It’s almost immediately identifiable - the moment a child is put on neurostimulants or, as I like to call them, neurological restraints. Their eyes glaze over, the sparkle in their eyes that once gave them passion now muted. Their response and engagement with their surroundings is now sluggish. It’s as if all their color has faded - a black and white speck in a vibrant movie. The world keeps going but they’re lost in it. Sometimes, they know it -- sometimes, especially when they’re younger, they’re less aware.
When we think about our children’s academic successes, and failures, we often refer to their grades. (S)he is a straight A student -- a B student -- grades are slipping --- Principals List -- Honor Roll. We’re quick to relate student learning with grades, but how much does that report card really tell you? How much should your child’s grades really matter to you? We all know that grades eventually turn into a GPA which, ultimately, can affect college acceptances, but when should we start worrying about grades? To what extent?
I stare across the space at a teacher who has no more left to give. She is shrugging her shoulders and nodding her head in a way that communicates the idea that she has been trying and that there is not a whole lot more she can do. I know how she feels for I am a teacher too. However, in this case, our situations are different. It is my son she can’t do any more for, she is the teacher and I am the parent. I have been in her shoes. I have also been in the shoes of my kid. I have never once, before now, been in the shoes of the parent.
Summer is sure to be filled with day camp, sleep away camp, beach trips, vacations, and more. Summer can quickly get away from you. Before you know it, the stores will start filling with Back to School Sales. The new school year will start in the blink of an eye. The boredom that your child faced in school this year will quickly return when the new school year begins.
Each one of my students holds a special place in my heart – ten years, thousands of students and parents – it’s been a long journey towards understanding in an effort to provide the resources that these children need so desperately. Yet, it’s been those profoundly gifted students who present with social and communicative inadequacies – often deemed as “quirky behaviors,” and in extreme situations, autism spectrum disorder(ASD), that invoke a sense of urgency in my own professional ambitions.