Testimonial - Dawn Nelson

1 August 2000

I made a simple phone call during July 1999. The conversation changed the lives of my teenage son and myself and those around us. I spoke with Moira from the Learning and Behavioural Charitable Trust. I wasn't going to make the call because I thought, that with all the other places and people that I have spoken to why should this place be anything different? And I am very grateful that I did make the call.

Here was a person very willing to listen, not be judgmental. The two words that made me fell that I had found the place that could help us was "I understand". Also in the things she didn't say, things I had been hearing for more than 10 years "The boy will grow out of it, boys will be boys, what kind of parent are you to have raised a child like that". And the most hurtful one of all "in all my 17 years experience in teaching, I have never come across a child like that!" I heard that one, week after week at Kindy.

Here I thought I had a monster, yet no one had any constructive thought as to what or whom I could go to, to get help. During my son's primary school days, the school was in constant contact with me about my son's behaviour. When he reached Intermediate things got worse, the smart mouth, his attitude towards others, the verbal and physical confrontations. Again I asked for help, I even went to Special Education Services (SES) to get them to assess him.

They called the Intermediate and placed him in the Reading and Language Support class which is partly what he needed but it wasn't going to help his behaviour, and it didn't.

When he reached college last year he was suspended within 4 months for verbal abuse and damage to school property. I didn't know where to turn. But luck has it I turned the next page of my local newspaper and there was an article on Dyslexia/ADD and the horrifying statistics and all I could see was my son becoming one of those.

After speaking with Moira, she offered to come with my son and myself to parent/teacher evening. She explained what the trust does for those children like my son who have extra needs in this area. The teachers, on hearing that he may have a learning difficulty, changed their attitude from "He's cruising, he's a daydreamer, or he could do better if he put more effort into it" to "What support can we give him." They put measures into place to make time in class more enjoyable, there was less pressure on him as far as the amount of homework, and he got support from an Aide during class time.

The Learning and Behavioural Charitable Trust sent literature to the college. The Trust put us on the right road, the college were willing to help, so the next step was to have him medically assessed. He has been diagnosed as ADD. He has been on medication for nearly twelve months. He is now in the advanced Maths class, his last Science test was in Chemistry, he scored 73% .

I am very proud mother of a very independent, open minded 14 year old who will speak his mind in a more appropriate manner to get his opinion across. He is involved more in class and he associates with more people than he used to. His outlook on life is not so black and morbid, he has a future and so do I. I'm returning to the workforce and I have no fears about trusting him, I still realise he is a teenager and he will do teenage things but we will tackle those as they arise, calmly and not at each other's throats.

Thanks Learning and Behavioural Charitable Trust for their time and energy in leading us to the right path, instead of leading us up the garden path to nowhere.

Dawn