Reply To: My Son has no interest in trying at school and is so far behind

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Hi! I saw your post and I felt compelled to share. I actually didn’t find out I had ADHD until last month. I am currently 22 years old and despite my dad having it also, the information that ADHD was expressed differently in females than in males wasn’t around when I was kid.

This is similar to what I experienced when I was around 15-16 years old. I was homeschooled on and off throughout primary, elementary, and middle school and was completely homeschooled for high school. I had a terrible experience with school although I made decent grades, the children were nasty and teachers didn’t always know how to or care to understand which can make problems worse. My parents withdrew me because it was causing more harm than good. The formal education was not worth destroying my self-esteem and my adrenal glands from severe stress. In 9th grade, I struggled so much. I didn’t understand the work, I was uninterested, and it was an absolute burden. I was pretty much not doing my work and just slacking off at home. I had given up at this point; I was horribly depressed and had some self-medicating habits. At the time, I loved gardening and being outside so I thought about potential trades since I felt that I sucked at handling the demands of public school and real life. My mom actually saw a commercial on TV for self-paced online certification courses to become a Landscape Designer and thought it would be something that I would like to try and maybe get me excited about life again. I agreed and I loved it. The program was typically finished in 4-6 months and I finished it in true ADHD fashion in around 8. Things that I was not good at and didn’t know how to visualize, I learned with those landscape courses. Computing, calculating, basic work skills, etc. were kickstarted from that experience. I didn’t use my certification all the time for an actual job, but it was useful to spark learning at my own pace again.
At around 17ish I wanted to try and finish up some highschool courses online to see if I could actually make it through. Long story short, I didn’t. BUT, I started college at 18 with my parent’s confidence in me and a part-time course load. I got a 4.0 gpa my first semester and maintained a 3.8 gpa for almost 3 years. Despite how ADHD I am and have been my entire life, my parents (especially my mom) never ever made me feel that I was a burden or was useless even when I felt that I was. My mother is an incredible prayer warrior and I have seen mountains move with her fervent prayers in Jesus’ name. She takes time to help me and support me in everything that I have difficulty managing (especially time management and dates) and pray for me when I am struggling and overwhelmed. I am projected to graduate college with a Bachelors in English Fall 2020 and it all began with a lot of prayer, love, and support that I’m indebted to my parents for supplying.
I know that this is a lot of information, but I have one last story.
My dad was diagnosed with ADHD in the 70’s and we just found out he has dyslexia within the last year or so. When he was in school he was put in special ed because his parents and his school thought he was mentally deficient in some way or stupid. He told me it was one the most degrading experiences that he had been through. A while back I found some of his test scores in an old file cabinet in my grandmother’s house and he had just barely missed a passing grade for writing and math, and just passed the reading section. He was never stupid and ultimately needed someone to stand up for him. He thinks in ways that are incredibly different and solves problems no one can. My dad is an electrician and has worked with extremely high voltage commercial projects and not-as-dangerous residential work. His trouble-shooting skills are beyond anyone in the trade has seen. He is excellent at what he does and hopes to move into more project management work by the end of this year.
I don’t know you, your son, or y’all’s situations, but there is absolutely a way through this. Catering to your son’s desire to start diving could possibly open doors to him leveling up his math skills and so many others because it could give him a chance to succeed at something he loves. Which was exactly how Landscape Design opened the door for me to be successful in college. And from my recent googling, scuba diving involves math! He could be successful in it if the motivation is spurred by his interest! Not everyone has and will fit into the neurotypical (non-ADHD) mold in this world and sometimes its what’s best if we take a step back and forge our own path.

I wish you the very best for you and your family!
Stay strong, drop every neurotypical expectation of your son, don’t feel embarrassed or burdened by the extra time it may take him to complete something that everyone else breezes through, and most importantly love him and support him with every ounce of your being because chances are he knows how the world views those with ADHD and sometimes, it really hurts.