Thursday, July 16, 2015

Expectations, Misconceptions, and Blindsides

I touched upon James' diagnosis of ADHD in the epilogue. I didn't even get into the accompanying diagnosis of dyslexia. Over the years I've had expectations about what I might face with these diagnoses, I've withstood the misconceptions of those around me, and I've been blindsided by the realities of life with my ADHD/dyslexic son. Here are a few examples:

I expected him to be easily distracted.

Those around me said "Eh...he just has "selective hearing". All he needs is some discipline."

I was blindsided with the 12-step process of getting him to take his pills in the morning. It starts with, "James, please go take your pills." when he's in his bedroom. If I turn to help Maddie with her uniform, I'm doomed - there's Magic cards on his floor, calling his name. I prompt him out to the hallway. Now the bathroom (with the allure of running water to wash marbles) becomes my nemesis. I get him past the bathroom, but I'm not yet free to give Emily her 3rd wake-up call of the morning; oh no. As we approach the kitchen, the TV comes into view. I know better than to have it on yet - that would guarantee defeat. But there's the PROMISE of possible TV, and that, alone, is a formidable enemy. If I can successfully steer him into the kitchen, without Maddie tripping me up with a request to help her find her favorite sweater, I can get him to the counter where I have strategically placed the pills and a glass of milk. I see him with the pills in his hand, but have learned from past disasters that this is NOT good enough. God forbid Hannah chooses that moment to void her morning bladder, flooding her bed - or worse - have a blow-out diaper requiring a last-minute clean up before the bus arrives. Any number of things might be on the kitchen counter or dining room table to pull James' focus off those pills. I have to STAY vigilant! He's raising the pills to his mouth- and Daniel calls to me, wondering where his car keys are. Son-of-a... do I chance it? Do I turn my attention to the couch cushions I know the keys fell into last night? Experience says...no. Absolutely not. So I watch for the actual swallow (which, realistically, still needs one or two more prompts)...and look forward to tomorrow morning's exciting episode of "How Many Ways Can A Child Be Distracted From A Simple Task?". Now to get him dressed...


I expected impulse control issues.

Those around me said "Eh...boys will be boys." OR "Eh...all he needs is some discipline."

I was blindsided when he broke the rules with an i-Pod Touch he got for Christmas within hours of receiving it (he took it to his room after bedtime). It was taken away for a week (with the wailing, dramatic temper tantrum that accompanied said consequence). Within 24 hours of getting it back a week later, he broke the rules again. Another week without it, another ridiculous melt-down. At the one-year point he had had the device in his possession for a combined total of approximately 20 hours, and calmly accepted the loss when told it was being taken away AGAIN, until at least the end of the school year for, yet another, infraction of the rules. With commendable insight he was able to voice the underlying challenge. "I know I'm breaking the rule. I just see it sitting there and I can't help myself. If there's a chance I might get away with it, I'm going to try."

I am also blindsided by the fear of this challenge in a few years, when coupled with a pint of testosterone running through his veins...


I expected him to maybe be bothered by tags in his clothing because I had heard other parents talk about that.

Those around me didn't even see this concern worthy of comment, but if pressed would probably inform me that discipline is all he needs.

I was blindsided by the extent of sensory integration issues. Not only did tags become intolerable, the seams in clothing became too much to handle...along with any type of texture (like corduroy, wool, or denim) or "extra dimension", like a [puffy] down jacket. His wardrobe quickly whittled down to cotton t-shirts and sweatpants, fleece sweatshirts (lots and lots of them, since he tends to lose two to three/week at school), and socks (nope...not even underwear meet his stringent clothing requirements). Worse than the skin sensitivity, was his growing aversion to tastes, smells, and food textures. He went from having a pretty well-rounded diet as an infant to just eating vanilla yogurt and plain whole wheat pasta (not even butter or cheese) by the time he was four. With much occupational therapy we've been able to work back many more foods into his diet, but with the added challenge of his [appetite-suppressing] medication, we struggle, beg and bribe him to eat enough to at least maintain his weight, landing him [currently] in the third percentile for his age [and dropping].


I expected him to reverse letters and numbers and maybe have some difficulty with reading.

Those around me said "Oh yeah. My kid did that, too. They grow out of it."

I was blindsided when his kindergarten and first grade teachers both told me, independently, that James was - by far - the most dyslexic child they had ever encountered in their careers (one was about to retire). His first grade teacher marveled at his tendency to start writing upside down and backwards on the back bottom right-hand corner of the paper...as if he was writing for her benefit, as she was able to see his writing upright and forward as she approached his desk. It took about two years to even get him to consistently start his writing in the upper left-hand corner of the front of his papers. I quickly learned that dyslexia is NOT just transposing letters and numbers. It's an intimate knowledge of every one of these symptoms and the challenges they present:



I expected challenging days.

Those around me chuckle when I share my tales but I'm SURE they're thinking about how he just needs some discipline.

I was blindsided by days like this [copied from a recent Facebook post I made to a friend who was venting about her son]: "There must be a full moon or something. I was seriously considering "Sonocide" the other day, too. It wasn't the mile-long list of overdue school assignments I found in his backpack that morning...OR the log he decided [for who knows what reason] to throw through the shed window around noon. I remained REASONABLY under control when he later BIT his sister in a fight over a LEGO...and I breathed through the overdue library book e-mail I got that evening. But when I went into the bathroom that night and had to YET AGAIN tell my nearly 12-year-old son to get his butt BACK in there and WIPE AND FLUSH - that was the moment...that was it. Oh, and it wasn't some fancy-schmancy visualization technique that spared him. My son is alive today because the Seattle Seahawks won their game. Russell Wilson doesn't just visit kids AT Children's Hospital - he and his team now apparently help to PREVENT kids from even getting admitted."



I expected folks to have much less tolerance and understanding for these diagnoses than, say, Hannah's genetic disorder diagnosis. I saw the same thing with Emily's diagnosis of autism. When people can't SEE a diagnosis, they expect normalcy. When they don't see normalcy, they tend to judge...harshly.


People around me reacted just as I expected.

I was blindsided by the realization that this parenting challenge is arguably my biggest, yet. ADHD/dyslexia puts James in just about every high-risk category there is (more likely to drop out of school, more likely to do drugs, more likely to have trouble with the law/be incarcerated, etc., etc.). Hannah certainly presents her own set of challenges, but I can rest easy with my one and only goal of making each day as pleasant for her as possible, since we don't know what tomorrow will bring. Emily's autism and developmental delay have tried our patience, too, but there was no pressure to mold a self-reliant adult. We knew from a pretty early age that she'd never be able to live independently. That left only a goal of making sure she's happy in life. I'm being tested with James, though. The pressure is on. The stakes are high. He's a bright kid with lots of potential. It's up to me to step lively through the land mines his diagnoses present and guide, advocate, council, coach, and support him enough for him to find his success in life. Thank goodness he inherited his father's gentle nature, sense of humor, and infectious smile. They renew my resolve to do right by him every day.


Role Confusion Here he was headed out the doggie door as a toddler. About 6 months of his potty training was spent convincing him it is okay for the dogs to pee and poop in the back yard, but that does NOT mean it's okay for him to do the same.





Rebel To The Core About the time he was scoffing at wall rules and refusing to smile for the camera at Sears, we found out he was on the "No Fly List" at the airport. Maybe the government took one look at him and made assumptions about the future?





Always the loving brother...





And Chicks Love Him...but he wasn't impressed at a breakfast with the Disney Princesses.





Geek In The Making Give him an epic magic card over a singing princess ANY day!

34 comments:

  1. This won't help now but I was very like your son. Except I was a quiet. I made it through school and even made deans list at university.

    Still can't stand tags and I spend most of my day with head phones so I don't get over stimulated.

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    1. To the contrary, Elizabeth; I am very encouraged by your comment, because it serves as a fantastic reminder that success is definitely possible! You found [great!] success in school, clearly you aren't commenting from the grave, and I assume you aren't commenting from a prison cell, either. While I'm sorry to hear you still struggle with clothing tags, I hope you have either been blessed with or have developed more tolerance for underwear than my son. ;) Thank you, and enjoy your day! :) ~Stephanie

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    2. Oh success is totally possible! There are always going to be bad days, but as the years pass it's more good than good.

      I am a HUGE fan of the no elastic panties that fruit of the loom makes!

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    3. LOL maybe you should write to Fruit Of The Loom and pitch a new marketing idea for them! I'm having fun running different tag lines through my head (..."For the sensuous ADHD woman"..."Are you only wearing underwear so you won't be fired for breaking the dress code? Well, HERE'S the product for you!"...) ;)

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  2. I'm an accidental visitor...seeing your post on LinkedIn. I read with veracity. I saw myself in most every element you described above...just less severe. (At 58 I still hate tags, and now I work from home so I can go commando).

    A couple of years ago I sat with my 80 year old mother as she told stories 'on me' and she broke down in tears at the remembered pain. She still doesn't understand the diagnoses I never had. We were poor. I never saw a dentist until I was in my 20s with my first job with insurance.

    I see myself in every aspect of the diagram but motor control. I was something of an athlete but bloomed late, mostly because of my poor social skills...I couldn't do team sports. So running and weight lifting first. It took so much to prod me into anything.

    I can easily say, 'my heart goes out to you.' But maybe just knowing others understand is the best I can do.

    I obtained a BS in computer science. I've published 28 novels. I'm still weird. But as one of my characters said, 'Everyone's weird. It's weird they don't see how weird they are.' (I write about weird characters.)

    We're all just weird in different ways. And that is good.

    So I say, 'James is just his own weird.' He'll know his own happiness. As long as he isn't overly reminded his differences stand out a little more than everyone else's.

    Oh, yeah. I'm not commenting from a prison cell either.

    Regards and may the faith be with you. With love -Mac

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    1. Thank you SO much for your comments, Mac! Before James was born, my dad was the "most ADHD person" I had ever known (and he is dyslexic, too). It runs deep on that side of the family. My grandfather was kicked out of his house by a step-father when he was 8 (likely due to his ADHD). My dad and uncle (who are both about your age) were beaten on a nearly daily basis due to their ADHD. Child abuse laws back then weren't at all what they are today. My sister and I had much milder cases and were able to compensate, for the most part. As soon as I recognized ADHD in James my goal was to "do right by him", seeing the extensive, long-term damage the abuse caused for my dad and uncle. Luckily, I had been seeing a child psychiatrist once a week (for the needs of his older sisters, one with autism, one with a rare genetic disorder) since long before James was even conceived, and continue to see that doctor once a week (now for all 4 of the kids). While I vent a little bit in my post, I'm not complaining - if that makes sense. James has made GREAT strides over the years, and simply writing the blog post has reminded me just how far he's come. And I'm proud to say that some of that success is due to the work that his father and I have put into it (with the helpful guidance of Dr. Fieldman). For instance, we're very careful about how we word things when reprimanding him (we never say things like, "What's wrong with you?!"...although I must admit that was a challenge when I watched him throw the log through the window). I had to chuckle when you wrote "As long as he isn't overly reminded his differences stand out a little more than everyone else's." That's pretty easy to avoid in this family! With a sister like Hannah (at age 19 she's 50 pounds, non-verbal, non-ambulatory, incontinent, exclusively tube fed, seizure disorder, cognitively like a 3-month-old, etc., etc.), NONE of the other kids feel like the "different" or "strange" one of the family! :) Thanks again for your comments; they really mean a lot to me! Take care! ~Stephanie

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  3. OMG Yes! Another mother who Gets it. You're sense of humor is so great, I wish I could vacation in your head. "Pint of Hormones" is about right. My middle child is 17. Prayers are welcome. We have one diagnosis of the ADHD, and there's something else I'm pretty sure is Dyslexia. It travels deep in my family too. You sound like one awesome mama to a precious nest of children. You've made a friend with your writing, thank you so much for putting it into words.

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    1. Thanks so much for your kind words, Anna! My husband and I had a good laugh about you "vacationing in my head"! Best of luck with your middle child. I'd love to hear some of your tales; it sounds like you have a few to share! Have a wonderful week, and keep in touch! :) ~Stephanie

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  4. Hi Stephanie! I just wanted to say that I admire you for putting these struggles out there.

    We are the parents of a 12 year old girl with ADHD and some pretty strong OCD tendencies so I totally know where you are coming from. It has amazed me at how many other adults - mostly other parents - judge not just our daughter, but ourselves as parents, for her behaviours. She has been treated like absolute dirt by parents of other children in our neighbourhood, even though they know she has ADHD. Much like you've written here the common, mis-informed tendency is for them to automatically assume she 'just needs more discipline'.

    Little do they know of the constant, every-day struggle and lack of sleep that everyone in the family is exposed to and affected by.

    Again, kudos for putting yourself out there! I wish you and your family well!

    Derek

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    1. Thank you so much for sharing, Derek. I'm so very sorry to hear about your experiences with your community. What do you want to bet a good percentage of those harsh, judgmental, condescending adults from the neighborhood call themselves fine, upstanding religious folk? [shake my head] I wish you all the best as you face the challenge of seeing your daughter to her greatest potential. Meanwhile, should you ever feel the need to vent, you know you have a sympathetic ear (or eye, I guess) right here. Also, there are some nice comments above from adults with ADHD. I find them comforting to read on rough days; they're a reminder that no matter my current level of frustration or fatigue, there's plenty of hope for a very bright future. Take care, give your daughter an extra hug for me, and have a wonderful week! :) ~Stephanie

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  5. Your son sounds exactly like mine. (9, adhd) I loathe the "he just needs more discipline." Belive me, we've disciplined so much it felt borderline abusive. The last thing they need is more discipline! What I've noticed they do need more of is patience, understanding, and love. Thank you for writing this

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    1. Thank you for taking the time to read my post, and I wish you the best with your son. You're right; patience, understanding, and compassion are crucial for these kids. That's a lot easier said than done, of course, but lately I've REALLY been able to see how slowing down, "loosening my grip", and talking things out more with James has been working for both of us. He's not perfect; he makes mistakes, but he makes every effort to make me proud, and I make every effort to let him know when he HAS made me proud. Take care and have a wonderful weekend! :) ~Stephanie

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  7. Your blog post really struck a chord with me. I have a 16 year old dyslexic/dyspraxic/ADHD/on the spectrum son who on a good day is a huge handful but is the funniest human I know. I agonised and I agonised (still do) over what else could I be doing for him, where could I be a better parent, what did I do wrong, but they'll find their path I think.

    His ADHD is only recently diagnosed (last 18 months) after he changed from handful to unbearable - the hormones you are dreading, sorry - but he's turned back into the sweet, kind, klutzy, funny, impulsive poor decision maker he was before - hurrah.

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  8. Thanks so much, Alli, for taking the time to read my post, and for sharing. I'm glad your son got the ADHD diagnosis, since that appears to have led to treatment that aided in the return of the son you knew and loved before "the insanity" set in. My oldest daughter is on the spectrum, and puberty brought on a temporary stint of insanity for her, too. Luckily, I put her on the pill, and that [mostly] returned the daughter I knew and loved (and could live with!). She also suffers from chronic migraines, and the pill played a huge roll in getting those under control, too. It sounds like you're doing a great job; pat yourself on the back! Best of luck as you help your son finish up high school, take care, have a wonderful week, and happy new year! :) ~Stephanie

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  9. Thanks Stephanie :) I'm in UK, so he's left school now, he's become an apprentice bricklayer and he's loving it. For the first time he doesn't feel like "the stupid one" in the class, he's excelling.

    The classroom environment was just never for him, the having to sit still and concentrate for 8 hours a day was torture for him, but now 8 hours doing something physical that he loves is a breeze.

    I'm glad your daughter got help too. And I so admire the love and tenacity you have with your children, that takes a very special person.

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    1. I'm so glad things are working out so well for your son! It breaks my heart when I hear about kids "feeling stupid" in school. These are kids with great potential, and it seems the schools are letting them down if the kids are left feeling inadequate. Best of luck to him with his apprenticeship; it sounds like he has found the perfect fit! :) ~Stephanie

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  11. Hi Stephanie! I'm a 46 year old who wasn't diagnosed until I self-diagnosed in my Intro to Special Ed class at 22 (later officially confirmed through the Disabled Student Services at the school I was attending). Reading about James reminds me a lot of myself when I was young (I never realized my aversion to itchy tags in clothes might be ADHD related!), & sympathize with the challenges both you & James confront on a daily basis! Something that I believe helped me navigate the turbulent waters of undiagnosed ADHD was finding a sport that I both excelled at & thoroughly enjoyed. For me that sport was swimming. I was fortunate that I had access to both a YMCA team and a U.S.S. team, which allowed me to compete in all but a couple of months per year. The whole-body workout involved in swimming gave me a place to pour all of that excess energy 6 days out of 7 (unless there was an invitational meet to attend, & then even on the 7th day). It did not cure my distractability or impulsivity, but I believe burning off some of that extra energy gave me a BIT more focus. I can definitely say it helped with hyperkinetic activity. More than that, it gave me a place to excel; where I could have confidence & be successful. It also gave me somewhere where I could learn to set some small goals for myself in order to work toward a larger goal. I firmly believe that had I NOT had this outlet, I would likely have found my way into some kind of trouble (delinquency or some such). For me it was a safe haven & a salvation. I am not sure if a similar activity would assist James in finding firm footing, but I figured it wouldn't hurt to offer up the information. Further confirmation of how swimming can help is Olympian Michael Phelps, who, I believe, also had the dual diagnosis of ADHD/dyslexia. I pray that both you & James find a place of acceptance & success in the future! Blessings of love & light for you all.

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    1. Thanks so much for taking the time to read my post and for sharing. I had, indeed, heard the story of Michael Phelps' ADHD diagnosis and the role swimming played in his life. I'm so happy for you that swimming seems to have been your salvation, too! I looked for awhile for a sport James could enjoy and find success with. He didn't have much interest in team sports, so we tried individual. Swimming was not an option because he had a severe aversion to getting his face wet for a long time. He was pretty old before he even transitioned from baths to showers. It wasn't until just a few years ago that he really learned to swim. We had some success with martial arts. That helped with his coordination and awareness of where his body is in space. He began to have severe issues with anxiety over what was expected of him, though, so we had to stop. Meanwhile, he did find a great outlet, although it wasn't a physical one. He loves Magic the Gathering (a card game) and has become very good at it. He participates in numerous events/matches and is proud of his performance. Recently I've developed some hope that he may have also found a physical activity he can have some fun with and excel at. Last fall he shocked me when he told me he wanted to sign up for the cross-country team. I had encouraged him to run/train with me a few years ago, and he participated in a 5K race. He was proud of himself for finishing the race, but he didn't seem interested in continuing with running...until his sudden request to join the cross country team. I braced myself for him to quit after a practice or 2 (after remembering just why he had stopped running before), but he continued on and did pretty well. Just today he and I began our own training program to prepare him for next fall's cross country season. I'm excited for him to see just how much success he can enjoy when he has trained for more than just the few weeks he did for his last competitive season. :) Thanks again for sharing, and enjoy the rest of your weekend! :) ~Stephanie

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  12. Your message resonated with me for at least a few reasons. Teaching at two community colleges and a foreign university offered me some unique opportunities and privileges. I'll provide background information so some subsequent insights will hopefully benefit you.

    One of the colleges where I taught had an "alternative school." Both had large GED programs and all three institutions had a number of foreign students from various countries. Both colleges allowed me to engage in educational cooperatives in other countries. One of the schools employed a couple of brilliant PhDs who taught there because of unique facilities and program offerings. One of the ESL programs was a critical component of a community that depended heavily on immigrant workers who often spoke no English and sometimes were unable to read in any language. Through one of the community colleges, I was able to teach many continuing education and professional development courses. Through the other, I was allowed to teach prisoners and attend a prison graduation ceremony.

    So, I was able to interact with people from a wide array of educational, socioeconomic, and other backgrounds. Some of my best students had either attended an alternative school or earned a GED. At least two of them were homeless for significant periods. (If there were others they didn't share that information.)

    Some of my inmate students were exceptional. I never asked any of them about their crimes, but some would openly share details. Sometimes I felt mixed emotions. I had a close relationship with an uncle who was murdered in cold blood. That's a wound that never heals, but the scar reminds me of how much I've grown and how my uncle wants me to live my life. (Although it was in regard to physical injury, I've been told I have a high pain threshold since I was four. I'm sure there's a good reason for that, and I try to remember that gift when I consider all the other trauma and pain I've endured. It's all relative.) Sometimes we learn the greatest truths in the aftermath of our deepest pain (although it may require years in some cases). Without passing through the darkest valley, we flawed humans would perhaps never even glimpse the acute brilliance of the light.

    We might also fail to realize how alike all of us are, even those who seem to be so different. On the other side of the world I was amazed to see my new friends and I had more in common than not. I was also humbled to realize that in some cases the serendipitous slip at one particular intersection of space and time was the most essential element differentiating me from certain prisoners, who might be much better people than I will ever be. As John Bradford said, "But for the grace of God, there goes John Bradford."

    Awareness of dyslexia, at least in my home state, is still woefully inadequate but at least most people are finally understanding dyslexia has nothing to do with intellectual capacity. (As with the universe, there's just a lot about the brain we don't understand regardless of how much we think we know.) My brother-in-law, who has become a wildly popular science teacher and a tremendous musician, really struggled in school due to ADHD. He went back to college and became a teacher late in life. (continued as "Backgrounds")

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  13. …Backgrounds (continuation)

    In some ways, I was slow to develop. So what? So were Einstein and a host of others. I didn't talk, at least not to people, until I was about four. Then Dad overheard me talking in complete sentences to our dog. He was not happy. When I did start talking to people, my pronunciation was awful. But doctors eventually determined my ears were clogged. Now I hear perhaps too well (especially when I have headaches). A junior high teacher told me in front of my classmates I wrote "like a baby." I struggled to write legibly through public school only to be told as an adult on many occasions that my rotation sheets and class notes were the neatest of all. (I personally think a few of my students had much better penmanship than mine.) Nonetheless, I still start many letters and numbers opposite of convention, cross tees backwards sometimes, etc. Also, I don't always start characters the same way. But it works for me, sometimes perhaps faster than it would otherwise.

    I know a speech therapist who is now studying dyslexia for her job in the public schools. She has that added responsibility because there is no one else to do it. She's the same person who was often told by at least one teacher she would never be as smart as a particular sibling. I'm really proud of her. Nonetheless, a teacher with that much Schadenfreude and ignorance of and/or disdain toward causal effect should not be teaching. I also know brilliant people who hold advanced degrees yet struggle with issues few people know about. All of us are mortally flawed. Some flaws are just not as apparent as others.

    During my time as a supervisor, I saw unlikely people rise through the ranks on their own merit. I've learned it's foolish to form preconceived notions about people. I've also learned intelligence is a relative trait. Some people who might not appear particularly bright are often highly capable in surprising ways. Unimaginative people who fear the unknown are prone to label and categorize people. Yet we underestimate others at our own peril. The benefits we can gain from uncommon associations are often not what we expected. Broadened perspectives are a gift as timeless as the soul. I personally know I owe so much to so many who are unlike me in many ways.

    From a supervisor's perspective, setting a person up for failure is the worst thing managers do to people. Yet some managers do it frequently. Instead of looking at the failures of training, planning, evaluation, and adjustment, they devise a faulty system and then blame the workers for its predictable failures. That's the reason Deming got sent to Japan. US managers were tired of his directive to look in the mirror. The best thing a manager can do for herself and everyone else is create a system based on productive feedback that allows motivated employees to meet their potential for the benefit of the organization and themselves.

    From an educator's perspective, the worst message is that a student can't do something. When students accept that message to the detriment of discovering their full potential, everyone loses. Some students use it as motivation, but even some of those do so in a way that stymies their productive socialization.

    Many of my students were poorly prepared for my courses. It wasn't their fault. It was the system. Lowering expectations would be depriving them of possible benefits. I just pushed them harder and made more resources available. It was difficult sometimes and even engendered a few bitter feelings at some points, but it was worth it because the best part of the educational process is watching the glimmer of realization when some undervalued student understands he can reach higher than he ever though possible, regardless of what anyone ever told him. (continued as "Backgrounds 2")

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  14. …Backgrounds 2 ( second continuation)

    All of this is true in life, too. A really right-brained math instructor (of all disciplines) who did extensive research on learning styles helped me understand I'm not a "visual" learner in the sense I had imagined. I merely prefer that method. I (or anyone else) could be a tactile or some other type of learner if needed. I just prefer to learn visually, probably because I formed a special intimacy with books at an unusually early age. My grandmother, who was a librarian, put old catalogs in front of me to do with as I pleased (even if that might mere ripping) so I would "be comfortable with books" (or not intimidated by them) since she believed a capable reader could learn to do virtually anything he desired.

    Unfortunately, uninformed and unimaginative people tend to judge others when they don't understand them rather than taking the time to relate to them. Most of us were born with certain gifts. Rather than being proud and looking down on those who might seem less capable, we should feel a greater sense of responsibility. As it has been written and widely reiterated, "To whom much is given, much is expected."

    People are unique individuals with the power to amaze when given the chance. A person who ardently believes in the aberrant power of the human spirit can shatter widely held perceptions while defying common logic. Stereotypes exist because too many people bow to the power of common expectation. People tend to put forth required (or greater) effort when they believe their efforts will probably result in a desirable outcome. (Although that's a gross simplification of Vroom's brilliantly simple theory, it remains true to the central tenants.)

    When people embrace high expectations, whether those expectations are internal and/or external, they tend to perform at a much higher level. They might miss their desired stars and merely land on the moon, but that's an amazing accomplishment if the majority of people said they would never even leave the ground.

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  15. I am a teacher. I loved reading this. I see this so much in school. We work so hard with our kids. Thankfully, I get to see them mature and certain things do get better. But it is at their pace, with their supports in place. And it is almost NEVER about discipline with these kiddos. Sure there are children who need something along those lines and all will be better, but kids with ADHD and/or dyslexia???? Nope. You keep at it, Mama. And just love that little guy. He'll get wherever he is supposed to be and it will be just fine.

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    1. Thank you so much, Kara, for taking the time to read my post, and for sharing your thoughts. It really means a lot to me that you, as a teacher, "get" what I'm saying. I will, in fact, continue to love my little guy. He makes it so easy; he and I seem to grow closer with each passing day. That's such a good thing, since he just turned 13 and we have a whole new crop of exciting challenges and milestones ahead of us! You're right, though; with our continued love and support he's going to be JUST fine...and I can't wait to see where his journey takes him! Take care and have a wonderful weekend! :) ~Stpehanie

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  16. My son is diagnosed with ADHD and is 15 now. He still experiences learning issues and talk about rebel. Teen years are hard enough but couple that with an individual who already had a rebel streak - yikes! But it does get better. You just have to be consistent and as you have noticed - limit the distractions. The TV is my mortal enemy and it doesn't go on until homework is done - so most of the week it's off. Even then my son will do ANYTHING other than homework or the latest project - from annoying his older sister to taking out the trash and even vacuuming. So yeah - I feel your pain and struggle. Keep at it. It does get slightly better. Sports seem to help a bit, just a bit. Music does too - but even that becomes its own struggle in forcing them to practice.

    Anyway - just glad to know there are others out there facing the same issues.

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    1. Thanks so much for taking the time to read my post, Suzanne, and for your supportive words! Best of luck to you and your son; I'm glad to hear that things have gotten [at least a little] easier for you over the years. This past year has been a really good one for my son; he has calmed down and matured quite a bit. That's good, because it was JUST in time for his 9-year-old ADHD/dyslexic sister to completely LOSE HER MIND. At least this time I have the experience to draw from so I don't naturally assume this is just the beginning of her journey to prison. My son shows me there's hope that at least SOME of her good sense will soon return. Take care, thanks again, and have a wonderful weekend! :) ~Stephanie

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  17. My son has/had severe dyslexia and ADHD as a kid but is now a computer tester for Epicure after successfully completing a two year college program for computer systems technologist. He's never been in trouble with the law and proudly considers himself a geek. Hang in there, he's worth it.

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    1. Thanks so much for taking the time to read my post, and for your encouraging words! It sounds like your son is doing fantastic and has found a career he can really take off in! It's so nice to hear a great success story such as yours; thanks for sharing! Take care, and have a wonderful week! :) ~Stephanie

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  18. I loved your post. I raised a ADHD son and have a grandson with sensory intrigration disorder so what you were saying hit home. Cant wait to read more. Adding to my kindle. Thanks

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    1. So sorry for the delayed response; somehow I missed your post earlier this month. Thanks so much for taking the time to read my post, and for your kind words; I'm glad you enjoyed it! Thank you very much for the add to your Kindle. Take care, happy reading, and have a wonderful week! :) ~Stephanie

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  20. After raising two Adhd kids into adulthood I always found the advise and just discipline them more - meant nothing. It took me a while but I found I had to approach it differently... I didn't get it completely until my granddaughter who also deals with it and other issues. It certainly helps as we try to help raise her. I wish your blog had been there years ago but I am glad you get the information out and educate all those who think a bit of simple discipline will help...

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    1. Thanks so much for taking the time to read my post, D.L., and for sharing a little about your family and the challenges you've faced! My grandmother always said she had ALL the answers to being the best parent...starting from about the time her kids had grown and left the house. :) Glad to hear that your there to be a supportive influence in your granddaughter's life! Thanks again, take care, and enjoy the rest of your week! :) ~Stephanie

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