Our Son, Told By Mom & Dad
Anthony was a sensitive, sweet, gentle, kind, funny, impulsive, and sometimes frustrated person who never wanted anyone to be sad – he wanted everyone to be happy, and he wanted to be everyone’s friend. He was a very happy baby and always had a smile! He didn't have a mean bone in his body and would never treat anyone badly. In school, he would befriend every new boy who came into school, even through high school.
Nothing made him sadder than when he thought someone was his friend, and then they would drop being friends with him with no explanation. He always wanted play dates, and we would have to have them at our house so we could monitor it in case an issue came up.
He enjoyed going to Catholic Church and loved saying special prayers that his Nanny taught him, especially about the Blessed Mother. He loved his sisters (Aubrey, Meredith & Gabriella) and wanted to always be with them, however when he was young and because of his ADHD, he would irritate them. As he grew older, they all grew closer, and that made Anthony happy, and it made us happy too!
We share Anthony’s story because it is important to see the challenging and sad times but also the wonderfully special loving times we had with our son and WHY THIS HAS BECOME OUR MISSION TO HELP THESE WONDERUFL KIDS WITH ADHD!
Pre-School & Kindergarten
Anthony went to Preschool at 3 years old. It was discovered that he was a bit delayed in remembering the abc (alphabet) and 1,2,3 (numbers). This continued through his preschool time.
In Kindergarten, he continued to have difficulties. No matter how many times we practiced flash cards, he just could not retain the information. The other children were reading 3 letter words and he wasn’t.
This started his feelings of being less than and he felt like something was wrong with him.
First & Second Grade
The learning issues continued into First Grade, and he was not able to get his work done in school. In Second Grade, these issues continued.
Thankfully, his teacher had experience with children with ADHD and she requested that we meet with her.
She informed us that Anthony got frustrated working on an assignment – he crumpled it up and threw it away. His teacher retrieved the paper, unfolded it and saw that Anthony had drawn a circle frowny face, crossed it out and wrote, “I hate me.” When we saw this, our hearts broke, and we knew that we needed to get our son some help.
Pediatrician Requests An Evaluation
We first took Anthony to see his Pediatrician. He was very helpful and got us started with a School and Home evaluation. He then requested a psychiatric evaluation. The result was that he had ADHD and Dysgraphia and deficits in math and reading.
The Pediatrician said that we needed to have a 504 Plan done for him with the school. At this time, the evaluating psychiatrist developed Anthony’s 504 Plan that we provided to the Catholic School.
Anthony’s Third Grade year was challenging and not productive. His teacher was not sure how to work with a boy with ADHD and learning challenges. At this point his hyperactivity and his impulsivity became apparent. Fortunately, the school librarian loved Anthony and it became a safe place for him to go.
Then the bullying started by students that he thought were his friends and he was feeling very bad about himself and being left out. We were all sad and frustrated…
Anthony’s 4TH grade teacher had experience working with children that had ADHD. Anthony could not pass a spelling test and reading comprehension tests because he could not read the tests. However, if he was asked the questions orally, he could answer every question correctly! This was how he was tested going forward…
Anthony started showing his frustration with anger. His teacher worked with him and gave him patterns to calm himself down. She did not embarrass him in front of the class, and this helped his self-esteem.
We made a decision to transition Anthony to the public school system. The psychiatrist agreed that may be the best plan for Anthony. We instituted the 504 Plan.
At public school, they had a Math and Reading Club and they worked to bring Anthony up to his grade level. Both of these teachers helped Anthony and we all felt like this was a good decision. It helped that one of Anthony’s friends from Kindergarten was also part of both of these Clubs and they resumed their friendship and remained friends through 12th grade. Anthony had a good 5th grade year.
We knew that for Anthony to be successful in middle school, we would have to stress his 504 Plan to each of his teachers. Mom took charge and at the beginning of each year, she wrote an email and outlined every aspect that could present a challenge for Anthony in middle school. She outlined his ADHD tendences and his traveling tics that changed every year (many of these would irritate his classmates).
Anthony Gains Confidence
As Anthony progressed through middle school, the bullying from his peers ramped up and he began getting attacked. One student stabbed Anthony with a pencil and another one tried to put him in a choke hold.
When Anthony started to defend himself, this is the only thing that the teacher saw, and Anthony was sent to the office and given detention.
We met with the Principal and the school decided that this was not bullying, and it was an incident. At this point, we registered a formal complaint with Anthony’s Guidance Counselor. The bullying continued and the next situation involved 3 boys threatening Anthony, shooting rubber bands at him and pushing him.
High School Years
Anthony was nervous about starting High School. We got in front of most of his teachers with his 504 Plan. Anthony started advocating for himself and by 11th and 12th grade, he was confident in talking to his teachers and the guidance counselor.
Anthony had a wonderful singing voice. When his Mom was turning 50, he asked his Dad if he could sing a song for his Mom’s birthday. Dad took him to a music studio, and he sang Bruno Mars’ song “Just the Way You Are” to his Mom. It was the topping on a special birthday.
Love For Cars
Anthony always loved fast cars. He would watch NASCAR races for hours and he enjoyed all the drivers, especially Jeff Gordon! In the summer before Anthony’s senior year, he asked his Dad if they could do a senior project together. We decided that we would refurbish a car. It took us some time to decide on the type of car. Then, he found a garage called Bimmerbuddies – they had old BMWs and he would spend time looking at their cars. Finally, a beat up red automatic 1989 BMW 325i came in and we bought it! It had dents in the bumper, the hood and the doors… The interior and the rug were dirty… however, the dash only had a slight crack in it.. Anthony knew we could fix it up!
Anthony was concerned about getting into college. His SAT scores were not great. A good friend had just started a College Preparation Business and she asked if Anthony could be one of her pilot students. She spent lots of hours with Anthony. She helped him with his resume, suggested that he start a Car Club at the High School (and he did), identified schools that would be the best for Anthony, and helped him with all the applications.
High School Dating
Anthony was very empathic and soft hearted, and he wanted to make everyone’s life better. As far as we know he only had two dating relationships.
In 11th grade, he started dating this young lady whose mother had just been diagnosed with cancer. Her mom passed away and he stayed with her for a year after. Her home life was challenging, and she was left alone most of the time. She stayed with us a lot and we got very close to her. They seemed to be very close and Anthony for a period of time liked that he could help her. The relationship ended in November of his senior year.
Anthony's Last Night
Dad came home from work as usual. It was a night where Anthony and Dad worked out with weights. Most nights we would have the TV on with some music – on this night, Anthony said Dad let’s just talk. We had a good workout and we talked about the next car we were going to work on and going away to school. We even played frisbee in the basement. We laughed and had a great time.
Anthony went up to his room and about 9pm or so, he came down and gave us hug and told us that he loved us, as he normally did. The next morning, when we went to wake him up for school, we found him. Police and coroner declared it was a death by suicide. There was no note left by Anthony.
As you can see in our logo, we have left the heart open at the top. Anthony’s road was stopped because of his impulsivity caused by his ADHD. We are on a mission to help Kids to keep their road open! When Anthony passed, we made a vow to help Kids and their families. We do not want families to feel the pain we did by losing Anthony. That is why we created this Foundation – We want to help these wonderful Kids with ADHD THRIVE! We are here to help families who otherwise may not get the help they need! At the same time, we want to raise Kindness to a whole NEW LEVEL!
"Whenever you share your love with others, it lingers! The light you give to one person stays with them, spreading to one person after another, leaving an imprint on their hearts!"
- Mindful quote, Unknown Author