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Struggling with independence


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I'm feeling really, really sad for my 16 year old, adhd son. He so wants to be like everyone else.

He really values his independence, but struggles big-time to organize himself.

He was invited to a debs dance (by his friends cousin), which he was delighted with. I decided that I would take a step back and let him organize himself for this event. He asked his sister to help him choose a suit, which she gladly did.

They were to go back today for a second fitting of the suit, for the dance this Friday. Well while giving them a lift to the shop this afternoon my son suddenly revealed that the dance was on tonight and not Friday.

I had been very tempted to ring his friend's mother in the past few weeks to check out the arrangements, but decided to trust M. to have the right information. Well you can imagine the panic we had this afternoon trying to organize him.

Well this really affects his self-esteem. This is only one in an ongoing series of mishaps. He was invited to a wedding last Saturday and up to an hour before the wedding he did not know what church it was in or where the reception was.


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Guest ASchwartz

Hi Goose,

You state that you are very sad for your 16 year old son because he has ADHD. Did you know that the creater of 60 Minutes, the CBS news program, just died at age 77 and he had ADHD?

With the proper training your son can do anything in life that he wants to do and nothing will hold him back.


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Any idea of how he did it, though, Allan?

How does a person with an attention deficit go about organizing themselves on a daily basis? Do you know if we have any articles on the subject (I guess I could go look myself ...)?

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Thank you Allan for your reply.

I suppose you would have to know my son to understand his difficulties. At this stage he is out of education with absolutely no qualification, not even the most basic certificate.

There are no more options open to him for training or education, at this stage he will have to try to find work for himself. He does have learning difficulties and significant comprehension problems.

On a positive side he is very popular with both his friends and their families. He is fiercely independent, loyal to his friends, well able to stand up for himself. He is an excellent soccer player and athlete (however with regard to athletics he had dropped out as he has huge difficulties with commitment to training). He appears very able, his expressive language is good - the comprehension problem leads to considerable frustration and sometimes rage.

I am not sad because he has adhd as such, but that his difficulties lead to constant bruising of his self-esteem.


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Do you have any sort of "continuing education" options over there, goose? Can he study independently (or with your help, or a tutor) and take a certification test on his own later?

My dad came to the States from Scotland after growing up in the Depression, so he never reached even "O" level. He eventually went to school here and took a Graduate Equivalency Diploma, which is the equivalent of graduating from High School, or about "O" level. Of course, that was without any learning deficits ...

Is anything like that possible for your son?

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We were told a year ago that our only option was to either educate him at home or to send him to a special program for early school leavers.

I looked into educating him at home and found out that most of the subjects to complete the junior certificate entailed practical work that could only be done in a school setting. He had already been exempt from languages, Irish and French as it was concluded that as he had not gained basic level in English. This leaves only about 3 subjects available to study. You need to pass 5 subjects to pass the junior certificate. He would have needed a specialist tutor which unfortunately we could not afford.

He did spend most of last year in the special programme but even this he found difficult.

The government has a training arm called 'Fás' but for this the basic requirement is the junior certificate.

We will be organising for him to take a safe pass course - usually one day long. This will allow him to be employed in the construction industry.

Anyhow I keep in touch with parents of other special needs children so that if there are any new developments in special needs education I become aware of it.

Thank you for your reply


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