In Control

In Control

From Chicken Soup for the Kid's Soul

In Control

I was six years old when it all started—I was diagnosed with A.D.D./L.D. That means I have attention deficit disorder and a learning disability. That’s a big problem to grasp for someone so young. People were not sure how I would function, and I did terribly. I didn’t want to sit down in class. I remember that the teachers were always on my case. During lessons, I had trouble understanding what the teachers were saying. I worked on my homework from dinnertime to almost bedtime with my parents. It was very hard for me to do homework because I didn’t understand it. I would get frustrated, and then my parents would get upset.

At school, I was in the principal’s office more than I was in the classroom. The teacher would ask me why I didn’t understand something, and I would just shout, “It’s none of your business!” at her because I was embarrassed that I couldn’t understand the work. Then the teacher would send me to the principal’s office. I finally started to improve a little, but I still had problems throughout elementary school.

By the time I got to middle school, my behavior was really bad. My worst memories were the rides home on the bus. I remember getting off the bus one day, saying good-bye to the driver, and as the bus left, two guys beat me up. I tried to defend myself, and at the same time, I was trying to flag the bus down. I remember feeling all alone. I walked home with a black eye and a swollen face.

I also remember running my mouth one day to a kid who was bigger than I was. I was defending my brother. I talked trash about the kid’s family. He punched me and accused me of calling him a bad name. I got in-school suspension (ISS) for two days.

The kids where I lived were very mean and hateful, and they called me names like “fatty” and “loser.” This hurt me because I felt inside that I was a fatty and a loser.

I felt I was a failure—but I was raised to believe that you are only a failure if you truly believe you are. I didn’t want to be a failure.

When I finally reached seventh grade, I was making D’s and F’s, and pulling ISS all the time. I was always getting the whole class in an uproar by flinging rubber bands and throwing spit wads at the board. I remember punching a boy for calling me a “fat boy.” I got ISS for three days. During those three days, I got the ISS students in an uproar by making fun of what the teacher did and imitating him. For my actions, I got more and more ISS.

My parents started to look for other schools that might help me to learn to function better. That’s when they found Knollwood, a school for special students. I was enrolled last year. It’s great! I know now that there will always be people who care, whether they’re parents or teachers. They will always help, but you have to want to get better to be successful, or it won’t matter how much they do to help you. I finally realized that I could change. I can prove that John Troxler can be a success.

I am no longer getting D’s and F’s. I am making A’s, B’s and C’s. I am now completing the eighth grade, and I am in a tenth-grade social studies book. In other subjects, I am also above average. Though I still have some trouble, I feel deep down inside that my return to a regular school is just around the corner. With the help of my teachers, I will be ready for high school. It has taken me seven years to finally realize that A.D.D. and L.D. are handicaps that I will always have, but I can, and will be, successful and in control. It’s up to me!

John D. Troxler, age 14

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