Of course, my grandchildren are the brightest, cutest, most delightful children in the world. And, it goes without saying: so were their progenitors.
We have started the next generation of notes and phone calls from public school officials (and yes, these quotes contain my sarcastic interpretation):
“Your child (grandchild) spent half the school day sitting in the hall because he was standing in his chair then jumping off. He did not sit quietly and repentant in the hall…he sang and made noises the whole time. He sat backwards in his chair and kicked the wall.”
“Your child (grandchild) and another child were hitting each other in the (unmentionable word here) and laughing about it on the way into the lunch room. His response to being sequestered for such boyish antics was to make farting noises with his armpit.”
“We advise that you have your child (grandchild) tested for ADHD. Children who can not sit still and quietly during endless repetitive math worksheets, and who express their feelings to other children by any sort of physical contact, by definition are attention deficit.”
“No, your child (grandchild) is not the only one in the classroom who behaves this way. But here is a school psychologist’s report that will go in his permanent file anyway.”
WHAT IS WRONG WITH CHILDREN BEING CHILDREN AS LONG AS POSSIBLE????
Thank the Lord for a doctor who has three young children. He is conservative in all diagnoses. He sent home his own evaluation form to be given to anyone who cares for the little one: parents, grandparents, Sunday school teachers, and school teacher. MEANWHILE, the child is to eat a wheat-free diet for the next two weeks to see if this could help his concentration in large group settings.
He suggested the diet change because I researched anecdotal stories of wheat allergies and ADHD, then reported my findings to the 6-year-old’s mother (my daughter #1). Turns out, for those sensitive to gluten, wheat intake may cause symptoms that mimic Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. We have one family member with diagnosed celiac disease, the 6-year-old’s aunt (my daughter #2). Research indicates that gluten sensitivity may be genetic.
It makes sense to me to check out all the options before we even entertain the possibility of a learning disability which will permanently affect the child’s educational experience, even if it means the school will miss out on the extra funding it would get if we allow him to be so labeled (read heavy sarcasm into that last bit). One other thought that occurs to me-since the school officials brought up the idea of medication: If we start at 6 years of age teaching the child that if he can’t sit still in class he can take a drug, where will that end? If he can’t sleep, there’s a drug for that… If he feels sad, there’s a drug for that… I see the possibility of a never-ending cycle of medicating to live. I believe there are people who truly need to use medication for specific chemical imbalances. I do not believe this is true for one as young as six years with no evidence of disorders like fetal alcohol syndrome.
Some of the symptoms we have noted in the 6-year-old (henceforth called the Dynamo, with good reason) that mimic ADHD:
- concentration problems
- fight or flight reactions to stress (melt-downs)
- abdominal cramping
- acid reflux
- attention and behavioral problems
- floating and malodorous stools
- joint pain
- mood swings