Reply To: Alternative middle school specializing in ADHD

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Hello Lisa.
I totally hear your concern and frustration. We started to notice our son’s ADD symptoms with depression in middle school. His GPA was 1.6. His self-esteem was depleted; he was highly depressed and borderline suicidal. He spoke negative about himself and wondered why God made him this way. We started with comprehensive testing and brain scans at Amen Clinic in Cosa Mesa, CA (one just opened in Chicago). We got a wonderful diagnosis and they started with nutraceuticals and talk therapy to help heal his brain for 8 months. That helped, but we needed more so we continued with the nutraceuticals, added Concerta (medication for ADD) and at the recommendation of his doctor, at Dr. Amen’s clinic, we selected to try a military boarding school, St. John’s Northwestern Military Academy in Delafield, WI (North of Milwaukee, WI). My son started the summer during his 8th grade year, as a test, to see if he would do well there academically. Over the summer, at St. John’s, our son took Algebra I and obtained a B+ average. We knew that we had found our solution. It was a multi-disciplinary approach requiring, comprehensive ADD testing, talk therapy (now discontinued), medication and the structure of a military boarding school. Our son is now a junior in high school with a 3.5 GPA, in honors classes and was inducted into the Chinese National Honor Society (my son is not Chinese). His confidence and ability to self manage is awe inspiring. Moreover, he is now able to help lead other young men struggling with similar concerns. The classes at St. John’s are very small and their is a lot of peer-to-peer support for learning and mentoring. I do not think our son would be doing so well with nutraceuticals, talk therapy and Concerta alone. It was the structure (limiting computer time, structured study hours and the oversight of the school’s leadership and faculty) that has enabled our son to excel to the point where he can now lead others. If you want more info about the school you can call email me at and we can set up a time to talk. Yes, this was the hardest decision I had to make as a mother because I only have one child. But, it was the best decision for him! I am so proud of the 16 year old young man he has become over the last 3.5 years at St. John’s Northwestern Military Academy. I hope to talk soon. Bev