Charlie's birthday is January 15th - he is now 7 years old.
It is hard to imagine that Charlie was only 3 1/2 years old when we met him (that is how old Chip is now)!
The last 3 years have been a challenge Charlie. When we met him at the shelter he would run and run, as fast as his little legs would go. After a few days he started talking and his clarity and wisdom was amazing for a little tyke.
After a year of counseling we decided his ADHD would be better controlled with medication, and we embarked on a year of trial and error. We now think he is doing well, much more capable of controlling his behaviour.
Learning about ADHD has been quite a journey, and we know there will be much more to learn. Some of the lessons have been hard, such as understanding that without the medication he truly cannot control himself and no amount of punishment will change the behaviour.
With the medication his face and body relax, allowing him to make choices and learn. It allows his teacher to teach class without the constant interruptions of Charlie throwing pencils or erasers and then scrambling around the room to find them, or clapping his hands for 15 minutes straight and then banging his head on his desk, or yelling out the answers before other students have a chance.
It is easier for him to speak in a normal voice rather than screaming at the top of his lungs. The medication allows him to have feelings; crying when he is sad, or just being quiet when he is in a melancholy mood. He is learning that he cannot always be the "boss", that he must listen, learn and obey.
The decision to put him on mind altering drugs was a difficult one, but we want to give him the best chance to succeed in life because we know that this is something he will live with for the rest of his life. He is reading above his 1st grade level and constantly surprises us with his knowledge.
We are so thankful for the patient teachers, the gifted counselors, and all those who love Charlie so much. Here again we think of where Charlie might be if he was in New Orleans. Through your support, we are all working together to give Charlie the life he deserves.
Happy Birthday, Charlie. We are so honored to get to spend it with you!
Randy and Stephanie