No award for Jimmy; what should I do?

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-22-2003
No award for Jimmy; what should I do?
2
Sun, 06-22-2003 - 2:00pm
My 14 year old son has ADD but with our literally SITTING on him and removing all TV, etc, he has managed to make the honor roll all through junior high. He even made high honors once, and once he would have made high honors (he had the grades for it) but got a "3" in "effort" in one of his classes so had to settle for honors. He is forgetful, of course, forgets to hand stuff in, etc., but through it all, still made the grades. He played soccer and basketball, made all state band and is such a good drummer that he's been accepted into the high school jazz band already, knocking out upperclassmen who are already there. Two nights ago he graduated from 8th grade. There is an award given out called the "academic achievement award" that literally half the kids (50 total) got. I thought it was a given that he'd get it because of his grades, but he didn't get it! I thought it was a mistake, so I asked the next day. I was told that the criteria are somewhat subjective, and the middle school faculty didn't choose him for it because his work was "inconsistent". As each child was brought up for their diplomas, the principal introduced the kids who did get the award as having "consistently made the honor roll" but didn't say anything like that about my son. I'm furious and feel he was discriminated against because of his ADD symptoms. His self esteem has taken another blow. What should I do?
Avatar for keke0116
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sun, 06-22-2003 - 5:53pm
Because your DS had obstacles to overcome that the other kids didn't, it seems to me as though HIS achievement far surpasses those of the other kids, and the fact that he wasn't recognized is an outrage. OK, here's what I would do ...

First of all, I would write a letter to the principal of the school (and cc anyone of significance, like the school board or whoever) and I would 'remind' them of the achievement that was unrecognized and WHY it was something that deserved recognition over and above those other kids. Stress, perhaps, that you don't expect them to see this was SUPERIOR to his peers, but they need to understand that it is. Remind them of the obstacles he overcame to get to this level ... and the fact that these kids, more than those who earn acolades daily, need to be recognized. How their self-esteem is more fragile than others, that they are used to the reprimands and the criticisms and how it means MORE to them than their peers to be recognized for their achievements. This will get you no where, of course, but it might help kids in the future from being slighted.

Second, I would go out and get a special award for DS. I would have a plaque made up (or at least do a really cool certificate and have it framed) and then take him to dinner and 'present' him with his award, and let him know that YOU (and the family) recognize his achievement and are proud as hell of him. Do not let that insensitive school squash his efforts, or make him feel as though he shouldn't even bother. Invite some friends, perhaps, or at least his grandparents, and make it a special night just for him ... just to recognize HIS achievements.

Your post brought tears to my eyes because I know how fragile their egos are, and how difficult it is to see others get recognized for things that come easy to them, and then to be slighted despite their efforts. So, party it up and make it big. HIS accomplishments far surpassed anyone else that came home with their award (who probably shoved it in a backpack and never gave it a second thought.)

(((HUGS))) to you both. For what it's worth, I AM proud of him.

Nancy

Nancy 

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Sun, 06-22-2003 - 7:32pm
I understand your frustration. Kids with ADHD are definitely inconsistent, and that's the nature of it. Unfortunately our school systems do not reward kids that are inconsistent..even when we as parents KNOW our kids are doing pretty darn well! Somehow someway you need to get your son to understand that none of that (the awards) means much at all. Show him that Thomas Edison for example quit school in the second grade, and look what he became? There are books out there about this, lists on line about celebrities and famous people who were ADD/ADHD. Somehow he has to be taught by you, that trying his best is always important, but that he also won't necessarily fit into the "mold" our school systems have invented. Tell him how proud you are of him, how much you know he has worked and achieved--and just keep at it--being there for him and helping him succeed. That award means nothing, and someday he'll see that too.