I find myself again thinking about my daughter and our journey with her after my 2nd class in 688. The Americans with Disabilities Act and the importance of disclosure again made me consider what path we have chosen since that fateful day in the pediatrician’s office….
Last week we read an article, Facing a Problem Status Couldn’t Solve. First, what an AMAZING article. I completely related to Anne Ford in some ways as she discussed her desire to help her daughter and yet her uncertainty in voicing that her daughter had a disability-“I was reluctant to speak about her disability.” A thought that is astounding when you consider how your truest desire as a parent is to typically do what’s best for your child, and yet we shy away from acknowledging that they need unique help when it comes to learning or academics. As Anne lists in her article, “LD is a neurological disorder that causes the brain to perceive even the simplest information as a chaotic jumble of words, numbers and thoughts. Every aspect of a child’s life can be affected: reading a book, playing a game, interacting with other children.” (Ford, Pg 2)
So if something is affecting our child and such a significant part of their lives, why do we shy away from seeking assistance? Why do we so often choose instead to pretend as though it’s not there? Oh good, now we know what it is and that she’s not just a “bad child”. Now let’s pretend it never happened? One can only wonder if what was affecting the child in such a way was one that society accepted more readily-would we be as hesitant to discuss or disclose it?
But after this week I am steadily realizing how important it can be to overcome that discomfort and instead become their advocate. An advocate that will not only serve as an important part of the success of the child as an adolescent, but can also help to pave the way for the child to later become a successful self-advocate as an adult. But am I an advocate? Our journey began with choosing just the right doctors, multiple discussions, a few trials of various things and then, eventually, medication; the ladder of which I fought to avoid unless absolutely necessary. But for all of our determination and, dare I say advocacy, we stalled after the little white pill came into our lives.
My daughter has made her way through the last several years of school successfully. We even noticed a difference in her reading and vocabulary scores to some degree. But I reflect now on a statement from a teacher last year as we discussed her progress and his eluding to the fact that she seemed to be easily distracted. I nodded, fully understanding, and explained that she had ADD. “Ah,” he replied, “that makes a lot more sense.”
So I wonder now, as I consider the importance of disclosure for individuals that live with the struggles of ADD or other learning disabilities, should that have been a sign? A sign that perhaps telling her teachers would actually assist them in finding the best method for my child to learn, and understanding when she didn’t seem as focused or was easily distracted? “You understand the best teacher is not necessarily the one who deals with the most facts, but who effectively allows the student to come to grips with the best part of themselves.” (A Man’s Reach Shouldn’t Exceed His Grasp, Henry Winkler, pg 2)
“Have you ever tried to cover up something instead of asking for help?” (First Person Essays, Jill Lauren, Page 1)