Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Mr. Ellis you’ve done good.

Well someone’s lovin’ herself this morning!  Yeah, and I’m bout to get into those deets. But first, these past two weeks have been a whirlwind and I’d like to give a shout out to Colin Tuis Nesbit, fabulous artist and dear friend.
 A few weeks ago we had the pleasure of hosting Colin while he installed a work at BYU. I was lamenting about the grief Chase was giving me and he suggested perhaps he has AD/HD, as Colin suffers from it.
The very next day I made an appointment with our physician and wiped out the local library’s shelf on the subject. While I’m on the self-praise theme-I know how to git r done!
I anticipated that having a Jr. Higher would be quite the adjustment for our family. It was the worst years of my life so I knew it wouldn’t be without some bumps. It’s been worse than bumps, we’re talking mountains! Not just increased school work load but missing assignments, failing grades, constant notes from teachers about behavior, administrator/parent conferences, even suspension. I was at a loss and the “How to raise a boy” and “teen parenting” books were not helping!
So as I’m pouring over these AD/HD books, things instantly started to make sense. I’m feeling empowered and hopefully, finally tools and explanations to help me!  I had to share these things with Jared! And as I’m listing the common signs and symptoms he’s like, oh yeah, I can relate.
No s***! I knew that! (I really should control those swearing outbursts in my head!) It was an ah-ha, even confirming, moment. And this flood of understanding comes to me. Here I was simply wanting Jared to never utter to me again (as I repeatedly dump my frustrations on him), “The reason Chase doesn’t take responsibility is because you do EVERYTHING for him” or “Why do you constantly repeat yourself to him” and “Make him work harder” blah-blah-blah. All the information I was reading was making me feel darn good because I was already instinctively doing things right. I just needed Jared’s empathy and to be on board too. Every accommodation Chase needed and I was providing were exact ones I provided for Jared x’s 10! Through Jared’s education and beyond! They came so naturally to me because Chase is his father’s son. I’ve always worked so hard with Chase so that he won’t be as dependent on me as Jared is!
We already went over the nugget of “Jared didn’t graduate high school” in an early blog and the hair ripping experience of getting him through that AND two higher degrees. The reality is even borderline ADD, AD/HD causes academic agony. It’s frustrating because you have a beautiful healthy person who is amazingly bright and capable but they’re underachieving in school. My Mr. was repeatedly tested in elementary school with no developmental or leaning problem diagnosis yet he repeated the 3rd grade and always did miserably academically! I’m studying that like Chase, Jared lacked a group of key cognitive skills known as the executive function, mainly: working memory and recall and activation.  These deficits make one avoid mentally exhausting tasks and contribute to disorganization, difficulty getting started and finishing work, forgetting assignments, procrastination on long-term projects, forgetting to turn in work, difficulty memorizing and recalling facts, trouble writing essays or reports, etc. Basically everything needed to do well in school short of attending.
The key to success: parent involvement, a partnership with your child throughout their educational years. Exhausting stuff, especially if there seems to be nothing wrong with the person and its chalked up to, “school is just not their thing”, or “they’re choosing to be lazy.” Here is where “developmental appropriate supervision” comes into play, i.e. Mrs. Jared Ellis.
From day 1 of my Mr.’s educational adventure I went over EVERYTHING he brought home, syllabuses, assignments, sloppy notes (did you know messy handwriting is a sign of AD/HD since they never had the attention span to take the time developing that skill?) you name it, if it was on paper I read it and followed through. Library research and papers were the things I focused on. Jared worked on in-class work and if he brought home a syllabus that had a heavy load of that, the class was dropped, especially ones that the grade relied on test scores. We favored courses with minimal in-class responsibility. It was very frustrating on my end when I tried to organize homework because if I had a question often times he couldn’t remember what was lectured.  Naturally he thrived in the studio art setting, he never had to sit down or memorize facts! He just had to create and that has always been his God given gift. His educational success was truly a product of our partnership effort. And of course it behooved me to do so because its scary being dependant on someone else for your social-economic status. I’m a homemaker! Wouldn’t it be in my best interest to get my husband as far ahead as I possibly could?!
I’ve told the man, there is no way under the blazing sun we are EVER getting a divorce, no other woman is going to benefit from my hard work! Honestly you see it all the time, creative artistic individuals who don’t get their dues until later in life and then some young thing sweeps in and reaps the reward. Because more often then not, creative people are sufferers from AD/HD, they don’t fit the academic mold and they’re seemingly stuck in their head all the time. They take work and a conscience effort not to harbor resentment for their weaknesses!
Obviously I’m committed to the man and I recently read its also recommended one stays curious about their partner for a successful marriage.  Is there no end to my man’s mysteries? He is defiantly going to continue to get lucky!


  1. I bet you didn't know that Mitch is an ADD man also... he's starting back to school in January in the Fire/Rescue department and it's going to be a wild couple of years. Medication has been a god send for him. I don't know if you're considering it for Chase but I'm a huge fan of meds for adults.

  2. As I'm pouring over research on the subject it doesn't surprise me how many people suffer from it. Don't we all exhibit signs ourselves? Its just frustrating other peoples lack of knowledge on the subject and their "tough love" attitude. My child needs compassion and patience from me right now, believe me he's had enough yelling and lecturing! I'm approaching things differently and I'm already seeing improvements. I feel you on Mitch going back to school and he'll need you more than ever. I'm always a block away if you need anything especially a listening ear or better yet-chocolate!

  3. Trav too! We didn't figure it out until after he'd finished his undergrad. He was on medication for awhile and it was awesome, but now that we don't have insurance, we stopped having him take it. BUT it's made a huge difference in how much he can (or can't) get done at school. So I'm trying to get that sorted out so that he at least has it for the last semester. It makes such a huge difference in what he's able to get done. Good luck with Chase! And Jenna - good luck with starting school. The time really does fly by, even if it's hard and busy. I can't believe Trav will be done in May already!