I am thankful that his behavior still seems to be on track. His major difficulty, as with many children who share a diagnosis of ADHD, is in focusing on the work at hand, completing assignments, and keeping up with the class. The fact that he has extremely poor auditory processing skills only makes things more difficult. This aspect of his disability makes it very difficult for him to process verbal information at the same speed and accuracy as you and I do. Middle school moves faster than elementary school, and children are often required to work more independently, with more verbal direction. So he's struggling.
Currently he's failing a subject that he's incredibly gifted in. The reasons he's failing have to do with organizational issues--not writing down due dates, forgetting to complete his work, that kind of thing. The kind of thing that I know he'll struggle with for the rest of his life. He doesn't want to have to write things down. He wants to be able to remember and prioritize like everyone else. I can relate to that want...the desire to have everything in me working exactly like everyone else. But as most adults can identify with, at some point or another you begin to realize that we all have our own "issues" that make us unique...whether you have difficulty retaining information or you have a medical condition that requires ongoing treatment, you start to realize that "everyone else" isn't so different from you.
Our son isn't there yet. After an open and honest discussion this morning in which he collapsed into tears, he admitted he's angry with himself and that something needs to change. We've outlined those changes and laid expectations out to help him be more successful. Hopefully he will follow through with little resistance. He wants to succeed, and that's a good thing. I think he also knows, deep down, that sometimes he is the one who stands in the way of his own successes.
Nelson Mandela once said that it is not our darkness that scares us; instead, it is our potential to shine brightly. We are afraid of our own light, our ability for greatness. I believe there is tremendous truth in that statement. How often we shy away from opportunities that would encourage us to shine! How often we set ourselves up for failure, because coping with failure's disappointment is easier than imagining the rippling current success might bring.
What I want to say to my son is what I need to say to myself, and it is this: Don't be afraid of who you are. Your light is unique to you, and a gift from God. If you use your failures wisely, they will lead to your successes. And those bring light not just to you, but to everyone.