Hey Mom, have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a…

Forest’s best friend from Auburn came to hang out with us yesterday.  We drive him back down tomorrow.  Kyle is a great kid, he’s very respectful and courteous.  He always seems comfortable in our home but never to the point that would be annoying, if that makes any sense.  One of the things that I have always like about Kyle is his patience and kindness with our two youngest.  He puts up with their need to wrestle and pester him and he’s always very helpful with them.

Having Kyle here this time though I realized something.  As good as he is with the little ones, he has no patience for Hayden.  Hayden barely has to open his mouth and Kyle is telling him to shut up.  I can hardly blame him.  Hayden can be very hard to take at times.  I guess having Kyle here has just made me think more about how others see Hayden.

I’ve never really written about Hayden on here.  He is diagnosed with ADD and PDD-NOS.  “Not otherwise specified” because doctors don’t quite know what to make of Hayden.  He communicates very easily with adults as long as they are willing to listen to what’s on his mind and show just the smallest amount of interest.  I can’t even count the times I’ve been approached by a youth leader who is fascinated with him and loves his ideas and his ability to articulate them.  Teachers are always impressed with his range of vocabulary and again by his articulation.  On the other hand he finds it very difficult to engage in a two-way conversation.  He can answer questions easily but I can always see that he’s desperate to bring up a new topic, something he’s been thinking about at great length, all day.

Kids his own age are a whole other story.  He knows that he has very little in common with most 14 year old boys.  He has no interest in sports, dating, music, clothes, etc.  And as much as he loves video games, he really only wants to talk about his ideas for video games.  He says that other kids think he’s an alien.  In 6th and 7th grade he had a really hard time with a few boys who would very inconspicuously pick on him everyday.  He was pretty happy to move to Redmond because he liked the idea of no one knowing him and being able to just quietly go to school unnoticed.  He did have a few run-ins with a couple of the kids in our complex but they seem to have let off after I talked to them.  I am grateful for the one friend he has met.  A girl in our ward who has Asperger’s lives just up the hill from us.  They walk together everyday after they get off the bus.  I’m grateful for that 5 or 10 minutes they have together to talk about insects and animals.  Hayden is always quite happy on his own but I’m always happy for the few social moments he does have with peers.

ADD because Hayden pretty much lives in his own world.  He has a very hard time attending to tasks in class.  But I know he hears most everything he’s taught because of the facts and knowledge that he will spout out all the time.  Without medication it’s impossible to get him to complete any task without walking him through every step till he’s done.  But the medication only helps so much.  He still flunks every class but PE & Art.

Hayden loves anything to do with science and wants to invent.  I tell myself, “just get him through high school.  Once he gets into college he’s bound to blossom.”  That is my hope at least.  He has so much to offer if he can just get through this educational system that doesn’t seem able to help him.

Hayden starts high school next year and I’m dreading it so much!!  His councilor tells me that they will probably start out the year with a new evaluation to get him in special ed.  Which I hate of course but by doing that he can be put in an organization class to help him keep track of his assignments.  Sad that a kid has to be labeled in order to get the help he needs.

I heard once that children with ADD tend to be about 25% behind developmentally, meaning Hayden acts more like a 10 year old.  I see that each and everyday but it’s still hard to not expect more responsibility from him.  And I think sometimes it’s hard on Forest who picks up most of the slack as a big brother.  He very frequently tries to big brother Hayden.  That of course drives Hayden crazy but they still make a pretty good team.  They have always been complete opposites and so have always gotten along like peas and carrots.

I love my Hayd, he’s such a kick to be around.  I love his ideas, I love his imagination.  I feel very grateful that even with all his issues, he seems immune to all the other issues of adolescence.  I’m glad that’s all out there for those who don’t already know Hayden.  His peculiarities are such an integral part of my life that it’s hard to not blog about them more.

Oh, and at 14 years old he has an enormous Bionicles collection which he will spend hours building with.

Listening to: Death Cab for Cutie- The Photo Album & Narrow Stairs (because I’ve been too long winded this time.)

 

edit: thinking back, this may come across as if i’m coming out of the add-parent closet or something.  that’s not the case at all.  when i started this as a myspace only family read so i never had to explain anything about my kids and their rainbow of issues.  with other people reading now who may or may not know my kids i just wanted to introduce hayden so that i can write about him and our adventures in raising him without worrying about how it may not make sense to everyone.

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4 thoughts on “Hey Mom, have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a…

  1. I’m so glad you wrote about Hayden and I loved hearing how he’s doing. I’ve taught in Primary, Sunday School and Young Men and I can tell you that I’ve never had anyone that remotely resembles Hayden in my class. I too loved his ideas. He mind does not seem to ever take a minute off. He brings so much enthusiasm to his idea and to various subjects that it become contagious. He’s not the easiest child to have in class but I wouldn’t have changed anything about him. I agree that at times he can seem a bit behind. But then he’ll tell me about a project or idea and he suddenly seems 16 or 17 years old. I recall a time when the deacons were planning a themed dinner for young women. After a lot of thought Hayden came up with a “World of Warcraft” type theme (full of dragons and monsters and spiders) and I just sat there with a smile on my face. I hope there’s a place for people like Hayden in our system because he brings so much joy and fun to this world.

    1. Thank you so much Brett. I love to hear positive feedback about Hayden. Teachers at school tend to be mostly negative while trying to show a positive face.

  2. Keli, I love this blog post. I have only had a few interactions with Hayden but every one of them really impressed me. He played blocks so sweetly with my girls when he was at our house for YM one time. He was very patient and kind with both of them, and they really had fun with him even though they didn’t know him well. That is really special because both of my girls are usually pretty shy with new people. I think Hayden has the best smile. It really lights up his whole face. I think he will go very far in life, with his wonderful energy and enthusiasm. He is one special young man.
    I know what you mean about Forest and Hayden’s relationship–Macy already seems like the big sister. So far Maddie just takes Macy’s bossing but I know that someday it will bug her. I will have to call on you for advice when that happens! :)

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