It’s my son’s big bar mitzvah year… but Miles is a different kind of bar mitzvah boy.
Miles is a child with ADHD. You might be thinking, ahhh, another parent that says their child is ADHD. Why don’t we just add it to the list, right? That’s what we thought. We thought to ourselves it’s just a label. It’s a teacher telling us something is wrong with him just to label him because he’s wiggly, obstinate, and uncooperative at times. Well, you’re wrong. It’s real and it’s here and it’s a huge part of our life.
My husband and I were both brought up Jewish. We both went to Hebrew school. He, conservative. Me, reform. We always had the view that Miles would go to Sunday school and Hebrew school just like we did. Why wouldn’t he, right?
Well…he’s not like us. Not by a long-shot. Nothing–except his hair, nose, and smile. ADHD affects our child in every aspect of his life. It doesn’t just touch his attention span–once meds are entered into his life it changes everything. Meds wear off at the end of the school day so any activity that requires concentration and listening at this time is particularly challenging.
Even though our tiny secular school in Tulsa, Oklahoma should have been able to accommodate him, they couldn’t. Our director was sure that their system would work for him, but the teachers couldn’t understand why he would need to stand, walk around, etc. How could he hear them, listen–think? In reality Miles is very auditory and hears everything no matter what he’s doing, but it didn’t seem that way to them. So, we decided that after a brutal day in secular school, we were not going to subject him to more of that at synagogue. So, Hebrew school didn’t exactly work out.
My husband and I were both in agreement, though. This boy was going to be bar mitzvahed–somehow, someway. Lucky for us, our shul is both flexible and understanding.
We had our meeting with the synagogue about bar mitzvah dates, we got the scoop, and hooked him up with a tutor. One-on-one is where it’s at for a child that doesn’t do well in a classroom setting. Sunday mornings…30 minutes to start with. Kids that are smart and like to learn do well this way and so has Miles. He loves to learn new things. He excels in this type of atmosphere as we knew he would.
Sometimes you have to think outside of the box…especially when you have a child who lives outside of one, too. It’s too bad that others aren’t willing to join you there.
For more on kids with special needs, check out one mom’s quest to teach her autistic son how to be cool, time saving tips for moms with special needs kids, and easy behavioral tips for kids with special needs.