One Parent’s Journey in Advocating For Her Child…

It is a wonderful honor to have a guest blogger with me today! Carmen Marie Djemalian is also known as TheNewHappyMe. Through her blog site and her daily interactions on her facebook fanpage, she helps men and women step into self-rediscovery, take action and improve their life.  Here’s one of her motivational stories.

Five years ago, running around between work and home, overwhelmed with my single mom responsibilities, I didn’t think I had the strength to deal with the report card messages I was getting from my son’s teachers. Similar to what many parents are hearing today, I was told that my son was hyperactive, not listening in class and that I needed to make an appointment to see the school psychologist.

I knew where this was going: Ritalin.

Long story short, the psychologist diagnosed Alex with ADHD and referred me to his pediatrician for medication. I was not pleased. Bending under school pressure, I agreed to give Alex a drug called Concerta, but I warned the doctor that I would stop if I saw any of the identified side effects.

Even though I felt out of control in pretty much all areas of my life, I knew deep inside that I was the one Alex could count on to watch out for him. No matter how unsure I was of myself in my day to day, this was my time to stand strong for him. This was just part of being his mom.

Within four weeks, Alex started checking behind him, looking anxious. Hallucination was one of the side effects. He told me someone was always following him… I called the doctor immediately. As his mother, it was my responsibility to be alert, to be completely engaged, to notice any and all changes and to stand firm on my decisions for him. I had to trust, that I was doing the right thing.

Fast forward many observations, much research and speaking with Alex’s new teacher about his not being able to complete homework, we realized that his hyperactivity at school came from not being able to follow in class. He had been copying on his buddies’ unnoticed so far. He had been coping, using his smarts at only six years of age. Nevertheless, it was clear that he still couldn’t learn the alphabet, a skill all other children his age had already acquired.

My message to all parents is this: you are the person closest to your child, therefore, in the face of challenges, you are the only one who can help figure out the truth about what is going on, about what may be bothering your child. It is crucial to be attentive, to be fully present, observing, inquiring and firm in your decisions for your family. Your child needs you.

After many tests, where I sat by his side, where I asked questions and pushed further to understand results, Alex’s neuropsychologist explained his report. There is no ADHD, instead he detected a language disorder with possible dyslexia. We were able to switch him to a local school with a special education class, where he has been improving ever since. His teachers say he is an angel and we are very proud of him!

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