This year is our son’s third year at Oakdale Elementary, he is in second grade. Starting out this year we thought that his only disability was that he had severe ADHD. His teachers in the past have expected him to act like a “normal” ADHD child.
We had been seeing a psychiatrist who specializes in and only treats patients that are ADHD and decided to have a brain wave scan done to find out exactly what we were dealing with. Once the scan was completed we gave a copy of it to his teachers listing some his problems, which are:
-Easily distracted/problems focusing
-Trouble following directions
-Problems with organization, procrastination, or losing/misplacing things
-Hyperactive/talks too much
-Poor social skills for age
-Difficulty controlling behavior
-Problems with aggression/anger
-Trouble shifting attention/inflexible in thought/ways argues
-Mood changes quickly
-Problems with relationships
-Sensitivity to touch, noise, light, smells, or taste
The report also stated he has a significant increased beta relative power compared to controls of the same age and sex. This pattern is seen in about 15% of individuals who do have ADHD. It is often referred to as “the too busy brain”.
Even with all of this information the teachers expected him to act and think like a normal child. They would get very upset with him when he shouted out or tattled.
With the start of 2nd grade approaching, we were really concerned about how his year would go. Sadly, we had no faith in the teachers. The day before school started, we had the opportunity to meet with his new teacher Mrs. Morton. We doubted that she would actually listen to us and work with our child.
To our surprise, she was someone who actually cared for our little guy. She read through the brain scan and listened to what we found did work last year and implemented those strategies into the new year. We discussed problems from last year such as lining up before school or going to other class rooms and she decided that he needed to be at the front of the line.
There was a student who was bullying our son and Mrs. Morton noticed it. She moved the student away from Noah making sure they were never in the same area together.
If he shouts out, she does not embarrass him by asking him to move his weather. Instead, she simply reminds him to raise his hand and wait to be called on.
Mrs. Morton had asked us if he was on a 504 or IEP. We informed her that we have been trying since last year to get him an IEP but that the school psychologist told us he was too smart for an IEP. She then asked that we wait to get him on a 504. Mrs. Morton agreed with us that he needed some additional support systems and accommodations to help him be successful at school. She has been working hard to see that Noah has a 504 in place to help him.
In November of last year, we went to a child psychiatrist at the University of Utah hospital and found out that he is not just a child with ADHD, but that he is also autistic and has a mood disorder. This additional information has been helpful but confusing for us as parents. We were able to get Noah into a day treatment program which took him out of the school for 6 weeks. Mrs. Morton came to our home twice a week to work with Noah one on one so he would learn what the class was learning while he was away.
Mrs. Morton has been an amazing advocate for Noah. She has always been positive and patient with Noah and with us, consistently going the extra mile by giving us her time and support. She has helped him with the anxiety and stress of new situations. She has worked with him to become a positive peer. This is an area that is most difficult for Noah. She has helped educate other staff and teachers about Noah’s specific needs and disabilities. She has allowed him time to regroup and reorganize himself when things are difficult for him. She truly cares about Noah’s school experience and does everything she can to help him be successful.
We truly do not know how we could have handled this school year as a family without the love and encouragement we have received from Mrs. Morton. We feel so blessed that she has been his teacher this year. In our minds, we know that she is our “Teacher of the Year!” We are so grateful to her for all that she has done and is continuing to do for Noah and for us. Noah loves her and so do we!!