Out in public, I watched people – otherwise nice people – initially smile at my son’s adorable appearance then morph into contorted expressions of disgust at his behavior: eyes rolling, heads shaking, audible sighs and snide comments. That he was suffering brought us – and him – to tears. That no one would ever know him, least of all himself, brought us to the realization that something needed to be done.
As an adult who was once a child who experienced her own share of challenges, reading was my constant. Books were often my best friends. The arrival of the Bookmobile in my neighborhood was like a holiday; I still remember the powerful papery smell of all those books.
It gave me great pause to realize that my child couldn’t read, and didn’t have the tools to read, because of everything that is associated with undiagnosed ADHD. And though his childhood is not mine, it is similar in the sense that it has been full of struggle. I knew, once he could read, books would save him. They would teach him, inspire him, be still for him, let him spend as much, or as little, time as he wanted or needed to with them.