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Parent-to-Parent Class: Letter from a Dad
A father gave me a letter he’d written while taking CHADD’s “Parent to Parent Class,” and gave me permission to post it on the CHADDGR website. He hopes it will help other families. I removed his last name, but am glad he wants others to benefit from his experience.
Joe brought his son to the Up2U Community Family Partnership mental health carnival at Roger’s Park Plaza, where I was teaching origami.
My name is Joe. After we found out our son, had AD/HD, his mother said she was going to put him on meds. My first thought was, “You just want to drug him up so you don’t have to deal with him!” We used to argue over that all the time. I was in the dark. I didn’t know anything about AD/HD.
I just thought my son was hyper and loud and hard to deal with. But since I’ve been coming to CHADD’s “Parent to Parent” class, I’ve been learning a lot about AD/HD and different parenting strategies.
Linda has been very helpful in giving me resources to help me better understand and deal with this.
“Linda, you’re one of a kind. You are very special to me and my kids! Thanx for everything. May God bless you in many ways! The first day i called you to ask about CHADD, after a few minutes of talking with you, it felt like i was talking to an angel. Linda, you’re one in a million! Thanks for always being there.” Your friend,
“Linda, Thank you so much for all of your help and wisdom in the past few months! I loved the class and I think that it was great for my husband to learn some new things, first hand! You are very important and special to parents who are trying to do the right thing for their children.” Thanks so much!
“I so enjoyed going to the conference with you and for all of our talks. You are truly one in a million! Your children are very blessed to have a mother like you! I learned so much and got an opportunity to receive a fresh perspective on things. It’s exactly what I needed. My deep appreciation to you and for all that you do.”
“Thank you so very much for re-establishing my faith in my “fellow man.” Your kindness and perseverance are appreciated beyond words.”
Yours very truly,
“Linda, Thank you so much for your help. It was greatly appreciated. Our community is so lucky to have you as a resource.”
“Thanks so much for sharing your information. I passed it on to my student teacher and to our sociology teachers as well.”
“What a wonderful blessing you are in my life…You do so much for so many. The world is a better place because of you, Linda. You are a daily reminder in my life of God’s love.”
“Thanks for all that you have done and continue to do for us! You are a God-send and we want you to know how much you mean to us!”
“Linda Brauer has spoken to my Child Development class several times about Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. She brings a wealth of information about the topic. Her personal insights, as well as her considerable knowledge base and perceptions about current issues, make her an informative and effective resource for the students. Early childhood teachers are often frustrated and disappointed when traditional discipline and guidance techniques are not effective with these children. Linda’s ability to reach these students and give them support is invaluable. I am always appreciative when she speaks to my classes.”
“Ms. Brauer is well-liked by our patients. She has successfully worked with school systems, not only in Kent County, but also in Ottawa, Montcalm, and several other counties outside of the Grand Rapids area. Ms. Brauer deftly brought people who were at odds with each other–together, over a student in one of our client families. She was able to get people to reverse their opinions about a student who had been expelled from his Special Education Career Center. This student not only graduated from the Career Center, but received a scholarship from the Michigan Construction Teachers Association for high achievement. In another situation, neither I nor the client’s psychologist were able to impact this client’s school system, in the face of seemingly “normal” test results. Ms. Brauer was able to change the school’s view about this client (who was suffering from Tourette’s Disorder and AD/HD). She was able to get the school to properly meet this youngster’s needs. We continue treatment services for this child. When I have done all I can from a medical/psychiatric treatment approach toward children with complex biological & psychological needs, I can turn to Ms. Brauer for the school “piece.” She uses her familiarity with the rules that govern Special Education services to best serve the client. Often, at the same time, her efforts help the school avoid a potential legal fight as well. Ms. Brauer is persuasive with medical doctors, social workers, teachers, and administrative professionals. She is well known and highly respected. Furthermore, Ms. Linda Brauer was publicly recognized at the national level for, her advocacy and leadership in CHADD.”
~Dr. Philip Haines, M.D., child psychiatrist
“It felt like our family was falling apart. My husband thought I was trying to baby our son, and I thought my husband was being a drill sergeant. Our daughter felt entirely left out. It is so true that something like this can cause a divorce. Our goal was to stick together. If anything, we needed to be stronger for our son. He felt just as lost as we did.
When we first were told our son might possibly have AD/HD, by his kindergarten teacher, we were relieved to think that we might not have a “naughty child”–who wouldn’t listen or do as he was told. Unfortunately, family and friends had never experienced this, so we were back to feeling alone. Our pediatrician referred us to the Pine Rest Clinic. This is where we found Bruce Retterath. He was wonderful and confirmed what the teacher suspected.
We went digging online and found “The Wonderful Linda.” When we signed up for the Parent to Parent class, my husband and I were at each other’s throats. We weren’t even talking to each other when we came to the class. After we met for the first class, we decided to get counseling for the entire family. We never missed a session the entire ten weeks. Between the great group of people that we met at the classes and the information provided, it all began making a huge difference in our lives. We began working together as a team. We would get down on our son’s level to talk to him. We made copies of a poem Linda handed out, called “Through the Eyes of an AD/HD Child.” We taped copies all over the house.
People who came over were amazed at how it explained what he is about. We learned to take a step back and listen to him, to think about what he might be feeling, and to take that into consideration. We decided to let him go to bed an hour after his older sister, developed a bed time routine, and let him listen to his radio and have a fan on, to block out other noises. We used a chart to remind him, rather than us always having to. We decided not to use the chart to punish him, though. His sister had her own chart.
Every night after we attended the parenting class, we went over everything we had learned with my mother or grandmother, who’d watched our kids while we were gone. We would be excited about trying out our new skills. Our son had been having problems at school. We had written a letter asking to have him tested to see if he needed extra help. The school sent us a letter, two weeks later, saying that there was no need to have our son tested because he was too smart. Linda gave us a copy of the Procedural Safeguards in the parenting class. We told the principal that we did not agree with their decision and still wanted to have him tested. The principal didn’t know about the Procedural Safeguards. I’m glad we did.
They met with our son on numerous occasions and he was given a complete evaluation, including his social and emotional adjustment. We do not yet know the results. We were disappointed when the class ended. I wished we could have continued meeting forever. We know that without Linda, and the wonderful group of people we met in the class, who shared their stories, we would not be where we are today.”
~Anonymous Parents in Allegan County
“Linda is a very warm and gracious individual, who puts others at ease. Her hard work is always appreciated and she is a respected team player. I continue to refer individuals and families to her. I am fortunate to have learned from her and worked with her on a number of professional projects. She deserves to have her talents recognized and further utilized. The community would benefit greatly.”
~Grand Rapids Public Schools- School Nurse
“I just wanted to write you a quick note to thank you for your help in the CHADD parenting class. Your advice in the classroom was invaluable in my working with my son’s school. I very much appreciated your counsel during our phone conversations. I continue to reference the classroom material and have finally secured special education services for our son. We have been very pleased with the response from the school and to see my son’s new outlook. Now he has hope. It was very helpful to me to attend the CHADD parenting class and thank you for providing this opportunity to parents.”
“As Program Director of a community based organization, I have observed Linda facilitate groups in an open, respectful, and skillful way. She helps parents capitalize on their strengths and see how they can help each other. She is not afraid to offer her opinion, but is careful to label it as such. She is an asset to any area she chooses to lend her expertise. She came to the group with a loving and accepting presence.”
“Linda is very helpful in working with families of children with AD/HD, as she is a good source of information. She is knowledgeable, pleasant, and considerate of those with whom she works. Her classroom teaching experience and parent support group experience provide her with a vast knowledge of child development and family issues.”
“I wanted to express my sincere gratitude and appreciation for taking the time to do the Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Inservice. We have had numerous speakers on various topics and this was one of the most well-received we’ve had the pleasure to offer. Everyone on the staff had nothing but positive comments on the information and the manner in which it was presented. Coming from a group of teachers, who tend to be sharp critics, this is the highest compliment you can receive. I think your personal experiences added a great deal of credibility and insight into the scientific and medical information you presented. I’m glad our staff got the opportunity to learn from you.”
“I believe our instructor for “Parent to Parent,” Linda Brauer, was definitely the strong point. She was very understanding, knowledgeable, and compassionate. Her experiences as a parent were very helpful.”
“I liked the material you wrote to help parents decide when to use what type of parenting approach. I appreciated the time, effort, and talent that you put into teaching this class. I feel very fortunate to have reaped the benefit of all of your experience, knowledge, and passion.”
“Linda, Thank you so much for your help! You are a wealth of information and knowledge! If you don’t mind, I will forward the information to a friend of mine who is having a hard time getting her son the services he needs. I have encouraged her to begin attending Parent Group meetings with me.”