Guest Post — By Jennifer Covello
“Your son is having some trouble in our class. We’d like to speak to you about it”
I’ll never forget that day or those words as I entered my son, Christopher’s pre-school to pick him up for the day. His teacher and the center director were both there.
You know how it is. You’ve worked all day and you just want to pick up your child from daycare, head home, and ready yourself for your other full-time job as parent. This was not to happen that day. I spent the next twenty minutes hearing about how Christopher could not focus on a task, could not keep his hands to himself, interrupted the teacher, and walked about freely. With each “wrong-doing”, I felt myself shrinking.
Then, I heard those fateful words. “We think you should consider having him evaluated.”
My son was diagnosed with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD) at the age of five. I remember all too well the experts at All Kinds of Minds Institute in New York City revealing to me my son’s strengths and his weaknesses. And while I was glad to have an ‘answer’, I knew that our journey was only beginning and there was much to do.
Looking back, I believe I went through a grieving period after the diagnosis. I was sad that my son would face challenges for which I had no experience. I was angry that he had this disorder. Even before the official diagnosis, I was in denial. Maybe he’d outgrow it. Then of course, came a half-hearted acceptance when you realize in order to best help him, you have to educate yourself and get on with the business of becoming his advocate until he could become one on his own.
That was seven years ago. Today, Christopher is in sixth grade. He has made the honor roll twice, most recently high honors. He is passionate about basketball. Is he cured? No. Is it a struggle? Yes. As a later mom, do I feel more challenged by this? Yes. But, what I lack in patience, I make up for in perseverance, which is critical when you are advocating for your child.
What I used to see as a “disorder”, I now see as a gift. My son is creative, loving, funny, and passionate about the things that really interest him. And when all is said and done, he has taught me that no matter what your “disability” is, if you put your mind to it, you can do anything.
Jennifer Covello, a native of Long Island, New York, and a “later mom”, has a background in Information Technology and Marketing. She formed Frittabello, LLC and created a unique keepsake baby journal for children from birth to age 5. As a mother of a child with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD), Ms. Covello has become an advocate for children with AD/HD and will donate a portion of the proceeds of her product sales to organizations that educate and empower parents and children working through this challenge. See http://www.frittabello.com for more information or to join her mailing list, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.