Friday, May 13, 2005


Weekend Assignment #59: Teachers Worth Remembering

John Scalzi

Mrs. D has this hands down! She was not my teacher but the 1st grade teacher to my Son James. Since his birth I always knew there was something different about this child, he was born a great thinker and not only was his mind racing at top speed all the time but so was his tiny little body! He wasn't the type of child that took how anything ran at face value, no he had to take it apart to see how it worked, then put it back together then take it apart again to see if he could improve on its design.

He never sat still, he was always in motion.... a constant blur and a constant challenge. I decided when he was 3 to put him in a 2 afternoon a week Parents Day Out Program so I could spend some alone time with his sister who was just 10.5 months older than him, I felt that she was robbed of 'Mommy' time because his arrival was so short after hers, and she was by far the least squeaky wheel in the family, she didn't mind taking a back seat to her siblings but I wanted time set aside for her and I. We spent those afternoons talking, playing, shopping, tea parties you name it we did it.

The good times were always over shadowed when ever I picked my Son up from the PDO program, I was ALWAYS told how he disrupted the class, how he couldn't follow the simplest direction, how he could not sit still, how he bothered everybody included the teacher, how he seemed to bully the other kids, the last straw came when I walked in one afternoon to pick him up only to over hear the teacher (not Mrs. D) say "how she hated Tuesdays and Thursdays because HE was there!" to another Mother.....needless to say I was LIVID! How very unprofessional of her, and believe you me!!!!  I voiced my concerns with her and the administrator and I pulled him from that class.

The following year came a wonderful Preschool teacher who was better equipped to handle my Son......She knew he was a handful but loved him in spite of himself.....Then Kindergarten and I was constantly called on the carpet because of the same issues he exhibited earlier and was told he was a discipline problem over and over......Well I am not about tobeat the Holy hell out of my child everyday to make him a better student...I needed answers and didn't know where to look for them......he was my only boy with 3 older sisters and I and everybody else that knew him attributed this to 'He's a boy that is what boys do' and since I had no one to compare him to I bought into that for a while too.

First Grade and Mrs. D.....finally half way through school she called me in one day and said, "I don't think Jimmy CAN control himself and his impulses, I want to have him tested for ADHD"......finally someone who saw what I saw and possibly had a solution and not just pass it off as a discipline problem for me to handle at home. After several batteries of tests, being evaluated by a Pediatric Specialist, cat scans and mri scans of the brain, blood tests to make sure it wasn't biological in nature and then finally a PET scan he was diagnosed severe ADHD he was textbook perfect ADHD.(future testing showed other things that we can be exposed to as he grows and a year later he was diagnosed with ODD.. Oppositional Defiant Disorder.)Whole nother ballgame!

With Mrs. D by my side along with his Doctors my son was finally given a fighting chance to get the best education he deserves, with the right amount of medication and behavior therapy he is a happy (most of the time Ü) well adjusted child who can sit still in class and not disrupt his fellow students who can process what he is being taught and has become not only an excellent student but there aren't any more discipline problems out of the realm of normalcy.

Mrs. D.....that one teacher who could step out of the box and realized that not every child is from the cookie cutter type and that the ones with special needs are worthy of understanding, patience and a good education. We all became better at our jobs, her as a teacher, it taught her to look for signs early and act on them, me as a parent because the whole process taught me the tools I needed to handle Jimmy and Jimmy  himself to become all he can be. He is in advanced studies and he is no longer is a discipline problem at home or school and he is ready to take on 8th grade in the fall!


imshadowraven2 said...

what a wonderful teacher she was . My nephew also has severe ADHD and we have heard all the nast comments as well and as u said with meds and therapy my nephew Danny is doing wonderful..Oh gotta tell ya the other morning (6:30) my brain was yet working he says to me did u know close a compound phrase im like huh the child is in 1st grade and im 41 yrs old and here i am thinking is he right and he tells me to ask my oldest son which i do and shane says mom its 6:30 in the morning i cant even think. So for all u ppl out there who think a child is a problem take sometime u may have a genios on ur hands...............Robin

plittle said...

A wonderful story. I wish Jimmy the best for the future as well.
p.s. I haven't done my assignment yet. I'm still going over all my old teachers in my head.

lioneyes4you said...

I am so glad you had a helpful network for your son. I can say I have similar problems and the quick knee jerk reaction was ADHD. But without the battery of testing that your child had, I as a mother wouldn't take it lying down. I know there are kids like ours with genunine problems but too often to handle any problem child many teachers will submit kids to stuff they don't need. If you saw the joke of a survey that is used to get kids diagnosed for ADHD to be used as a tool by doctors here you'd cry at the shame. Most of the things on them could describe over half of America's children. I believe we, as parents, are our child's biggest advocate in today's society of quit fixes to get everyone into the same jello mold. I am still waiting for my guardian angel to shed educated light on my son's issues and he is now in high school. I hope that it comes before he becomes his biological father who was in and out of trouble with the law by the time he was born. In addition, passed away at the age of 36. Still trying to get the why's on that one.

ihavetea said...

Thank God for teachers like Mrs. D.  It's good to know they're out there.

pixiedustnme said...

It's good to know there are teachers out there who really are paying attention to our kids.

hestiahomeschool said...

Sometimes meds can be lifesavers. My oldest daughter was born to a drug addict/alcoholic mother, and without taking her prescription she is not able to read much at all.  She has Fetal alcohol syndrome. With her meds, she reads easily and well. It helps her brain synapses.

sunnyside46 said...

whaat a wonderful success story for you & your son!

kissofvanity said...