The acceptance and support of one special teacher made my ADHD son proud and happy — and made me cry with relief.
by Amanda Driscoll
Before school ended, my teenager came home from school and made an announcement that practically made me fall out of my chair. He told me that his social studies teacher has requested he be in her class again next year. After the shock wore off, I started to cry. I have lived with Holden for 13 years and know his ins and outs. As much as I adore him, I am the first to admit that he’s not the easiest student.
Holden's severe ADHD makes him extremely impulsive. He blurts out, can't stay seated, and can laugh at the wrong time. He's sometimes argumentative and not always easy to get along with. Holden was so eager to share his excitement about this news because he's more used to getting removed from classes rather than asked to join them.
Over the last school year, he has shared countless stories about his time in this teacher’s class. He has learned a great deal about history and geography under her wing. He's also gained some new confidence and felt secure during the 45 minutes he was with her each day. Knowing that I can count on her being a positive influence in my teenager's life again next year? Yes, please!
While saying that simple sentence probably seemed like no big deal to her, it's a very big deal to him. It's an even bigger deal to me. As a mom, having the assurance that there's a teacher at his school who likes having him in her class is indescribable. Knowing that this teacher wants him there is both exciting and a relief. The fact that she doesn't see his quirks — and the IEP that goes along with them — as a burden makes me feel happy, calm, and safe.
In the last month, I found myself sitting on the fence again about returning to public school next year. Yet, when I heard him say, "I can't WAIT to learn with her again next year!" I was pushed off it. My son, the school-hater is already looking forward to next year?
To the teachers everywhere who have what it takes to reach our challenging kids, thank you. Thanks to those teachers who have inspired our kids to learn and dig deeper. Thanks for understanding them.