When Your Child Has ASD/ADHD

My son is not a regular kind of young boy. He is super sweet and kind. One of his teachers called him an expressive soul, and he is very articulate with his words even at seven years old. But then again, my son is different from others. He has ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) with signs of hyperactivity, impulsiveness, lacks focus and control, and with a short attention span. My loving son may have ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) as well.

“Children who have been diagnosed with ADHD are at a much higher risk of developing noncompliant or negative behaviors than a child who does not have ADHD.” –Kara Tamanini, M.S., LMHC

He Failed All His Subjects

Last year was a tough time for me, and I came to a point wherein I was aggressive. I overreacted in an office meeting which almost cost me my career. Good thing my boss was understanding and forgiving – he gave me a week off from work and allowed me time to recover from my mental anguish. You ask, what was wrong with me? What was the reason for my “difficult time?” Well, it was my son. I received his card. And can you guess what I saw? An “F” on all his six 1st grade subjects – “F” as in failed.

How can a 7-year-old boy fail first grade? He wasn’t an idiot. My son is not shallow. You can talk to him straight, and he will give you an honest answer. He can even joke around and has his sense of humor. I mean, what was the matter with him? His developmental delays were manifesting and being in a traditional school didn’t help him at all.

“Asperger’s Syndrome (Autism Spectrum Disorder) is more common that we realize and there are increasing numbers of high-functioning adults who are self-identifying or being diagnosed.” –Eva A. Mendes LMHC



Traditional School Is Not For Special And Unique Kids

What is a traditional school? It is the type of school that people go to and attend. This is the type of school that we are used to going. There is a blackboard in front, and the kids are adjacent to that board. They are all expected to sit down, listen to the teacher, and absorb the lessons that the educator is teaching.

But my son cannot just sit down and face the blackboard from 8 in the morning to 3 in the afternoon. He cannot listen to the teacher all day and do nothing else. My boy cannot absorb all the lessons being taught to them by the educator. He gets easily bored and needs to talk with a seatmate or roam around the classroom.

The teacher cannot control him, maybe because they have no idea on how to handle children with behavioral and developmental delays. He has ASD with signs of ADHD. They can’t seem to understand how my boy functions and the teachers in a traditional school don’t have a clue on how to address his needs. They don’t know how to teach him and they are not trained for it. They’re limited to traditional teaching.

“Children meet developmental milestones when they are ready. There are ranges of what is considered appropriate and what may be considered delayed.” –Francyne Zeltser, Psy.D.

What To Do As A Parent

Is it a failure on my son’s part? At first, I thought that he was at fault. But then again, if the hormones in his brain and blood were “working well,” my son would have been able to sit down instead of losing his focus. I had to accept that his disorder is acting up and causing my son all these issues.

That realization liberated me in more ways than one. I brought my son to see an occupational therapist and a reading specialist as well. These experts were recommended by a neurodevelopmental pediatrician. They designed a therapy program for him. It was also time for him to leave traditional schooling and attend a Montessori, where he has the freedom to move and learn at the same time.

I hope my decision is right because my life as a mother is incomplete if I cannot help my son live a mentally healthy life when he becomes an adult. This is difficult for me, but what else can I do, right? I think this is it.