Just shy of his third birthday, my son Luke ran behind a swing and was
on the right side of his head. That blow, although seemingly innocuous at the time, cause a…
But despite immediate and lingering changes in Luke, that injury inside his head…
REMAINED UNDIAGNOSED for the next
not the PEDIATRICIAN;
not several PEDIATRIC NEUROLOGISTS;
not a CHILD PSYCHOLOGIST;
not Luke’s TEACHERS;
not even FAMILY MEMBERS…
The pediatrician said nothing was wrong; there was no outward sign of injury on Luke’s head!
His teachers said he was just being LAZY and MANIPULATIVE…and was NEVER PREPARED. Eventually, they said he had ATTENTIONAL DEFICIT DISORDER.
A Child Psychologist said “He is not interacting, but he’ll grow out of it.”
A Pediatric Neurologist said “Luke is out of control. You need to be a better mother.”
Another Pediatric Neurologist said “Oppositional and Defiant.”
“Your child has a behavioral problem; you need to be a better parent.“
“Luke is lazy and manipulative.”
“Your son is not interacting.“
“Luke is never prepared.“
“ATTENTION DEFICIT DISORDER“
“Luke is OUT OF CONTROL.“
Because no one listened to my pleas for help for Luke, or looked beyond the obvious to see the invisible signs of his brain injury, Luke was left to maneuver through his young life without any understanding of why it was so difficult for him.
He was shunned by schoolmates;
misunderstood by his family and friends;
judged as ‘not trying’ by his teachers…
His internal dialogue worsened with each passing year, because he thought his failures were somehow his fault.
Not wanting to be seen as a failure, he acted out, which hid his dream of one day becoming a scientist. He had difficulty reading, knowing all the words but unable to process them together to understand the overall meaning. He learned easily one-on-one, but classroom noise and distractions made traditional learning a nightmare for him.
And still, no one helped him. My continued nagging for help they saw as ‘helicopter parenting.’
But, finally, his TBI was diagnosed—late in his senior year of high school. A brain scan was done, which clearly showed the injury. The doctor explained that the discrepancy between his measured I.Q. and his failures to succeed should have been a red flag for his teachers all through his school years…
Luke participated in a brain injury rehabilitation program which was too little, too late. The delay in diagnosis and the years of blaming himself for his failures eventually overwhelmed him.
At the age of 22, Luke tragically took his own life when he lost all hope…