living Proof Blog. Fancy finding a sister from my home church family on there! :) I didn't mean to. Wasn't looking. It surprised me. Caught me totally off guard. Surely it's no doubt that God arranged it so that we'd meet. I love how He works!

I understand (or maybe relate to the not-understanding) of ADD. I, too, have more than one attention deficit child! Not only that, just recently, I was actually diagnosed as one myself. Well, go figure, it's about time someone informed me of where my weirdness stems! And, might I mention Tim??? He's Mr. ADD King! But believe it or not, I see the rainbow shining brightly from the dark of the storm! Perhaps I'll have to share some of our journey with you sometime? I was once so discouraged from the frustration of the whole thing. And now, God has so redeemed and encouraged me from that time. "Hope deferred makes the heart sick...." I know. I've lived that! But when you see (or even when you don't see, but believe in hope anyway!) hope, there runs a life-giving source.

Oh my, the stories I could tell! There's a book though, that I feel I must get for you to read! I don't know why I loved it so much. Maybe it was just me? Maybe the timing? Maybe just how it set? Regardless, maybe it will encourage you as well.

Okay.... I can see that I'm getting a bit carried away. I'll say one more thing and then hush. I've stalked your page since I discovered you this morning ((**smile**)). And have thoroughly enjoyed your posts! Wow, you so have a way with words! And your heart? It shows itself beautiful all over your page!

Bless you sweet girl! You'll be alright and so will your precious Elijah ["my God is Jehovah!"]! How can he not with such a perfect name!

Loving my Savior who's not only willing but able to save!

A Skin Bag for Jesus! said...

Hey friend!

I was thinking of you this morning. Wondering what you're doing? Wondering how you're feeling? Didn't see you yesterday, and missed you because I didn't.

You're such a precious girl. Totally BEAUTIFUL on both the inside and out! I kept thinking that the whole time we talked together on Saturday. I got in my vehicle looking a MESS! And once seeing myself, I immediately hoped that I didn't look like that the entire time we talked ((*smile*)). If so, I apologize for looking so frightful! And I thank you for your patience in my hour of horror.

I ran across a quote this morning that I thought you might find encouraging: “The diamond cannot be polished without friction, nor man perfected without trials.”

You not only have a diamond in the making with your sweet Elijah, you have one already brilliantly shining. It's just that it will take friction and trials to polish him even brighter and show a greater brilliance in each new facet that's yet to be shone. God entrusted you with something precious. And just as He has trusted you with it, you can trust Him to show you His way in how to raise such a son!

May you see God in all sorts of wondrous ways today! May He show you Himself in your own 'hummingbird' (whatever it is that touches you so sweetly!).


Paige Betterton said...

We are in the process of having Grace tested for ADHD. It breaks my heart as her mom. There are so many thoughts and most of them I don't know what to do with. So-I just give them all to God. She is all over that list too. Especially the DRAMA part!!! But-she was adopted into our family as God's divine plan for her life and ours and he knew we could help her manage this. S0-I'm trusting in his judgement! I love her so much I just want to tickle her to death most days! Especially when she prays like she did this morning, "God help me with my consonant blends!" immediately followed by the opera rendition of "In my heart there rings a melody..." Precious. Also, I will not be able to be at Katie's shower this weekend! Sorry Katie! However, if you could send me her address I have a gift to mail her. Hoping that you guys can meet Grace this Christmas! Still praying...