Sunday, January 10, 2010


I spent yesterday morning with my jump rope team at a clinic we hosted at our school. During our initial warm up I positioned myself behind a few kids who need some encouragement to jump throughout the entire warm up. "Wahoo!" I shout, clapping behind them, "You can do it! You've got it!" And when they don't respond to positive cheering- "MOVE those FEET!"
(I always feel slightly guilty about this because if I was in their shoes I wouldn't make it throughout the entire warm up either. But regardless, my job is to get them in shape.)

About 10 seconds into the warm up one of the 5th grade boys turned around and looked at me with a look of pure horror. "I forgot my meds!" he squealed.
"We'll deal with that later! Back to jumping!" I directed- not going to let any excuse stand between the jumpers and the warm up. He went back to jumping, but a few seconds later he was turned around reading the wall. "MOVE YOUR FEET" I called. He got moving again, but out of nowhere he turned and asked me some random question about the weather. And then tried to do a jump rope move totally unrelated to our warm up. And then looked at the floor. And then tried to ask me another question.
I was irate- this is NOT how the warm up goes. You JUMP.
Then I realized what he'd told me- he'd forgotten to take his meds. And yes, clearly, as I watched him struggle to stay on task- a task that involved jumping and moving quickly, not doing something boring like reading or math- he was fighting his own personal battle to stay focused. I know this kid- I remember the days before he was medicated and how he drove any teacher who worked with him crazy- and I remember how the whole school was shocked at the change in his behavior when he finally received the right diagnosis. I've seen him work hard at practice- getting frustrated, but staying on task. Today, this was not the same hard working child we were use to.
The rest of the day was painful. He bounced around like he was in a pinball machine while the rest of us were on him like white on rice, trying to make him take our practice seriously, behavior, and stay on task. And of course, like many children with ADHD on days they do not take their meds- it feels as though they are out to personally get you- as though they are deliberately sabotaging your lessons/activities/directions. No one wins.

It was a long day. But I can say, after witnessing this child now both on and off his meds, I will never again doubt the effectiveness of the right medication for children who need it.

When our 5 hours of jumping ended we released him to his mother and I went home to take a long, long nap.

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