Brag: Jake by Rachel Schappy

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Jake’s 12th Birthday Party 2018

Jake is the youngest of three children. He was first flagged as struggling academically in kindergarten and then again in grade one. Jake struggled with saying the alphabet, sounding out the alphabet, math, staying focused, sitting still and making/keeping friends. At home, he was busy physically with sports, but could not get along with siblings, couldn’t take a joke, had multiple meltdowns over silly things and spent a large part of everyday upset and crying. Our family spent the majority of our days walking on egg shells in hopes of not triggering Jake.

Jake’s grade one teacher convinced me to have a psychologist evaluation done in order to help get the support Jake needed in school. I ended up paying $1300 for a 3-hour evaluation where I was not allowed to be present. The psychologist diagnosed him with ADHD and said he was the most severe she had ever seen and that he would never be able to function without medication.

In the fall of grade two, I started Jake on the recommended stimulant drug and within a short amount of time he was a walking zombie, no spunk, no personality glossy eyed, no appetite but he was able to focus. At the 7-month mark, our family physician discontinued his medication due to a 10 lbs weight loss. Jake’s personality returned and so did his appetite and we were thrilled. We vowed never to medicate again.

In the fall of grade three, I was still very concerned with Jake’s academics. I expressed my concerns and our history to a doctor at work whom I had never met before. To me, this encounter was like divine intervention. He recommended a program called NACD. The doctor encouraged me not to wait but to act as he handed me a USB stick with an audio recording of child development. When I left work that day, I had a plan and I had hope for the first time.

We had our evaluation in December of grade three, near the end of 2014. I liked how Sara conducted Jake’s evaluation. I was allowed to be present for the whole evaluation which took maybe a total of 2 hours. Prior to the evaluation, I had filled out paper work on things, like what did Jake eat, how much screen time did he get, physical activity, team sports and how many hrs of sleep he was getting a night, were just a few of the questions. In my opinion, this was actually a head to toe assessment of what was going on in this child’s world. I was sold on NACD from just the evaluation alone.

Within a few days, Sara Erling our Developmentalist, emailed us a program that she’d developed specifically for Jake based on his needs. We started immediately. Within weeks, we started to see changes, but the greatest change happened at approximately the three-month mark. Jake, in a short amount of time, was no longer wiggling all over the place and was able to sit and focus for extended periods of time in class. I was now more determined than ever to continue this program. With the help of NACD and our Developmentalist, Sara, our goal was to get Jake to grade level and able to function without supports.

With our Developmentalist, Sara Erling, we have worked with Jake to meet his specific needs. Sara has done an amazing job supporting both Jake and the family. She has helped instill positive behaviours as well as delivering quarterly evaluations. She continues to set the bar higher and higher to ensure we continue to see the changes necessary to move Jake forward.

NACD isn’t about a band aid solution like stimulant drugs. They are helping parents help their children to get lasting results through brain development aka neuroplasticity. In a short 3.5 yrs, NACD has helped us develop Jake to the point where he can thrive on his own without supports or medication! Not bad for a child who according to one, would never function without medication (heavy sarcasm). We have a confident, happy, thriving child who knows that he can be successful in life with whatever he chooses.

Thank you, Sara Erling, for never using labels and always knowing that we would get Jake to the finish line. You have changed our lives for the better and we are so grateful for all you do!!

—Rachel Schappy (Mother)

NACD Newsletter, June 2018 ©NACD