To my right is the decision we received by the Family Court in Calgary, Alberta. This decision was read to us in open court on Feb. 9, 2001
Page 8: The Decision
Ms. Marchand is a foster parent for special needs children and has known the Child since he was 15 months old. She says that Mother is her best friend. The Child had been in four or five other day care homes before coming to her for day care. She detected quickly that the Child needed to be kept calm in order to determine the extent to which he suffered from an organic brain
malfunction or a behavior problem. She described debilitating tantrums and
extreme brain activity and rated him as a 12 on a scale of 1 to 10 for assessing hyperactivity. She said it was she who finally pressured Mother to have the Child diagnosed in order to save him from punishment and to help him grow into a responsible adult..
Ms. Marchand said that Mother had told her that the Grandparents thought she was too strict with the Child and that he just needed to run and play outside. Ms. Marchand said that was what Mother wanted, too, but came to understand that she must be strong about discipline in order to straighten out the problem. The Child's problems, she said, were immediately evident when he returned from visiting his Grandparents, but Mother wanted him to have that relationship and didn't want to end the visits. At one point the Mother thought perhaps the Child should live with his Grandparents if he was better in their care, but Ms. Marchand pointed out that she, other day care workers, teachers, etc., couldn't all be diagnosing the Child incorrectly.
Ms. Marchand described Mother as incredibly strong and always seeking further information; she stays focused and keeps to her plan without showing anger or frustration. She described Allan Radke as a real blessing for the Child; a very loving man who understands ADHD because he had also suffered with the condition. She said that the Child is very proud of Allan Radke and says nice things about him.
Although she was less than forthcoming about the issue, this court was left with the impression that Ms. Marchand does not approve of spanking. She confirmed that she had helped to develop a point system which they tried on the Child but which was not very successful.
Doctor Pamela Stone
A pediatrician, Dr. Stone specializes in ADHD. She first saw the Child in June, 1998 and quickly diagnosed him as suffering from ADHD. Once on Ritalin, his behavior problems at school dropped dramatically from severe to few at all. Mother told Dr. Stone that the Child's
behavior was more erratic following visits with his Grandparents and the Doctor certainly supported a more even emotional life for the Child. She noted that initially its very important that all persons working with the Child support the Mother's regime, but once his confidence and self-esteem have improved the outside influences become less important. Aging may also lessen the impact of the condition.
Dr. Stone said that Mother told her that the Grandparents withheld Ritalin from the Child, although the Mother had testified that she never sent Ritalin with the Child when he visited his Grandparents. Dr. Stone also noted how pleased teachers are with the way the Child is thriving and flourishing in the consistent and structured environment in the home and school.