I don't usually post about me personally outside of my classroom, but I really wanted to share this. It is school-related, and the situation has influenced me as a teacher. I will give you some background so that maybe you can get a better understanding about why I wanted to share.
My seven-year-old son, Jeffery is ADHD. He was diagnosed at the age of 4, and to this day I am still working to find the right combination of medications that will work for him. He is on a strange mixture right now that was prescribed by other psychiatrists that we no longer see. His current psychiatrist is trying to find a way to taper back and find the few medications that will work. For right now, what he is taking is working for the most part.
He is a very intelligent child, who is very sweet and caring when the meds are working. He learned letters and sounds at the age of 2 with no prompting from me. He picks up everything he hears around him, even if you think he isn't listening.
When he was 4 and in VPK, he would refuse to do Circle Time activities, preferring to roll around on the floor trying to be the center of attention. The teachers did nothing to try to get him to cooperate, which was a big mistake as he would never be ready to cooperate in Kindergarten the following year. At his VPK graduation ceremony, he proceeded to run back and forth across the stage trying to yell into the microphone throughout the ceremony. To say that I was embarrassed is an understatement!
In Kindergarten, he started going to the school where I work. At the time, I was a Kindergarten teacher, and he was right across the hall. I knew he was in good hands with his Kindergarten teacher. However, he proceeded to talk out, run around the room, get in the faces of the other children, refuse to do as he was told, scribbled on his work, and the list of disruptive behaviors goes on and on. One incident that still stands out to me is the day he drew a large EVE (from the movie, "WALL-E," which he still loves) using crayon, covering the entire table. His teacher had the patience of a saint! If she didn't, she was very good at hiding it from me.
After talking to our school's behavior specialist extensively, I decided to let them start testing him for the EBD (Emotional Behavior Disorders) class. This terrified me! He would be in a small class with a teacher and 2 assistants, and all of the other children were in grades 2-5. I was so afraid the other children would hurt him. I was assured it wouldn't be allowed, and except for 1 child who pushed him a few times, he was fine. When I chaperoned one of their field trips, I saw how the entire class seemed just like him, except they were older. Most of them even looked out for him. That was when I was able to accept his placement.
He started that class in the last quarter of Kindergarten, and is still in there now. At times I've felt like he was missing out on the songs and other fun things we usually do in the primary grades. I understood why his teacher couldn't do that in his class, but I wished he could be with the other kids in his "regular" class.
He started being mainstreamed last year for Math and Social Studies. He seemed to do well for this short period of time, but I knew he still had to improve. This year, we started mainstreaming him for Math and Science. This meant he was in a regular class for half of the day. He seemed to be doing well after he realized what was expected of him, and the other children seemed to like him. However, he still had his "quirks" in there and in the EBD class, like not wanting to write at all. He is the "king of shortcuts." If he can find a way to get done faster (correct or not), he will do it.
After the first quarter, we decided to mainstream him for Social Studies as well. Since his Math/Science teacher is departmentalized, that meant he would have another teacher with the same children from his Math/Science class. I hoped he could handle it. He continued to do well.
Now that we are back from Christmas Break, there seems to be a slight maturity about him (at school, sometimes at home) that wasn't there before. He has been doing very well in his classes, and trying harder. He earned all A's and 1 B (because of the writing) on his report card, and his behavior is good most of the time.
Yesterday, his EBD teacher told me they are planning to fully mainstream him within the next week or so. I'm so proud of him I could burst! I've told him how happy that makes me, and how he should be so proud of himself. He knows this is big, but I'm not sure he fully comprehends the hard work it took from everyone (him, me, my parents, and his oh-so-patient teachers) to get to this point. I remember feeling so hopeless, like we'd never get to this point. Now, the feelings of pride and gratitude are overwhelming! I am extremely grateful to his teachers since Kindergarten (if you are reading this, you know who you are), my parents (who helped me tremendously through it all), and Jeffery, who all helped us get to this point.
I know everything won't be perfect now. I'm sure there will be challenges galore in the future. However, it's wonderful to reflect on the current progress!