Friday was a monumental day in the Williams family. It was the semester awards ceremony at Luke and Emma’s school and they both received academic awards. Yes, you heard me right, my ADHD son received an academic achievement award! I had resolved myself to accept that this wouldn’t happen for him, except maybe if pigs were flying, but here we were. He was one of two students in his class to receive the Academic Growth Award. His teacher recognized how much he has improved so far this school year and, despite the fact that he’s not the best reader and his handwriting is still atrocious, selected him for an academic award. Can I say it again? My ADHD son received an academic award! Woo hoo!!!
I sat across the auditorium from him (the kids were required to sit with their classes) and I observed him throughout the ceremony. I am still watching his behaviors in different scenarios to analyze how his medication is working. He was very still but a little disengaged — he did not clap with everyone else and he sat with his knees pulled up to his stomach — he seemed a bit uncomfortable with the situation. Luke likes to know what to expect and this was a new situation for him. But, when his name was called by his teacher, he came alive! His smile lit up his face and he leaped down the stairs and onto the stage. The assistant principle, Mr. E, handed him the certificate and shook his hand. Luke was beaming! The handshake was so ironic because here he was receiving an academic growth award from the man who’s office he has frequented over the last 5 months (until just this last week when we finally got his medication right). I know Mr. E was so proud to be presenting him an award for all those reasons. I am proud to have my children in a school, a mainstream public school nonetheless, that is willing to recognize students of all needs and capabilities for the best in themselves, not just the best in the group.
And I must give high praise to his teachers — without them he would not be where he is today. From the beginning, they cared for him despite his behavior, they recognized his differences and adjusted his learning environment just for him, and they give high praise for the smallest positive behavior and improvement. I think I’ve said it before here but it is certainly worth repeating, they are saints! Truly! Emma has had a couple of remarkable teachers in her five years of school so far and I certainly had a couple myself growing up, but Luke’s teachers this year have such open hearts and open minds for their students and it makes all the difference in the world for a student like Luke. Thank you would never be enough.