Jacob. 17 years old. Youngest of three; the only boy. Might be spoiled ;)
Plays video and virtual reality games. He is thinking about eSports and is working on his playing skills.
In real life, Jake used to play basketball, percussion and sometimes the guitar. He used to box for fun. He still plays with his dogs and cats. Previously, Jake did Cross Country, Track and Soccer. Jake is learning to cook, clean, take care of animals, and maintain the yard. He helps around the house anytime we ask.
Jake was diagnosed at 8 years old with ADHD Inattentive Type, Mood Disorder, Oppositional Defiance Disorder (ODD).
Last year, the ODD diagnosis was dropped! Yes!
An anxiety diagnosis was added and his medication dose was doubled. :( It has been a rough year.
My theory: When he was younger, the behaviors caused by ADHD and others' responses to those behaviors contributed to Jake's feelings of anger and resentment. Those are huge emotions for a little kid. I believe his inability to handle his own emotions led to ODD. His experiences also contributed to low self esteem, rejection sensitivity and ... you got it... anxiety.
These challenges also caused a significant loss of time in the classroom during 3rd grade which led to a diagnosis of a learning disability. Jake does not have a learning disability. He has low to intermediate executive functioning skills. But I was not in a position to make that argument when all of this was going on.
At the beginning of 10th grade, Jake managed his schoolwork well enough to graduate from an IEP to a 504! It was a huge achievement.
I asked Jake to share a few thoughts about remote learning due to COVID. He says, "When COVID-19 hit, the transition from school to home was close to impossible due to school districts being unprepared. " Jake had to find new ways to cope with feeling overwhelmed and stressed. "It's important to have people that can help when things start going so bad and I am lucky enough to have tons of those!"
These days Jake is working on emotional intelligence and executive functioning skills (who isn't??). He is finding healthy ways to deal with anxiety and ADHD symptoms. Jake is very consistent about taking his medication each day. He recognizes that emotional control is easier with the meds, but sees advantages to being off of them too. We are supporting his journey to finding his own sweet spot when it comes to medication.
Jake's not ready to get his driver's permit, and I am happy to wait until he is. He's even thinking about his future and seems realistically optimistic that he will figure it out when the time is right.
He constantly amazes me with his sense of humor, intelligence and willingness to work hard. I have no doubt that Jake will find his own path to a happy and productive adult life.
Jake is joining our discussion during class so feel free to ask him for details. He is excited to give his perspective and help future teachers!
Swimming at Detroit Lakes with Buddy Summer 2021.
Christmas 2021. First turntable. Luna wants to play!
Driving home from Idaho after picking up Maci!
Showing off the new "bush jacket" and posing with Buddy. Love the look.