Misdiagnosed Child

Have you ever known a person or child for a short time, and years later you still find yourself thinking about that person?

Well it happens to me, and this time I am thinking about a little boy named “Sam” (name changed for privacy). I met him when I was a church secretary and accountant about 15 years ago. Sam, who was in first grade at the time, attended the parochial school that is part of that church.

Sam was a sweetheart, although occasionally rambunctious. He had been sent to the office a few times for being disruptive. One time, when my boss was gone for the afternoon, I seized the opportunity to work with Sam. (My boss would have NEVER allowed me to do that). Sam was supposed to be doing his homework while on “detention”. All I heard him do was tap his pencil on the table in the next room.

I told Sam that he was supposed to be doing his homework. Silence. Then more tapping. Process repeated. That is when I walked over to Sam to “coach” him.  Sam pleaded to me to give him the answers. “NO”. Then he claimed he didn’t know how to read. “I KNOW you can read.” I had Sam read the instructions out loud before writing the answers down, which were always correct. Sam was smart. I realized he needed more individual attention than what a traditional classroom offered, but it was not my business to “butt in”.

I knew Sam was on medication for ADHD. Later, I could not figure out why he had more disruptive outbreaks. I learned that Sam’s medication was changed to try and calm him down more. Well, it had the opposite effect. One day he came into the office, crying, and declared that “NOBODY CARES (about me)!” I walked up to him and said, “I care”. My heart went out to him and wanted to hug Sam, but didn’t think rules allowed that.

Shortly before I left the job, I heard that the doctors possibly misdiagnosed Sam and that he might be autistic. Oh, really?

Sometime after I left the job, I attended an event at that church. Sam and his mom were there. That happy, rambunctious little boy I knew was gone. Replacing him was an eight year old zombie. I wanted to cry.

I could not help but wonder if maybe Sam needed some simple changes in his life. Questions came into my mind. Does he have a sensitivity to certain foods? Should he not eat anything with sugar at all? Is he fed foods with artificial food coloring? Does he need to get more exercise and preferably outdoors for fresh air and sunshine?

I did not know the answers. My guess is that Sam never needed medication to begin with. All I know is that Sam, now a young man, got messed up when he was a child because of medications. Now, after all these years, I can’t help but wonder where Sam is now and what he is doing.

All I can do is keep Sam in my prayers and trust that God will watch over him.

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