By Marc Phillips
Jeff Williams, a rambunctious 12-year-old with a penchant for creating trouble, likes to hit his friends and scream in the classroom. At lunch, he throws his Capri Sun drink pouch at the seventh grade girls. Homework time is a power struggle with his parents.
“My mom said I’m special, so I can do whatever I want,” proclaimed the spiky-haired adolescent.
Such sentiment is not always common in the Williams household. Jeff’s teachers sent out daily e-mails to his parents, Adam and Lisa, urging ADHD testing for Jeff, citing the fact that professionals have noted that early intervention tends to yield the best results.
“Yes, my little Jeffy-Weffy can get loud at times, but I don’t need teachers telling me how to parent my son,” said stay-at-home mom Lisa.
“Yup, yup, okay,” workaholic attorney Adam said between conference calls.
The family went to see Dr. Corey Weinstein, a specialist in the field of pediatric Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder. Inside his Westchester, N.Y., office, Weinstein greeted his patient from the doorway. After angrily slamming a door and knocking over a faux ficus plant, little Jeff finally entered. The two started with the well-known, infamous “consultation,” the standard procedure before any major testing.
A series of tests were run over a two-day period. To insure proper results, many exams were run in triplicate.
A week later, the reports were fully analyzed and ready for the family. Weinstein opened the file and laughed.
“I’m afraid your son is just an asshole,” he said.
Adam and Lisa sent Jeff out of the room for a few moments.
“What do you mean, Doctor?” asked an incredulous Adam while simultaneously checking his e-mail on his BlackBerry.
“Your son is just acting out,” Weinstein replied. “It’s normal for boys his age to explore boundaries; it just appears Jeff is an extreme case. I can’t diagnose him or prescribe any medication.”
“I was looking for some peace and quiet around the house!” a visibly angry Lisa said. “What do you mean he’s just annoying? Concerta? Adderall? Nothing?”
Weinstein told the Williams family to embrace Jeff’s pleas for attention as desperate requests to get more involved in academic and extracurricular activities. Realizing how they focus little time on their son, both parents agreed to get more involved with his home life. After the meeting, Lisa drove to the community center and signed Jeff up for spring Little League baseball and a weekly swimming class.
“Dr. Weinstein told us to get Jeff more involved with team-building and social activities,” she said. “I hope this phase passes and my little Jeffy-kins can be a leader. I could also deal with a few less hours a day of incessant yelling.”
Jeff has started to calm down, for now.
Marc Phillips is a freshman IMC major who thinks ADHD is often just an excuse for bratty kids. E-mail him at email@example.com.