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Old 03-24-03, 02:19 AM
Crisgo79 Crisgo79 is offline

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A.D.D Life

Heres a previous post I wrote for a personal essay class and put on another forum. I figure I post it to some who have not seen it.

"Christopher, stop daydreaming!" my art teacher in first
grade said. She even started to make fun of me with my difficulties. Other kids would laugh at me. Paying attention in class was tough. All through the first grade I was either paying attention to something else, drifting off into space or paying attention to my fellow classmates. The year was 1985. There were days I came home from school, not making the grade. Simple exercises where difficult. I was getting grades on paper saying "Sloppy handwriting." I thought nothing of it. Some of my assignments were incomplete. My parents did not want me to fail. The problem was I had something and the school was doing nothing about it. "Count the money right!" my mother said
to me while I learned to count money in first grade. For some reason I was struggling with that too. Something was wrong. When my mother met with my teacher one day, the teacher said, "I think there is something wrong with his brain." This made me wonder.

The navy blue GMC suburban drove down this small road in the
suburbs of Syracuse. The Beach Boys played in the tapedeck as I
listened to some tunes. I rode in the back watching rural farmland pass by on a warm spring day. Finally we reached a housing development. There was this small apartment we parked in front of and I met this woman. We walked into this nice apartment. The floor had what appeared to be furs. This was neat. This woman appeared to be very fun and adventurous. My parents talked to this woman and then introduced me to her. "Hi Christopher, my name is Diane Russo," as she looked into my eyes on the sofa with her large black hair that
appeared very long. My parents said.

"Christopher, this woman wants to test you. We are going to the mall for a while and you behave."My parents gave me a hug and left me with this woman. We went upstairs and she sat me down on this desk. On the desk were a book, a Walkman and some stacks of cards. I had never seen something like this. The room was upstairs; I sat with my back facing a window while Diane sat in front of the desk to go over something with me. She explained to me, "I am going to test you, there are no right or wrong answers. Just try your best." I nodded. The first test she gave me
was on a Walkman. The first thing I thought was we were going to listen to music. "She drove her Daddy's car to the hamburger stand now," I randomly said and remembered the lyrics from a Beach Boys song. Diane said, "What do you mean?" I said "Beach Boys. I like the Beach Boys." She changed the subject and put this tape in the Walkman that did not look anything like the tape and said, "Here is a tape I am going to play. Now I want you to say what is being said on the tape." She had an extra jack so she could listen to the tape too and put her headphones on while I did the same. She pressed play and I heard a crowd of people on the tape. I also heard a man talking with people talking in the background. I said what the man was saying while people in the background talked. The next thing we did was go through this book with pictures and I had to describe things and memorize things as well. We must have gone through the book for
hours. Finally my parents came back and our time was up. After all this testing in memory, attention span, and comprehension, Diane came to this conclusion that I had an Attention Deficit Disorder or A.D.D. In addition I had an auditory processing problem as well. This ment that information that I absorbed was distorted sometimes. I was learning disabled or LD.

I saw a doctor who tested me even more and prescribed me
medications. It was test time once again. I even had a visit to the
hospital for another test. A needle went through my arm and I was pumped with an IV. What followed was being taken into the back of a trailer. I lay down on a machine. This machine pushed me through something round. My head fit through this cylinder like object that was scanning my head. I would later find out they were scanning my brain for something. This must have been normal. But it wasn't. It was a CAT Scan used to scan my brain for abnormalities.

"He is LD," my father would always yell when he was talking to
my mother. He was expressing his frustration towards the school for doing nothing for me. Once I was diagnosed, it was time for the school to take action. This was not easy. The school was not equipped to handle students with a learning disability. Diane recommended I see a tutor. My parents turned to my Great Aunt Blanche who was a retired teacher and was qualified to help me. She agreed to help me out of pure kindness. I got help from her during my time in the first grade, but it was too late. The school had stalled to give me the help I needed. By the time I was diagnosed, the first grade was over and I had done poorly but my parents and teacher never said it to me. I never realized how much help I needed. One day my Father must have
felt bad about something. He sat me down and showed me this liquor bottle that was in the shape of the first lightbulb invented by Thomas Edison. I sat on the couch in the living room and looked at this mock up of the first electric light bulb Edison invented. He said to me:

"Christopher, I am going to tell you a story about Thomas
Edison. You know about the electric light bulb? He invented it. He
worked many long hard hours to make it and now everyone has electric light bulbs in the house." He went into how smart Edison was and what he invented previously. He got to the end of the story about how the bulb was invented and he said "guess what? Edison is LD like you." He assured me that one day I could do something that great. "Those with LD are special people too, capable of good things." My eyes widened. Hearing some frustration and anger over the school was what I heard
daily in our house. "How come I haven't heard what the school is
planning on doing?" as my father expressed his feelings while I
played with Transformers in the other room. Since my normal
elementary school was not equipped and seeing that my parents did not want to see me fall, they looked elsewhere. The school district recommended a program by the county that helped learning disabled and handicapped children. This was something new to me. I was no longer going to take a bus to my normal school, but to one in Fulton. Fulton is a small city about 10 miles from Oswego.

I was now 6 years old and in October I would be 7 and I was
about to enter a new school that morning. No longer would I have to wait at the end of the road of my house for the bus. A small bus pulled up to my house up the driveway. On the side of the bus it said Oswego County Boces. I walked in and found myself on a very small bus bound to Fulton. I rode a slow and boring ride to Fulton. Fulton is a smaller city then Oswego and just sits on the shores of the Oswego River. The bus pulled in front of a building that was brick and 3 stories. This looked like an average school. Being in a new place I found this exciting as I smiled with wide eyes. I went up these long stairs that led to the classroom on the first floor. The hall was very small. The bathrooms were in the basement. There was a library
on the 2nd floor. The one thing this school lacked was that it had
no gym. There was no gym at all. When it was time for gym class we were greeted by a bus that would take us to a school that had a gym. The other things the school lacked were a real drinking fountain. The water in the pipes of this school were so bad that jugs of water where put in the halls so we could get a drink. "GLUB!" This was the sound that would eco in the halls when someone was getting a drink. In addition it was usually very cold in the classrooms because the heating was so bad. There were days where I was sitting in class trying to pay attention and feel chills in certain areas of the

Some of the kids were older in my class. This was something
that was unusual at the same time. One of the students in my class was 12. I was only 6 at the time. I had several friends in my class, but was never really that close. Some of them had a history of trouble making. I was sort of ignored by them. I was off in my own world with nothing in common with any of them. I sat away from many of them. In any case I still felt happy and went to class. In addition, everyday, I was bused to this large school for physical therapy in this suburban bus. I would play with these large beach balls. I was massaged and given all sorts of tests and did some exercises. Push-ups and sit-ups were among the exercises. On the first day of the therapy session, I could see many busses pull into this school and each of them were equipped with special doors on the bus to handle those who were wheel chair bound. From there I would go
home on a suburban bus.

When the school year was over, I found that my classes were
moved to a school in my area. For once I was going to be bused to a school in Oswego. The same teacher who taught in Fulton moved her classes to St. Paul's, a private parochial school. I was still going to be in her class. While I was in Fulton, that served as 1st grade. Now I was in second grade and hopefully from here on in, I could function in a normal classroom setting. In addition my Aunt Blanche tutored me and would continue to tutor me all throughout elementary

At least this school was better then the old school in Fulton.
The school was old, but it was still big, it had drinking fountains
and the heating was better. I walked into that school at age 7 and soon to be 8, having an enjoyable time. It was here that I
progressed. Suddenly I realized how much fun school could be. I had some closer friends too. There was this one kid I met by the name of Tim. I became close to Tim and we played around a lot. We had a lot in common and this was a very good thing. I got through the second grade and now the school was beginning to get their act together. The Oswego School District finally had a framework to help special needs students such as myself. It was off to the third grade in another

The next school I attended was Kingsford Park School. It was
in the city of Oswego, but it was on the other side of town. I
entered the third grade as a new kid. The small bus that hauled the special needs students across town. The small bus pulled in front of the school away from the normal drop off area. I walked in with my NY Mets hat and Buffalo Bills backpack. I would get backlash for those being my favorite teams later. This school was larger then St. Paul's and had all the things St. Paul's had too, only better. The gym was bigger, the library was bigger and there was a much larger computer lab. Each classroom had some sort of computer. Much of the building was up to date more. The halls were carpeted unlike the marble floors back at St. Paul's. My classmates were not dressed in uniform either. This was a public school and for once I was in a normal classroom setting. If I needed help, that is what a resource room was for. Once
a day and at the end of class, I would go down the hall to a resource room to get help in my subjects I was struggling with. However as I was beginning to progress in a normal classroom setting from the 3rd to 6th grade, some things were not right.

Being 9 years old and in the third grade were some awkward
times for me. I was someone new. Unlike back in Fulton and St.
Paul's, I was away from my old friends and I lost contact with them. I now had to make some new friends. The first day of third grade, I met this kid by the name of Kenneth. He was very quiet and we got along very well. However things were so bad in school and the other kids were so mean and ignorant of me, it made me feel less. Whenever I tried to fit in or relate to many of my classmates, I was told some of the meanest things and no one was polite to me at all. If I had something on my mind that was related to what was being said, I was rudely told to "shut up" or "go away." I was trying to fit in and whenever I spoke up about something I was called a "blabbermouth" and no one wanted to hear what I always had to say. A lot of these kids
in this school were from some of the wealthiest families in Oswego. I came from a blue collar, working class home and came from across town.

"See you at the flag pole after school, or I will come looking
for you." Some of the school bullies would often say this to me like I was a marked kid. I would never show up. I hated fighting. I had several bad incidents in school. One cold day in Oswego in the winter, I was just walking into school when I got a snowball hit in my eye. All I could see was the smile of the person who threw it. It stung so much. There was one case where I was kicked in the genitals really hard by this one kid. I told on him and got him in trouble. What was odd was how some of the teachers outside did not see this or do anything when I was grabbing my sides crying in pain. I told the principal though.

Feeling like no one really liked me and feeling like I did not
matter in class, it really caused me to question my own existence in the world. I knew I was A.D.D and knew I had a learning disability and this made me very slow compared to others. This hurt. Things hurt so bad I often wondered what it would be like to die. Several times in elementary school, I questioned what it would be like if I was dead and wondered if it was worth living. I began thinking about killing myself a couple times in elementary school, when it felt like I was at a loss. Sometimes I told those in my class my plan to die. Ultimately this behavior led to trips to talk with a guidance councilor. The guidance councilor I met was someone who made me feel better and made me forget about the problems I had with others. He was a big buddy to me when no one was there for me. I would use my recess time to talk about my difficulties. Recess didn't matter to me
then. Why set myself up for more disappointment, abuse and letdowns when I was picked last for kick ball? I wanted to be normal. I wanted to be one with others, but that never seemed to happen. I was always picked last in gym class. I was ignored. I was made fun of all too many times. The people there were so cruel and would ask me such things as, "Why do you ride with all the retards on the retard bus?"I was laughed at all too many times for being late from my therapy sessions in class. The bus driver always got me to class late in the mornings. I needed those sessions too. One thing hurt me so much. There was a time where someone invited me to a birthday party. I got an invitation. Finally I felt a level of acceptance. This would be
shot down. My Mother made a call to the parents having the party. Turns out the parents were not aware that I was invited at all and said I never was.

Things were not so bad outside school though. I was involved
with youth soccer. In addition I was involved with the cub scouts
from the time I left the second grade up to the sixth grade. I made some friends in soccer and Cub Scouts and some of them were not attending Kingsford too. It was in Cub Scouts that I met Rob and from there on we became very tight. He never judged me either. My younger sister was friends with his younger brother. It was a coincidence that we were both the older brothers of our siblings. One day he came over to my house and we talked and played well together. We both liked baseball and sure he liked the Yankees and I liked the Mets, but we still got along all right. Baseball card collecting is something we both enjoyed. We hung out at each other's house. To this day we still do. Sure he went to a different school, but it did not
matter at all.

By sixth grade and at age 12 my confidence had increased. Soon
I was accepted, as people would say hi to me. I made other friends. I was still getting help in my classes when I needed it. Although my classmates were often cruel, I got along very well with my teachers at Kingsford. There were times where some teachers would lose patience with me. I was able to graduate elementary school and never fail in my classes at all.

Proud to have gotten through elementary school my next
challenge would be middle School. At age 13, I was in a school where I could still get the help I needed and not have to go somewhere else. In addition I was still being tutored by my Aunt Blanche, but not as much as before because of her deteriorating health. She would later die while I was still in the eighth grade. I still was able to get the help I needed. However losing my Aunt was difficult for me to deal with for a short while. I still managed to get the help I needed in school. My grades were so good in middle school, I made the honor role several times in the seventh and eighth grade.The grades were so well, my Mother discussed with my doctor about taking me off medications. All this time I was taking medications for my A.D.D and now it looked like I was no longer going to need them. So one night while I was still in the eighth grade, my dosage got smaller and smaller to the point where I was no longer on any medication at all. I was still able to pay attention in class without medications.

Kingsford was an old school compared to the middle school,
which was built in 1979. It was even more up to date then Kingsford and even had a pool. I still got hassled by others, laughed at, made fun of and otherwise pushed to the brink of breaking down. When there were times when things got to me there was always someone I could talk too. Like the last guidance councilor I had a friend who I could relate to. Some good people surrounded me though. Rob was actually in
my class, so it was not a total loss at all. We still kept in touch
on things despite not being in the same classes. The eighth grade was a different story.

The eighth grade was the worst. At this point I may have
progressed and did well but I was once again among some of the most cruel people. Being 14 was rough. At least here I was not the outcast on the small yellow bus. Things were so bad, that when I was in lunch I would eat with my guidance councilor because I did not feel comfortable sitting with anyone. We discussed things and I was able to express my problems to him and he offered me some suggestions on ways to deal with things. My mother knew him while she was in high school. He was a great man and he and I would talk about cars and he
would talk about his motorcycle. That was an escape for me, because once again there were some individuals who hated me and bullied me. One of them was Scott. Scott stood short and skinny. He always came to class wearing these cheap rustler jeans and a cheap sweatshirt. Ironically he was nice to me in the seventh grade, suddenly he had this mean streak. I started to realize what a bum he was and began to see him as a troublemaker. One day he was going off on everyone in
the class. He once drew a rude picture of me. I took it and threw it away and he punched me. This led to a feud that would last me until high school. Later in the school year he was pestering me to hit him. So I slapped him and he decked me again. I did not care about getting in trouble. All year he was making fun of me and provoking me and saying stuff like, "hey Chris, you're a faggot." I was not a homosexual either. Sure girls hated me and I was not seeing any, but that was beside the point. He made me break down when I slapped him and we both got in trouble in class. I didn't really care that much. It was bad to get three detentions. I hated to have a bad record, but it felt good to slap his little rosie checks real hard. I would later see him in high school pulling the same crap on me. He would still provoke me but then I realized how pathetic he was. Later that kid dropped out of high school. "Who is the loser now?" was what I said
when I found out about that.

I got through middle school in one peace. I still was able
to do my work effectively and got the help I needed. I was no longer on medications and I could function well. In high school, at age 15, I was in a much larger building then the middle school. It seems the more I advance, the larger the buildings got. I only struggled mostly in math in high school. I was still pestered by others and when I was, there was always someone I could talk with. Other then that I was able to make the grade and each year I got better and required less help. High school was also a time where I took an interest in video production. This was something of interest to me. During my senior year, I would later find out that I probably would have never gotten into that class had my resource teacher not spoken up. The guy teaching the television production class did not want special education students busting up his machine. He had a prejudice against
students requiring special education. So my resource teacher was able to talk him down and allow me to take his class. While in the class, I did very well. I was involved in the program during my sophomore, junior and senior year. I did everything I could get my hands on making student produced television shows. I was able to videotape, edit and contribute my best work to the shows that were broadcast to the community in the mornings, afternoons and evenings. I had fun doing this and this was something I enjoyed doing. I decided to pursue this and when I graduated, I made a decision to pursue it

When I graduated, I was very happy. I had gotten through the
Oswego School system. Being A.D.D did not stop me from doing what I wanted to do. In fact I ignored it and moved on. Although being A.D.D is sometimes considered bad, it can also be a gift. Some say those with A.D.D see things in better detail. I think they are right. This could probably explain why I choose the path that led me through college with degrees in Broadcast Television and Television/Radio Production. Sitting on the eve of my high school graduation, my father said: "Christopher, this is great, I never thought I would see you come this far." He talked about struggling with the school to diagnose me with something so I could get the required help I needed. I now thank my parents, my aunt and some of the many teachers who guided me through. All through life I associated being A.D.D as a bad thing, as something being different, something to be ashamed of,
but in reality it was not so bad at all. It was actually a learning
experience in itself and still is.

I walked across a stage at age 18 to get something I have
worked very hard to get. Everyone saw it too. My parents and
relatives watched as I graduated from high school and received my diploma. "You made it," my principal said to me smiling as I shook hands with him and accepted my diploma. Boy did he say a mouthful. Looking out into the sea of people and seeing all my classmates for the very last time together, I wondered how much farther I was going to go.

Months later I started college. For two years I went to a community college. I decided two years was not enough so I transfered to Ithaca College for two more years. When those two years went by I graduated with a 4 year degree in television/radio production. Immediately after I graduated I searched for job. I soon found one at a television station and loaded up my Buick and moved down to the Binghamton area where I now live and work.


Follow Up:
Eventually I would lose contact with some of my friends. Unfortunatly for them. Their future was not as bright. So here is a list of people who i wrote about and what happened to them.

Kenneth- Last I heard he was busted for weed

Tim- Got in trouble for filling up his truck with gas and driving off without paying.

Scott (the Rustler Jeans Bum)-- Last I heard was he got in trouble for not listing his address change on the convicted sex offender list. I did not know he was a convicted sex offender but that tells the whole story where his life ended up.

It is very unfortunate that these guys wound up on the deap end. All three of them were diagnosed with A.D.D too. I have no idea how this could have happened to them. I only hope the best for them now.
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Old 03-27-03, 08:08 PM
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Wow Cris!! Thanks for sharing all that!
The end is near...I don't have time to shoe shop for Andi!

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Old 03-29-03, 11:49 AM
Blaana Blaana is offline
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That's a great story and very encouraging. It reminds me of my son who is ADD and LD. He is doing great in school now (11th grade) but experienced several years that were similar to yours. Thanks for sharing the story.
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Old 03-31-03, 04:27 PM
phischeyeat phischeyeat is offline

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Thank you Chris, that is a very telling story. Congrats to you on your accomplishments and best of success in your communications career.

"The issue is to have the heart and the courage to move ahead, to have the courage to take one step forward and know that it will open up doors to new levels of well-being."
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Old 04-04-05, 05:18 PM
stori813 stori813 is offline
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This story is so beautifully written.
Was it ever published any where?
It really should be something all teacher's read.
Amazing story crisgo Thank You for sharing it.
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Old 04-04-05, 07:30 PM
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Wow crisgo- Sounds all to much like me! I am just a year younger then u, I was dxed ld in 1st grade and add in 7th. But its all to familiar to me.

Thanks for taking the time to write all that out! U sure have made something of yourself. Have u ever read the book "Reading between the lines"? Great book, I highly recomend it.
ADD is a gift, not a disorder!
Punctuality is the virtue of the bored.
I love my dust it shows I had something better to do!
If your important people will wait for u!
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Old 04-04-05, 11:11 PM
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Thanks for sharing your story. I could relate to many points. You have accomplished so much.

- "Tim's incessant talking is wearing on all of us." (comment on 4th grade report card)

Cocktail : Adderall XR (10mg AM), Lexapro (10mg), Strattera (40mg AM/40mg PM)
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Old 04-04-05, 11:29 PM
Gourmet Gourmet is offline
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Thanks Cris. You are a true inspiration. I am sending your essay to my son who is struggling in college. He has inattentive ADD and will appreciate this.

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Old 04-05-05, 02:02 AM
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I have to say, too, that your essay moved me. Normally I can't get through such a long post in one sitting. I kept thinking of my's hard for me to remember to look at the world through HIS eyes. How confusing, frightening, uncomfortable it must be for him to be schlepped from here to there in our attempts to help him. I must make sure that I tell him today how much I love him and how proud I am of him for being the fighter that he is.

Thank you.

"Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved." - Helen Keller
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Old 02-05-06, 01:04 PM
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Tim- Got in trouble for filling up his truck with gas and driving off without paying.

Maybe he forgot. He should tell the judge & jury he forgot because of his ADD. So that he won't get jailed for such a silly thing.

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Old 02-05-06, 11:18 PM
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So cool! You are just a stone's throw north.

You'll be glad to know that I helped the good people of Vestal supplement their tax base this week by paying a spending fine. Got busted going south on 26 back to Penn's woods. My ADHD brain can't seem to get the hang of driving 45 mph on a straight stretch of road with nothing but trees on both sides.

Keep up the good work! I enjoyed your post.

And I'll try to be a good boy and not tear up your roads anymore.


PS Nah, maybe I'll get a "fuzz buster"
I think the conviction and the intensity and the passion and the sincerity - the honesty - you feel these qualities when you hear this record, and that's what makes it so compelling - Joshua Redman on Trane's "Love Supreme"

It is what makes us ADHDers compelling also - Bob1951
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Old 02-06-06, 12:21 PM
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Originally Posted by timh
Thanks for sharing your story. I could relate to many points. You have accomplished so much.
Same here.
dx: ADD (combined, diagnosed 1/18/06)
rx: Adderall XR 20mg

"The brain is a wonderful organ. It starts working the moment you get up in the morning and does not stop until you get into the office."
-Robert Frost
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