Attention Deficit Disorder: “Dane”

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Our son turned ten years old in April of 1996. When we started the program through NACD he was a month shy of eight years old. We had run the gamut of trying to find answers for him, suspecting M.D. or another muscular disorder, autism, dyslexia, myopia, also epilepsy. A psychologist diagnosed ADD immediately. He fit the criteria, but one glaring difference was that he was so happy.

He repeated Kindergarten even though his teachers thought he was a “genius.” We knew he was very bright, but functionally he was very behind. He could not dress himself properly, eat or stand and walk without losing his balance. He seemed so young especially when our second child arrived. He was simply not moving on developmentally. Many people feared they added to this by babying him, but it was impossible not to. The fear of him wandering into danger was a constant.

He was tested through Special Education near the end of the first grade. After much soul searching we tried a short trial of Ritalin (5 mg. 2 times a day). Quickly we saw it wasn’t right for him. Fortunately!

We took Dane to Mr. Doman in March of 1994. He was not reading pre-primer. He was memorizing words. Mr. Doman evaluated Dane and told us he was “The most disorganized child” he’d seen in 25 years. But also he told us it was fixable. Of course we were stunned and perplexed. But we had reached a critical stage where we felt we were losing Dane to his imagination. He was moving into a sheltered world of his own. We were very frightened. But the word “fixable” gave us hope. Had he told us we had to walk on our hands the rest of our lives I think we would have!

We asked how this could have happened and he told us it probably was before birth. He also told us that Dane’s “mind didn’t know where his body was.” This is basically what the special ed. tester had told us days before.

We started an intense program with NACD immediately. Fortunately we had a willing subject. When I told him he could read and be strong like the other children, he said “Show me how!” He began to crawl around on the floor, which was part of the program. We were going to make him right-dominant which was the hand he used for most functions. We were to patch his left-dominant eye for the bulk of the day and occlude his left ear. When implemented this did appear to help him hear us better.

That first week we noted some slight improvements. But, by the end of the week which was a whirlwind, an amazing thing happened. I had a ‘revelation’ as if I saw a movie in my mind. Dane was sitting on my aunt’s lap, with her holding his right hand and forcing him to eat with it. When I excitedly told my husband “Dane’s left handed”! he thought I’d lost my mind. I told him what I saw and about my father and brother, who are left-handed, and how they had experienced the same thing with teachers, and how it used to be the practice to force right handedness, with the idea it would help them. I went to my aunt and she delighted in telling me how she had forced him to use his right hand.

After consulting with Mr. Doman it was decided that we would make Dane’s left hand his dominant hand. We immediately began patching his right eye and occluding his right ear. But how was I going to get him to use his left hand? Simple. I told him that it would help him read. His reply, “You mean I can read anything about God and Science I want? OK!” Very soon we saw dramatic results. Everyone noticed. He recognized himself in the mirror for the first time, could catch a ball, acknowledge people immediately, speak promptly when spoken to.

Within three months his performance in reading excelled his previous test scores.

The beginning of second grade presented a new child, the same sweet considerate one but, one who could find another room or the playground on his own. One who didn’t need to be led by the other children. The children exclaimed “Dane’s really smart this year!” I would just say “He was always smart, he just couldn’t show you.”

After receiving a recommendation from Mr. Doman, we had Dane receive Auditory Enhancement Training in March of 1995. This was very beneficial. His speech had been very robotic and monotone, and although improved, was still very noticeable. During AET there was sudden improvement in his intonation. Improvements in many other areas occurred in the ten days of training. The first day back at school, for the first time in his life he walked up the steps without stopping when another person was walking or running by. I cried.

This school year (third grade) is half way over. He has received A’s and B’s. He’s still a little behind socially. Some motor skills are a little delayed but, we are confident with the program and realize some things are going to take a little more time.

“One step forward and two steps back.” A phrase we heard and said many times has become a thing of the past.

We know that our son can reach his potential. We now hear “One day I’m going to say, ‘I knew him!'”

Reprinted by permission of The NACD Foundation, Volume 10 No. 8, 1996 ©NACD