Michael Strouse just turned thirteen and he has two new titles to get used to: teenager and November TWEEN. At seven years old, Michael was diagnosed with ADHD. His parents had suspected that since he was a toddler.
Since taking multiple medications to help with his diagnosis, his mother, Kim Garver, says she has truly seen a transformation in his life. He is able to do the things all kids want to do. “I tell him that the medication allows him to be the person he was meant to be without all the background brain chatter.”
Michael, a seventh-grader, travels two hours each day to attend Eton Academy, a school for children with ADHD and learning differences in Birmingham, Michigan. “At my old school, there were about 20 to 30 kids in each classroom. At Eton, there are never any more than ten and that helps me focus,” he says. “When there are more kids, it’s easier for me to get distracted.” With the school and a strong support system, Michael is able to do the things he loves, including playing travel hockey, travel baseball, tennis, fishing and skiing. Good health and an active lifestyle help him focus his energy on things that make him an awesome teen.
On top of being a student and athlete, Michael knows how important it is to help his community. That’s why he devotes time to his church and youth group at First United Methodist Church in Ann Arbor, where he has made meals for the homeless, provided presents for less fortunate teens, and participated in the CROP walk for hunger. His volunteering efforts have taken him as far as Appalachia, Kentucky, where he helped build fences on settlements. “We built a bunch of fences while other people were helping to build houses,” he explains. “We were there for three days and it was a lot of fun.”
Kim credits much of his early success to the professional support system, the local Washtenaw County CHADD (Children and Adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) chapter, where parents learn how to cope and prepare their children to have successful lives, regardless of their health challenges. “Since my mom goes to CHADD, she knows ADHD a lot better and understands me more,” he says. And so, with his yellow Labrador, Jack, at his side, Michael is leading by example and paving his way to achieving more great things.
The local Washtenaw CHADD chapter provides families with accurate, relevant and useful information to help them thrive regardless of their diagnosis. Visit www.meetup.com/AnnArbor-ADHD-ADD-Support for more information about the CHADD local chapter and how to get involved.